Cold Ash BKO National Event, 29th Jan

(Cross posted from Attackpoint. See also my leg by leg analysis, mistake and speed analysis, and the other M21L splits from APers. Wow, does AP do stats or what!)

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.

Cold Ash map extractThe 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.

Mistake analysis:
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.

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