Just a couple of weekends after Nationals and it was time to get back into some more orienteering. I was finally feeling like I was almost back to normal again, so I had hoped that I would be better prepared from some Orienteering than the three weeks earlier at Nationals. However my Achilles was still not 100% and I had that feeling you get like just before you are getting a cold… anyway I jumped on a plane in Christchurch and in relative luxury, flew down to Dunedin. Waiting for me at the airport was Mum (thanks for coming to pick me up!) and a freezing cold Southerly!
By the time it came to head to the orienteering that afternoon, the enthusiasm had waned quite a bit for orienteering, not used to the winter like weather I had to delay my getting ready and then jump around quite a bit to keep warm before racing around the gardens and the top of the Logan Park map. The first few controls I found fairly straight forward, even though there was some terrible looking doglegs. I was up and running at that stage, feeling much more comfortable with map in hand, but this did not last long as I headed into an area that was a little bit stranger on the ground than it showed on the map. I lost about a minute or two there and it was catch up from then on in. To make it all a lot worse I then stuffed the next one, bleeding time all over the place. Once that one was out of the way I settled down a bit and started doing some planning ahead, and the course allowed for it a bit. The second half of the course went into an area on the old Logan Park map, actually the first proper orienteering map I ever ran on so it was all very nostalgic right to the finish. The result showed an ok recovery, but well off the pace still.
Sunday greeted us all with another classic Southerly Dunedin day, with the cold wind blowing air right up from Antarctica across St Clair/St Kilda beach and right into Signal hill. I didn’t have high hopes for the quality of this area for orienteering, which again meant there was a bit of enthusiasm lacking. One interesting facet of this race was the bus ride to the top of the course, a bit of a novelty in New Zealand, bringing back memories of some of the European classic Orienteering events I’ve been lucky enough to race at. At the top it was even more exposed and a little bit colder again, so I didn’t need to think twice about leaving the polypro on! However a few minutes into the race and I was already questioning that decision. It took me a while to warm up but once I was into the map I really started to enjoy it. Having low expectation may have helped but it just had that real Switzerland style orienteering to it. Gradually I made some progress up the ranking, taking some good and then later some bad routes. I finished sharply through the buildings and felt like I sprinted hard to the finish!
There wasnt much incentive to stick around too long afterwards, so it was back to Dad’s place to warm up, fuel up and just a quick flight home to Christchurch (thanks Dad for dropping me off!)