A long-awaited trip to New South Wales for Easter weekend means three forest events in three days. Much excitement after a diet of street events through the long hot summer. We arrived at Carwell's Labyrinth on Saturday and prepared to compete. Leg protection and sun protection applied, despite start times before 10am.
I set off with confidence to my first control, checking the compass on the way, only to find myself off-course and needing to relocate on the rocks below. Three minutes lost already! All went well after this to halfway round the course. I decided on taking the direct route between 10 and 11, which proved to be steep, rocky and difficult, culminating in a miss at the termite mound. Another two minutes lost. I normally like these hi-viz termite mounds, we could certainly do with some to aid our navigation in Victoria, although NSW can keep the termites. No more significant errors led to probably my best day of the weekend, with only six minutes of errors.
Lessons learned? Well, I'm definitely too slow through the rough terrain. My time of 55 mins compares well to the top-10 time of 45mins, but I do need to perfect the technique of run-stop to read map-run. With such rough terrain, it is very difficult to read the map on the run, without tripping headlong. Sticks and stones may break my bones, and it's surprising they haven't.
The highlight of the day was the iced coffee after my run which was most welcome. Reviving and refreshing on a hot day. After coffee time, he headed for some retail therapy in Mudgee, an hour's drive away. We stopped for lunch overlooking the scenic Lake Windamere. It's easy to see how it got it's name, although the spelling gave rise to much discussion. In the supermarket, we saw a man still wearing his orienteering kit, complete with competitor's number. Either he was clutching a shopping list or he still had his map.
Sunday and Monday were essentially the same area so there was little contrast in terrain type, which would have been nice. An definite improvement would be a Friday championship sprint event, rather than the mishmash of elite-centric prologue courses.
A very good video of the Monday event at Prosser's Reef, which gives a flavour of the weekend, can be found at