Hello there readers, I once again must apologise for my lack of updates in recent weeks but I’ll try to redeem myself with a cutting-edge report of my goings on since the 20th of July in bullet point form. A small sample of people gave me good reviews for my previous usage of bullet points but since the usage of bullet points is no-longer original to my log I have also used sub-bullet points for extra flare (formatting of the sub-bullets is weak, apologies for that). If you don’t enjoy bullet points or if you do not enjoy reading at all then I have summarised my report in the following sentence for you: I did copious amounts of camping and terrible orienteering, it was very good fun, but it was also tiring. Now onto those bullets.
o This was my first time attending this event and I was very much looking forward to racing in some delightful terrain and enjoying a fun week with EUOC and a handful of other lovely people.
o I was entered on the H21 Lång course despite H21 Kort specialist Will Rigg informing me that this was a poor decision and I would get tired. I blissfully ignored William as I was hungry for mileage and doing the short seemed a very weak option.
o My first two races were incredibly poor, particularly the first race where I became unsure if I knew how to read a map.
o After these first two races my watch died, I decided not to charge my watch for the remainder of the following two weeks and to run off the grid. At the Scottish 6 days Ewan Mcmillan described this as a “wholesome” act; however, the reality is that I did not want to see how slowly I was orienteering.
o The day of the third race was hot, and I don’t mean Sasha Chepelin style hot (15-20 degrees C), I mean actually hot (30+ degrees C). I had an okay race, nothing special by any stretch of the imagination but my best run of the week.
o Day 4 was also hot, and I was incredibly grateful that it was a middle because my word was I feeling tired. I again had an okay run, probably my second best run of the week, but to put it on context of how abysmal I was, I still came 70th odd about ~11 mins down.
o Day 5 was also hot, and it was a chasing start for those within 90mins of the leader and then 15 second intervals for those people outside of this. I was in hot contention for the W at 86mins down. I started my race smart by making big mistakes on the first four controls. The rest of the race was a slog and a half, but I did salvage something from the week as I overtook Mark Purkis (he wasn’t feeling good) allowing me to take the prestigious title of best ex-South East Junior Squad member at O-ringen 2019 on the H21 Lång course.
o My tiredness at the end of the race can be reflected by my post-race experience with Max Bloor and Alasdair Pedley. The three of us are usually rife with chat (not that I can always hear what Max is saying) and yet in the 3-hours we spent together after the race; showering, getting the bus, and getting food, we can’t have exchanged more than 30 words to each other in our vegetable states.
o To conclude, the racing was tough, and camping was tiring but I had an excellent time mainly due to having such a nice big group of people with plenty of antics so cheers for that.
• The Scottish 6 Days.
o Sadly it would have been a huge stretch to attend both the O-ringen last night party and the first day of the 6 days and thus I was forced to miss the first day of the 6 days, putting me out of the overall competition on M21E, not that I would have been in contention should I have made it.
o So post party, I had a day of travelling, slept on Sasha’s floor in Edinburgh, and then made my way to the second day of the 6 days raring to get into some Scottish terrain. I was feeling okay to start with, then about 15mins in I felt a big tear in my shoe and several strides later the sole was pretty much detached from the rest of the shoe. Avid readers of my log will know that I am a notorious shoe destroyer with the two pairs of VJ bolds in two days debacle particularly springing to mind, and hence this sensation was not a new one to me. Since I was already out of the overall, the decision to retire was easy as I didn’t fancy a painful and slow hour or so with one shoe on so just jogged back to assembly instead.
o I spent a long time contemplating what shoes to buy next, for the last couple of years or so I have religiously been rocking Walshes for their great aesthetic and slipper like feel and since I haven’t been orienteering too much this has worked just fine. However, after destroying two pairs of the buggers within a month I decided for the safety of my bank account a switch was necessary, so I went for some inov8 mudlcaws. The inov8s lasted about a month and half which is disappointing, but I suppose the terrain in O-ringen was a bit nasty for them. Anyway, to finish off this unnecessarily long shoe chat, I purchased some VJ Irocks which were, like all orienteering specific shoes, horribly expensive, but they did not break during the remaining four days of the 6 days so that was good.
o I had a nice time settling in to the campsite with the family and Leitch’s, felt just like the old days.
o Day 3 was the WRE middle. The first half of my race went pretty well, I had caught and passed Tam (2 minute man) and had caught Felly (4 minute man) but then as we entered the green I lost my head and got stuck in some very dark green and then didn’t know where I was when I came out of it. I eventually worked it out and then as I punched the control, I saw Tam again. The rest of the course Tam and I exchanged the lead several times with both of us individually making some shocking mistakes. Tam, Felly and I punched the third last control together and we had a fun showdown into the finish. I very much enjoyed this race and the area, shame I can’t hold the nav together though.
o Day 4, open hillside area. Started hard and was going well and area seemed nice enough. Made a huge (~6 min) mistake on a control which was pretty much on a ride (really tough control). After I realised what I’d done, I just couldn’t get myself going again and decided I would just jog round the rest and hopefully save some energy for the big job tomorrow. I wasn’t wearing a watch and thought I had covered quite a lot of the course. I hadn’t, it took me ages to get to the finish.
o Day 5 was the WRE long on Craig’a Barns. I’m getting tired of writing now and I’m sure you’ve stopped reading so I’ll try and keep it briefer. I started well, no mistakes, I took a terrible route choice on the long leg to 10 and lost about 5mins, I started to get tired, I took gels, they did nothing, I got overtaken by people, I completely ran out of energy, I got confused, I took a lie down, I tried to carry on, I still had no energy, I retired. I was concerned by this after the race, but I think the reality is I was just worn out after two weeks of racing and camping so no dramas really. Cracking area as always.
o Day 6, nice runnable area. I couldn’t move or read the map, hips a little sore too. Harrison caught me at the end which was fun, and I did some good commentary of his orienteering.
o So, there we have it, two weeks of truly dreadful orienteering comes to a close, all good fun ey.
• Post 6 days.
o Did some visiting family, went for two easy runs, felt fine, happy days.
Not for the first time, I had more to say than anticipated, sorry.