Orienteering 1:36:33  12.6 km (7:40 / km) +385m 6:39 / km
Australian Long Champs on the legendary Cascades (and Amiens).
Pretty good race overall. No big mistakes, but I was very cautious the whole race, and kept really good contact. Probably the most technically demanding course i have ever run. The need for concentration was relentless. The closest you got to a dead running leg were the short segments on rock slabs.
Started off cautiously, reading every feature to control 1. Contoured to 2 along the bare rock using the hill next to the control as an attack feature. Bearing up the hillside to 3, using the bare rock to lead into it. Bearing to 4 picking off the rock clumps along the way and again using the bare rock as an attack point. Hopped between the bare rock patches to 5, with a bearing through the light green. Down the bare rock again, onto the track and then up a gully to 6, which was just behind a really obvious line of rocks as an attack point. Tried to read the contour detail to 7 and did a reasonable job. In general I was quite slow on long legs but this was probably my fastest long leg so I should learn from that. Tried to follow the rocky spur up just to the right of the red line but had a bit of trouble and lost contact. Decided the best course of action was to keep running my bearing and relocate on the track. This worked out well because the rocky hill next to the track/redline intersection was really big and obvious. Hopped the rest of the way to 8 on bare rock sections, but then was clumsy coming in off the bare rock and lost time in the circle. Lost at least a couple of minutes on that one. Bearing out of 8 then across the bare rock to 9. That's an important thing to note, exit direction was so important, definitely worth taking a bearing out of every control. Along the bare rock again to 10, but had a really dodgy attack point trying to use the outline of the bare rock which meant I lost time in the circle. Combined bearings with the gullies to get 11 alright. Saw the rock clump from a long way off so worth keeping eyes up in this section of the map. Really struggled to get to 12. The rocks all looked the same, there were no bare rocks and the contours were really hard to read under the rock (and were vague formlines to begin with). Only found it because I kept good direction the whole way and picked up cliff lines along the rocky spur infront of it. Long leg of hopping from bare rock to bare rock to get 13, using the clearing just before as an attack feature (but needed to be more careful with the bearing). Bare rock hopping again to 14 then bearing down the hill which allowed you to see all the way to roughly where the control was. Bare rocks and bearings (yet again) to 15 but also made use of the contour detail picking up the small hill and gullies on the way. Bearing and good estimation to 16, too hard to read the individual rocks. Ran wide to the bare rock to avoid the green and beat Tomas to 17 who had been 20s ahead but then I lost the time in the circle thinking the control was on a different feature. Used the out of bounds section as the first attackpoint and then stupidly ran through the dark green section on the other side of it loosing some significant time to Tomas. Bearing through the pine and then attacked 18 using the white corridor and bare rock. Bare rock and bearing again to 19 which was much faster than straight in the green as I caught Tomas up again after the lost time from 18. Bearings and tracks to 20. Bearing to the track and then in off the the track bend to 21. Misread which feature 21 was on so lost a tiny bit of time. Bearing and looking for the edge of the rock detail to find 22. Bearings and reading the edges of vegetation to 23. Sloppy bearing to 24 (but it was a frantic pack so hey) then sprint finish to win the finish split!
So to sum up the cascades strategy in a few words it would be - "Bearings and bare rock".
- Bearing out of every control.
- Use bare rocks as attack points and take bearings between them.
- BUT need to be more precise with the final bearings from attack points into the control circle.
- Use white corridors where possible
- Try to use contour detail more for long legs