|Latvian National Library|
It is difficult to describe quite how complicated the race turned out to be. The first three controls were in the basement, and required navigating a room filled with tapes to make a maze. So far,so Ultrasprint. Leg 3 to 4 was then probably about 40 metres straight line. 30 minutes later I was getting close to finishing it. First you were faced with five closed doors , some or all of which might lead to the corridor you were looking for. James later described this as like Scooby-Doo, with people disappearing through one door only to reappear through another seconds later. Then it was simply a matter of working out which of the five or six sets of staircases linked up, and which bits of which floors were taped off. A quick visit to the fourth floor allowed me to get back down to the Mezzanine, only to find out the staircase I wanted was out of bounds. To be honest I wasn't entirely sure which other two floors the Mezzanine was between. Eventually it became apparent that the only way to get from control 3 in the basement to control 4 in the basement was to go all the way to the 12th floor in one staircase and then come down a variety of other staircases back to the basement. A quick slalom through the men's and women's changing rooms got you to another "which door do I need" problem, and I let out a cry of triumph as a control appeared in a dark corner of the room. You could tell this was a good library: next to the control were the plans for a hyper-space bypass. Or maybe I was just hallucinating by this stage.
So that was control 4, but my course had 16 controls. I eventually threw in the towel at control 6. James and Helen made it to 8. Some truly warped minds completed the course (including at least three separate visits to the 12th floor), but breaking an hour was an achievement. Apparently you were then meant to run a second course. But we needed to get to the Sprint Relay, so had an excuse to leave.
Sprint Relay: So near yet again
|Peter going for it|
On the mapping of boulders
|Kris and the boulder|
Prospective World Championships Mapper Exam Paper Sample Question Part 2
You are using an artificial boulder as a control site in the WOC Sprint Relay. What map symbol should you use to represent it?
Answer: The site is clearly a boulder. It is therefore mapped as a boulder.
And so the artificial boulder that was a statue at the Sprint Race appeared as a boulder at the Sprint Relay. I'm now waiting for it to appear as a man-made feature at the Middle race, in which case it will be a black cross or circle and have had three different symbols in three days.
Romanticism at WOCThe WOC 2018 write-up described the Sprint Relay area as " a particularly romantic part of Rīga". Those of us who made it out into the area might have a slightly less romantic opinion. To be honest I was surprised at how many old and run-down buildings were still standing that close to the centre of Riga. The police presence (policemen on motorbikes at key road junctions) came in handy though. As I set out to photograph the women half way round the first lap I came across a police van that had been summoned to remove a somewhat inebriated local who was showing slightly too much interest in the shiny red and white flag he had just found.
On the mapping of bears
They were sat in the middle of over two hundred painted bears. The bears had been yet another conundrum for the WOC mapper, and the answer is that a line of six foot tall bear statues constitutes a crossable fence.