Aus champs. Middle Distance. Narrogin.
Came 2nd in M50. Yay!
Pretty surprised, particularly since I lost 4 minutes at #13.
Everything went smoothly for #1 to #5 - all the features were exactly as I expected. I couldn't make out any of the indistinct tracks approaching #6, but I had the vibe that I was too low, and that it was tucked into a corner of the green, so I ducked back just in time to get it.
I was surprised to see Ruhi, who had started 10 minutes before me. He shot off to #7, and I tried to keep him in sight, while still paying attention to the features. Having Ruhi ahead of me almost certaintly helped keep my speed up. We got off line, and passed #9 on the way to #8. He was gradually dropping me as we went toward #12. Doubly surprised to be joined by Shane at #12, who started 6 minutes before me. I thought I could be in with a chance, if I just stick with them.
Ruhi stopped too soon on the way to #13, at a wrong control. It was beside a change of vegetation, and I knew our control was at the top of the hill, on the edge of the vegetation, so I headed uphill. Shane and Ruhi headed downhill. I headed further uphill, couldn't make anything match, found a control - its number didn't match any of mine. Decided to go back downhill, to try my luck with whatever Shane and Ruhi had been doing. Followed the vegetation line downhill, saw a re-entrant coming in from the right, just as it should, went into the green, found a control, not mine, went lower. Found myself looking at a steep hill facing the wrong way. Decided it was time to bail out for the road. Headed in the general direction. Saw a control, checked it, and it was mine. The change of vegetation that I was seeing in the field was not shown on the map, which is what threw me. Attackpoint says I lost four minutes on that, but it felt much longer.
Coming through the gate at #15, which was a spectator control, I knew exactly which way to go, having sussed it out in advance. I heard my name being called out from the other side of the hill, as I headed up to #16, an abandoned minivan. Extra effort in to the finish chute - Caryn could here my wheezing as I came down the hill, and I could here the commentator saying I was in second place.
A slightly nervous wait to see if Mark Freeman could knock me off, but it didn't take too long to confirm my place.
I feel a bit of a fraud to have placed, with such a bad mistake, but Shane, Ruhi, and Mark all made worse mistakes, and I was fourth on both other bush maps this week, so I've been reasonably consistent. The good thing is, I placed while making a big mistake, so I have room for improvement even without addressing the running speed. I'm really thrilled to have got a place in a national championship event - I really thought it would be a long time coming. And I'm feeling a bit more motivated to train in the coming months.