Orienteering new feature of WCCC triathlon

Posted April 23, 2009, at 12:03 a.m.

CALAIS, Maine — In addition to brawn, the fourth annual Washington County Community College triathlon will require brains.

The new challenge will test participants’ compass and mapping skills, organizers of the annual Downeast Adventure Race to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 2, announced at a press conference at the college Wednesday.

Registration for this year’s race, designed for first-time racers and experienced racers alike, must be completed by 5 p.m. Friday, May 1. At that time a workshop on map and compass use will be held at the adventure-rec center office. Race teams must report to the starting point at 9 a.m. on race day.

The first leg is a 12.3-mile mountain bike ride through the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. Next is a 3.6-mile whitewater canoe challenge on the St. Croix River. Then a 2.3-mile run brings contestants to sea kayaks behind the Calais Free Library for a 2.9-mile paddle on the river back to the college.

New this year is an “orienteering component” during the mountain bike leg of the 21-mile race. WCCC instructor Scott Fraser on Wednesday explained how the new map-compass component will work.

Racers will ride into the navigation check-in station located on the course maps. Once there, they will get off their bikes and pick up a punch card and an orienteering map showing two control points that they must find on foot. Each control point will have a unique punch racers will use to punch their cards. After both control points are located and cards are punched, racers will navigate back to the Navigation Check Station and present their punch cards to a race official for verification.

“If they don’t have the correct ones stamped, then they make a choice: They can either go back out and find the two or take a 30-minute penalty,” Fraser said. “For some of the teams, that becomes sort of a challenge.”

Once racers have met their punch-card requirement, they can continue on with the mountain bike portion of the race.

Again this year, four-member teams will face off against each other, as will five-member relay teams and individual entrants.

Also new this year, adventure-recreation student Taylor Landry will be making a 25-minute documentary of the event.

“We are going to interview past racers and new racers,” he said.

The triathlon began four years ago as a student project in the college’s adventure-recreation program and has become a popular event for students and the public alike.

More than $2,000 in prizes will go to first, second and third place winners in each of the categories. A prize will go to the individual who shows up in the best costume.

Fees are $80 for a team or relay team and $30 for individuals.

All proceeds go to the WCCC Outdoor Adventure Center to fund scholarships and student work positions in the center.

Registration is available online. For information about the race or to rent equipment, go to www.downeastadventurerace.org.

bdncalais@myfairpoint.net

454-8228

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