- Shipley Park Christmas Fancy Dress Ride, Heanor, Derbyshire
- East Midlands Group Christmas Social, Borrowash, Derby
- Merchandise Clothing special orders, Order On-line
- Merchandise Clothing items, Order On-line
- Merchandise HiVis Clothing, Order On-line
- Gift voucher for on-line ride entries, Order On-line
- Plungar Pleasure Ride, Plungar, North Leicestershire
- East Midlands Local Awards Presentation, Long Eaton, Notts (Jn 25 M1)
- Sport Endurance National AGM, SE Office, Derbyshire
- Three Bridleways Ride, Chesterton, Newcastle, Staffs
Basic Map Reading
MAP READING SKILLS FOR STARTING ENDURANCE RIDING
The first thing you need to know about map reading for endurance riding is-not to worry if you if you are not an expert map reader .-This is not essential to enjoy a Sport Endurance ride.
All Sport Endurance rides will be well marked and you should be able to follow the route, usually without really using the map. So don't be put off entering because you have the image of endurance riders with map cases flying in the wind, taking part in orienteering on horseback.
However it does help if you have the basics of map reading as it will allow you to:-
i) plan your ride ,especially if you are competing
ii)feel more confident about riding in an unfamiliar area
iii)work out where you are in case you feel lost
iv)tackle the more difficult rides, with testing terrain with tracks that are not so obvious (eg across open moorland) more safely.
When you first start riding with Sport Endurance you don't need to invest in any special equipment to help you find your way around a route.
A map case with a transparent window is really helpful though to carry your map in (and you will look the part!)
It can be useful to get an OS map (either Landranger or Explorer) of the area you are riding, but is not essential ,especially when you first start out and doing shorter distances .
Here is some basic information you might like to know in relation to maps and endurance riding.
You will normally receive a photocopied map marked with the route/other information when your details are sent out to you.
It really is worth having a look at this before the ride.
Sport Endurance maps are usually produced by using a combination of modern technology (GPS and mapping software) and the organiser's knowledge of the area.
Sometimes ride organisers will not issue maps for their rides. If this is the case it is because they are not needed or would be of little use. An example of this would be a beach ride.
i)Following the route-
The map will have the route marked on it, with the direction on travel shown by arrows. It may have a choice of distances and routes. These are usually differentiated using different colours for different routes /distances. There will be a key to explain which colour represents which route/distance. Therefore you can see on the map where the routes are the same and where they diverge. This will help you recognise these points on the ride.
ii)Working out distance and speed on the map-
The map should give you the distances from venue to checkpoint, checkpoint to next checkpoint etc. If this is not marked or you want to know distances to unmarked points you should be able to work these out.
The simplest way of doing this is using a piece of string. If there is a scale reproduced on the map you can measure the string against this, or you can cut the string to the length of the route, and work out the distances from how much the string measures between the points you want to know, eg if the ride is 20 miles and your string for the route is 10 '', your string between the two points is 5''. Then you can see that this is about 1/2 the total distance of 20 miles ,and is therefore a distance of 10 miles. Of course all these measurements are approximate and cannot account for the change in gradients in the route, particularly if it is hilly. However it can give a an idea of the distances involved.
You can buy map measuring devices from outdoor/camping shops which are less fiddly than your string.
From knowing the distances between your chosen points, you can work out before the ride, the fastest and slowest times you need to be at a point to keep within speed parameters when competing .eg If the first checkpoint is at 5 miles from venue and you need to traveling a minimum of 6 mph then you know you need to be at that point within 50 minutes of the start. (6miles divide by 60 minutes=traveling at 10 minutes per mile. Therefore 5miles x 10 minutes a mile means it should take you 50 minutes to travel 5 miles) At the fastest speed if you are on a limited speed ride you would need to be there no faster than 30 minutes.(at 10mph)
You can mark these times on your map.
iii)Type of terrain/map symbols
It is useful to look at the type of terrain the ride map represents in order to understand what you have let yourself in for and to plan your strategy.
It is useful to be aware of some of the symbols used on maps to represent different things. Any OS map at either 1:25000(Explorer) or 1:50000 (Land ranger) scale, will have a list of symbols relevant to those reproduced on the ride map.
Is some of the route on roads -marked by solid coloured lines? If so this part may have to be ridden slower.
If it is on a bridleway-marked by dashed line, you might be going faster.
Is some of the ride in wooded areas marked by tree symbols?
You can also gain some idea of the hilliness of the route, by looking at the light brown lines which represent contours. These are drawn to represent a rise in elevation in the land. They will have the heights marked on them. Generally the closer together they are the steeper the hills and valleys. If they are far apart then the land will have gentler rises and falls.
Understanding the terrain will help you plan your ride speeds better, before you start. You can see where you may have to go slower (hills and roads) and other parts where you may be able to go faster (open areas)
It is likely there will be a master copy of the map at the venue, either marked with hazards you need to be aware of or a list of hazards .You may be able to add these to your map. If you know where you are on your map, you will know where these difficulties might be. eg cattle grazing in a field you need to pass through. This could slow you down as it will mean gates to open and shut, as well as possible hazards with the cattle themselves.
v)Checking your location
You may miss a marker occasionally .They do sometimes 'disappear' however well it may have been marked. Sometimes you may be going so fast that you miss a marked turn or are chatting and don't see it! It happens to all endurance riders occasionally, even the most experienced.
This is where it helps to be able to relate a map to your surroundings and to be aware of how far you have traveled.
Of course if you ride with a GPS system then you will be aware of this, but if you just starting out doing endurance, you probably won't have gone to this expense.
It is no use ringing the organiser's emergency number and asking 'Where am I?' if you haven't got a clue yourself!
If you have a pretty good idea from the map where you are and can relate this to what is around you eg if there is a named farm to the other side of the road in front, you can probably workout where you are and where you need to get back to and how to get there.
You will change direction several times during a ride and will need to know which way you are heading and 'orientate' the map accordingly. This means turning it the right direction, so that it relates to where you are. eg placing the image of the farm and the road on the map facing the direction where they are (in front of you), so that the other things fit also. By doing this you can work out your position.
You may be given coordinates for a point on a map, eg for a crew point or the vet gate or venue. This relates to place on the map which can be located using the six figure number. eg 241483.The numbers run along top /bottom of the map (eastings) these are given as the first 3 numbers, and those which run down the sides (northings) the second 3 numbers. If you look at the numbers marked on the edges they will only have 2 figures though eg24 and 48 The third number is the number of tenths east (left on the map) or north (upwards) of that line eg 1/10 and 3/10 on the above point.
Very often the ride maps will not have the grid squares numbered so you want be able to work these out without having the OS map that covers the area.
The main thing to remember is not to worry unduly about your map reading skills, try to get to know the basics and the rest will come.
As you gain more experience with endurance riding, you will gain more experience at map reading, and should become more confident in the use of a ride map.
There is plenty of information around to help explain the mysteries of map reading and practising these at a ride, where it also well marked help develop your skills.