So now that I’m vaguely running again (as in, my physio told me to run as she couldn’t find anything wrong with me) I decided to have a go at the chasing sprint last Sunday, organised by my club, ESOC. I was already doing the timing for the event so it was easy enough to run too, although I didn’t get much time for keeping warm between the races!
The first race was the prologue which was to be used to determine the start order for the chase, to take place ~1 hour after the prologue. Given my recent lack of activity I decided to take this fairly steady and given the very simple orienteering had a decent run, leaving myself 5th overall, 2 secs behind Martin Dean with nobody else really close enough to us to see without significant mistakes being made. Here’s the course with my route on it, the colour indicates pace as per the scale at the top:
As you can see from the green trace I started off pretty quickly, probably slightly so as I slowed down in the forest. Not too bothered about the speed really, as long as it’s not going to harm my recovery / development it’s fine.
Producing the start times for the chase took slightly longer than expected, so I didn’t have much time for much between the two events other than a few slurps of coffee and Martin coming in to the tent to ask if I was ‘getting stressed out’ as he knew I would be chasing him down! It turned out I had about 5mins which involved a slight re-warmup and a pee and then into the queue to get going with the chase. I watched Tom, Dave and Will all head off in the same direction so headed off in the same direction with confidence, glanced at the map and saw 6 controls in the open and the rest were in the slightly steeper forested section. I knew my current strength would limit my speed in the forest so had to try and get a gap ahead of Martin during the first 6 controls. Then we had our ‘wobble’ – the first 3 guys had all come back out and round between 2 and 3 and we had a brief conversation in which we concluded we would too. We were the last to do so as Fraser P took the initiative about 30secs after us… The leading 5 all lost around 20secs on this control because of this… Take a look at the map, it’s a double-dotted wall, this is why sprint standard maps exist.
4/5/6 were all a bit of a parade really, very simple navigation and I was just trying to get a gap on Martin, I took a chance on diving into the forest early on 5 to try to get ahead but I only ever got a few metres in front. The photo below (thanks to Ken Daly for this) shows us crossing the bridge after coming out of number 6, I was ahead here but not for long….
About 10 secs after this was a slight uphill and my legs just wouldn’t do it, so I slowed and Martin came soaring past, nothing I could do about it. A couple of controls later he was effectively out of sight so I reduced my speed to a cruise and hoped that nobody would catch me. During the last 3 controls I lost a lot of time to lots of people! I caught a glimpse of Martin going straight on 13 so I chose the path route in the offchance he got caught in some grotty undergrowth but it wasn’t to be.
About 10 seconds after punching 14 I heard some action behind me, Jon Hollingdale and Fraser Purves were head to head and really pushing it, so I was ready to break out in a sprint if they caught me on the (fairly long) run in, but they didn’t and finished 10secs behind me. Pleased to hang on to 5th but disappointed I couldn’t give Martin a better race.
Results are here (including RouteGadget etc)
We made a bit of a faux-pas with the results, the two SI units on the finish had ~3 secs between their clocks (oops!) which meant a few results needed to be amended afterwards which was a shame. Either synchronising them or only having one unit with a marshal to make sure people punch in the order they crossed a finish line would have worked much better.
Thankfully nobody lost out because of the wall indecision, although my pride was dented slightly by being beaten by Andrew Lindsay over the chase course by a few seconds. He was ‘chasing’ all the way though and his last few control splits are way faster than mine! Hopefully this is a sign that I need to train more so these pesky juniors don’t start beating me regularly!
Really amazing to be back orienteering, long may it continue and short may my injuries woes last!