Thursday, 5 January 2012

Big 5 O - Day 2, mis-punch!

Garry takes over my start call-up job

Well, Day 2 of the Big 5 O is done. This time we took to the streets and surroundings of the town of Dullstroom. Whoa! Cookin'. I started off by manning the start, calling competitors to line up. Garry took over from me and just after 10am was my turn to run.

Straight-line distance today was same as yesterday at 4.8km. I forgot to turn on my tracker so am not sure what I ran on the ground, but it would have been a bit more.

Control 1 is always the one I want to nail nicely - it's a real confidence slammer when you screw up the first control. Today, I hit #1 spot-on, surprisingly because there wasn't much to go on in the dense trees.

I really chugged from control 1 and through to control 6. Up in the town it was roasting hot! It was a long leg to control 6 and there were lots of options. I guess mine was ok - probably reasonably fair. I caught Salome at Control 5 and we took slightly different routes to 6 and got there at the same time. I slightly overshot (like less than 10m) because the path didn't look like much of a path at first glance. On the path I hit the control, punched and left.

BUT, as it turns out, I mis-punched here. Ja, I got a DNF today ;( I haven't mis-punched a control in maybe eight or more years! Turns out that in this region there was a control on the cairn (black circle with dot), the root stock (there's a green 'x' at the end of the path) and the clearing (light coloured spot). So, each point is probably 15m from the next. I punched the clearing instead of the root stock. Arrrggghhh...

I usually always check the number on the control against my control description sheet but it seemed so obvious. There are lots of root stocks around, the path is indistinct and there wasn't one clearing because there are kinda open spots - so I didn't really notice the clearing where I punched to be a clearing worth mapping.

Anyhoo - I only found this out when I finished - there were a couple of us who made the same error. Some people punched the wrong one first and exiting the area saw their correct control. According to the regulations controls have to be at least 15m (sprint map regulations - though this wasn't a sprint map; colour-coded regulations say 30m) from each other so strictly speaking this complies with regulations... but it's a bit of a nasty. Still, nothing worth really querying - not like I'm in the running for a win. And, my mistake entirely for not checking the control number...

The rest of the course went well and I hit the controls spot on.

For me, these first two days have been about finding my 'O legs'. I haven't been to a proper O event for a while... I think the rogaine in October was probably my last and it isn't the same kind of technical and precise orienteering navigation. The events that I've really been looking forward to are the long-distance courses tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday. I've got a 10am start time tomorrow so it will be hot, but I'm hoping that being in the forest it will be cooler - humid, but cooler for good running.

We're back at our accommodation now and all ready for a nap. It is promising to rain - I can hear the rumble of thunder around. Till tomorrow...

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