Cambridge and the Compass Sport Cup

20Oct09

LVO back at the City AirportLast weekend I had the opportunity to travel over to England with LVO and compete at the Compass Sport Cup. This is a club competition and attracts most of the ‘big’ clubs in Britain. LVO was the only club to represent Northern Ireland and was also first time the club had ever entered the Compass Sport Cup. Thirty nine club members came along and it was a very good opportunity (for me) to get to know some of them better. Because we had planned to fly over on Saturday morning a few of us also had the opportunity to enter the Cambridge City Race (the Compass Sport Cup was on Sunday). This was the first time I had entered an orienteering race outside of the ‘local’ scene and I was looking forward to see what level I was at against some of the best runners in the country.

Cambridge City Centre The event at Cambridge was billed as a chance to test your orienteering skills amidst the narrow streets and amongst the ancient colleges of Cambridge. The start was located on Jesus Green and as this was my first time to Cambridge I was ‘wide eyed’ at the history surrounding me. There were over 300 competitors, each running in there various classes. I decided to stay in my M40 class as this was my first ‘proper’ urban orienteering race. The map was slightly different to a standard O map with ‘olive’ green area indicating out of bounds areaes i.e. don’t step on the lawns!! My race started well and it did not take me long to get into the swing of things running around the streets and dodging people and bicycles. Then I made an error going from CP5 to CP6. Crossing a busy road I must have slightly turned my map and when I looked down at it again, what I thought was CP6 turned out to be CP9. I wasted a lot of time working out were I was – on the ground I was heading to CP6, but on the map I was heading for CP9……and of course something just did not add up. It wasn’t until I got CP7, CP8 and heading for CP9, I realised my mistake. I knew I had MP’ed, but I quickly continued on with the remaining controls error free. At the end I was disappointed with my simple mistake of mixing up 6 and 9, but hopefully it will be other lesson learnt for future races. I still feel planners should make a clear distinction between a 6 and a 9 especially when the controls are places relatively close together. However, it was a very good race and I did really enjoy the run and did enjoy the concept of urban races.

Finnshade Wood - BrownOn Sunday morning everyone headed up the road from the hotel for the 20 minute journey to Finnshale Wood. This was the location for the Compass Sport Cup. After a slightly cool and breezy Saturday, Sunday dawned clear and sunny with very little wind. In fact it was like a warm spring morning and the atmosphere around the car park was great. I had never seen so many orienteers in one place. Every age group was there from young kids to old men who looked like they would topple over if they run further than 5 metres. I was stuck in the Open Class doing the ‘Brown’ course. This would be my second ever Brown course so part of me was very nervous while the other part was excited. My plan was to start a bit slower than normal and then quicken up once as I got use to the terrain and scale. Over the 20 controls I made 2 mistakes – one a CP2 and the other at CP13. Looking at the splits of the guys around me I guess I lost about 13 minutes where I shouldn’t have. I completed the Brown Course in 82 minutes and covered 13km for the 9.1 km course. I finished 79th (out of 126) and even without my mistakes I would never have got higher than 45th place. It’s still a big jump up the placings, but not big enough to make an impact. The winning time was 49½ minutes, which then jumped down to 10th place on 58 minutes. I need to learn how to save seconds going to and leaving each control, as well as running faster. There is still a lot to learn and no doubt I can and will get better……this I am looking forward to, but I also realisde that I might need to concentrate on the orienteering for a while and drop everything else.

Overall, it was a great weekend and it really did fire up my desire to become a better orienteer. Hopefully I will be able to balance everything (including the kid’s football), but I think O will be taking first choice for a while. Finally, a very big thank you to Declan and Wilbert from LVO for all their hard work in organising this trip.

Cambridge Results
Finnshale Wood Results
Some Photos (Flickr)

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