Orienteering race 1:41:14  12.15 km (8:20 / km) +280m 7:28 / km
shoes: Inov8 X-talon 2014
Jukolan Viesti 2014, Kuopio-Jukola
Back where it all began for JOK at Jukola 18 years ago, near Kuopio.
Back there with the same seven men as we fielded that night/day in 1996.
258th/1049 in 1996, 707th/1588 in 2014
So we beat more teams in 2014 than in 1996 :)
Leg three for me in 1996 but leg one this time, 10km with 370m and 20 controls.
Pleased with how it went in 1996, disappointed with 2014. A race of several parts.
Leg one always has a longish run to the start and a long leg to control one, and warming up in the start pen we could check much of the run out – 300m or so through fields then a big bottleneck into a muddy twisty turny rooty stony section of forest. So it will be a breakneck dash for position then a section where it is hard enough to stay standing even before trying to steal a glance or two at the map.
10.59pm. Do not open your maps. Do not stand on the tape. Do not false start or you will be disqualified. Do not drop your map or you will never see it again. Do not fall over or you will be trampled.
11.00pm. Bang! The gun signals the mad charge forward. A fighter jet zooms low overhead. Don’t go too crazy fast but don’t lose too many positions. I am doing 3:15/km and people are streaming past. Jeez.
11.01pm-11.04pm. I have my map open but where is the start triangle?? Dammit. Where is it, where is it, must be in the top left somewhere. Just find it and we are into the forest. Stumble, swear, dodge the trees, dodge the people. Finally I find #1 on the map. Right across the other side of the map from the start. Miles away. Nearly arrived at the start kite. Don’t have a route yet.
Part One, monster leg to the first control.
The pace is high, can only imagine what it is like at the front, or how hard Murray and Hoddy are working to get to the front from their start positions in the 200-300s.
Gradually more and more in control through the leg, ended up with a decent route, even a chance on a forest road to look at the next couple of legs. Started to feel almost calm!
Paced in from the road and suddenly there it wasn’t, just lights everywhere. Panic rising….
But the pacing saved me, just missed it one contour too high, back a bit and down to the control in short order (45s lost).
4km and nearly 30mins into the race. One control done.
Part Two, through the radio checks at #3, #6 and #9.
Spiked #2 and #3 and in 419th at #3. Passing people and running strong.
Diagonally downhill to #4, should have been more suspicious and careful straight after a common control., instead I was running along the line and was too high and too far along the slope. It was a slope full of panicking people pinballing from point to point, I wasn’t as bad as some and at least stopped and worked it out. But far too slowly. (-2.5mins).
Fast and strong to #5, cautious line to #6 to make sure I didn’t get dragged down the hill. The carnage at #4 and #5 meant I was still 463rd at #6.
Ran through the other gaffle at #7 but this time I knew mine was further on.
Then disaster at #8. Ran round the vague hill but came to a control on a boulder on a flat area instead of to a steepening of the slope. Really puzzled where it was. Decided it must be below and west. It was at virtually the same height and maybe 50m east. Found the veg changes but didn’t use my compass properly from there, then ended up back in sight of the same wrong control which confused me further. (-4.5mins)
Off to #9 fighting through the rock and the crowds. There in 672nd, over 200 places shelled at #8.
Part Three. Frustration.
Now with noticeably slower people. But the trods through the terrain so much quicker than the surrounding rockiness. Lots of scrambling up and down cliffs and steep slopes. Just not able to get past. Cursing as people just seem to have no urgency, content just to hold their place.
Finally it flattened off near #16 along with many hesitators at a gaffle and I could get running properly. The control at #16 was busy but weirdly no-one left it with me and I was all alone. My route was good but not that fast as I slowed down to check several times, it felt like I must have done something wrong. I saw people going the other way to #12 but no-one else until just 5-10m from the control at #17. Very disconcerting!
Home straight from there, down the hill and then two easy ones to finish. Just don’t go too far right for #18 and don’t cross the powerlines beyond…and more opportunity to run and overtake….bang on line until I saw people punching off to my left, I couldn’t resist it…..then back right but too low before finally into mine. (-1m15s).
Part Four. Changeover.
Managed the final two without any more incompetence and into the finish to see the position click past 700 ahead of me, much worse than I’d hoped for but not as bad as I feared I was doing. Sorry Rob for keeping you waiting. Rob? Rob?? ROB! Nope.
Could have been a lot worse but luckily Rob into sight fairly soon and we lost only about 4-5mins at the changeover. Rob got us from 707th to 464th on leg two but that doesn’t take account of the extra 150 people that had come in by the time he got going – much cleaner run from him, passed 400 people out there despite plenty of frustrating queues holding him up too.
Could have done better. Much better.
Spiking #4 would have seen me in the 300s at the second radio halfway round.
But I was still in the 400s then, the killer was the mess at #8 and how slowly I recovered it, the time loss was one thing but the impact of losing all those places meant the last section was slower too, looking at how those placed in the 400s covered it suggests it was probably 3-5 mins slower for me as a result.
400th place was 90mins. 500th was 93mins.
Would have settled for top 500 before the start. Will just need to try again….