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CUOC don't go to BUCS

This week it snowed which was both good and bad. The positives of snow are that Wednesday training can be replaced by the SnowO (see previous report for more details), fun can be had spent playing in the snow, and Cam looks very pretty covered in white. Snow is however bad when it means that BUCS is cancelled. To make matters worse, we celebrated for a whole 5 hours after we were told the weekend would go ahead. But this was not to last, and our hopes and dreams were crushed. Fingers crossed the race will be rearranged so we still have a chance to show off our amazing Death Eater costumes.

However, not to let a good weekend go to waste (and because we were now stuck with 3 hire cars that we couldn't return), we decided to have a CUOC fun-filled weekend extravaganza. After filling out Helen's extensive poll, various activities for the weekend were decided.

an innovative approach to tackling the lack of hills in Cambridge

The first of the activities on the agenda was to go on a sledging trip to Gog Magog, one of the only hills in Cambridge. When we arrived, we realised our idea wasn't so original as the hill was full of kids sledging down. As it rarely snows in England, and the last thing people think to pack when they come to Uni is a sled, we had to improvise. First, we tried bin bags which failed because most of the snow had melted which did not yield a smooth enough surface. Dan decided to try out his take on extreme ironing by bringing his ironing board along. Everyone watched on in anticipation, including some kids nearby who claimed, "they had to see this". Dan got off to a good start and moved a whole inch until he came to an abrupt halt. CUOC suggests that extreme sports should be left to the experts to avoid future embarrassment.

Dan tries sledging without a sledge

Determined not to have a wasted journey, we frantically searched the hill for ideas on how we could sledge down it. We soon came across a broken sledge which the owners said we could have as long as we recycled it afterwards. This seemed like a good deal, so we accepted. The sledge proved to be an efficient method of reaching the bottom of the hill fast. However, there were many challenges to face including steering to avoid small children and dogs, and stopping just in time to avoid falling down the ditch at the bottom. Jeremy tried to take a snowboarding approach and went down the hill on the sledge standing up. He fell off and we laughed a lot.

The snow was melting fast and soon the hill became very muddy and no longer fun to sledge down. So we decided to head back to the cars, stopping by the igloo on the way. Some children had caved the roof in so Jonathan and Dan both took turns standing in the igloo as everyone threw snowballs at them. It was like a weird version of Whac-a-mole.

Jonathan in the bully hut

The next activity of the day was a Pilates session led by Elizabeth. This was probably the most popular Pilates we have had this term with a huge turnout of 6 CUOC and 3 DRONGO members. Let’s keep this up! Emma was particularly happy with the session as she got to do her favourite exercise: the egg roll.

The Pilates gang then headed over to Jeremy’s house and began preparing the veggie chilli for dinner. We were soon joined by Paul and his saucepan, which he brought along because Dan forgot to bring his. After lots of veg chopping, cheese grating and rice boiling, our dinner was made. This was followed by a delicious homemade apple cake where slice sizes were requested in terms of radians.

The final activity of CUOC’s big weekend of fun was a local race at Aspley Heath on Sunday. We tried but failed to convince Paul to come along as he was too ill. He even declined the suggestion of running the white course which he said would be insulting. We also tried but failed to convince Helen to come along as she wanted to sleep. It appears that our captains have lost all their motivation and desire for orienteering-related fun. We can only hope this is a side effect from the disappointment of BUCS being cancelled and that it will not be long term.

In the end, CUOCers Jeremy, Aidan, James and Lily, and DRONGOs Ben, Zuzka and Dan made the journey to Milton Keynes. On the way, we saw a roundabout called Walnut Tree but it did not have walnut trees growing on it which was disappointing. We also drove past Magna Park, a large distribution site which has a strange design on its buildings so they blend in with the sky.

We soon arrived at the Irish centre which we thought was quite a random thing for Milton Keynes to have. It turns out that it was just a village hall that was perhaps more Irish than your standard village hall, with lots of decorations that were green and a picture of Ireland beating England in Rugby. Bemused by the Irish centre, we registered and took a shuttle bus to the start. The area was a really nice area to orienteer particularly for a local ewent. Apparently SMOC didn’t think the courses were challenging enough however, so they switched 2 controls round which left many orienteers puzzled. Aidan was sad he missed out on sledging the previous day so decided to go sledging on his stomach down a snowy hill and said he felt like a penguin. This added burst of speed led him to win the Black course. Ben closely followed in 2nd with James also having a solid run and finishing in 4th. Zuzka also ran well on the short brown course to finish in 6th.

If Dan of the day was being awarded it would have to be split 3 ways. First to Dan who mispunched, and then to Jeremy who decided to follow Dan and mispunched the same control. It would also go to Lily who managed to make a 90 degree error and nearly ran off the map. But everyone came back happy and had fun running in the snow.

We then returned to Cambridge and some people went back to Jeremy’s house to finish off the weekend by eating the leftover veggie chilli.

Jeremy's alternative BUCS article

Jeremy isn't very good at technology, and didn't realise that to publish an article, you need to click publish, so another website article was produced before this was noticed - see above.

BUCS relays were also cancelled. So James A, Lily, Aidan and Jeremy along with the three usual suspects from DRONGO drove to Aspley Wood near Milton Keynes. An early start ensured they arrived before all the entry on the day maps went to other would be BUCS competitors, including its organiser and planner.

The area turned out to be one of the best in the south and was very well mapped. Most of the forest was very runnable, only let down by the numerous paths ruining the technicality. A healthy layer of snow remained from the Beast from the East, making running tough going in places, but leaving some nice train tracks later in the race. The previous days toboggining training came in handy in successfully negotiating steep hills without sliding into a tree.

Aidan continued his good form from Varsity and took first place on the black in 65 minutes, with Ben 5 minutes behind in second, whilst James A was beaten into fourth place by the BUCS organiser. Lily successfully completed the Blue, while Zuzka was both first and last W21 on the Short Brown. Dan and Jeremy both mispunched on the Black after Jeremy followed Dan into the wrong control. A debate followed as to whose mistake was stupider, with only James showing any sympathy. Full results are available here, showing Aidan running for CLOK and James opting to create his own club COOC. A handwriting training session will be held soon.

On the way back Ben spotted a Lidl, so the car with DRONGOs in stopped for croissants. Dan was very pleased, as the same car then stopped at Aldi for petrol. Those without any work to do then headed back to Jeremy’s to finish up the remainder of the Veggie Chili.


The map

This week the ground was too white for normal training to go ahead, so Ben planned an alternative snOw training on Jesus Green, where we would build contours in the snow, and do a micrO course around them. Sadly, the ground wasn't quite white enough for this, so we just threw snow at eachother instead. Ben drew a course in the snow which featured such obstacles as a table tennis table and the treacherously icey skate park. Sadly, after a proper risk assessment was carried out, it turned out that running over ice was too dangerous to allow a competitive ewent, so results have been voided; however as the controls had been put out people were permitted to run at their own risk.

Apparently there was a localised gravity anomaly to the left hand side of the picture

We then went and had pizza, where for once we had bought fewer pizzas than the algorithm suggests. Luckily, we weren't as hungry because we hadn't run very far, so everyone ended up full anyway.

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