Eridge Old Park SAX Regional Event, 8 Jan

Eridge map extractEridge Park is a rather nice, grand old county estate in East Sussex, comprising a large central deer park (fast, featureless, open) surrounded by several areas of complex, quite steep woodland. Or, at least, it would have been rather nice if it hadn’t rained continously throughout the course. I ran M21S, mainly because the 11.7km M21L sounded like a little much after Christmas excess. But, despite the rain and the mud (and wow, there was so much mud!) I got around the course pretty well – 5 mistakes in the first 7 controls, then none for the remaining 14, and got a pleasantly good time. I really didn’t push myself though, and got the end with enough energy for at least another couple of km. A pleasureable post-race afternoon was spent out of the wind and rain in a local pub by Eridge station, where the usual post-race analysis, splits games and real ale drinking was carried out with fellow JOKers and SLOWies. I’ve now got to spend the next three weeks doing some serious training for a national event at the end of the month at Cold Ash, for which I’ve foolishly entered Long without knowing the course distance.

Mistake analysis:
2 – (Very) poor route choice
3 – Navigation error followed by parallel error
4 – Unanticipated hazard (tricky felling)
6 – Unanticipated hazard (steep slopes + green + mud)
7 – Navigation error, poor pacing, possibly poor mapping.

The extract shows controls 2, 3 and 4, all of which I messed up. I took a very poor route choice to No. 2, which involved a roundabout route across various streams followed by a big climb – if I had studied the map, there was a much more obvious route which involved a short climb followed by an easy jog along a path. No. 3 was really daft of me – I came out of the control heading due east, and in the easy terrain, kept going straight instead of swinging around. I then made a parallel error by mistaking a fork in the stream, and headed up it – almost to No. 4. And 3 to 4 was made difficult by felling extending lower than marked, plus it was extremely slippy in the mud and the rain. My compass and map were both caked in mud by this point.

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