orienteering race (Tank Paddock middle) 41:23  4.5 km (9:12 / km)
shoes: Inov8 X-Talon
Nearly didn't make it to this one. After back was unpleasant in the night, presumably due to the hotel bed, I managed to sleep through until 8am - at which time it was still raining - and thought very hard about not going orienteering given my 9:38am start. A look at the radar and the rain appeared to be clearing so I had no real excuse, except that even a quick hotel breakfast takes time and so we didn't leave until 8:45, with me navigating for George while taping my ankles in the car. We pulled up at the event; I hopped out of the car and ran the 500m to the start casting longing glances at the toilet queue as I bypassed it, and arrived with just enough time to sign the indemnity (is this really necessary if we've already clicked the waiver button when entering?) before I was called up!
Yeah, so I've definitely never cut it this fine before :) Good thing I'm not someone who finds it difficult to settle in and focus on the map - in fact, one of the reasons I like orienteering is because it forces me to switch off all the other things which are on my mind (there seem to have been a lot of these lately).
Anyway, the bush was good and soggy, with tiny watercourses branching off a main one and a network of tiny tracks, in an area less than 1.5 sq km. The print resolution/colour was a wee bit funny and so I struggled to read ditches and watercourses when they were overlaid with solid or hatched green, but my bearings were pretty direct and I toddled along ok, if very slowly and feeling rather like I had been carved out of a solid block of wood. About halfway through we came out into the 'open' with tall grass nearly my height in places and a slalom of motorbike tracks which went in random directions. I really found it hard to lift my legs through this bit, which we came back through towards the end, but I liked the forested parts which reminded me, strangely enough, of the NOL races at Newcastle a couple of years ago.
Time was pretty woeful but logic tells me that there must be some possibility of improvement in the terrain between now and nationals. I dare say I could sharpen up my navigation a little also; will get a new compass before Kooyoora. Anyway, it was still a rewarding weekend of races and I talked George into detouring to Brooklyn, on the water by the Mooney Mooney bridge, on our way back to Penrith and we found a quaint little café/gallery for lunch, so that was nice.