SN Trophy, Long Valley South
I competed in my first orienteering event of the season this morning: the Southern Navigators Trophy at Long Valley South, a typical forest-and-heathland military area just west of Aldershot. I entered the M21S course (8.34km, 260m) – I should really be running Long but this was my first race, in fact my first real exercise, since the French 5-days in July. (I’ve joined the company gym, but am yet to get around to going!)
The area was quite tough physically, and middling technically, and the rain later on didn’t help, but overall it was a good area and an ideal way start regaining my general fitness.
I was running for SLOW (South London) for the first time, and also introduced a friend (Rob) to the sport. Rob ran a spirited race, with some respectable splits for a first timer on a pretty technical and physical area, before bailing near the end.
I had a great run, considering my total lack of fitness, finishing in just under 10 mins/km, a nice surprise (although I should be on around 8 mins/km at full fitness.) I didn’t make any major foul-ups (or “tools” as OUOC traditionally calls them) but I did feel very tired a third of the away around the course – the section around here is shown in the extract above and was quite physical. Later, the open heathland proved very fast and I felt I had more energy near the end. The extract to the right shows a leg I found a bit tricky, there was more green here than shown (true for some other areas on the map too) but the artificial ditch network proved useful.
The results graphs and are online and show a couple of things for me and Rob (select M21S from the class pop-down adn then select the winner, me and Rob, to see) – firstly my detour at 6 to find water – I was quite ill – slowed down an otherwise consistently good race, and also that Rob dramatically changed gear after number 4. The SportIdent results graphing is always great for post-race analysis!
Next race, on Sunday, is the Mitre at Epping Forest, which should be an easier competition – I’m more suited to the gently rolling terrain and broadly deciduous forest there. Cambridge Uni are going to be there, running the same course in force, they should prove interesting competition as always.