|W21E middle distance|
First was the middle race, around the highest 'mountain' in Latvia, Gaizinkalns, which stands 61.6m higher than the hills surrounding it, although it's actual height is over 300m.
The course was long for a middle (in comparison to those I've done this season), 7.4km with 250m of climb. Essentially the more climb on a course equals higher chance of crashing/falling/penguin steps!
So needless to say, I was nervous about the challenges the course the would bring.
The first controls were ok. I took a longer route to 5 by going left, but to avoid the best route which had a steep climb on it. Being an early starter meant the step hills would be narrow making life much harder for me, so I opted to go up the hill with the gentlest incline. Control 8 was possibly one of the worst on the course, I took a wrong path for 30 secs, and also couldn't stop at the junction with the control so ended up disappearing off down the hill for a minute or so!
On the 13th control, mixing in with my 32-36th place splits was a little gem! 19th fastest on that leg, mainly due to being able to navigate in the technical sections! The next controls were ok again, so more crashes and falls, and surviving some of the icy descents. The end of the course had a sting in the tail with a small loop around which included several steep steep hill climbs, just to finish off my arms in case the planners didn't think I'd be tired enough by that time!
A few days later was the sprint distance with the start and finish immediately in front of our cabins. I was looking forward to this race, as there was due to be 70% wide pisted tracks which means I can maintain speed and move a bit quicker!
|W21E sprint (solid line = race route, arrows = re-race route)|
The following day after the relay I headed back out on the sprint course to test route choices. It's not very often in Orienteering that one gets the chance to re-race the course in the same conditions. I leapt at the chance and decided to take alternative route choices to the actual race and was pleased to finish in 18.44, nearly two mins quicker than the actual race and 35% behind the leader. The main areas where I saved time were controls 1 and 2, 6 and 7, 11 and 13. It was fascinating to see the difference between route choices when my skiing speed was the same. I also found I was more confident going round the course again as I knew there was nothing out there I couldn't ski. I got to spend a bit more time getting to grips with skidding out of narrow tracks onto wide ones and vice versa.