Mountain Bike Orienteering (MBO) is a fun off road event were YOU choose the course!
The choice of route is up to you! There are 30 electronic checkpoints scattered across a 60 to 100 square kilometre playing area. The winner is the person who collects the most points in a set time.
Tactics, fitness and the odd bit of luck all play a part in being a successful Mountain Bike Orienteer!
You only need a few things to be able to do MBO:
- Bike – Suitable for off-road, doesn’t need to be fancy just serviceable and reliable
- Tools and Spares – Multi-tool, Pump, Innertube, etc.
- Cycle Helmet
- Whistle – (BMBO Rules) plus a Cycle Bell is encouraged
- Food and water – enough for the duration and a little in reserve
- A mapboard is handy, these can be made from various materials and held on with zip ties and your map attached to it with bulldog clips.
If you have entered online , in advance great – we just collect an emergency contact number and issue you with your electronic dibber.
If you are entering on the day you will need to fill out an entry form, pay your entry fee and get your details into the timing kit before we can allocate and issue you a dibber.
In addition to your dibber you are likely to be issued your checkpoint descriptions and have access to a blank map (without checkpoints marked on it). You can use the map to determine an outline strategy or some no-go areas before you start. Also make yourself familiar with any notes or out of bounds on the map.
Some riders like popping their checkpoint descriptions on their arms so they are easy to ready when cycling along.
Once you feel ready to leave, make your way over to the start station with your bike.
Someone will be manning the station to perform three roles:
- Ensure your dibber has been erased before you start
- Record your start – just the same way you will dib at each checkpoint you visit
- Issue you with your copy of the map pre-marked with checkpoints.
It is at this point you can truly plan a route.
Will you go high and far to visit most of the checkpoints or or mix it up a bit, choosing to drop some low value or distant checkpoints to ensure you can return on time?
The courses are designed so that complete novices can compete with the professionals. In fact it’s not unheard of for a newbie to get more points than one of the pro’s being over zealous and being late back to the event centre thus loosing lots of points and occasionally ALL!
Route choice is entirely up to you. There are no marshals to tell you which way to go. Look at the contours, look for a natural route that will take you 3 hours. It should have some escape routes or ability to collect more points. Once you get into the “zone” you will be surprised how many checkpoints you can collect.
Now you cycle to your first checkpoint. The idea is not to “hunt the punch” but for you to easily find the checkpoint. They will normally at an obvious map feature such as a bridge or track junction and will be attached to signposts, benches, gates or other easily identifiable feature.
The checkpoints are sportident control boxes like the one on the right. You can approach these on foot or on the bike. When you find the checkpoint, insert your dibber until you hear a noise and the lights flashes. The control number is automatically added to dibber.
You will sigh a huge sigh of relief after finding your first checkpoint and satisfied that you can actually read a map. Check your stopwatch and navigate to the next checkpoint.
Keep an eye on the time, your progress and location. It is far too easy to get carried away and end up in the far corner of the map with little time to get home forcing you to miss many checkpoints on your return.
Once you have collected as many checkpoints as you can in the allocated time, it’s time to head back to the event centre. Time to squeeze in one more and risk being late or come back too early and regret not collecting those extra points? 5-10 minutes late is the sweet spot where you can easily collect more points than penalty, but just how close can you judge it?
Navigate back to the event centre where you will find the finish checkpoint where you need to dib to stop the clock.
Return to the registration desk where you can return your dibber and collect your score.
You have just earned some home made soup, cake and maybe even a post event massage.
Find your friends or other riders you passed and find out how they got on.
Once the final rider returns and returns their dibber the results can be calculated, top three in each category are announced and any prizes handed out.
The event organiser still has to tidy up everything around you and collect in ALL 30 checkpoints so offers of help are rarely refused and always appreciated.