This past Saturday we took part in another orienteering bicycle rally for us and the first for our Olive. How did we do? Did we stand on the box? Go team! :)
We missed it a lot. Bicycles, maps, field orientation and competition. In 2016 we completely forgave ourselves from Bike Orient rallies for known reasons, but we knew that a growing family was no excuse or obstacle to participate in rallies.
On the contrary, we want Olive to participate with us, to feel the wind in that fine short hair from a young age and spend time outdoors. On the other hand, we too want to continue our passions and interests, but this time taking into account the needs of the youngest member of the family. We want to show that a baby on board is not a reason to completely give up on what gives us pleasure and fun.
Table of contents
So we were happy to hear that the 2017 season is ahead of us and kept up to date with information on the first rallies in the Lodz province. Maybe our preparations weren’t very professional, we didn’t drive hundreds of kilometers like we used to, and we didn’t train in the cold, but our enthusiasm and optimism made up for these minor shortcomings and deficiencies.
Not that we were completely unprepared :) We had already practiced riding with a trailer, which worked great. So this time, too, we rented a bike trailer, and thanks to Mitsubishi, we had no problem at all to pack two bikes and a trailer into our L200 Monster ;)
Wieruszow County Bike Orient Rally
The rally was held in the Wieruszow district, and the start and finish were in Sokolniki (not to be confused with Sokolniki near Ozorkow!), which we reached from Lodz in slightly more than an hour. However, this does not mean that we were at the site much ahead of schedule, because somehow with the baby we are getting more and more late (and supposedly practice makes perfect). After picking up our starting numbers, instead of warming up, loading up with carbs and flexing our muscles, we focused on diapers and loading up with breast milk so that Olive would have more strength :) After all, the youngest participant in the rally had to give it a go ;)
For the first time, we didn’t wait impatiently for maps, we didn’t do a reconnaissance of the terrain, we didn’t devise a route in our heads – we came here for fun. By design, we wanted to do 1-2 points, focus on the area and fully breathe in the fresh air.
We thought to ourselves that, exceptionally, we would not do as many points as possible, but would focus on those that might be scenic and accessible with a trailer (we knew that with a trailer we would not drive to every possible checkpoint). There was no family route in this edition, which we very much regret, because we probably would have been most interested in these points.
It was very crowded at the start. It can be seen after our one-year break that the popularity of the rallies has not waned, and despite the uninviting weather, participants turned out in force. Well, that’s right, the weather. It was supposed to be lousy, cold and it was supposed to rain. Fortunately, it did not rain, it was a little windy, but most of the time we were accompanied by the sun.
This time, too, we did not count every second in order to get the map as quickly as possible and look forward to the start of the rally. Paweł went quietly to get the map, chatted, took pictures, came with the map, we took more pictures, and the moment the start signal sounded, instead of jumping on the bike we still to the toilet, get ready, look only at the map. Relax ;)
We probably took off last. Our plan was simple – we drive to the feeding point, and on the way we make a few points around the village of Galewice. Most of the points in this area were “highs” or “lows.” The terrain was quite flat, so we could forget about the beautiful views from the hills and climbs.
Surprisingly, the points were very easy to find (so I guess we didn’t fall out of “orientation” practice for that gap year ;-)). Some were just off the forest paths, so you could easily drive up with a trailer, but to some we climbed on our own feet. We did not rush from point A to point B. At each CP we cut a chat with other participants, motivated each other, joked. It was just nice and friendly :)
Do you see the checkpoint in the photo below? :)
The roads in the area where we traveled were well marked and we were able to pass with a trailer without any problems. Paweł even claimed that he was more comfortable riding with the trailer on forest tracts than on asphalt, where the wind was blowing quite strongly (which can be a nuisance when riding with a trailer).
And this was by far the best point, in our entire Bike Oriente history. The point was at an animal crossing over an expressway. We’ve never been to a place like this before :)
In contrast, this was the optimal mileage on the Mega and Giga routes.
A bike rally with an infant? ;)
During Bike Orient rallies, many people are in a hurry, and we were a bit of a hassle though :) Having in mind our experience from previous editions, where some participants were able to tear out that someone is driving in the middle of the road, we, however, tried to let ourselves be overtaken, although most participants were very understanding (we especially salute those who did not want to overtake us!).
For us, it was a completely new experience. We had time for a break, had a mini picnic on the way, during which Olive chose a further route, and from the more interesting things we saw deer in the fields (yes, for people from the city this is also an attraction!). In the end, we didn’t make it to the feeding point, but instead made two additional points along the way, scoring a total of 5 points and making 30 km!
Which place did we ultimately take? The highest possible! For us it was the first place :) For the organizers and other participants, maybe not necessarily. Covering several dozen kilometers with a 9-month-old baby, on forest roads, finding checkpoints without any problems and reaching the finish line was a personal victory for us :)
There was no waiting for a ride in the woods, no diaper changes and no major unexpected attractions ;) This was Olive’s first rally, first starting number and first diploma.
It was also the first such rally, where we completely let go of the competition, and laughed to other participants that we would still be the first at the finish line…. and we were (whatever the fact that we didn’t have a set of points)! And guess what? It was probably the most fun rally we’ve participated in :)
And this whole adventure of ours is not made up, as if someone didn’t believe ;)
We look forward to the next edition of Bike Orient :)
We are also eager to return to this area already without competition, as it is noteworthy that there are several permanent orienteering routes here, so everyone can “get lost” on their own. Whether by bicycle or even on foot.
Paweł ‘s only regret, of course, was that he couldn’t go on all those Mitsubishi roads we had come on. And that could be a lot of fun too :)