So the trip to Australia was completed on last Tuesday night; it started on the Wednesday before Easter, thanks to my dad who drove me in a rush to airport after project presentations at the Chinese University.
First observations about Australia:
-the people are very nice and have a good sense of humour
-the weather is dry, hot (with the scorching sun) at noon and the afternoon but “brutally” (to us Hongkongers) cold at night and in the morning-it’s hard to get around without a car
The trip was an orienteering squad trip to the Easter races at Clandulla State Forest in New South Wales, the place we stayed was Mudgee, some 270km from Sydney, so the last two points above hold especially.
Friday 18th April – prologue
Good Friday. Not often a day for orienteering (at least in Hong Kong).
I had yet to get used to Australian climate and was also experiencing fatigue due to previous lack of sleep (homework…). The prologue was a “sprint” race in wild terrain, held in “The Common” near Rylstone. Towards the end I got an ankle sprain – luckily it didn’t immobilize me. But after this experience I realized that it’s wise to tape my feet for orienteering (I never taped).
Saturday 19th April – middle distance
The ankle injury forced me to be slower, which turned out to be beneficial in orienteering. I finished the course in a little more than an hour – to me having to run in woods in prolonged periods (something not so often experienced in Hong Kong) plus rocks and hills is tiring. And 5km in Hong Kong sense is already quite long.
(This and the following two races use interconnected venues, all taking place in the Clandulla State Forest)
Sunday 20th April – long distance
The heart of the excitement. 14km. (That’s absolutely crazy by Hong Kong standards – longest course I’ve seen in HK was a 15km 100 control one which I didn’t manage to finish.)
I would absolutely be lying if I said it wasn’t an ordeal – the only to survive through such a course is to “do it slowly”. In the end I finished it (thanks heavens) just under three hours. The woods were very enjoyable though.
Monday 21st April – reverse chasing start
Obviously I didn’t have the power or endurance to match the Australians. So my start time was pretty early for this last race – but then silly me – I realized I forgot my race number bib when I almost got to the start (there was only 20 minutes to my start time and the start was 1.4km away from the event centre)! Luckily I managed to return to the start with my number bib in time, but this mishap was enough to put me into fatigue (but this might also be an accumulated effect of prior three consecutive days of race).
Still I managed to pull myself together in the race, but the fatigue put me into some silly and time consuming mistakes, one of those costing me as much as ten minutes. When I finally returned clocking 2 hours and 48 minutes my muscles were heavy as stone.
Notice this elite course has forking arrangement at the “stars” – each competitor is assigned one of the variants with individual description sheets.
This is me at the event centre of the last race (Cherry Farm)
Also, cheers to those who managed stalls at the event centres, especially those which provided us orienteers with food and beverages (my daily lunch was basically “a steak sandwich AND a sausage sandwich”, which I think were tasty).
So ends the my first trip to Australia. Back in Hong Kong, exams were completed, composition project was done (my percussion quartet work, Kowloon Rhapsody, got its premiere at CUHK by the ensemble-in-residence Jenga on 30th April – will talk about that in another post), and now immersed in other businesses – most importantly the duty at hand for the coming HKOC Night-O competition on 17th May. Around one more month to go before I go on my grand tour of Europe (mainly orienteering but also some concerts to watch – will be out of Hong Kong for two months).