After arriving in Gothenburg on Saturday on a horribly early morning flight, and getting so lost on the way from the airport (always an embarrassment for any orienteer) that we ended up twice as far away from the city than we started, no one was really up for too much orienteering. But the following day was the last day before the O-Ringen proper, so we picked the most interesting training area and went for a “free run” on the map. Of course, everyone was fresh from running in the easy southern England forests, and the longest suggested circuit on the map (around 7km) looked a cinch. It actually turned out to be a harder and much more physical area than the competition areas, and the steady drizzle didn’t help for an easy circuit. A rather scary “bridge”, or rather, a submerged plank, across a large marsh, caused many to pause for a considerable time. I had to cut my own circuit short after running out of time.
The first extract here was typical of the first part of the course. Going from 2-6, the “green” marked proved very rough indeed and I had to give up and retreat at one point. The marshes were extremely wet, cold and unpleasant – in sharp contrast, the competition areas would prove to have good, fast marshes, but I was initially nervous of using them after today.
The second extract shows the longest leg, 16-17, and again a combination of bad luck and extremely poor route choice led to a daft route, running through rough and then getting stuck in a horrible marsh. Note that the extract shows a couple of shooting ranges (!) that I ran by. No signs as to their purpose and no key on the map, it was a good thing there was no shooting happening… The correct route on this one would have been to stay on the road, avoiding the rough open below the range, and swung around only much later. Also I should have perservered to find the bottom path in the green, rather that trying thrice to gain it from the north and giving up. I then tried to go through a “seasonal” marsh that looked OK, but got nastier and nastier – at one point there was seemingly uncrossable marsh 360 degrees around me.
A bit of a battle really. The 1:15000 map was the first I’d run on at that scale for a very long time, resulting in a lot of distance mis-estimation, on top of the physical difficulties. It all looked rather forbidding for the O-Ringen proper, with the Gothenburg forests appearing to live up to their reputation of being extremely physical, but I was to get a pleasant surprise later in the week.