Video from 2drerun of relay: https://photos.app.goo.gl/SgbpiqEPJy9icjjk6
I was very nervous to start off this relay. I had seen that Morten and Anton had had solid runs and knew that I would be in a position to hold on to the spot or possibly fight for more.
When Anton handed off I immediately and surprisingly jumped in behind Magne Daehli on his arena run-through. He was pretty surprised too and looked back at me with a bit of shock. But when he realized I wasn't Sweden he calmed down.
I was expecting him to drop me pretty hard as soon as we got into the forest. But he didn't. I let him go... because he was going to a different control. But I could have easily matched his speed. That was a big boost to my confidence. When I saw Finland and Sweden pass me, I was little panicked thinking that I somehow had misread my map and was going to the wrong control. I checked again and again but was certain that I was going to the #1 on my map. It was helpful to the see the route choice the top teams made however.
The rest of course was straight forward. I easily found 6, which apparently several teams struggled with. I can understand why as the area was quite vague. But I had no trouble identifying the hills and knolls mapped. Interesting.
I took a hard fall in the marsh south of 7 on my way to 8. I took a moment to get my head back into the course before continuing, but I lost full map contact after that. I stayed on my compass until I hit the stream north of 8 and saw the clearing. The GPS is misleading here. I went into the clearing, went all the way to the south, and could not see the flag. In hindsight, I was about 3 meters from it, but could not see the flag behind the knoll.
I decided to bail to what had made sense and attack again instead of wasting time on what I saw as a clearing, but could potentially not be a clearing. The forest in that area is so sparse that I was often in areas that I considered clearings, but they were not mapped as such. Hence the confusion.
I saw Ruairi and the Bulgarian running through and followed them into it. And was massively pissed when I realized I had been standing right next to the control.
However, I was really happy with how well I recovered from it. I was able to execute the next several legs really, really well. And they were tricky. The dense pines cut down visibility significantly and lots of people were getting turned around out there.
It was clean right up to 15, where I saw the patch of green on the map and connected it to the wrong stand of pines in the terrain. I realized when I had overran the control and backtracked to it.
I do have one complaint on this leg regarding the organization of the whole event. Skip the next two paragraphs if you're not interested in my complaint. On my way to 15, I saw a long, black, rope-like thing moving quickly underneath the blueberry bushes just 5 meters in front of me.
As it turns out, it was a camera cable that they were cleaning up since the leaders had gone through. It did end up distracting me significantly from the map as I've gotten used to being on the lookout for rattlesnakes and copperheads in the Northeast. My first reaction was to stop and forget about orienteering. Maybe this is a worthless complaint, but it did affect my race.
Camera crews walking around in the forest is something the leaders didn't have to deal with and it's completely avoidable. Of course the camera crews had to get out of the forest before dark, but that's part of the problem with starting so late. There were camera crew members walking around all over the course in front of me breaking down equipment. It didn't seem fair and did seem controllable.
Since I doubt anything will change in this field because of me, I'll just need to keep working on my own ability to stay focused.
It was great to run this with Anton and Morten. They've been coming to Norway for several years now to prepare for this event and it showed. I was glad I could be there with them.