Yep, a reality check was pretty much how it went down at the World Cup round in St Gallen.
The middle distance race was quite long, fast paced, steep and dominated by the Swiss. I started off at a what I thought was a good pace (about 40-60th fastest splits) then made a couple of route choice errors which cost me 1min and then later in the course another 4min on one control sending me straight out the back door. I learned some harsh but quick lessons there, it pays to take the best route possible as there is no room for error. I ended up in about 85th place, but taking out my mistakes that would be about 70th or so… I guess its not so bad as this race was harder than WOC due to the increase in numbers allowed from each nation…but still I was left a little depressed about my orienteering that afternoon!
Following the middle distance race on Saturday was a sprint around St Gallen on Sunday. To qualify for the sprint you needed to be in the top 40 of the World Cup so far so for countries such as NZ there was never going to be anyone able to make it in as EOC was the first round about a month ago. This sucks really as the IOF is apparently trying to expand the sport of orienteering however it appears the Swiss are trying to make it all the more exclusive! Anyway as this is a World Cup round they didnt leave us non-qualifiers completely high and dry, allowing us instead to race in the National race as a “B Final” instead….
Still suffering a bit from jet lag I tried to get excited for this race, and ran my guts out but still lacked a bit of top end speed. I also was a bit sloppy loosing time on a couple of controls including the first one, running right past it without seeing the flag, hesitating on a few, then taking a poor route choice on another one near the end. Slightly better result than the Middle with 30th place but still left with the feeling could do better….and I guess that’s what I’m here to do…to do better.
We hung around and watched the big boys and girls play their game, with all the hype you would expect for a Rugby test match in NZ. Again it sucks watching, I really would have preferred to have been out there racing. The noise as Simone Niggli left the starting gate was insane!
Once the racing was over it was time to move on, so with our WOC Coach Dieter Wolf, we headed up to his place in Davos for a proper meal, and a comfy bed for the night.