Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Like Learning a Language

Look at that pile of maps! Each one of those is a high quality mountain bike orienteering map and I rode on ALL of those in ONE WEEK! Nuts!!

Being able to travel to Hungary was amazing. Representing Orienteering USA was an honor. Congregating with 24 other countries for a World Championship blew my mind. But the really cool thing that I've never gotten to do before? Orienteer for a week straight! Honing orienteering skills is really like learning a language, since immersion does wonders for rapid development!

Many of us review our route choices after a meet and summarize the lessons to be learned that day. "I need to work on my memory," or "I need to always plan my exit and roll through controls faster." But the lessons learned by orienteering day after day are harder to articulate. It's not so much that you're learning to "do this, not that," instead, you are carving out pathways in your brain that make the process of orienteering familiar and faster. To make it automatic, so that each decision requires less thought. In language, the words fall out of your mouth before you've had time to translate it in your head. In orienteering, route choice decisions are made quickly and with confidence.

So even if you don't have the opportunity to travel abroad and compete in a world championship-- look around you, what mapped areas are nearby? You might be able to orienteer for 7 days straight in your home state!

1 comment:

  1. You can also try a "31 day challenge." I first heard about it from some of the Norwegians in Vancouver a few years ago. The challenge is to do orienteering technique each day through January. Eric B. in St Louis has done something similar ("March Mapness" and "March Mapness in October").