Archive for May, 2010

Hubris at Abraham’s Valley (Cannock Chase)

(This was written for the DVO Newsletter & I dug it out to psyche for the Midlands Champs 2015 on the same area)

After 21 years of orienteering with AIRE, TVOC and DVO for the last 14, it was a dream come true to win W45L at the British Champs in Cannock! I had quite an early run and the first three controls were OK; I always try to make risk-averse route choices, staying on paths until as close as possible to the control. This suits me as a runner, and I try to maintain constant map contact.

The complex area (Nos 3 to 8) filled me with dread so I identified some catching macro-features like fences and wooded ridges, and was pleased to find from WinSplits that I only lost 30 seconds on No 8.

The rest of the course suited me as it was physical rather than technical, with 2 legs over a km in length. It went fine but I realised I was in oxygen debt at No 10 when for some reason I was expecting white on the map to mean open ground, so I tried harder to concentrate after that!

WinSplits showed that Liz Jackson was ahead of me until No 14 but lost a minute here, a veg boundary between conifers and deciduous. I didn’t feel too bad about coming in ahead of her as mistakes near the end of a course have deprived me of a podium place a couple of times. Apparently it’s called post-crux failure syndrome, and shows the importance of maintaining concentration until the very end!

It was a long wait while the results came in, especially with the likes of Stella Lewsley and Kath Broatch still to run. I was hoping for a top 10 place as I was 6th last year in the New Forest, but was amazed and pleased to be first!

Our team on Sunday looked promising with Michelle and Sue, but I went and blew it on 1st leg loosing a minute following a ditch at about 30 degrees to the correct one. It was wrong in relation to the open area I could see outside the square of forest, but the oxygen debt must have been too much for rationality to get a look in. The rest of the run was fine, and Michelle and Sue both had clean runs pulling ‘DVO Labour’ up to 4th. Uncannily similar to the fate of Gordon Brown!

This is why orienteering is so addictive, one minute you think you’ve cracked it, then you realize there’s always room for improvement!

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