May Week Report

There is a saying at Cambridge, one of many variations, that goes “Keep calm and wait for May week.″ And now May week is finally here and with it the long-expected CUOC May week race! Once more, we met at Grantchester Meadows for an afternoon of orienteering fun, BBQ, punting and, for some, swimming in the beautiful and notoriously clean river Cam. As the instructions suggested, a fairly advanced knowledge of animals was vital. Without a clear picture in your head of what a marten looks like, you would have struggled! Zuzka was being nice to everyone, or maybe nice to herself, by swapping the alleged partridge for a pheasant. (That might be the reason why so many people struggled to recognise the pheasant!)The 22 CUOCers were challenged with building food chains from animals that they found at controls spaced around Grantchester Meadows. However, it was made all the harder by the varying breeding patterns of animals across different seasons. A picture of a leisurely afternoon quickly dissolved, as the race turned into one of the toughest interval sessions in the whole year.

Sounds like orienteering? It was! A variation on orienteering at least. We made good use of the phrase “If you want to be a champion, you’ve got to use your brain!”, as working out the best strategy for feeding your ecosystem required a good knowledge of maths. It wasn’t just those that took part in the running that sweated over getting those animals back in on time. While everyone was out hunting, our umpires with their amazing mathematical skills racked their brains to work out the best strategy for maximising the efficiency of the food chain. Proof of everyone’s determination to feed as many animals as possible was the fact that after the first “year″, even the one team that originally took advantage of the punt to reach the cabbages on the opposite bank of the river replaced it for the faster and much more efficient technique of swimming. NB: This was entirely unintentional on the organiser’s part!

From the point of view of an onlooker, it was very inspirational to see everyone pushing so hard! Luckily, no injuries/water poisoning etc. have been reported, even though many people looked close to collapse! In the end, out of the three teams that took part, two managed to get exactly the same number of points, with the third team taking the lead by about 30 points. Because of the recent clear out of the stores, we had some amazing prizes lined up, kindly donated by our sponsors CUOC Stores Ltd. A special thank you also goes to DRONGO (captain) for donating alcoholic refreshments! There were rumours that with Dan being accepted into systems biology next year, there might be an upgrade at some point. Just in case, make sure you at least know this

Well done everyone and have a nice summer!!!

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