Click here for my Italy World Cup '05, Middle Qual Heat 3 map.
Click here for my Italy World Cup '05, Middle B Final map.
Click here for my Italy World Cup '05, Sprint Qual Heat 1 map.
Click here for my Italy World Cup '05, Sprint AB Final map.
Click here for my Italy World Cup '05, Long map.
Click here for my Italy World Cup '05, Relay Fork 7.97K map.
Sprint maps go to a 12.5m interval in urban areas
The races were based in Subiaco, which is about 1.5 hours
east of Rome. It was cold and rainy every day, except for
some intermittent pleasant weather for the sprint qualifier,
tho it did rain on me during that race also. Temperature
ranged from 6-14 degrees, or so. The last day, the relay,
was particularly miserable.
After my only other previous world cup (EOC last year),
I decided I was never going to do that again -- but I think
I did it this year so that a) the guys would have a relay
team, and b) the experience may be valuable for various
reasons down the road. I feel I did better this time around,
tho I still looked like a clown. I even had a couple of
highlights -- my relay run was genuinely solid, tho pathetically
slow, and they tell me my sprint qual had me in a qualifying
position thru about the first 40% of the race or so (I never
verified this). Since I finished so dreadfully in last in
the sprint at the EOC, I was happy finishing a few notches
up this time round, especially given that I think there were less
weak countries this time. And despite my embarrassing
time in the sprint final, I was generally happy with most
of that race. These races make it easy for me to retire
from running M21E in Europe, tho this is sad because I think
these are the best formats, etc. (I still can't get excited
about WMOC and its format ...)
The rest of the team had some good results, both Karen and
Sandra qualifying for the sprint, and Boris missing the cut
by about 40 seconds. The living in Europe seems to be
paying off for these folks. Eddie also had impressive runs
in the long and relay, terrain I felt he would eat up.
Eddie has the potential for more great international results
The organization was rough around the edges, but they got the
important things right -- excellent terrain, maps, and course
setting. The one notable exception to this is the dreadfully
crappy overprinting of the relay course. Some examples of the
negatives from an organizational standpoint were the fact
that when we showed up, they told us the water at our flat
was not potable, and that we would be charged for it if we went
over a certain quota! Eddie got sick, tho we think this was
not from the water.
And of course, the overall highlight for me has to be the
sprint final at Cervara. This was a race that I think those
who where there will talk about for a long long time -- it
was unlike anything I've ever seen nor ever will, I imagine,
and words will not do it justice. We tried to stage lots of
pictures to capture the area, which Eddie should have on his
server, probably as I write this. Also, Tero supposedly reran
the course with a head-mounted video camera -- this video is
worth tracking down, tho I'm still not sure it could convey
the unique experience of this orienteering race.
Area was some sort of terraced pasture land, with green patches
everywhere which absolutely had to be respected. Long vis was
actually fairly poor, and it was easy to get lost near the wrong
patch of green. Everything green seemed a little spreadier than
mapped, and it was tough. I had a mediocre to decent race here,
bobbling #5 and #10, and getting a bit confused on the way
to #3. I found the course mentally intense, and harder than it
looks on the map.
I think what made it difficult was that it was unique terrain,
at least for me. I know my mind works in terms of "forest
structures", that is, the way wild mid-atlantic forests seem
to work, and I seem to be able to operate a bit smoother when
encountering forest systems that seem to work the same way.
In other words, running thru stuff that works the same way
as stuff I'm used to has been internalized. Some of this
terrace stuff and green patches seemed a bit alien, and required
an extra effort of conscious concentration.
Middle final was on the same sort of terrain (in fact, parts of
the same map), as the qual, tho it was a bit more technical in
the beginning. Race was on the afternoon of the qual.
I had two disastrous controls in this race (#4 and #5); both
I think have to be attributed to laziness in terms of
concentration. I remember myself letting up 10 meters away
from #4, and that was the hardest in circle control on the
course. I knew were I was, and figured I'd "just find it".
Too many random bushes, knolls, and clumps of green for my
brain, tho there is no reason to doubt that the area was
accurately and fairly mapped. I just let up, and it is
unacceptable. Is it perhaps the result of a second mentally
demanding race on the same day as one in the morning?
#5 was just a matter of being pissed, and, by chance, pack
running with someone else who could not find the control
either. Fortunately, I did recover and find it first.
Despite other lame results over the week, this is the only
race I truly feel bad about, especially since, despite the
somewhat alien terrain, it was the sort of venue that is
best suited to my skills.
The sprint qual was in the back alleyways of the town
center of Subiaco, after a brief forest section. This was
also a mentally intense race, and I think a good race for
me. I did bungle the first control, but so did everyone
else, at least it seemed that way from the whining about
it. I started last, and could not believe the number
of runners I encountered there. I had a qualifying
position some decent amount of way into this race, or at
least that is what they tell me. I think this is my
best WC race in terms of "distance from last" -- what a
way to measure performance!
I've done a few European old city sprints, but don't ever
remember doing one this mentally demanding in such an
intense area. Making it tougher were external things to
think about, such as TV cameras, crowds, locals wandering
around, cheering, and saying/pointing "its that way"
(with 3 heats, you can't trust them, of course).
was also a map exchange in the spectator area, right near
the finish, with all the crowds, etc. The second loop
was printed on the back of the map of the first loop.
This was a visually confusing area, and I actually stopped
and dialed in a bearing into my compass to make sure I
went out the right way (I otherwise don't ever remember
using a compass in an urban sprint). This seemed
embarrassing, but a map exchange really disrupts the flow
and momentum of a sprint. I understand that this gave
Eddie a good deal of trouble.
One thing I did find awkward about the sprint was the
mix of forest/urban terrain. It was not clear what sort
of footwear to choose, as I hate running on pavement with
O shoes. I chose trail running shoes, which
are fine in towns, but were a disaster in the forest. The
forest was wet and slippery, and I almost killed myself on
falls several times. I'm not sure of the best footwear choice
for these sorts of mixed venues.
Final was in the hillside old town of Cervara. Even as you
are driving up the mountain to the place, you get the
feeling that it is going to be spectacular. The old town
is almost nothing but narrow passageways, stairways, and
tunnels (mapped as building passthrus). No cars, and
extremely steep. By far the most intense orienteering
experience I've had, and probably the most interesting place
I've ever raced. Hopefully others have described the place
pretty well, as I'm not sure how to.
Race again started out with a forest section on the mountain
side above town. The weather was dreadful again, and I decided
to go with O shoes this time. I remember the view from start being
pretty cool into the neighboring valley. I mowed
thru the forest section pretty well, picking up three
runners who started before me. We had a pack going
into town, which I was actually leading.
The town was basically a maze, and I did pretty well for
a few controls (they told me I had a decent split going
thru the spectator control), but I lost it on #13. It
was so intense, and I was stopping so many times to make
sure I maintained contact, that I decided I wanted to
simplify the longer leg by running to the edge of town
and relocating, which I think could have been an
effective strategy, except that I ran to the wrong edge of
town. I was disoriented and made a 180. Oh well. I lost
a ton of time -- take that one mistake away, and it was a
good race on a hard, unique map, and more importantly,
an intensely fun experience.
The long day was up on the mountain near where we were staying,
in the small resort town of Monte Livata. Terrain was extremely
fast, open, and with great viz. Navigation was pretty
straightforward. Altitude was about 1500m, but this wasn't really
a factor. The only thing to slow you down was a good bit of
climb. There was absolutely no undergrowth in the forest.
There were charcoal platforms everywhere; that is what the brown
x's on the map are. I've never seen a control description as
"middle charcoal platform".
I navigated pretty well, but ran a dreadfully slow race. There
is no reason I should not have been 8min/k, despite the climb,
but ended up closer to 10. It is something I cannot understand.
My route to #2 probably wasn't the smartest (but some of the most
beautiful forest I've ever seen), and I bungled #19
a bit, but otherwise the navigation seemed trivial, and I seemed
to be moving along pretty well, so I don't understand why I was
so slow. The only things I can think of is that I've been racing
pretty hard for the week and don't recover well, and I also had
an injury that felt pretty bad, but it seemed to clear up as the
race started going. It was a fun area, and it is unfortunate that
I underachieved physically. The area did de-emphasize my skills
(running and route choice vs grunge running and navigation).
The relay was on the same map as the long. Our running order was
Eddie, Boris, then me. The day started cold, with thick fog, but
most of the fog cleared before the race. Rain came intermittently.
While I was out, it was about 6 degrees and driving rain, with
fog in the higher elevations.
Eddie had a great run, and put us in 18th, which is pretty good.
Boris also had a good run, and we were in 19th when I went out.
I decided I was going to have a clean, aggressive race, and that's
what I did. I only lost a few seconds on #5, when I wasn't quite
where I thought I was, and had to stop and sort it out.
I lost us 3 places, but at least my navigation was clean and I
ran as hard as I could. I can also rationalize that 2 of the
teams that past me (ESP and AUT) stopped early to help and
injured runner, so these may have been places that should not
have been there to lose. In any case, I'm glad my (probable)
last M21E race was a good one, and especially in a relay.