The New (i.e. amalgamation) and Exciting (i.e. organised as such the best elites probably won't make enough counting races) UK Orienteering League kicked off this weekend with an excellent double header in Sheffield. Tankersley and Hesley woods to the North of the city proved suitably challenging and intricate for the British Night Orienteering Championships on Saturday evening, and a testing middle distance race on Sunday.
The less said about the Night Champs the better. My performance matched City's at Southampton. A lot of big mistakes and major time loss saw me run 140% of the winners time. Suffice to say I didn't adapt very well to the whole reduced vision element of running at night on such a tricky area.
After moping about for a couple of hours I was cured by Chicken Chow Mein, Icy Lemon Fanta and a couple of pints of Farmer's Blonde.
Sunday arrived with a dusting of damp snow and a renewed confidence in my running an navigating ability. In the middle distance (lots of short legs, fine nav and direction change; winning time of 30-35mins). I still made 4 mistakes, totalling 2-3mins, but at times I actually felt like I was racing, a feeling I have seldom got when orienteering - outside of relays/mass-start events. 114% of the winner's time, very good by my standards!
After a month of feeling pretty stale (maybe due to a lack of racing) I'm feeling ready to get back on the horse!