Every 2 years the majority of the British O community, along with a fair few from shores of varying proximity (Europe, USA, Down Under and so on) decamps to Scotland for a week of top notch competition and socialising. This year all 6 days were in the area surrounding Oban on the Scottish West Coast - intricate contour detail and a mix of open and forest was expected. I was running the toughest course of the week - M21 Elite. There proved to be quite a battle at the bottom of the standings in which I played my part! Here's a brief overview of the week, including maps and quickroutes - I'm using this blog to host the pictures, but there'll be more technical analysis (and boy do I need it!) on my attackpoint training log in due course.
|Melfort Harbour, South of Oban.|
Day 1 - Dunollie and Dunstaffnage.
An OK start to the week on a mainly open area with a few patches of wood, but nothing more. I overshot a few controls and took a few rougher, slower routes. I'd like to have been a bit more confident but a good basis. 79:05mins - Oli won in 56:34.
|Day 1 with route (map already drawn on)|
Day 2 - Ardnaskie, Middle Distance.Middle Distance races tend to go one of 2 ways for me - really well or really poor, normally the latter being more prevalent. I knew this area would be tough technically, having been used for WOC selection races, and it didn't disappoint! Vague contour and vegetation detail resulted in lots of mistakes. I started with a big (3.5-4min) mistake to number one, managed to run well to 10, after which it all fell apart, especially to the last control. 52:44 mins, 21mins down on Oli, a ridiculous amount for a middle distance!
|Day 2 - a bit of a 'mare.|
I was really looking forward to this day - a classic area by all accounts, again used for WOC selections. 14.5km with 825m climb (straight line) over rough open, vague woods and a wealth of contour detail on a 1:15k map scale to add to the challenge. I set off steadily - no point in wasting energy - but wasn't making any big mistakes until #7 where I went round in circles and made a parallel error on a marsh, loosing around 7 minutes. I had a few people to run with during the meat of the course (10-19) and managed to limit mistakes (bar a banana to #20), although the effort, both mentally and physically, meant I lost bits of time here and there. I was out for just over 2.5 hours - Oli was out for a mere 96 minutes!
|Creag Mhic Classic Distance.|
Thankfully we had a rest day after this, went on a boat and saw some whirlpools and the Paps of Jura (from a distance).
Day 4 - Torinturk.
Fairly steep open hillside (a bit of woodland to start) today, A bit leggy, a few mistakes at the beginning and not quite as quick as I'd have liked on the fell. Only 1 big-ish error between 16 and 17 but otherwise fairly pleased. Hector won in 58:44. I ran 81:05.
|Day 4 - Chasing Start.|
Dead on my feet today and did not enjoy this, although I might have had it not been for the grotty first 5 controls. After this I didn't really care and lost a lot of time to those around me in the overall standings. I was out for over 90 mins whilst Spongey did 55:46!
Day 6 - Ardchattan.
I felt much better for the last day, knowing that the area should suit me. I was hoping to gain some time on those around me in the overall results, maybe even gaining a few places. However this went out the window on the first control as I binned 6 minutes being too far up the hill and unable to relocate quick enough, allowing my 3- and 6-minute men to pass me. However I now started to Orienteer properly and run really well, reeled them in and dropped them on route-choice to #10. I dropped a couple of daft minutes at number 17 but was pleased with my run even with my mistakes - I actually felt like I was Orienteering and racing properly. I took 83 minutes (should have been closer to 75), Spongey ran 59 mins to take the overall title.
Plenty to work on but I really enjoyed my week. I finished 44th out of 49 people who completed all 6 days, nearly 3 hours (!) down on Spongey who won. 538 minutes of Orienteering - some good points to take away, but some iffy bits I need to iron out - more practise needed.