Naseby Orienteering

Labour weekend this year was full of orienteering in my favorite orienteering place, Naseby. Naseby is something special in terms of orienteering terrain, perfect for technical navigation and lots and lots of it, almost enough of it is mapped that you can run on different areas everyday without covering the same ground. This time around it got even better with two new areas, previously un-mapped!

Friday night we made a quick get away from work, some distraction at the Timaru Pak’n’save delayed proceedings a little but we were bunker-ed down in our tents before midnight for a fairly cold night. It seemed to take an age for the sun to reach us and warm things up. The morning was spent lazing around playing with bikes and then things got fairly entertaining with Chris and Emily taking their Double kayak down the water race!

The first race was a double header, a chasing start short course format. So everyone ran a short course in the early afternoon in standard start order, then the chasing start was a few hours later with everyone starting at 4pm + their time from the morning. The first person across the line wins.

My first race was a bit of a shocker, I just hadn’t had enough practice at orienteering in the build up to these events and I was thrown by the small scale of the map, and to add another excuse to the list I don’t think I was quite in the right frame of mind either. However I got off to a slow start and then blew a lot of time by making a 90deg error coming out of a control at the wrong angle, very confusing! I got back on track but I knew I had lost a lot of time and this hampered my thought process for the remainder of the course. The Chasing start was my redemption, somehow I have a reputation for doing better in this format, probably because I can run faster with the safety blanket of others around me! Anyway I went out pretty fast and nailed the first 4 controls, by the 5th I had caught a bamboozled Matt, who had made a bit of a mistake, and ACW. The 3 of us upped the anti, and were running around chaotically through the forest. In my haste I managed to get a pretty good cut and bruise on my nose! Eventually we dropped ACW and Matt and I were left to fight it out at the end. I managed to get the upper hand and pulled away once out in front , taking us a less than optimal way to the finish but I still managed it.

Saturday night/Sunday morning was going to be a big day with the Long distance and an early start to watch the All Blacks play their semi-final match. I had no real expectations going into this race, but the one thing I had on my side was experience and I was going to use it. I had a shaky-ish start, loosing a little bit of time on the first 5 controls but no big time loses. After the next few controls was a couple of long legs which I used to my advantage and managed to compose my self a bit. This got me into a really good rhythm and I was feeling good. Looking back on winsplits this section of the race I had a series of the fastest splits, so I must have been running strong and taking good routes. Eventually towards the end of the long leg I caught  Matt (6mins ahead) and switched into hyperdrive. I ran the next few controls quite quickly, and as a result quite quickly dropped Matt. There was a slight lapse in concentration after the spectator control and then right towards the end I almost lost it all again. I had a strong finish however and by the skin of my teeth I took 2nd place 6mins behind Nick but 7 seconds in front of Gene. Looking back I was within 1min of Nick right up until the spectator so with a bit of practice I think I’m definitely not too far of the pace. Very encouraging 🙂

I took this excited-ness with me into the next days race, and had a really good few controls. I even slotted myself into 1st place for one control, but as luck…or skill would have it I blew it big time on the very next control. It was such a big mistake that I really found it hard to get my mind back on track let alone the orienteering. I bleed a large amount of time and then really did some damage to my face again getting a couple of good cuts across my forehead and cheek. I thought I finished fast but the splits proved that the long had taken a bit out of my petrol tank, and finished moderately well. Matt and I managed to get in a little bit of “extreme” mountain biking before heading back to the camp to pack up and head home.

Awesome weekend of orienteering, Naseby is such a cool place for it and there is heaps of good terrain and good maps. Cant wait to get back there now! Its was really nice to be able to bike between events too while being based in the camping ground….had that “Oringen” feeling about it! We were very lucky with the weather too, it was pretty cold while hanging around, really hot while running and freezing cold at night but best of all the snow held off until 4pm on Monday just after everyone had headed home. I felt like my orienteering has got back on track again too, I was really enjoying it out there, I proved to myself (And others?) that I can do it at a high level and I still want to do it at a high level and that has been missing for a couple of years now. So really happy to be out there running round, scratching my face up and with a map in my hand!!

Categories: Mountain Biking, Orienteering

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