10Mila 2018 - Leg 9 - Out 11th, In 9th - Team 10th - 21st on leg, +10mins!!
As prepared as I was ever going to be. Typically only managed 2 hours of sleep prior to racing, don't think this was really a controllable though. As the years go on it might become easier. Mentally prepared very well and was very comfortable going into the race. Barely nervous at all, quite possibly a negative.
Knew Parma (Riccardo E), TuMe (Uldis) and Mora (Vojtech) so it was nice to head off with some recognisable faces. Together with Mora to the start kite running well, took Parma and then split to number 1. Thomas's changing over words were 'do your own thing' so this seemed like a fine thing to do. Sure enough I rejoined the pack at number 1, even overtaking TuMe in the process. Ran with Mora to 2 but then sneaked in and out of the control without him noticing, felt a bit guilty but wasn't sure on gaffling so thought less of it.
Stuck in some crag city and then green to number 3 but eventually came out and began planning ahead. Small miss but nothing bad. Didn't commit to my RC to 4 and lost time through hesitation but wasn't awful either. Same to 5 planning ahead to 6, long leg. Exit was atrocious and took way too long to hit the road, wanting to avoid the marsh. Popped out behind TuMe and reeled him in hitting some good pace. It was an easy 3min/kms at 5am kind of day. Sleepy enough to not notice the lactic. Led Uldis into the control and was really enjoying myself racing hard with a good friend.
Uldis took over a bit after 7 but was quite hesitant. I had no doubt we had a shared control but did my own relocation after we went a bit off plan. So started the next long leg with a good gap. Some more hard road running and glimpsed FSK ahead. Missed my exit off the track so had to adjust with a not so great route. Still did the job though and punched 9 just behind FSK. Forking to 10 was straightforward and as we climbed towards 11 I tucked in behind FSK. Relax.
This was a big mistake though. I had somehow assumed our next control would be close by, if not shared. We were bound to pass my boulder so I stopped navigating knowing there was no way I could miss it. However with the rock being in a boulder field and the control well hidden, this was now a very real possibility. And it happened. I don't remember much from the few minutes of panic that followed but that just tells me that I was probably burnt out and mind blanking. Anyway, we hit a big crag far North of my control, thought I was West-ish, so ran East-ish with FSK to find his gaffle. Sh*t myself and ran back to the crag. Took a moment for a real relocation, proud of my relative calmness here, but it was 4mins down when I eventually punched my control. I could feel the arena laughing at me. And this fueled a huge surge back to gain a few seconds on Mora at the next control.
Ran with Vojtech for the next few and even shared some words of despair and re-motivation on the road to 14. Round the right would have been a better route here though. Dropped him and had a good final section solo to claw back a few minutes on Malungs, who had had a nightmare on 2, and TuMe, finishing about a minute behind.
Obviously really ashamed to let such an avoidable mistake happen in such a critical situation. I had the potential to make up 5 places and finish 6th on 9th leg of Tiomila for Halden, which would have been one of my best races ever. But let it go on what felt like a TD3 control, follow the re-entrant and in. Team very sympathetic and very much not the only one experiencing problems but doesn't change much. Can't sugarcoat it as I won't gain anything from an experience which I thought I had already sorted out after Jukola last year - very similar situation. The uneasy fact is that I would have still been 6mins down without 11 so I must have been making more misses (perhaps 8, still a step below elite pace, and several minutes through dodgy RC).
However, it was still nice to know I had provided good entertainment for the team, and in fact the whole arena and international viewership, and had a nice time being interviewed by GG/Boris afterwards. Top 10 wasn't expected by many people either, but of course once long night was done our ambitions were a bit higher. One positive I'll take is that my physical shape feels very good now, running much faster on straightforward sections than most races, and I'll take this through to next week's EOC, which will likely be much easier technically. Hope to repay my debt to the team at some point, maybe at Jukola. Really enjoying being part of the club these days anyway.
Results - https://eventor.orientering.se/Events/ResultList?e...
GPS - https://www.tulospalvelu.fi/gps/2018042810milaH9/
- NB GPS lagging and I was both closer to FSK after the long legs, and ahead of TuMe most of the time before, very important point given my club history...