6 Hours of your own Amazing Race! I’ve been looking forward to the Cyclic Navigator, a 6 hour MTB Orienteering style event where the aim is to reach as many control points hidden in the forest as you can within the time available, all the while riding the route of your choice.

Unfortunately though I’d been feeling off-colour during the week leading up to the Cyclic Navigator — I suspect from an old scummy CamelBak bladder — so wondered if I was doing the right thing on Sunday by participating in the event. Taking it easy was going to be the flavour of the day.

I chose to ride the KH36 with 137mm cranks for the event as it’s a setup I really enjoy for off road rides in the forests around home. No doubt the 36’er gets heavy after a few hours off road but given the terrain and distance I imagined the event would include it seemed the best choice with the 36″/137’s delivering a compromise of speed and control off road.

A Circle of One
A Circle of One

I arrived not long before the 10.00am start time which didn’t leave much time to study the map and plan out a route (novice mistake). The MTB Orienteering guys were very welcoming and wondered how a uni would go. The weather was fine and cool, it was shaping up to be a fun day.

The 6 hours flew by. The challenge of working out where you were, which control points you hoped to visit, finding the control points and doing that all within the time limit proved to be very enjoyable. I occasionally cris-crossed paths with other riders, everyone in their own episode of the Amazing Race and having a blast.

A strong wind blew up in the afternoon by which stage I was out of the forest and in the open farmlands around Musk. The wind definitely made the going tougher on the unicycle but the pressure was also mounting to squeeze in as many more control points as you could and not arrive back late. With only 45mins to go the decision was whether to catch the train back to town (a legal option in the event)  or ride. I opted to ride back which I guess due to the adrenalin was the biggest buzz of the day.

I ended up arriving back at the Start/Finish area at 3.45pm, having visited ~14 control points, with a score of 450. Not a bad effort for my first orienteering event, and on a unicycle too, especially considering how I had been feeling the week before and morning of the event. Looking at the ride data from my Garmin 405 I spent almost 2 hours out of the 6 hours stationery staring at the map. Even for an event like this I think that’s at least an hour too much. Not that it really matters, the event format delivers a great adventure no matter what.

Crossing the Finish Line
Crossing the Finish Line

The local paper came out during the week leading up to the Cyclic Navigator, I guess a unicyclist participating in a 6 hour MTB event makes for an interesting story. I thought it might be a small story and pic tucked away inside the paper. It was half the back page, ‘A Circle of One’ how cool is that!

Thanks to the Cyclic Navigator event organizes and MTB Orienteering guys for welcoming unicycles. I enjoyed the day so much I’ve signed up for a couple of summer evening MTB Orienteering events, on the uni of course!

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