Southern Night Championships, Rams Combe

Posted on Sun, 4th December 2016 by Peter Suba
Event Reports WNL6 – Southern Night Orienteering Championships (QO)

2nd M40 / 3rd on course.

Not a very good start (to say the least), but once Geoff caught me up at 7, the rest of it was actually quite decent. Based on how Geoff left me behind on the British Sprints in the spring, I fully expected him to leave me behind here too, but somehow we ended up changing “leads” until the end of the course, which was quite interesting as a learning experience, but also surprising that I could keep the pace with him. In fact in some cases I seemed to have been running somewhat better, and I had a strong suspicion that he was deliberately holding back. In any case reasonably happy with my running and how I coped with the hills, this area was much more like the Hungarian terrain than most others in England. Not fully – there was still a lot of undergrowth in lots of places, but a lot of the navigation relied on using big landforms which was a similar thing.

1 – from my attackpoint I intended to find the earth wall and follow it to the control – instead the earth wall started a lot further out in the “white” forest, so ended up fighting through the green until I got out in the white bit and circled around for the control. Cost at least 1 min.
2 – Slight directional mistake on compass bearing, 10s
4 – Temporary brain melt – I thought I was going to No. 5 so as I got out to the road I started running right before realising and doubled back. 40s
5 – The nightmare control of the night. 8 min 10s! I would be very interested to learn if anyone knows of a technique by which I could avoid this. I knew the control was going to be tricky (a platform in the middle of the hillside), so I picked a good attackpoint and was very careful with my direction, and I even pace counted. I passed about 1m past the control not seeing it, then knowing I was too far, looked around, saw another control (knoll), located it on the map, ran down a bit to check if there was another knoll to figure out which knoll it was and ended up running past under the control again – this time by about 5m! – scanned the hillside above on the way back, going back to the knoll, using compass bearing again this time direct from the knoll, and this time hit the control spot on. The reason I am upset is that this cost me over 8m (which is more than what I ended up getting from Geoff in the end!), and it looks to me to be sheer luck, considering I was just running past this control this close!
6 – for good measure I ran past this control as well by about 10m. 1:30. Ben caught me up at this point, with Geoff not far behind. I decided to try and run with him for a bit, knowing the young legs will get rid of me soon enough.
7 – Took all of 1 controls for him to get rid of me but to be honest this was again my stupidity. Running around the dark green on the road, then running on bearing from the corner, I saw that Ben was running too far to the right. I kept my bearing for a few seconds longer then the “he is in the top 5 UK ranking so must know what he is doing” thoughts took over, and I gave up my bearing to run right too. At this point I also convinced myself that this was right because of the curvature of the spur… of course I was right first and wrong second! Geoff caught me up at that point cutting across the green and picking up our headlamps, but Ben fixed his error first and by the time the penny dropped for me, he was gone. I spike the control in front of Geoff (just) and expected him to run past here. 40s
9 – Out of 8 Geoff was slightly ahead now and he was running too far left but I did not want to let him go completely so I ran with him instead of going direct. We picked up the path and smaller route choice differences meant I ended up spiking the control ahead of him. Nevertheless I think this could have been faster going direct by about 30s, although I would not classify this a mistake.
10 – running ahead of Geoff on the road, I ran into the forest at what I thought was my attackpoint, the path in the middle of the green. It soon turned out to be simply the ditch slightly before the path, so as Geoff followed, we both had to fight through the dark green before finding the control. 1m – at this point Geoff ran away through the undergrowth (he deals with that better, it is quite clear).
11 – Got to the control ahead of Geoff as he made a mistake running off the wrong road, but made up that mistake by the control. From here on until 14 the recepie was the same – Geoff ran past me in the rough, then I was cleaner into the control and spiked it in front. He kept behind me to 15/16, then again started his engines to 17 overtaking me in the rough. Then again made a directional error out of 17 so I spiked 18 and finish ahead.

Very interesting, although to be honest more as a head to head racing than the course instead.

Left about 13:30 in the course then, of which the most annoying clearly was No. 5 with that 8+min mistake…

Orienteering Club