I'm part of the British Team doing the Nordic Orienteering Tour over the next 10 days. It consists of 3 world cup races in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Britain has selected a young team to get experience and there are some older athletes sorting themselves out but also taking part in the races. The whole thing is complicated.
I arrived in Helsinki after an early start on Wednesday. We travelled up to the model event where I sussed out the differences in vegetation and tried to work out what sort of speed to run at.
The race was on Thursday evening and started with a middle distance style course, followed by a sprint. I came 42nd, not too far off world cup points (top 40). This was lower than hoped, as I was mainly satisfied with my performance.
The first control was tricky as it was a really short leg. I hit it slowly but ok. I then did a wierd mistake which loads of others seemed to do. I came out on a small track after the control, and not paying enough attention to the map, I set my compass and ran down assuming it was the road. I soon realised this wasn't quite right and I had to cut across the marshy forest to get back on track, although probably would have been better going straight on to the next path. Given that early half the men and women made this mistake, I have come to two conclusions. One was that the track at the beginning section did seem big. Also, the depression was full of brashings on the left hand side, forcing us to go right and so not hitting the road/track junction. Still, no excuse.
After that I had quite a good section. There was a butterfly loop and I took that very conservatively. I hit all the controls pretty much ok, but with bit of hestitation. Things continued to go ok until a long route choice leg. I decided to play it simple and go all the way round the road to the left. I entered the circle from the way people would be exiting. The problem was I came across a depression with a control in it straight away. I punched this and started to continue on my way. Luckily I checked my codes and as I was running out I realised what I had done. I went back to find my depression which was a little further on. I was not so bothered about the time loss as I was just happy not to have mispunched!
The map changeover was simpler than expected and not infront of specatators. I still took it very slow and carefully although it was simple. From then on the sprint was pretty basic. I took a bad route to number 4, although nothing drastic. I completed the course pretty nicely and I was happy with that. Click here for Norwegian TV program of the race, here for GPS tracking replay.
Its a bit of a shame to be so far down in time, although there are definitely 3 or so mins to be saved in the forest. Not attacking probably lost me a bit aswell. I felt heavy in the legs and I so maybe there is a bit to be saved there. It's not good enough performance at this level, but for a first race, its ok by me, I've learnt a lot.
Next stop is Jukola. I was in the model event terrain today. Its tough, low vis and green. I'm going for damage limitation strategy again.