After the fantastic nationals in Wellington, the Moose and I couldn’t wait to get back out on some of those maps. But since Fusilier is embargoed until Queens Birthday, and we didn’t really feel like getting shot down by fighter jets for running around Ohakea, Waikawa was left as our only option. I brought the maps, Shamdawg brought the swag, and we were set.
A nice first 3 controls to start of with, but then we were thrown straight into the contour-only section of the course. I caught glimpses of the Moose as we were charging through the patchy trees until 11, where I headed straight for 12, but he still had to finish the left hand side of the pivot. In this section it was really important to understand the nature of the terrain, as often hills were hidden underneath the trees, which naturally weren’t shown on the contour-only map. It was also hard not to get sucked in by the better runnablity in the forest, only to be trapped by the impenetrable edge of macrocarpa branches. The Moose and I both lost time on 9, being pushed right by a thicker patch of vegetation, and then had difficulty relocating in the dunes.
The corridor was wide enough to be able to attack it confidently and it was nice to be out of the long grass and lupins, gliding through the forest instead. Lots of features meant keeping track of location was easy too. Memories of drowning in head-high reeds during the Middle Distance Champs came back to me as I was running around the northern loop but soon enough I was back in the pristine white forest corridor.
The section around 25 – 28 would have to be the coolest part of the map. Good runnability and countless 2 m high knolls everywhere. I would love a full-on race with controls through this. The last corridor and 10 or so controls down the coastal strip was some of the most intense orienteering I have done in a while. Short, technical legs requiring 100% concentration the whole time. The dunes are so steep and incised there that picking good running lines through the terrain is also vital.
Unfortunately there are unlikely to be any sand dunes in Borovets in Bulgaria but the middle distance looks to be technical with highly detailed contours. Being able to accurately get an idea of the shape of the relief quickly is going to be very important, along with keeping track of how many little re-entrants you have crossed.
The training was finished off with a wild swim in the surf, before heading home to a potluck and run with the O-Gang. How can you not love orienteering.
Nick Boss Hann
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