Orienteering 1:41:36  13.96 km (7:17 / km) +773m 5:42 / km
shoes: Inov-8 X-Talons 212 (5)
FRA Relays - Leg 3.
Thought this was going to be very grim; been feeling a bit rundown this week and thought I was going to have to work to keep pace with Fraser. First two legs did well so was a bit more motivated when set out. Kept following the tapes expecting to see a start kite but never did and realised we had run past the track so not a great start. Cut back over to the path and then had a relatively decent line to 1, just getting used to the scale was a bit tricky. Could see a couple of teams ahead messing around so that was a bonus. Didn't gain enough height coming out of the control and hit the stream at an impassable place which meant we had to climb straight up. Around this point Will and his partner appeared from the left. Took slightly different lines but ended up at the top with them and Nic Barber's team. Nice little train going reasonably well, started contouring well and was reasonably confident of position, crossing the streams and then heading back up the slope. Hit a decent sized stream and headed up, nothing seemed wrong. It suddenly disappeared but there was another one nearby so we headed up that one. That kept going for quite a while but after climbing for a while it started to become clear that it wasn't right. The others were thinking the same so we headed back east. Waasn't entirely convinced but eventually we hit a stream that was definitely the one, much bigger and so we headed up that. Kept going up for longer than I was expecting but hit the control. Barber's team got away and Will's was about twenty metres ahead but it was clear that we needed to keep contact as the visibility was very low and there was some tricky legs coming up. Tough terrain on the top and lost my legs on numerous occasions but was moving well. Took a nice bearing off the fence but was a little concerned to see Will suddenly swerve off line to speak to another team, so when he said they just had no clue where they were it was a relief. Spiked the control well and picked up a few more teams so there was quite a train going. Just following the compass with Will leading the train. This bit was so much fun, low vis nav through tough tussocky stuff in a pack - top notch. Was feeling really fresh but think the terrain was taking its toll on Fraser so conentrated on keeping on line. Everyone suddenly came to a halt and had a little discussion about what was going on. Didn't take long to head up left a bit and hit the control. Then 5 was much the same, great fun and moving well. There were a fair few teams who were clearly not navigating but a good number of orienteers around. Still we headed too far left and had to go right. Over-compensated and a poor map meant we all stopped again too high and too far right. Some more talking and we sussed it out. Then started the descent and suddenly came out of the cloud. Opened out a little bu could have gone for more. Really enjoyable down into the finish, absolutely loving life.
Although we lost 10-15mins in total through nav this was the most fun I've had in quite a while. The terrain, conditions and pack running made this an awesome race and the team did well to come 15th. Definitely worth the 5.20am alarm.