Monday, June 21, 2010

Update from Nordic Tour

Nicolas reports from Finland on Thursday race.
NORT Stage 1, Tuusula, Finland
"Today's race was in two parts, a middle distance for the first two thirds of the overall distance, followed by a map exchange where we changed to a sprint race for the last third of the course. All the men had early start times so we didn't have to spend too long inside a fenced army compound in quarantine, unlike Niamh, but it was a nice afternoon in Finland. First out was Gerard, followed by Seamus, Dave, Darren and then Nic. The start draw resulted in all the Irish men starting in close proximity to each other.
The actual start was not a pleasant experience as we had to wait on the start line for a minute with mosquitos attacking, with a tv camera pointed at us. There were cameras at a number of controls on the course, with pictures being shown in the finish arena, and a highlights show this evening on Finnish television, with other countries also likely to air the programme.
The middle distance course had one thing in common for most of the Irish lads (and many other nations), people left the 1st control in the wrong direction to 2! Everyone had GPS tracking so if you have time you can view this mistake as it happened and wonder what were they thinking! It was a long leg to 2, followed by two short legs before another long leg where the route choice was left or right of a big hill. After that we ended up in a very wet marsh before starting a butterfly with two loops. After 18 controls we dropped our Middle Map and picked up a Sprint Map, with different scale and different mapping standards to the middle.
The women's course was very similar to the men's course, minus a couple of controls. Niamh was 80% pleased with her race, while David was only 68.2% pleased with his overall race. This change in scale, from 1:10000 to 1:5000, didn't affect any of the Irish to a major degree. But we were surprised to be running across a supermarket car-park in the middle of the course. There was a possible route choice through an underground car-park but don't think we were allowed to do that (one of the women competitors may have done this though).
Overall the Irish team was pleased with how today's experimental format worked. We now have the Sprint Race experiment to look forward to on Tuesday in Stockholm. Over the weekend the team is heading to the Jukola Relay where we will be running for various teams".