Vic Relays at Wildflower Drive just east of Bendigo - not the most technical area I've ever been on but enough on it to create a challenge. I thought we'd struggle to be competitive in a team in which I was the youngest member by some margin, but Bendigo (who won easily) was the only club able to put out three M21s (or close approximations thereof) so there was a race on for 2nd and 3rd.
I'd rather have run first in this team but Russell Bulman had to leave early so led off for us. Three years ago he ran an excellent leg for us, and today wasn't too bad either, 10 minutes down on the lead and just behind Jasmine for MFR. That meant that I went out with Reuben to chase 50 metres ahead. This gap widened a bit when I had a long split early on, and we were never right together, but I'd got just about back in contact by 8 when the courses split widely and didn't see him again. By this time it was apparent that this was a pretty good run - the only control I was even vaguely uncertain on was 2, and Reuben showed me in - and it stayed that way. Particularly pleasing to be nailing the flat controls (unlike last week), and had some decent strength for the late hills. Probably ranks with the SA Middle as my best run so far this year.
Reuben was a couple of minutes back. As expected, this wasn't enough to give Ted a realistic chance of holding off Max, but Ted did manage to run down Warwick Williams (Bendigo 2nd team, which led after two legs) and get us into the placings by 30 seconds or so. Leg times: Bryan well clear at 37, Toph, myself and Matt Schepisi 42, Eddie, Max and James Robertson 43.
Lower right leg was a little sore beforehand (but warmed up), and more so afterwards. Will need to be watched but don't think it's too serious.
There was a heavy police presence on the way up (especially in the 80 zone past Taylors Lakes which is even longer now than it used to be). The police are getting better at disguising their unmarked cars because I saw one which was a ute bearing stickers from various country pubs (although to be truly authentic as a bush ute, it would also have required stickers from assorted country B + S balls, the Deniliquin Ute Muster, the mountain cattlemen and something along the lines of 'Fertilize the Bush: Doze In A greenie'). Perhaps it would have come in useful as a chase vehicle for yesterday's Great Milk Robbery.
(Someone did suggest that the police might have acquired it by confiscating it).
And I was shocked to see other orienteering people in the Bendigo branch of the Beechworth Bakery afterwards.