After yesterday’s damp run, the weather was much sunnier today – and indeed I took most of my race photos today. The terrain was wonderfully technical, but not too physical and I had probably the best run of my 5 days, here.
The very beginning of the course was a technical minefield, with the runners being thrust into the confusing and tightly detailed area in the south west of the map. Almost everyone in the JOK made big mistakes going to the first control – a parallel error was common. Thankfully I was one of the few to have a clean run in this early stage. Indeed after yesterday’s nightmare, today I made only two mistakes costing me more than five minutes, although I did make four two-minuters. My time of 96 minutes was still well over 10 mins/km and still in the bottom half of all finishers, but I enjoyed my run and was pleased with quite a few legs here; while many of my (British) contempories were technically disqualified for taking over two hours on this stage.
Leg 3 to 4 offered the most interesting route choice, being the longest leg and an out-of-bounds (OOB) section blocking the direct route. Glancing at the map, I planned to go in a roughly straight line, bearing left around the OOB – as this would involve the least running and the general rule in these forests is that it’s best to go straight. There are so few paths, and the undergrowth and “green” areas are so sparse, that the traditional British detour is not normally worth it. I ended up going both left and right around the OOB in the end, as I had a bit of a change of plan en route and turned 90 degrees. The normal rule I go by is once I’m committed, go for it. But the terrain was tricky and detailed, and an obvious road that I bizarrely hadn’t seen earlier, offered a tempting, but longer, route. I probably wasted 3-4 minutes having to backstep, but I’m glad I did as thereon the rest of the leg to 4 was fast and easy. The fourth control turned out to be perched in a crevice on a cliff-face, and I turned the wrong way on approaching it, but still this was one of my better controls and I caught up at least one of the other JOK-ers here.
From then on, it was straightforward. A dreadful mistake ensued at No. 10, where I was distracted by the large number of people and controls and stopped concentrating for a moment – fatal in Sweden. No. 14 was my other five-minuter. Being the second last control, I had completely switched off. Instead of going either above or below the cliff, like everyone else, I decided to go through, then up the cliff. Duh. And once again I got distracted. But I’d estimate I didn’t waste more than 20 minutes on mistakes – still a huge amont of time, but I wasted over 30 minutes yesterday.
It was incredibly hot when I got back to the finish and a spot of sunbathing was in order, before retreating back to our hired club hut (picking up that day’s free gift from the event sponsors – toilet paper (!?!?) on the way) from where we didn’t move again today. Doing absolutely nothing after racing hard is so nice…