NZ Day 30 - Long Distance Final

Sunday, 30 April 2017

For the first time since the very early days of our trip, we awoke to the sound of rain on the roof.  We’ve been incredibly lucky with the good weather generally, so suffering through a day of rain wasn’t going to be the end of the earth.  Clare, Paul and I had early starts, so we were out at the event first. The arena setup looked really good again, set in the pine forest with great vantage points of the finish chute and a fantastic atmosphere.

 

The terrain was incredibly cool - fast open running around soft (but not sandy) dunes, then into horrible thick stuff with low visibility.  It was the thicker stuff that turned out to be my undoing, as I was having trouble with my vision anyway - with water all over the outside of my glasses and the fog on the inside of my glasses completely obscurring my view of both the map and the terrain - it was particularly bad in the thicker areas and I made mistakes that forced me to relocate off nearby tracks.  It was shortly after that point that I was caught up by some runners on my course who had started a bit behind me (thus were ranked higher), so I decided that in light of my vision problems, my best bet was to try and stick with them - so I spent the next 5 or 6 controls running along behind them, keeping a vague idea of where we were. This worked well until they disappeared from view for a moment in another section of thicker vegetation and suddenly they were gone. Luckily I was still with a Swiss runner (Jeanette) I’d caught up to at about the 2nd control who had also lost the pack, so we were running together as we did the last few controls - my vision was so bad by the end I almost missed a compulsory taped road crossing (I couldn’t see it on the map OR in the terrain!) but by then we had silently established a rapport, so, breaking silent-mode, she said ‘hey! over here!’ as she ducked through it, which saved me from further lost time!  The combination of early and late mistakes but with some fast running in the middle section meant that I finished a respectable 9th.  Clare didn’t have the luxury of a pack to run with and also made a few of her own mistakes, so she finished in 8th, 2 seconds ahead of me.  

 
The technical terrain caused lots of people to have mistake ridden races, Jon finished 21st, Paul had a great first half but might have cooked his goose too early as he faded a bit in the 2nd half and finished 23rd, Andy was just behind him.   Harald lost a few minutes here and there and finished 4th, and Linda unfortunately fell and broke her compass on her way to the 2nd control, which made it very hard to navigate through the sandhills but she still managed to finish just 7 seconds away from 3rd.  Andy was pretty happy with his run.  The rain stopped after a few hours which was also good - particularly for the kids who just had to wait around as they don’t have any junior races. They spent a long time building a rain shelter from forest wood which was a good distraction.

And so ends the orienteering part of our trip.  Being able to stay with Kim and Helen in Auckland for the first few races and then having such a lovely place to stay in Murawai just topped off our holiday perfectly.  I really enjoyed all the sprint races - despite my mispunch at Rotorua.  Winning a medal was obviously a massive highlight - it will undoubtably be the one of the highlights of my lifetime of orienteering (my others so far are JWOC 1990, coming 3rd in Elites at the easter 3 day in 1997, and winning a pair of Blundstone Boots at a race in Hobart once :) ).  Speaking of a lifetime of orienteering it has been very cool to see all the real oldies competing out in the forest. There was some great commentary as a finish chute sprint unfolded between two 90 year olds which got a great reception from the spectators.  I love this sport! It was a shame there were no races for the kids though - Zali and Jett both enjoyed the races they did before the World Masters and were keen to do more.

So with a fair bit of sadness we said goodbye to our excellent Sydney and Norwegian friends and headed back to Auckland, where our spirits were instantly lifted by a lovely family dinner at Kim and Helen’s with Don and Helen Snr.  Being the bestest hosts ever, Kim helped us return the hire car last night and drove us to the airport at 4am (yes 4am!) this morning, saving us a large amount of stuffing around this morning. We’re lucky to have such a good family!

What a fantastic adventure this last month has been. Campervanning, hiking, Rotorua, hanging out with family, orienteering. It’s been just brilliant.  

2017List
Cool things Wednesday, 3 May 2017
NZ Day 30 - Long Distance Final Sunday, 30 April 2017
NZ Day 28 - Rest Day 3 (HA!) Friday, 28 April 2017
NZ Day 27 - Long Qualifying 2 Friday, 28 April 2017
NZ Day 26 - Long Qualifying 1 Wednesday, 26 April 2017
NZ Day 25 - Rangitoto Island Tuesday, 25 April 2017
NZ Day 24 - Unexpected Outcomes Tuesday, 25 April 2017
NZ Day 23 - Sprint Qualifying Sunday, 23 April 2017
NZ Day 22 - Goodbye Rotorua, Hello Auckland Sunday, 23 April 2017
NZ Day 21 - Rest Day 2 (HA!) Saturday, 22 April 2017
NZ Day 20 - Rotorua Orienteering & Adrenaline Forest Thursday, 20 April 2017
NZ Day 19 - Rotorua Orienteering Thursday, 20 April 2017
NZ Day 18 - Rest Day (HA!) Tuesday, 18 April 2017
NZ Day 17 - Oceania Middle & Rotorua Tuesday, 18 April 2017
NZ Day 16 - Goodbye South Island Tuesday, 18 April 2017
NZ Day 15 - Milford Sound Saturday, 15 April 2017
Milford Track - Day 4 Saturday, 15 April 2017
Milford Track - Day 3 Saturday, 15 April 2017
Milford Track - Day 2 Saturday, 15 April 2017
Milford Track - Day 1 Saturday, 15 April 2017
NZ Day 9 - Pastries and Packing Saturday, 15 April 2017
NZ Day 8 - Pools and Puzzles Sunday, 9 April 2017
NZ Day 7 - More Glaciers & Amazing Views Sunday, 9 April 2017
NZ Day 6 - Gorges and Glaciers Friday, 7 April 2017
NZ Day 5 - Seals & Rocks Friday, 7 April 2017
NZ Day 4 - Old Ghost Road Wednesday, 5 April 2017
NZ Day 2 - Hot Springs and Long Drives Monday, 3 April 2017
NZ Day 0 & NZ Day 1 Sunday, 2 April 2017
NZ (Planned) Wednesday, 29 March 2017