My adventure racing teammate Jon had signed us up for the 3 hour orienteering run in secret, in order to surprise another team of guys who don't like to lose, especially to women! I warned Jon that I might be a bit knackered from the 20 miles in the Lakes, but felt suprisingly good the next morning, especially after Jon volunteered to carry my required gear and even give me a tow! We ended up running into Jon's
The event was in Hathersage in the Peak District, an area that I had literally never visited except at night (see my Hike Peak Marathon night recce). So I was understandably excited to visit the Peaks in the daylight, especially as they are closer to my house than the Lakes and much easier to get to via the motorway. I wasn't disappointed when the sun came up, as our route took us up and over Hathersage Moor, past Burbage Rocks (good climbing said Jon), and along Stanage Edge. The trail over the cliffs was really breathtaking, and that wasn't just due to the wind! In fact it was a beautiful day, cool and barely windy, not raining with good visibility. I resolved to return to this area with Rob someday (I know I always say that but this time I really mean it) soon to enjoy a slower hike with time to stop and admire the views. And take photos...definitely no time for a camera today.
Because I wasn't stopping on this run, that's for sure. Once we decided on a good route, Jon took off with the navigation and towed me along behind him like a house on fire. It was all I could do to keep up with his pace, but the hills weren't nearly as hard or high as the day before, so it was an enjoyable morning out. We ticked off a lot of controls, didn't get lost or have trouble finding the dibbers, so a good day of orienteering. Our route was fairly circular with options to add or cut off points at the end to get us back on time. In fact we ended up cutting out not a few points at the end, as the muddy fields and trickier nav in the valley slowed down our pace. Or perhaps we (ok, I) was just getting tired and not running as fast. We had about 2 kilometers to go with about 9 minutes left on the clock, and at that point Jon started running faster and I hung on grimly to the tow rope to stick with him. We finished less than a minute late and I couldn't even talk for a few minutes afterward!
It was worth it, though, as the posted points showed that we had beaten Jon's competition with 219 points to their 210. Get in!
However we came nowhere near to winning our division as evidently there are a lot of fast runner/navigator pairs out there. It's all good practice for adventure racing, though, learning how to work as a team, navigate unfamiliar terrain, pace and predict arrival times, and eat and drink on the run. Looking over our route choices, I was really pleased with our route and couldn't find any changes that would have resulted in more overall points. So I guess the only way we (ok,I) could have gone faster was to grow wings, or (more honestly) eaten less cake over the holidays :)