IRVOC Events - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be a member to participate in an event?

No.  Events are open to anyone.  Members receive discounts on the events, but membership is not a requirement to participate.

What are the different types of events?

All of our events involve some form of navigation, but the events vary on the exact nature of the courses. 

Standard events have courses that have a 2 hour time limit for you to complete them.  They can be Foot-O’s involving navigation on foot (hiking) through a course that incorporates the hiking trail systems in the parks but very often go off-trail also.  Bike-O’s are courses set out along mountain biking trails.  The control points will be along or very near the trails.  Canoe-O’s are on a lake. You will paddle to different points around the lake to find the control points located on the shoreline.

Each year we also typically have 2 special events. The first is a 6 hour Rogaine.  This is a foot navigation course where you have a 6 hour time limit to find as many control points as you can.  In this event, unlike standard courses, you can find the control points in any order you choose.  This event requires some additional strategy in determining the order in which you want to find control points.  The other special event is the Adventure-O.  This is a 2 hour or 6 hour adventure race that combines foot, bike, and canoe navigation courses.

When do I need to arrive for an event?

Standard events have open starts from 10:00-12:00.  This means that you can arrive any time in that 2 hour span and begin the course whenever you are ready.  The exceptions to this are the 6-hour Rogaine, the Adventure-O and any Night-O’s.  Due to the nature of these events they have more defined starting times.  Details for these events will be posted when they are defined by the coordinators.

How much do events cost?

Standard events are $10 for an individual or $12 for a team of up to four people.  Full details can be found on the Meet and Membership Fees page on the website.  The Rogaine and Adventure-O events have different pricing that will be posted on the website.

How much experience do I need to participate?

None.  If this is your first time trying orienteering the club staff will be glad to help you with the basics.  There are also usually White courses that are easy to get started with.

How difficult are the events?

There are typically multiple levels of distances and difficulty at each event.  You can do the course at your own pace (hike, jog, or sprint), so you can choose a course that will work best for your fitness level and navigation skills.  For a standard event we prefer that you choose a course that you can complete within a 2 hour time limit.

·         White courses – Beginner level.  Great for first timers or families.  Typically around 5 control points, and 1-2 miles long.

·         Yellow – Intermediate level.  Once you have a good feel for navigation, but don’t want a strenuous event.   Typically around 10 control points and 2-4 miles long.

·         Orange – Advanced level.  This level is for those with good navigation skills and the endurance to handle a longer course.  These can often be completed in 2 hours by hiking.  Typically around 15 control points and 4-6 miles long.

·         Red – Expert level.  You will need to have solid navigation skills and typically will need to run/jog most of the course to be able to finish in time.  These can be up to 20 controls points and around 6-7 miles long.

What gear do I need?

A compass is the primary tool used in orienteering.  If you do not have one though you can rent one for $1 from the club for use during the event.  A waterproof map case can be handy, but if you don’t have one the club will provide you with a Ziploc bag for your map, which is usually sufficient.  Having some water (water bottle or hydration pack) is advisable, especially during summer events. 

Some events are done at night.  For any of these events a good headlamp is recommended, although a standard flashlight may work for you also.

For the Bike-O you will need a mountain bike and helmet. You must have your own gear.  These are not available for rent by the club.

The club will provide rental canoes, paddles, and PFDs for the Canoe-O.

The Adventure-O has a specific list of required gear.  Refer to the website for this event to see the complete list.

What should I wear?

You will want clothing suitable for both the weather and also for an outdoors event.   Not all of the control points are directly on the trails.  You will sometimes have to bushwhack through brush, especially for the harder courses, so durable footwear and clothes that can handle getting a bit muddy or scratched up are advised.

Is it okay to bring kids?

Absolutely.  We encourage getting kids out in nature and this is one of the best ways to do it.  The white courses are great for starting kids off, but if they are adventurous and fairly fit they may enjoy a yellow or orange course with you.

Is it okay to bring dogs?

That depends on the park rules where the event is being hosted.  For example, the east side of Wildlife Prairie Park (where the animal exhibits are) does not allow dogs, but they are allowed if we do an event on the west side (mountain bike trails).   Contact the club if you have questions on any given event.

Are events ever cancelled due to weather?

Very rarely.  Orienteering can be done in sun, rain, and snow.  Only extreme conditions will cause an event to be cancelled.  Exceptions to this are the biking and canoeing events.  Bike events may need to be cancelled if the trails are muddy, and the canoeing events can get too dangerous in high winds.  If an event is cancelled we will post an update on our website and Facebook.

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