Devon and Cornwall Double - 16th - 17th March

First up a trip down to Newquay to run at Polly Joke.  Fast open heathland with a small section of sandunes for good measure.  The issues always come with making the change from fast open to the technical dunes.  The weather looked good and early start was on the card to avoid the rain which was forecast later.  Off I went in just my O top, spring really was here!!  Safe to #1 and I was on my way, long leg to #4 time to get my head in gear, took easy option into dunes with good attack-point from post above control, nice to start off clean, conservative into #5 but clean again, short leg to #6 fail to read detail and got confused interpreting the path.  Slight miss to #7, annoyed but pushed to #8 via solid attack-point.  Back to running on the fast open areas, making sure not to have any misses.  Clean all the way through to #12, onto second map and back into the dunes.  #13 used same way into dunes picked up original attack-point, but failed to interpret map in any shape or form ended up back at #7.  Eventually figured it out and was on my way.  #14 clean, slight miss to #15 but nothing major.  Back out on to the heathland, and upped the speed again, flowing nicely through the controls.  At #23 it started to rain, no big deal nearly done.  Halfway to #24 hail, nearly at the control but the hail is bouncing off the map, obvious control site so hope I have it stored in my brain correctly.  Hail now getting very big, find #24 clean and turn for home. Try to put my hat back on as hail hurting my head now!!  Eventually get it on, through #25, hail pinging off my back which is only protected by my thin O top, hail about the size of 5p's now, ouch this is why I never go paintballing!!  At least I am not running into it any more.  The 4min leg to #26 felt like an age but nowhere to shelter so might as well race to the finish, remind myself to keep focused as don't want to mess this up.  #26 and #27 clean, into finish and the hail seems to have finished!  Back to assembly to find everyone huddled under the tents smiling at those coming in from the feild of battle! 15 years I have been orienteering and I cant remember the weather inflicting more pain!  Still an enjoyable race and fairly happy with my time of 71.07 for 8.9km 205m.  9th out of 13, those at the top end of the results certainly can motor!   

So to the River Dart Country Park, Ashburton the site of my first orienteering adventure fifteen years ago.  With the JK coming up I keen to get a second race in my legs to see how I was going, I wasn't so keen when I saw the Brown course advertised as 6.8km 420m, that was really going to test my legs.  Still off I went, met Helen and Abbie on the way to my first control enjoying the park, if slightly off track.  Through #5 going OK but feeling the climb already, Shane Ohly stormed past on the way to #6 and my safe option meant he was long gone by the time I got to the control. Closing in on #7 I see Shane's head pop up, he's having problems, I am on line for once and he punches before me and disappears again.  Running legs not really playing the game now on the climbs so concentrating on a clean run, with good plans.  See Shane on his way up to #12 as I am on my way to #13, slight miss at #13 unsure of the special feature which appeared to be a ball of wire, didn't hang around as wanted to get away from Shane, the climbs were behind us so it was all out fight to the finish now.  Out of #14 see Shane going in, push the pace to the simple #15, and keep pushing.  Just out of #16 and Shane flows past at what seems an easy pace, try to stay with him but just don't have the speed so concentrate on being accurate.  Not far behind at #18 then Shane has a miss at #19 and overshoots, I punch and go for it, still ahead at #20 but Shane flows past again.  Good nav means I punch just in front at #21, but he's soon past again!  Shane's on the path going to #23 so I opt for the direct route but am just able to maintain the gap, through #23 and now its just a straight forward run to the finish, no hope of catching him now!!!

I really enjoyed the battle with Shane and it just goes to show that running speed is only part of orienteering.  It was good have a blast around the park, and I now looking forward to the JK sprint race at Reading Uni on Good Friday.  6.8km 420m in 78.15 4th out 15.  Helen and Abbie did really well completing the Yellow course, they did get a little distracted by an adventure playground which slow them down somewhat!