Thanks to Adrian Parker for his first event planning and providing a testing course – which also included our switch from poly bags to waterproof paper for the maps, a welcome change. Here’s Adrian’s report:
The Washburn Valley score event on Saturday 27th April was the first event of the summer NYMBO season. Not that the weather knew. Although the ground was generally firm after the dry and warm late Easter, Saturday was breezy with a brisk Westerly over the moors and the day was punctuated with heavy showers.
The Washburn Valley is deceptive. As those taking part in the race will now have experienced, it has a lot of gradient and close attention to the contours lines was required. While planning I kept bringing the control spread in and in – in the end staying true to the event name and confining control sites to the Washburn Valley and ignoring the South West quarter of the map in Wharfedale. What remained was challenging enough – with 450 the highest score on the day. Without the wind, scores would have been a bit higher I am sure, but clearing would I think always have been a tall order. I had planned for the event to look like it could be cleared, but for it to not quite be achievable – forcing all riders, including the fastest riders, to have to make route choices and control selection.
Looking at the results there was a gratifying variety of routes taken. The highest scores were achieved by going out anti-clockwise and clearing the South East corner of the map first and then coming North through the middle of the map. After that there was a great diversity of successful options. Planning I had envisaged the best route as the reverse, with the roads to the East of Norwood providing a fast finish. However riders who set out clockwise seem to have been bogged down in the complex route finding and choices in the North of the map and then not been able to complete an efficient loop. The multiple crossing points of the valley and complexity of the road/bridleway and track network made for difficult route choices if both sides of the map were to be linked.
I was pleased that all controls were visited, including those on the moor West and North of Timble – and gratifyingly Graham Tibbot’s winning score included the moor loop (clockwise) – which was always going to be a gamble. The far moor has not to my knowledge been used in a NYBMO event before. While it does not (if you stick to legal rights of way) offer much in the way of route choices it has some technical riding and some good views. Even nearer points such as the 25 pointer on Cote Hill give a different view and perspective on the area.
I developed something of a love hate relationship with point 16 on the moor over the course of last Friday/Saturday, when I visited in on three occasions. On the first occasion I discovered I did not have enough wire to secure the control to the boundary stone – so I had to cycle back to the car on the far side of Timble and do the climb again – but on the other hand I did see a Great Grey Shrike on my way back up. I revisted the control again at 6pm on Saturday evening control collecting, at which point the heavens opened and I was battered and drenched by a hail storm that pursued me off the moor.
A few thanks are in order. Firstly to all the control collectors who went back out having completed a challenging course (and sorry Simon for sending you to collect a control that would already have been collected by the time you got there!). Thanks to Steve Willis and Geoff Moorhouse for manning download and sorting out the results, and Tim for sorting the maps. Many thanks also to John and William Anderson, who while their wife/mother Jo Anderson was out riding set up a café – which provided welcome cake and tea and a sociable atmosphere – and raised over £70 for a local woodland planting charitable fund run by the Rotary Club – planting woodland in the local area as a carbon offset.