Sunday, 30 October 2011

OMM 2011 - Tentative results.

The 2011 Perthshire OMM came down to a sprint-finish today. Duncan Archer and Shane Ohly, setting the fastest time of the day by 6 minutes to take the win from Chris Near and Tim Higginbottom. Doug Tullie and John Rocke finished 5 minutes down in 3rd place, a good performance considering Doug's illness earlier in the week, 4 minutes ahead of Steve Birkenshaw and Jethro Lennox.

From a brief glance at the splits (and Twitter!), Duncan and Shane appeared to run a controlled race, taking time out of Near and Higginbottom on 8 of the 11 legs (including finish) on the day 2 course. Birkenshaw and Lennox started hard with a slew of fastest split times, taking minutes out of the other 3 pairs over the first 4 controls and hitting the front of the race. However, a series of poor route choices from then on, losing 3-4 minutes to Archer and Ohly on at least 3 legs, put paid to their chances of another OMM victory.There's also talk of them punching the wrong penultimate control on day 1 (same feature and less than 100m away, tricky on a 1:40k map) for which they were penalised 30mins. More news on this if I find it.

Elsewhere, on the A-Class a 7 minute overnight lead became a 9 minute win for Peter Hodgkinson and James Taylor over Mark and Ashley Bown. Dave Schorah and Tom Beasant were again 34minutes quicker than their closest rival on the B-class, winning by the best part of 70 minutes. Andy Llewellyn and Rich Robinson showed that they really should man up, winning the C-class by 119 minutes. Alex and David McCann held onto 1st on the D-Class by 2 minutes.

Once there's some route-gadgets and training logs are up I'll post a slightly more in-depth view of proceedings. All there is to say is - Orienteers won all 5 non-score courses!

OMM Day 1 - brief update

Heading out to a race in a bit, but here's a quick look at the overnight leaderboard:

Oli Johnson and Rob Baker appear to have dropped out, hope nothing too bad happened. As you can see Oleg Chepelin DNS'd (foot injury from Senior Home International Orienteering champs last weekend I believe) and has been replaced by Al Anthony - another good runner but maybe lacking the nav skills? We'll see!

Day 1 Results:

1     6:01:38   35  Tim Higginbottom & Chris Near                             
2     6:07:38   59  Douglas Tullie & John Rocke                               
3     6:07:57   63  Duncan Archer & Shane Ohly                                
4     6:09:01   62  Steve Birkinshaw & Jethro Lennox                          
5     6:17:12   57  Tom Owens & Alasdair Anthony                              
6     6:36:40   67  Hector Haines & Jack Wood      

Anyway, the close gaps between Tullie/Rocke, Archer/Ohly and Lennox/Birkenshaw may result in a train pushing each other along, which could make it difficult for Higgingbottom/Near to maintain their current lead.

In the other classes:
A-Class: Peter Hodgkinson and James Taylor have a 7 minute lead over the Bowns (who are down as Military so I may have got people mixed up!).
B-Class: Dave Schorah and Tom Beasant lead by 35 minutes from 2 Scandi pairings. Come on boys, pull your finger out!
C-Class: International Pot-hunters Andy Llewllyn and Rich Robinson have, as predicted, blown the field apart, made the (highly generous 1 hour) chasing start obsolete and lead by 71 minutes. Andy needs to realise that 'not fit' for him is still a pretty high level.
D-Class: MDOC's McCann father/son pairing of David and Alex lead the way by 2 minutes.

Anyway, must dash, race to run! More news as I get it!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

OMM 2011 - A Preview.

This weekend 3000-odd soles, mainly hardy but in some cases not as hardy as they wish, will take to the Central Scottish hills for the 43rd OMM. I believe it's based around Lochs Tay and Earn but I wasn't paying much attention when I was told. After 2 years in the 'flat' boglands of Mid-Wales and Dartmoor, the OMM appears to be heading for the hills once again. As I'm not doing it this year I thought I'd insult people's intelligence. Watch out for me taking on Lawro on football focus next week!
How many people will be 'unaccounted for' this year?
Anyway, time for a bit of a preview of what I think will go down on the Elite course. I'll have a sneaky peak at the other courses but the start-lists are so bloody long and it'll be late by then so I'll probably go to bed instead.

Whilst the best of the best will only have to deal with bog, hill and their partner for an estimated 12 hours (on their feet, do partners get more annoying couped up in a tent?) over the 2 days, the real Hard Men and Women of the Mountains (or those without navigational ability...?) could be out there for 20 hours plus, covering much more than the advertised 80km if it all goes tits up.


The Experience - Steve Birkenshaw and Jethro Lennox.
With Steve a numerous times champion and Jethro not exactly lacking in this respect this pairing will start amongst the favourites. After losing 15 minutes and the lead on day 2 last year Steve and Jethro will be gunning to regain the title they last won in the Elan Valley 2009. With their multi-day event experience anyone who beats them will have earnt it.
Birkenshaw and Lennox Won OMM2009, Elan Valley (picture pinched from planetfear)
The Navigators - Oli Johnson and Rob Baker.
GB Orienteering international Oli and Marathon runner/part-time fell runner and Orienteer Rob showed how well matched they are by setting the fastest time on leg2 at the recent FRA relays, and training seems to have been going very well for the pair. Navigationally they shouldn't lose any time, but than again they lost 30mins on a relatively easy leg at the end of day 1 at OMM2009. Just a reminder that it can happen to the best, or that misplaced controls are a great (albeit unfair) leveller.
Oli and Rob will be starting 2 minutes before Steve and Jethro, so expect both teams to set off hard, but will someone blow up?
Rob and Oli in sync at the FRA relays (Picture pinched from Bingley)
The Young Upstarts - John Rocke and Doug Tullie.
ShUOC and EUOC collide with this pairing of 23-year-olds. Having finished 2nd on B in 2007 and winning A in 2009 the ex-GB Junior Orienteering Squad pair are now take on the big league. Doug is currently 'King of the Forest' British Orienteering Champion, whilst John was on the Nav leg for the victorious DP team at the FRA relays. Both love the rough stuff, but Doug is currently trying to shake off a nasty cold. Whatever happens they have plenty of time to win the Elite course and have every chance of doing so in the future.
John Rocke in his Natural Environment.
The Russian Connection - Oleg Chepelin and Tom Owens.
A member of the British Orienteering squad, Oleg is exactly what you'd expect from a Scottish/Russian cross hard as nails (hand up who said alcoholic...). Teaming up with Shettleston team-mate Tom Owens produces a ridiculously strong team who won't lose much time when it comes down to Nav.
Running on Bru Power.
The Promoted Pair - Ed Catmur and Anal Cherry (no typo).
Reigning A-class champions Ed and Alan are strong navigationally but maybe lack the strength of the pairings listed above. That's not to say they're not strong mind!
To be honest there's too many good pictures of Alan, but his fox outfit at BUCS 2010 was his defining moment (in my head at least). Here he is pictured with Tommy B (See B class below).
The Form Horse - Duncan Archer and Shane Ohly.
Duncan Archer is the current LAMM and BAMM champion. Him and Shane Ohly (Organiser of 2012's rekindled Dragon's Back) finished 5th at OMM2010, run together often in MMs and are also strong navigationally (Duncan's another one of those pesky Orienteer types).

Other pairs to watch, Mixed, Vets, Female.
Jon Morgan (2nd OMM 2009) is on the startlist with Ben Rossendale. Chris Near and Tim Higginbottom are also paired up, I'd write more but I don't really know anything about them. GB Orienteer Hector Haines is paired with Jack 'bravest/stupidest man on Elite' Wood from Ilkley. Jack's good but maybe not in the same league as Hector. Al Anthony has some previous on OMMs and is paired with Ian Wellock.
So Nicky Spinks and Kirsty Bryan-Jones just have to finish to win the women's prize, although they're a pretty formidable pairing.
After finishing 2nd and 3rd mixed pair at the last 2 OMMs, the Fjellstads (Jo and Wendy) have a good chance at winning the mixed competition with only 5 pairs on the start-list.
I don't really recogninse the vets teams

The Verdict: Baker/Johnson from Cheplin/Owens from Birkenshaw/Lennox.

The Other Classes (basically Orienteers I recognise)
James Taylor and Peter Hodkinson (both GB Junior Orienteers, the later more prolific than the former) will be hoping to not get stuck in the wrong valley like on last year's B course. Peter was 4th on leg1 at the FRA Relays. Bristol Orienteering Klubb's Mark Bown appears to be teaming up with what I presume is his brother, Ashley. Mark's a good Orienteer, don't know about his bro.Janet McIver is teamed up with local(ish) Emma O'Shea. Fell Legend Wendy Dodds and GB selector Sarah Rowell are first starters.
James and Peter. At least if they don't win some booty they can re-enact Brokeback.
I know a bit about this as I came 4th on it in my first MM in 2009.
Dave Schorah and Tom Beasant are the only names I recognise. Winners of Kirkfell at the SLMM these two should win themselves lots of goodies as they are very good running and navigating. Fairly new to this MM business, unless some cheeky Scandis come pot-hunting (there are a few on the startlist) they stand a good chance of making the chasing start obsolete. Peter and Chloe Haines team up again as a mixed parent/child team.

Andy Llewellyn and Richard Robinson are playing Silly Buggers on the C-course. Andy says he's unfit but that doesn't say much. He's won MM courses (OK, not elite but proper manly courses) before with Sarah O'Neil (OK, Sarah carried his bag at times on Bowfell at SLMM2010). Rich Robinson is a cracking orienteer, recently making his debut (I think) for the GB Senior Squad. Actually this lot have a better chance of ruining the chasing start than the 2 above (although I haven't checked the startlist fully).
What Andy (left) normally gets up to in Central Scotland (pictured in the Vault, Aviemore)
That's it, cba to check the other classes. Be pointless anyway as who knows how to do a score course (I don't, showed that last year. Did get the fastest run-in split on the last day though :D ...not that there was one).

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

FRA Relays/HangoverO

This year's UKA Fell and Hill Relays (more commonly referred to as 'The FRAs') were held in sunkissed Kettlewell last weekend. I headed down on the Friday evening with Andy from Durham FR, and we bumped into many fell runners, and a rather bemused lad who was doing a road-trip and had stumbled into Kettlewell on race weekend, in the pub.
On Saturday morning I woke at 7.30 and couldn't get back to sleep. It was pretty chilly and the first proper frost of the year. I went for a walk in the direction of leg1 to take some photos.

Ducks Crossing

Cam Head above an inversion layer

I was running leg 3 (the Navigation leg) with Dave Ward, who said he was a bit ill. Dave tends to beat me in longer races, and I beat him in shorter races, so hopefully over the 7miles or so we'd be fairly well matched. Noel (Leg 1), Paul and Adam (Leg 2) had great runs and set us out in 18th place with Dark Peak Vets and not far off HBT and a Wharfedale Team. We picked up the map and both of us thought we had a score course. We asked the ladies handing out the maps if we could take the controls in any order and we heard her say yes.
Needless to say it wasn't a score course. We got to #1 with the other 3 teams then headed to #4 where we saw the race leaders (John and Rhys from DP) going through and were told by the marshals that we did have to take the controls in order.
Overall we dropped about 3 mins and 2 places. We were running hard but after the mistake all thoughts of nav had gone out of the window. We followed the other teams which lead to bananas at #3 and #4. Dave and I were well matched on the hills and through the terrain, but I was much quicker on the downs.
My route. Green=fast. Red=slow.
Overall our team finished a respectable 21st, but we were so close to the top 20! Pennine's other teams did well in their classes (V40 6th, V50 3rd, Ladies 9th). It was also nice to see many of my ShUOC friends do well in the Dark Peak senior teams - who finished 1st and 8th.

Compass Sport Cup Final.
After the FRAs I headed down to Sheffield for the Final of the UK Club Orienteering competition, which was being held on the Longshaw estate. My club (SYO) have won for the last 4/5 years. Last year I managed to place as a counter due to people being missing at the FRAs. Unfortunately this year's performance was hindered by the mother of all hangovers, I was pleased to just get round and I felt much better after doing so. I Orienteered quite well considering and it perked me up following the previous weekend's debacle at the UK Cup final. However it did rekindle my enjoyment in Orienteering after a few months off.
Brown Course at Longshaw
I'm now into a few weeks of rest before starting some winter training - going to have to be a bit better constructed this year as I try to maintain my upward curve over recent years.

Look out for an OMM preview (even though I won't be going), hoping to fit one in early next week!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Gorilla in the Mist - Cerebral Failure at Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay.

I'd been looking forward to this race for quite a while. After all the route and team changes I was paired with Noel on the Hartsop-Kirkstone leg. After camping in the lakes on the Friday night I enjoyed a good recce of the route on Saturday morning - thankfully getting back to the car as the day reached its hottest.
High Street, Thornthwaite Crag and Grey Crag (fore) from The Knott.
I'd been struggling all week with a cold but had just managed to kick it by Sunday. However the after effects showed as Noel strode away above Hayeswater towards the Knott - I was expecting us to be a lot closer together here. Once on the top I perked up a little and we were running well together - we'd passed about 5 teams by High Street, with only Staffs Moorlands passing us and a Bingley team (who started just behind us) still there. We missed the easier slope off Thornthwaite Crag but that didn't lose us too much time. Heading towards our attackpoint (wall junction) for the tricky tarn on Caudale Moor (especially tricky since the clag was down) I made a point of saying we should take a few seconds to check our bearings before finally attacking the control. We reached the wall junction and Bingley went right (North) when straight on (just south of West) was correct. For a reason unbeknownst to me I scotched rational thinking, went into race mode and followed Bingley. What followed was a 4 minute mistake compounded with another 4 minute mistake when we were within a stones-throw of the tarn checkpoint.
Where it all went Pete Tonge... my GPS trace in Quickroute. The southern tip of the tarn is the checkpoint.
A - Wall Junction. As you can see west is best, straight is great etc. etc.
B - I've had the nagging feeling for a while, but now it's confirmed - something's wrong, very wrong.
C - We find what could be a cairn but aren't too sure. It could also be the one to the east - looking back at this, this is a very daft assumption to make as there's no wall in sight!
D - Relocate off the wall but can't confirm our exact position. Howgill Harriers run past on way to control, join them.
E - Going south, very wrong. Find the wall, all is now painfully clear. Stagger bag up the hill as Glossopdale go sailing down. Cock.

Reach the Tarn as about 20 more teams do. Swear. Punch it and run like bloody murder for the last 12 mins of the leg.

I have to apologise to my team-mates: my partner Noel - due to last minute changes he was relying on me to know what I was doing; Dave and Ian on leg 1 who set us off in 18th; Steve and Dave who we handed over to in 21st with no discernible pack to work with; Darren and Dave on last leg who put in a good time, as well as all mammals who are capable of lone thought and don't just follow!

I can't blame anything else apart from allowing myself to lose my cool and reasoning. I don't mind losing time when on my own, but when it impacts on a your team's result it's quite sickening. 8 minutes is more than I lost on my big mistake on Creag Mhic on the classic distance at the Scottish Six Days. I wasn't the only one to make a mistake - A former GB junior orienteer lost about 15mins between High Street and Thornthwaite Crag for a team involved in the podium shootout.

What really rankles is that in my last 3 O relays I've always maintained or bettered the position in which I was sent out. You live and learn, and needless to say I won't be following anyone else again in a race if they're not doing what my plan says I should be doing!

To finish on a better note, the Mixed team (Lucy, Edie, Muir, Paul, Steph, Claire, Adam and Daz) had a really good run, only being pipped by Bingley's superstar team by 7 seconds after Adam and Daz took time out of the best descender in the business on the last leg.
Adam and Daz just behind Bingley, finishing in 13th place.
Looking forward to the FRA Relays!