O Log - Croatia Open 06

[27-Jul-06] 

    Here is the Croatia Open 06 M21E Day 1 map, and here are my routes.

    Here is the Croatia Open 06 M21E Day 2 map, and here are my routes.

    Here is the Croatia Open 06 M/W21 Sprint map, and here are my routes.

    Here is the Croatia Open 06 M21E Day 3 map, and here are my routes.

    After the WMOC final I drove to Croatia for 4 races over the next 3 days. The forest races were in National Park Risnjak, while the sprint was in a resort town on the Adriatic.

    The Risnjak terrain was brutally physical as well as technical. 500m of climb over 11K the first day. What made it so physical was not only the rock and the climb, but all the cut branches (what I call brashings) as a result of logging/forestry. The technical challenges came in the form of "karsts" (big sinkholes/depressions), and the forestry "trails", which always seem to be not quite as mapped, or there often seem to be more than mapped, etc. (I think were lucky in the 'States where, for the most part, our orienteering is in wild forests, where the trails, are, well, trails ...).

    I actually enjoyed the challenge of this terrain, except where the brashings got really bad (a fact you could never tell from the map). There were some really tough legs on day 1, and I did fairly well, save for a couple of sloppy legs (#5 and #9). Legs #19, #21, and #24 were absolutely brutal, and I spiked all of them, so that was cool. I'd mark this as a good race given the difficulty and the fact that I was still sick.

    Day 2 was a typical race for me, spike most of the controls on a difficult technical course, and a couple of disasters. I came within 2 meters of #4 three times before finding it, then lost the same amount of time on #5 because I was pissed. A bad race, but most of the controls were good. A few people had trouble with this course. OTOH, some people manage to spike the controls no matter how hard it is, every race, day in, and day out. It seems clear, at this point, that I'll never get there, and that makes me sad.

    Day 3 was the hardest race yet, and also one of my better races of my life, despite mispunching. It was brutally hard: rocky, steep, and technical, and I managed to deal with it with no disasters. It is difficult to tell due to the poor scan, but that part at the end is absolutely brutal. I was so fried after the last section that I didn't see the second to last control, and skipped it.

    The sprint was a fine city sprint, brutally hot (35 degrees, or so, as I recall). No major technical problems, but, as usual, dubious route choices. Same story, I'm a slow runner, so I run too hard without thinking to compensate, and hope for the best. The sprint was pretty climby, on top of the heat. I really enjoy city sprints, and wish we could do them in the states, but, alas, we cannot.

    One interesting thing about this sprint was they (apparently) announced over the loudspeaker that a couple of the controls were mishung. I never heard this announcement, was was told about it by Adrian Zissos. He also told me the lay of the land on one of the controls in question, but did not have the other one on his course. I had both, and, fortunately, found both with no issues. The weird thing about this is that I asked about this at start, and the start people were clueless. Bizarre. (BTW, Adrian won is class in this race over a very large field, quite impressive).

    Well, the orienteering and writing are in decline, and the photography is even worse. You know its going to be one of those days when you hear Talking Heads on the "Classic Rock" station. Fortunately, the primary goal of the trip was met.

    Mobile O

    The pics show a couple of shots around the forest venue, and a couple around the sprint venue. My favorite is a denizen of Risnjak, the largest damn snail I've ever seen.

    The other is a note about "Mobile O", a bizarre form of orienteering allegedly invented in Hungary. The idea is that there is a stationary navigator with a map, and a mobile runner with no map who finds the controls. They communicate via cell phones. I don't own a cell phone, but this seems kinda cool (and I have no idea about cell phone coverage in the places where orienteering occurs, but I'd like to give this a try sometime).

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