One weekend two competitions: Night-O + Park-O

A thrilling weekend past with two competitions in a row. On Saturday there was the annual night event organized by the Hong Kong Orienteering Club. It is a score event. This year it is held in Braemar Hill, known to be one of the most challenging orienteering areas in Hong Kong, owing to the knoll terrain.


Note that there is a prominent footpath that circumscribes the vicinity. That is Sir Cecil’s Ride (named after 1920s governor Sir Cecil Clementi, who often rode his horse there). In this event, the controls that are spread along the Ride have similar point values to that of the middle knolls. Given a dark environment, the middle knolls are a deep trap, leading competitors to get lost – as many did and subsequently got overtimed – while those who can afford to dash along the Ride got in the lead easily. I was one of the latter – I got second in the men open category with 250 points, to my surprise – but it would not come were it not for my strategy change midway. I would have considered taking a lot of knoll points, but after 25 (#54) I simply had to let go with half an hour already past (time limit is 90 minutes – straight disqualification upon overtime with no mark deduction arrangement), or I would make no progress trapped in vegetation.

One thing I do regret – I returned back to finish 10 minutes before time’s-up, and I realized afterwards that I could have made [… – 8 (#72)] – 28 (#43) – 10 (#31) – 11 (#32) instead of [-8]-11-10 with doglegging. Had I done so I might have got the gold (the winner had a 10 point lead on me).


I returned home at around 11pm but had to leave at half past six the next morning for my next race, which takes place in Shenzhen. It is a sprint event held in Zhongshan Park, in the neighbourhood of Nantou around half an hour by bus from the Shenzhen Bay checkpoint. I only slept for around 5 hours and that was when the real thing came.


Note a blank B-column in the description for the 12th point – it is a very smart trick used by the organizer to trap competitors. They have to find the correct control (out of the several around with same feature) based on the description. Actually the box over the description list reminds competitors to read the description symbols carefully for that no-number control. Nonetheless quite a number of competitors failed to get the right control. (I got the wrong one #57, then sensed something wrong and read the map carefully before getting the right one #31.)

It was all okay at first, but halfway onwards the oxygen debt associated with lack of sleep got the better of me. At pt.15 I had confused over the direction, soon afterwards at pt.17 I thought I got the wrong control only then realizing I read the control number for pt.16. At pt.19 I even exited in the wrong direction. Nonetheless the overall result was okay – I ranked 14th in the male elite category.

I had batch-enrolled in this Shenzhen event with a number of fellow orienteerers out of curiosity. Two weeks later there will be another sprint event in Shenzhen countable towards Hong Kong ranking (it is a prevalent trend to organize increasing number of ranking events in mainland China, be them sprint or middle/long).


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