Campbell Park SMOC British Sprint Champs, 20 May

(Cross-posted from my Attackpoint training log.)

Campbell Park map extractCampbell Park is in the centre of Milton Keynes, providing an excellent venue for a sprint – the planners managed to avoid the infamous roundabouts. it was overcast and damp, but not raining. The heats were to the south of the park – the first half was through a housing estate with numerous alleyways and tiny parks.

Unfortunately the first few controls were a catalogue of mistakes: On the way to No. 1 I misread the map and overshot badly, costing me 45 seconds – a big mistake for a sprint. I was still misreading the map on the way to No. 2 – another 10 seconds. I left No. 3 at the wrong angle, wasting another 20 seconds. No. 4 to 5 was also bad – I was confused by a playground and swung too far to the left – another 20 seconds.

Mistakes in the Campbell Park heat
Errors at the start of the heat race

From 5 onwards I was OK – the legs got longer and less technical, and the course moved away from the housing estate and into rougher land, and then into ornamental woodland. I was overtaken by a few fast people, and latched onto them for a couple of legs, which was useful – although I had great problems punching at some of the controls – Wasting 10s in some of the 30s legs is not good! But, the remainder of the race was generally fault-free and fast. However, I didn’t achieve my original aim of scraping into the “B” final, instead being placed in the “C” final, although high up.

So, onto the final, four hours later – it was damp, and raining hard before the race. The finals were very spectator friendly and were in the main, ornamental part of the park. A specator viewpoint on a spur meant the first half of the course was very visible, including a hill-climb leg right through the viewing area.

I still managed to make quite a few mistakes on this race. It was only the “C” final but I had a good reason to keep up a good pace – Simon from SLOW was starting two minutes behind me.

To No. 1 was a short uphill leg which I tackled at a fast pace, feeling the pain when I got to the top. 2-3 was only a 30m leg but i still managed to head in the wrong direction. I was having some problems with the intensity and shortness of the legs – 6-7 was a 10 metre leg (!) but I still hestitated, not believing it was so close! The split was 12 seconds, almost certainly my shortest intra-race split. I wasn’t sure of the direction leaving 7, such was the pace. 9-10 was the infamous hill leg, but I wimped out and went around. Then, the course took us away from the specator arena and through rougher ground – past roads built for houses that weren’t there yet – very MK! The last section was back through the ornamental woodland – I started to tire here unfortuantely, and made a poor route choice from 19-20, not noticing a good path. 21-22 was another poor route.

Overall, not as scrappy as the heats though, and my pace was slightly faster. I finished a respectable 12th out of 42 – but then, it was only the C final.

My route for the heat (Men’s B)
My route for the final (Men’s C)

The finish arena and spectator control in Campbell Park
Spectator control in Campbell Park.

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