We spent the bank holiday weekend with Christine’s parents (and assorted other orienteering members of the family) notionally to attend the Triple O Severn event in the Forest of Dean. The assembly area for every day was Speech House which seemed to work well. Saturday was a regional event on the area that they had chosen to call Mallards Pike (south-east of assembly). The Black course was fairly sparcely populated as anyone running the Elite classes the following day had to do a special middle distance course as the colour-coded courses used part of the area they would compete on.
Results wise I had a reasonable run finishing second, two and a half minutes down on local lad Joe Taunton. I made a few stupid blunders though. I started off running far too far south for the first control. Then, on control six it looks like I followed the veg boundary between the light and dark green rather than that between the dark green and white. I then proceeded to waste at least 2 minutes thrashing about in the green. Joe also wasted time here though. On 12 I lost about half a minute just scratching my head as to exactly what the control was meant to be on. My worst blunder was on control 15 where I must have missed the control by about 10 metres to the left and then proceeded to make the most of the runnable slope by continuing on for another few hundred metres before realising that I’d gone too far (by the time I started to doubt myself and looked down the hill to the open area I wasn’t sure which open area it was I was looking at). Then, to cap it all off, I went to the wrong final control. All of this can be viewed in techni-color glory on RouteGadget.
As pictured, the Mr Men were enough of an attraction for Emma to walk all the way round the string course. She shows great stamina in having been out for 40 minutes!
By Saturday night I was regretting my purchase of a pair of Noname ‘Fight’ socks before the race. As the name might suggest, these are knee length socks with a bit of padding to keep the worst excesses of the Forest of Dean undergrowth at bay. Unlike gaiters, they didn’t roast my legs on the way round despite the warm day. Unfortunately, the thinness of the material did mean that I had a massive blister on one heel where my shoes had been rubbing. I was therefore grateful that my late entry to the event had meant that I’d been unable to get a run on M21L on Sunday and was hence entered for M21S.
As it happened, I had a fairly clean run on Sunday. (I’m not getting a blister every week just in case that’s the secret!) There was a minor wobble at number six where I was far too far to the right but other than that things were going well… I say going because at the penultimate control I managed to blow nearly four minutes and drop from first place to third. I was dead on line when I hit the track about 80m before the control but I veered off to the left and proceeded to do the headless chicken (once again, beautifully captured on RouteGadget). Emma having completed another string course (although not all under her own steam this time) we headed back to Monmouth for lunch and hence missed all of the Elite action.
Having not pre-entered the score event today I was happy enough to give me raw heel a rest. Christine’s Dad headed over with her cousin Jayne and seemed to enjoy the event despite the weather having taken a turn for the worse.