Orienteering race (Regionale 5) 1:07:30  ***** 7.1 km (9:30 / km)
spiked:10/15c shoes: Inov 8 O shoes
Regional 5. Barbizon. The rockiest map in Fontainebleau and the map just looks like a fly had diarrhea all over the map - black dots everywhere. Extremely difficult to map well, even at 1:10,000, and it was a very difficult map to read, at least for me. This was compounded by the course being printed in a very faint purple that, even after the race, I had trouble distinguishing. But it was the same for everybody, it was a gorgeous autumnal day, and parts of the forest were absolutely superb.
Hit the first control quite well and was enjoying the running after 5 minutes. A bit of trouble on #2 as the map really didn't line up with the terrain on the way there, but took a punt anyway and rounded a rock (amongst a million) to find the control. #3 in a clearing was okay, but stopped a bit short in a different (unmarked) clearing, and then tried a compass bearing to #4 and was off by quite a way and took a few minutes trying to find the right gully. Then the wheels really fell off and, even sitting here at home afterwards and checking the splits and the GPS track, I still don't really know what happened. The results say that I went from 4 to 6 to 5 to 6, but I don't recall punching at 6 the first time around. What is certain is that I was very very lost amid an absolute maze of rocks and ferns and just couldn't make head nor tails of the map. Probably because I thought I was navigating from 4 to 5 but Was actually going to 6, so I was in totally the wrong part of the map from where I thought I was, so no surprise nothing fitted. At no time did I realise that I had punched 6 before 5. Lost 18 minutes or so from 4-5.
The rest of the course went much better and I spiked all the remaining controls and ran fairly well. The fastest time was 39 mins by some young gun, but then a big gap to a few runners in the mid to high 40s. Taking out my big error would have put me at the tail end of that group. Almost everyone lost large chunks of time and there were a lot of very bemused people wandering around the rocks today, me included for some parts of the course.