Top 10 in British Night Champs

OK – when I say “Top 10” I mean I was 10th… and there were only 15 finishers… and I would have been 11th if Mikko hadn’t subsequently been declared non-competitive… but anyway, that’s mere detail! Saturday night was the British Night Orienteering Championships held at Mytchett. There was a clear sky and frost on the ground as I got ready beforehand but it was warm enough once you started moving. Matthias was back from his run just as I was about to start. He thought his 87 minutes was slow and wasn’t sure where the time went. I managed to take five minutes longer so here’s where I think I lost it (you can follow along on RouteGadget – just select Course 1 and my GPS track) …

  1. A hesitant start. Not really sure what I’m looking for on the ground (turns out to be a massive slit trench) and veer too close to the road.
  2. Not bad.
  3. Oops – lots of other holes in the ground on this hillside. Should have listened to Matthias when he said to be careful on the bearings. Notice I have lots of bubbles in my compass (any excuse!).
  4. Clearing provides a nice handrail in.
  5. Can feel all those peanuts I ate in the car as I work to get up the hill. Lots of people in the vicinity of the control so an easy ending.
  6. Easy enough.
  7. Ditto.
  8. End up at another similarly sized (unmapped) thicket about 15 metres away.
  9. Fail to hold my bearing through the conifers but pit is easy to find from track.
  10. Just aimed for the large open area. Control was easy enough to find from the path junction.
  11. Follow Peter Smith in to the control.
  12. Should have followed him out again as I mistakenly turn right on path. Quickly realise what I’ve done wrong.
  13. All that green stuff just before the control rather got in the way.
  14. Nice easy leg and some good running.
  15. Too lazy to take the more direct uphill/green route.
  16. Easy.
  17. Not so easy. End up too far down the slope and too slow to realise.
  18. Fine.
  19. Finally getting a bit of rhythm going.
  20. That’s a long one! Took it straight enough and easy to find at the end.
  21. 90 degree error when I hit the ride had me heading off down in to the wrong re-enterant.  Made for an easy approach to the control once I’d worked out what was going on.
  22. Haven’t I just been this way?!
  23. Fine.
  24. Good.
  25. Yes.
  26. On another roll.
  27. Oh dear – so close yet so far away…
  28. Just a sprint round the paths from here on in.
  29. And Charles Bromley-Gardener appears to chase in.
  30. Spiked that one 😉

So yes, there were two or three occasions here I was blundering around but really I think the problem was a) running too gingerly through the forest in the dark and b) a little hesitancy times a lot of controls. Certainly if you look at SplitsBrowser then I’m on more of a steady decline than a series of steps. Perhaps I’ll just put it down as good training.

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