We had a fun weekend of orienteering blessed by some good weather. On Saturday it was the Winchester Urban Race. This started and finished at the Rugby Club and the 1:5000 map stretched south to the Cathedral and Wolsey Castle. If you think city racing is all about tricky route choices influence by narrow cut-throughs, dead-ends, and control sites where the side of the feature is all important, then the event wouldn’t have disappointed you.Although my GPS seemed to suffer a bit in amongst all of the buildings, you can see an approximation to my route on RouteGadget. I found it hard to read the detail on the run and consequently all of my route choices were made standing still. This probably accounts for the fact that, although I could potentially have saved a bit of time on some legs (e.g. heading south 11 to 12), in general I wasn’t far off the best route. Where I really wasted time though was on the second loop which I proceeded to try and execute backwards, heading from 18 to 21. On realising my error at 21 I failed to spot the route through the Great Hall and took the long route round to 19. At least, on realising where I was, I then took the short route back to 20. A couple of minutes wasted which probably moved me down from 2nd place to 4th.
On Sunday we went over to Gosport for the British Sprint Champs at HMS Sultan – a Navy base looking much like an academic campus but with a few hangers, helicoptors and two massive Palmerston Forts scattered around! Here the route choices were much simpler (typically left or right of the building) with the focus more on clean execution. Things were going reasonably well for me in the first round until 17 where I attempted to cut through the green. I came out in the wrong place and then when turning, slipped on mud covered concrete and came down hard on my right knee putting a hole through my tights and in to my knee. In the break before the second round I made a trip to the first aiders to get some of the mud cleaned out of the holes!
Start times for the second round had the slowest finishers on round one off first. Sadly the way this worked out meant Christine and I couldn’t both get to our allocated start times. I went off two minutes in front of Ed Catmur. Things started well enough but, as my route shows, something went wrong at number 8. I think I just failed to take in the first row of building but that still doesn’t account for why I then turned left. I then wasted more time at 11 when we disappeared in to the dark tunnels of the fort. I’d failed to appreciate that all of the relevant junctions weren’t going to be lit and had to backtrack to the dark side-turning I wanted. Ed was then on his way in to the fort as I went from 12 to 13.
I managed to hold off Ed until 16 and then attempted to cling on to the finish, bloodying myself again on the thorny hedge at 18. Ed’s superior speed undoubtedly accounts for some of the 5 minutes he beat me by in the overall results. Just a shame I couldn’t pull another 10 seconds out of the bag in the second round to move up to second place.
Christine decided not to go out for a late run round the course. Emma seemed to have enjoyed the day immensely though. Probably the combination of ice lollies being on sale and lots of time spent playing in a patch of gravel with the other children. Even better was the fact that we managed to keep her awake on the way home so she went out like a light at bedtime! All in all, a good weekend of orienteering.