Friday, 31 May 2013

Race 1 - Denmark Sprint

Assembly in the sun!
Part of the preparation for EOC involves races in Denmark and Sweden.

Today's race was a sprint in Fredriksvaerk forest, 20 mins north of Hillerød. On departing the boat in the morning, we were greeted by 21°C and sunshine. We drove straight to the event, via the food shop and mobile phone shop for internet, so we arrived 6 hours before the other competitors. Lunch in the sun and a short run, before a nap. HJ spent all afternoon topless and now has sunburnt shoulders and chest! Massive LOL!

Part 1
At about 4pm we saw dark clouds looming on the horizon. We knew thunder was due so decided we should get out at 6pm at first start and hopefully be back before the rain. The plan worked like a charm, as, after our cool down, the rain started and the thunder rolled. Fortunately, we were safe and cozy in the bobil.

Onto the race. We chose to come to the weekend of events in Denmark as the standard of competition here is high. A good gauge of our pre-EOC form is to compete against these athletes.

Denmark is currently issuing the map in the 'starting moment'. We used the format a month ago at the Denmark TC, and since it was training, I didn't really notice the difference. However, in today's race, the 'starting moment' map suddenly made things a little harder. Trying to punch the start, take the map, put in the map board, orientate it and plan a route in the space of 2m to the start kite was tricky. Not only that, but the immediate 90° angle to no.1 had me confused for a few seconds. I got over it, and rode the corner before doubt set in and I paused for a couple more seconds to check.

Part 2

Not the best of starts made worse by a small mistake to the first control. With no time to look at the map, I dived off on the first right hand junction I came too, before taking left again. I lost about 20 secs here with the wrong gearing on the small climb after the left turn and then tried to jump on just as I was passing some perpendicular ruts, which meant I had to jump straight off the other side!

But, with control one in the bag, I could focus on the coming controls. However, the route to control 2 didn't really fit with the map - a cool down later showed the path to no.2 actually came up to the hill to the east and met the main path corner. Leaving the slow path, I actually had to ride straight ahead, rather than left then right to the control. I was starting to settle in on the way to 3, but had to run a hill to the control from the nearest junction when two older competitors were having problems negotiating some roots. On controls 2 and 3 I was only 7 secs or so behind HJ who had the same legs on H21.

A bit blurred but heading to the final control
After this everything went a lot smoother. I was riding well, navigating well and knowing always where my next junction was and which way I should go. I even successfully handled standing punches, and turning the map while riding. Simple skills individually but under pressure in a race, they become a little more challenging.

When we left the event I was two and a half minutes clear of 2nd, so a good lead for a 23.37 min/sec course. We won't know until later this evening the final results.
Split times