The third and final race in the Nordic Tour, this time in Raufoss, Norway. Since Stockholm, we travelled to Falun, Sweden for 2 days training in terrain relevant for the World Students Championships that I will race in July. From there, we drove to Raufoss ready for the chase. The times are added together from the first two races, and the best starts first. Everyone else then starts in order of time, so that the first person to cross the line wins.
I was starting in 40th place. All us Brits had been pretty similar throughout the tour and were starting within 3 mins. I had identified a few people ahead I felt I could overtake and I knew there were some people that were not going to start. However, I knew there were a number of very good runners behind me not least the other Brits. My aim was to be at least 35th place, but more importantly have a technically solid race that I had attacked physically. I wanted to finish the week off well and put a bit of what I had learnt into practice.
I started 2 seconds behind a New Zealand girl, but because of the complicated gaffling (spreading) system to try and split runners, I wasn't sure if we would be going to the same controls. I decided not to waste energy thinking about it, and just got on with my own thing. I did well to 1 and 2, but I made a mistake at 3. A combination of a bad exit from 2 and not adjusting to the slightly greener areas was the problem. I did relocate off a fence, but still couldn't quite get things together. So I took another loop of the area before I finally got the control. I pulled myself together and set off to 4, determined that that would be the one and only mistake of my run.
I got through the next few fine. The New Zealand girl was running on my tail, but I wanted to stay ahead so that I could be in control and not be distracted by her. I continued steadily and strongly through the next controls with 2 map changes. I felt I dealt well with the complicated system by just focusing on the map and taking my time when necessary. As I was coming up to the final loop we had a run through the arena for the spectators. A Norwegian had caught me up and was running stronly. I didn't want to let her go without a fight. I pushed through the arena and over a rough area of stones and felled trees. It was uphill and I was physically stronger and managed to get a little gap. We were catching a Dane, who was one I had hope to overtake. I had identified the next two controls as being tricky in the green. I ran around the road (I should have cut the corner) and tried to take a nice line into the control spotting the open area and marsh on the way. I hit it well and pushed on to the next control. Got that safely.
On the sprint finish, covered in marshy mudNow it was just downhill. But tough, rocky and fallen trees. The Norwegian was just too strong downhill over the rough terrain and I couldn't keep the pace up. But I was not going to let the Dane beat me! We raced on, one more control through the green. We found a Russian. Ok sprint finish, and I was going to win. I went my own way, safely into the control. I got there just ahead of them. One last control - easy, but don't mess it up. Head up, run strong, ok got it. I didn't look back, I didn't know how strongly the Dane would sprint and it was a long run in. So I pushed, across the bridge. The Norwegian finished infront, in sight but too far to get. I beat the Dane and the Russian. 33rd in the Nordic Tour. 37th best time of the day. I'm pleased with that. And I'm pleased with the performance.
Click above to see the race broadcast on Norwegian TV.
Highlight of me starting around 17.30
I need more time to really learn from the experiences. I have a lot of little things that I can work on when I analyse splits and my mistakes, but looking more broadly, the key thing is that I need to be more attacking. I am too slow making decisions and I think I check off too many things on the map when I get nervous. I need to be more confident in my compass and simplication techniques.