Saturday, September 28, 2013

Night Orienteering in the Yukon

Tonight was our last orienteering event of the year - Night Orienteering!  Personally, my highlight of our local season. 


Now for those who haven't thought about it too much, one might ask "what is so special about that, isn't it always dark up north?"

Think a bit harder....

When is orienteering season for us?  When there is no snow!

When is there no snow?  Summer!  Does it ever get dark in the summer in the north?  NO!  Remember, we are known as the Land of the Midnight Sun.

So, darkness and no snow is a very precious window for us, and so over the last few years we've tried to squeak in a night orienteering event when it starts getting dark, but before the snow comes.  Actually, our first night-O event four years ago (at Yukon College map, thanks Bob for starting this up!) did have snow, but we've had lucky late-Septembers since then.

This year we squeaked in one last event.  The meet organizers figured it would only be the "hard-core" orienteers that might come out, so the decided to plan the race down on the Lorne Mountain map, about 40km south of Whitehorse.  This is the same map area that Yukon Orienteering hosted the 2011 Canadian Sprint Orienteering Championships if anyone remembers.  Typically, this map is "too far out of town" for our mainstream members, so we don't get a lot of use of it.    So this made it a double-treat: night orienteering on a super sweet, high-speed open forest map we don't get to run on very often.

Here's how it went down:

Waiting around for it to get dark.  Note Afan's washing machine drum-mobile fire pit - a life saver on a late September Yukon night!
The Boys are Back in Town - Caelen and Leif!

Leif figured mounting a car light on his head was a good idea.  Unfortunately, he forgot to fully charge it before the race.
Loading up control descriptions and getting ready to go!
Excellent - Sprint map in the nice stuff!  Parts of the Robinson Roadhouse map used for the 2011 COC Sprint.

Ah, this is what we are looking for - the night time flash of the control.
In reality, with a narrow-beam super headlamp this is what it looks like.  See the flash and run like heck towards it.
Afterwords, looking happy to have made it back.  A close race, everyone in the 20's minute range!  Ross, Erik and Caelen.

Figurin' where the race was won and lost afterwords.  Katherine and new baby in background.

Pretty damn fun!  Thanks Afan for being the event planner - a fun end to the season!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Problem intersections in Whitehorse

The City of Whitehorse has recently embarked on a "Transportation Demand Management" study.  Which is basically a fancy way of saying "how do we get better at getting out of our 1-ton death machines and start enjoying our community more?"

As part of this, the City and their consultant solicited a list of "problem" locations which pose problems/barriers for cyclists.   When I looked at the list of issue points on the roadways, what I realized is there is a particular type of intersection in Whitehorse that is causing problems:  it is the triad type intersection that incorporates separated diverge/ merge lanes.  Examples of this include Lewes Blvd+Hospital Rd., 2nd+RSW, 4th+2nd, 2nd+Quartz and 2MileHill+Industrial

Right turn merge/diverge lanes that cause conflicts with cyclists.  Example shows 2nd and 4th Ave. intersection with red "X" showing conflict points for rapidly right-turning motorists.  Do we REALLY need these "express" lanes?
The problem with these intersections is rapidly right turning motorists, which cause a cycle/auto conflict.  Do we REALLY need merge/diverge express lanes at these locations in this town?  Let's be honest: No. 

We can all slow down and execute a normal right-hand turn with a slowed, shoulder/mirror check for a cyclist, then proceed with a normal right-hand turn as per almost all other intersections.  Will gridlock and traffic chaos erupt?  No.

What I realize is ultimately when these intersections get re-built, they should get rebuilt as normal T-intersections (multi-lanes okay) which will result in a safer environmental for all of us, including when we drive our cars. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My best footnote ever: single handedly demolishing the Yukon's GDP!

Below is a screen shot from the little Yukon greenhouse gas emissions analysis report (Yukon Greenhouse Gas Emissions:  the Transportation Sector) Malcolm and I did last year for Climate Change Secretariat.  For those data and economics nerds, this little footnote is cool:  we just knocked  $156 million dollars out of the Yukon's 2011 economy.  BAM!  Take that economic impact Darrell.