Trailquest SMBO Mountain Bike Orienteering

Mountain Bike Orienteering (MBO) is a fun off road event were YOU choose the course! The choice of route is up to you! 30 electronic checkpoints are scattered across a 60 to 100 square kilometre playing area. The winner is the person who collects the most points in a set time

When you register, you will be given your Sportident dibber and a control sheet. The control sheet is an A5 sheet has a description of the 30 checkpoints and their associated values. Normally ordnance survey maps will be in the event centre so you have have a detailed look at the contours, hills and potentially where the checkpoints maybe located.

The descriptions are all navigable features such as crossroads, trig points, aerials, etc. Each description is worth a certain amount of points. A high value checkpoint will normally be at the top of a hill or far away, whilst a low value will be easy to navigate to and close to the event centre.

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 having a mechanical failure meaning they loose a significant amount of points because they are late back to the event centre.

As the start, you will clear your dibber and be given your map. The map is normally a 1:40,000 ordnance survey map or 1:15,000 orienteering map with all the checkpoints pre-marked on the map with the control number and the value (in different colours).

You now have 3 hours to get as many points as possible.

It’s at this point that you can begin to plan your route. 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 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.

Once you have collected as many checkpoints as you can in the allocated time, it’s time to head back to the event centre, download your results and wait for the prize giving. You never know, you may have done better than you thought!