The Easter weekend just past, I joined the Linné team on a trip down south for a fantastic weekend of racing! I am not going to lie, the first few weeks in Sweden have been very tough for me. Despite being surrounded by a fantastic group of people, both Swedish and non, I found it very difficult to sleep and hence developed some small worrying issues. Even the simplest task became quite tough, but now here I sit, writing this blog post, feeling very confident and excited for the future (despite a rather appalling race today).
The weekend started off with Stigtomtakvlen, a 6man relay with three night and three day legs. I ran in the first team for Linné on the last leg. We were missing the likes of Oskar, Albin and Rassmus who were recovering from national duties at the European Champs but we still had a very strong team. The night legs were held on Thursday whilst I was fast asleep, but it did mean an early start the following morning as we left the clubhouse at 7am to make the beginning of the re-start of the relay. The night legs did not go so well for us, but three very solid performances by Joseph, Jan and myself brought us into 8th position overall. The terrain was spectacular and I found a good flow. My body did not respond 100% but technically I was satisfied, apart from a small mistake towards the end. See the entire course here.
Once finishing the relay we headed off to Lotorp, a very small town near Finspång. This would be the venue for the Silva league on Sunday. In fact we could see the entire arena from the cute little houses that we stayed in!
On the Saturday, we had the Kolmårdsmdeln. I took this race very easy as I was concerned about my legs. They were a little sore from the race before, especially the sides of my lower legs and the tops of my quads. The map was pretty average to be honest, the terrain was nice, but I didnt have much confidence in the mapping style. Hence, I could not achieve a good feeling in my orienteering. I still managed to finish 12th in a depleted elite field, but of course the result meant nothing to me.
The next day was the Silva League Long Distance, which I opted not to run. Instead I spent the day spectating and watching all my Linné comrades enjoy a nice painful long distance! It was awesome to see Albin and Rassmus smash the course and both finished in the top 5! I really admire these guys, Oskar too, and I hope to one day achieve a level similar to theirs!
The good – Stigtomtakvlen, the bad – the feelings in the legs and not sleeping, and with Sunday came the outrageously ugly! Kolmårdskavlen was another relay, 5 people this time. Again I was selected for the first team, and again put on the last leg. But this time, the four runners before me were the best that Linné have. Joseph, Rassmus, Albin and Oksar all went out and had stable runs to put me out in 7th position. My run is what I am now going to aptly name, a disaster! But I thought it would be better to take some lessons from this disaster instead of wallowing in my own shitty orienteering. I apologise to my team mates for the run, but hopefully I will do much better in the future!
Lesson #1 – Know who is running ahead and roughly behind you in a relay.
I went out in 7th position, and I thought I was doing badly right from the beginning. I made some small mistakes and I was really concerned about losing the race for the team. Funnily enough I was just behind Ralph Street who finished in 3rd position! But the worse was when I saw Johan Runesson and I thought that he had caught me. In fact I had caught him and that I was fighting for 6th position at that stage of the race.
Lesson #2 – Focus all the way, a disciplined technique applied over the ENTIRE course.
After I separated from Runesson due to forking, I made some really really bad mistakes. I can only attribute this to my legs and brain competing for oxygen, coupled with shitty mapping, which Gustav found too. You can see these mistakes below (16 and 17), one was a breakdown in my compass and the second was a misinterpretation of the map. Horrible mistakes, just horrible! But we learn, we adapt and then we evolve!
So the good, the bad, and the ugly! But it was a fantastic weekend away from Uppsala, with some amazing people, playing lots of 7 wonders! The brownies on Sunday night were definitely a highlight for me, thanks Ellie and Boris! Next race is the Uppsala Mote next weekend. It will be the first time I get to run in Lunsen, the holy grail of Orienteering!