Thursday, 2 January 2014

Big 5 O - Day 3 (middle distance & Polokwane successes)

We had a longer drive today from Nelspruit to the Elandshoogte area - well worth the drive to get on top of the escarpment to enjoy the view - complete with bright blue sky, glistening forests, winding roads and early morning heat already setting in.

A little view of the drive home - the area we were in was more green (less felling) with some open grassy areas.
Before I puff up my chest and grin broadly in the telling of the exploits of my Polokwane bunch, here's how my race went today.

For the most part, very good and solid. I had two less desirable controls. The first was Control 2 to 3.

Control 2 to 3

(my track here going to 2 looks a bit weird to me because I took the ride - fine dashed line... I didn't go through the forest. GPSs *sigh*)

So, leaving #2 I decided to use the bottom road because I didn't feel like running uphill...So I headed to the bottom road and turned into the forest at the corner. I was definitely reading things a bit wonky because even though I could see the dark green rocky area on my left and the dark green plus open ground on my right, I took a wonky line to the control - skirting around rocks.

Control 9

Control 9 has been my worst of the whole event thus far. I approached nicely, crossed the road and checked out the big clearing with bare, exposed rock to my left. Check. It's hard to see under all of these tracks but I was looking for another, tiny clearing also with some exposed rock. I initially may have been within sight of it but I wasn't looking to my left, but rather to my right-front. I just couldn't recognise this separate tiny clearing.

And then I did a few stupid things like thinking maybe I'd messed up my angle coming off the road and that I had my big clearings wrong. Yet I could identify all the other rocky outcrops and dense vegetation shown on the map. All where I expected them to be. So I headed back to the big clearing to check out the bare rock to make sure it all was what I thought it was. Check. I headed out. And I'll say thank goodness that Christie came along (I'd snuck past her at Control 5 - she had blitzed past me leaving 4 but then messed up 5). She pretty much went to the control, which was a few metres away from me. Doh!

I chastised myself and got my head straight again and the rest of my controls went just the way I like them - efficiently and with good approaches and no hunting.

On reaching the event area again - after the finish - I found five of my seven charges already in.

Diketso and Juliet before their starts.

Tseke waiting in he first box, ready to begin.
The first I spoke to was young Tseke - he's the one I had a deal with that he had to find all of his controls today. So he looks at me and kinda squiggles his mouth like he had some problems. And then he shows me his EMIT printout. PERFECT! Not one missed control nor one mis-punched control. He really looked chuffed. I was totally grinning too.

And then Lesedi, running Open Middle for the first time today, shows me the results on the board that have him in 1st place, a good 20 or 30 minutes ahead of Tebatso! Whooo-whoop! What a super run by him.

And then I look at the Open Short results and I see Juliet in first place with Tseke second and Mary in third! Diketso came in a while later and bumped Tseke down to third, taking 2nd.

And then Ephraim came in with a clean sweep on his course - also everything correct - and his first completed-and-all-correct race of the event. Just so good for him.

So that makes it seven out of seven today. Our first. They're all totally chuffed - but I think I am even more so.

We stopped at the shops on the way back and I secretly bought a yummy chocolate cake for us to share after dinner tonight - in celebration (Lesedi did see it but he's keeping the secret so it will be a surprise tonight).

Tonight we'll do a match-the-map game, probably more control description flash cards too and I'll chat to them about dehydration and heat exhaustion. Coming home Tseke wasn't feeling great and had a headache - spot-on dehydration symptom. I gave him some rehydrate solution and got him to cool down and he's A-ok now. So, a suitable topic for tonight especially considering the heat and humidity out here and that we've got longer courses tomorrow.

For now, I'm jubilant. Once they're done swimming I'll chat to them one-on-one about their routes (they have to draw it in on their maps every day) and I look forward to their stories of glory from today. Hip-hip-hooray!

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