Oh, blimey. What went right on this race? Not a lot. I better start with the positives – lovely crisp weather, technical and enjoyable area, and my recent training means I can definitely run faster and for longer, without completely running out of energy. And the distance (almost 13km) was not a problem – I only felt really tired in a couple of places.
Now the bad. I made mistake after mistake after mistake. Probably the most number of mistakes I have ever made on an orienteering event. It wasn’t that it was very technical – it was a tricky area and the map was not perfect – quite a few non-existent clearings around – it was just that I made bad route choices, lost concentration, and made huge navigational errors all the way along. I know bad workmen blame their tools, but I’m pretty sure my compass was stuffed. Maybe it was that large “Emit” brick I had to carry around. And the scale was 1:15000, smaller than normal, but due to my relatively increased fitness, I overcompensated and overshot a lot. I think the main cause was I was running quite fast, thanks to my recent training – too fast, in fact, for me to navigate accurately and properly. Which kind of leaves me in a quandary as regards further physical training. I think I need to take up Armchair Orienteering in a big way and keep the mind sharp.
The first control was bad. I somehow missed an obvious path, and was 30 degrees wrong, and overshot. No. 2, I again headed 30 degrees wrong, meeting control 24. But I at least spiked it. Towards number 6, I felt a little tired, and a branch spiked my eye – could have been really nasty, but my contact lens dropped out and I spent a couple of minutes fixing that. Towards number 8, my feet started cramping again (as two weeks ago) so I stopped straight away this time and relaced loosely. 10 was a bingo control and I failed to notice a good route choice. 11 was a massive error of judgement – to lose a runner, I decided to go down a road (failing to spot a much better road route), mistaked a ride for a path, got stuck in a marsh, ran back down a hill and back up again. Aaargh!
No. 14 was a complete disaster, it should have been trival, but it was a very technical control and I some how ended up on the wrong path and had to do a relocation. 20 was a poor route choice. I was feeling (technically) lazy and took a long but easy route around, adding 600m to the leg by failing to spot a direct and obvious path, and then missing the (technical) control. And 22 was a complete nightmare and my worst leg of all (8 minutes for 400m!) I again drifted 30 degrees off, ending up way beyond the control, cold and very confused. I had a complete brain block, was unable to navigate and relocate, and just freaked out. Eventually I got some self control back and managed a relocation. I really hope I never have a control like that again. Looking at the leg, it was not particularly technical at all – lots of line features.
Special mention of control 19, it wins Location of the Year for being in an utterly surreal place – in white (runnable forest) but the forest was completely pitch black, with nothing on the ground except needles – like a table. And the control was in the middle, glowing eerily in the darkness. It was like something out of Lord of the Rings, and was truly magical.
Overall a truly fine area. Just a shame I had such a bad race on it.
1 – Poor pacing/scale awareness
2 – Navigational error
6 – Fatigue
8 – Hesitation
10 – Bingo control
11 – Poor route choice
14 – Poor attack point
17 – Poor route choice
20 – Poor route choice
22 – Navigational error
25 – Hesitation
26 – Navigational error
I’ve only mentioned the biggest mistake on each leg, on some of these legs I made just about every possible kind of mistake! Incidentally I may start using just the AP’s own mistake analysis for future races.