"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Teddy Roosevelt
College Woods, UNH, Durham, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Brayden, Pop, and myself headed over to UNH this afternoon for our first orienteering meet of 2009. It was the first time this year that all three generations of Dunn's have raced together. College Woods is essentially a "home meet" for us. After stopping at the recycling center (for the first time in three weeks), Brayden and I headed to Madbury to pick up Pop. When we arrived on campus I drove directly to the fieldhouse where I expected the START/FINISH to be located as it had the past two years we've attended meet's here. When there were plenty of spots in the faculty/staff lot adjacent to the football field I should have immediately known something was awry. Without getting out of the car we could tell this wasn't the place. I called home and asked Maddie to check online to find out where the start was located. After a quick Google search she found the UNO website and the description of the starting location for today's meet...Greg Hall. As the only alumni of the university in the vehicle all eyes quickly fixed on me. Problem was, I was a UNH student over 20 years ago and the names of the buildings had long since faded from my consciousness. Frankly, where I was last weekend had long since faded from my consciousness. The great thing about O-meets is that there are almost always signs pointing to the start. Trust me, the irony of getting lost on the way to an orienteering meet is never lost on me. After no more than one U-turn we found the signs and eventually Greg Hall. Today's objective was to 1.) spend some time with my father and son, and 2.) build a little nav confidence on an easy yellow course layout. We checked in, paid the $5 for our map, and then transferred the 16 controls to our maps from the master sheet. A quick scan of the controls revealed many of them on or adjacent to the trail network within College Woods. The clue sheet was written out (see upper right hand corner of the map) although we were prepared to decipher symbols if necessary. The course was very straightforward and sent us in a counterclockwise direction. We basically followed both general compass orientations (ie. North, South, etc) and map features. Most the controls were within 250 meters with some located no more than 50 meters apart. All were visible from at least 25 meters away. We really only had two small mistakes. The first was 5-6. I had planned to aim off to the trail to our northwest and then run southwest on the trail to the control (6; 704, rootstock, east side). Somehow I managed to get us too far south and we ran across the wrong trail. After arriving at obviously the wrong trail junction we doubled back and located the control. The other small error was 9-10. It should have been a simple 100 meter bushwhack on a southeasterly compass bearing to a 1 meter cliff (northeast side). When we arrived at the hill that contained the cliff I ran the team on the southwest side and we had to completely circumnavigate the hill to find the control. Had I attacked on the correct side we would have run right up to it. Luckily, on this course the mistakes cost a minute or two and not 10-20. We finished the 2.7 km course in just over 36 minutes. Running up to the controls was a great confidence boost at this point in the season. Getting a chance to race with my father and son was simply one of the greatest competitive experiences imaginable.
"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction." - William James