I’ve already touched on the Varsity Match, but I missed out including extracts of the maps, so here they are:
Saturday 19th March, Ã„ngsjÃ¶, JÃ¤rfÃ¤lla.
This was a fast map, even in the snow, with intricate sections balanced with fast, straightforward ones. The best part of the map, shown here, was visited twice by both courses. Although tracks made by earlier runners certainly helped, it was easy to miss the marked paths as these were covered in snow. As usual, though, the high quality and pretty much faultless cartography meant every contour could be trusted 100%, which made things easier. Note that the contour interval is 4m, but there are a lot of form lines (aka intermediate contours) in some sections – many more than would normally be on a UK map. Anyway, I enjoyed this course and found it easier going than the last time I was on a VM course in Sweden – back in 2002.
Sunday 20th March, JÃ¤rvafÃ¤ltet, JÃ¤rfÃ¤lla.
I was in the first part of the 3-part relay, and found the first leg tough – it was a really physical test, a mass-start run across thickly snowed fields. I made some poor route choice for the first few legs, especially 1-2 and 2-3, but I made up a few places in the latter half of the map. (The error in 2-3 was climbing and staying high on the ridge, whereas the control was in the easier, lower terrain to the west.) The fields on this map were actually the hardest running of all, as here the snow was a lot deeper. It was a relief to plunge back into the forests after a field crossing, like 8-9, and also going past the spectator control at 10 (I really felt the pain there.) Steeper slopes also meant less snow, so for once, these were not avoided. The relay map was certainly less technical, but harder physically. I preferred the individual race map.