OMM Lite / Bike Photo Blog

Hey everyone,

I feel that we must apologise for our absense recently – I’m putting it down to work and just being generally busy.

We’ll be catching up and bombarding you with retrospective posts over the next few days, so be prepared to indulge in our antics!

To start with; last weekend was the OMM Lite/Bike in beautiful North Yorkshire. I went down to support Johan again and reprise my role as photographer, helping out the OMM team with a few shots out on the course and at the start/finish.

This was Johan’s first event with his new partner Chris from Kong Adventure in Keswick, a team that I think are going to go far. They came 4th overall in the Long Score, not bad for their first outing! I’ll let Johan fill you in with all the gory details though!

Now for the photos…

 

OMM Lite Day 1

The first day was warm and sunny, with not a cloud in the sky; lovely weather for a stroll around picturesque Swaledale, not so much for running up and down the valley for 7 hours straight! After a leisurely turning to rushed morning, Fred and I jogged across to the start for our time of 09:00. Timing is not essential as your clock doesn’t start until you “dib”, but out of consideration for other competitors it is best to try and get there on time.

The first 5 minutes are crucial! Route decision is possibly the most important aspect of these events. It really doesn’t matter how fast you can run if you run to the wrong place or choose a bad route which restricts your potential point collection.

Having decided on a circuit we set off. Even at just gone 9am it was warm! The first pull down a long road had me sweating buckets, and we’d barely started. Despite the heat, the first quarter of our route was pleasant, running through rolling fields with shade provided from time to time. A bit of confusion caused by incorrectly copying the location of check point 28 to our OS map cost us a few minutes, but we realised out mistake soon enough and were back on the go.

The next couple of legs over to Helwith then round to Kexwith were serious drags. The first was a long gradual climb along a ridge, but offering fantastic panoramic views to the North and East. A quick descent down to the river, a couple of minutes to have an energy gel, a drink and sort shoe-laces out and the next joyous pull all the way back out and up to Hew Gate was on the way. This was a gruelling straight road gradually rising on and on for what felt like forever. Once we hit the next check-point however, we turned off the road and enjoyed some moor-top dirt-tracks allowing rapid movement once again until we hit Booze.

From here we endured probably the most painful stretch (for me at least) of the whole weekend, up to a 50 point checkpoint through “death valley”, an old quarried valley which reflected the mid-day sun back up at us, baking us, dehydrating us, sapping everything but the desire to get to the next checkpoint. 50 points in the bag, and a short sit-down to re-assess the game plan. Much to our annoyance the best option seemed to be to turn around and drop straight back down to Booze. Down was much faster than up however, and we were soon back on the move our next checkpoint.

From Booze it was mostly low-level running by the river, nice and fast and shaded by trees. Coming through Langthwaite Fred was gasping for a pint in the Red Lion, but we had no time to stop and indulge – pints were to be earned that weekend! It looks like a lovely pub though, and if you’re ever in that neck of the woods I’d highly recommend dropping by. Another long drag up an uninspiring road awaited, but once we’d dropped off the other side of this hill we could turn back to the start if we wanted.

Not a chance! There was one more 50 pointer to grab before we turned back if we wanted a top spot, and this one was a looooooong way up a track. Dragging ourselves up moorland track, we dibbed the checkpoint at a large sheep pen, and munched a bagel each as we started to walk back. At this point eating didn’t feel great, but we were both flagging and we needed a kick to get back in time.

What we didn’t realise at this point was that Swaledale runs faster from West to East, and pretty much all day we’d been running East to West. We hit the next checkpoint much faster than expected, and with about 45 minutes to go I convinced Fred to run via “just one more” checkpoint.

Once we hit that checkpoint there were still 30 minutes to go, and our 1:25000 OS Map showed a sneaky cut-though to pick up a final 10 points. Fred grumbled a little, beer and food were on the brain, but we went for it and it turned out to be our crucial 10 points. I quite enjoyed following an unobvious path down to the riverbank, picking our way over an old, crumbling weir, and back up the other side to the final track. Finally, it was the home stretch and we zipped (read plodded) down a narrow track back into the village and final burst to the finish line.

Post race we partook of our standard chat to other competitors, followed by a can of coke and a dip in the river to freshen up; lovely. Plus we were in 2nd position with only 20 points between us and 1st place!

OMM Lite September 2015 Introduction

“60 check points, 2 days, how many can you find?” is the tagline OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) attach to their ‘lite’ version. Whilst the lite prefix makes sense when compared to the full OMM, it can still present a significant challenge should competitors wish to push it. Unlike the full OMM where teams must carry all their equipment for both the days on the hill and for an overnight camp in a remote location, competitors in the OMM Lite must only carry the kit required for that day’s running, returning back to a base-camp and the “luxury” that provides at the end of both days. As well as this, the navigation element is reduced – controls are positioned in obvious locations such as bridleway junctions, rather than the more aggravating locations such as tiny re-entrants and cairns which are the OMM’s more usual fair.

For those who are yet to begin their descent into orienteering races the format used in the OMM scored events is, in principle, very simple. The race organisers scatter controls across the competition area, assign a value to each control, and your aim is to collect as many points as possible within the allotted time.

Having previously competed in the OMM Lite Spring (placing first in the Short Score), the pressure was on to perform well at this event from the get-go. This time round we (Fred my running partner and myself) had entered the Long Score, figuring that it would be fairly poor sportsmanship to remain in the Short Score having already placed first. We also figured that a longer race would prepare us more thoroughly for the rigours of the full OMM a month later – whether this was actually the case in the end is still fairly debatable.

Post by Johan

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