Christmas Update

Christmas 5 Days and MTBO training. So currently I am in Beechworth, Victoria for the Christmas 5 Days, which is an end of year carnival that ends on New Years Eve.  For most people it’s a good event to attend to because it’s fairly social and it is held in out of the race season for orienteering. For the serious orienteers it’s great pre-race training for the World Cup event being held in New Zealand at the start of next year. So it has attracted a good selection of the elite racers and some international orienteers.

My fitness in lead up to this event hasn’t been great due to being sick for a couple of weeks, which may have turned out to be a slight sinus infection which I have now fully recovered from. Now I just have to get back into training. So I did just that on Christmas Eve. A friend of mine who lives in Melbourne was happy to take me out into the Dandendongs. He gave me two options to climb up the easy way or the steeper way. I chose the steep way thinking this is what I needed. Although my body told me pretty quickly that I wasn’t fit. Climbing up the side of the Dandendongs was very enjoyable even though I could feel my heart beat rattle my rib cage and hear it through my head pumping away. We did a little more than two and a half hours of riding with a decent amount of climb.

This is the view I got of Melbourne.


The Christmas 5 Days started off slowly, with a one hour traffic jam trying to leave Melbourne. After that it was smooth sailing even though we arrived half an hour late. It had been awhile since I had run and also navigated through bush. After stuffing up the first control I found my flow and didn’t have any real navigational errors on the first day. Running around the course I felt ok, but after the event it felt as if I had run a marathon. I have absolutely no running muscles and my body was letting me feel it.

Here’s the first days map, I am running Course 3 because I don’t think I can run much further than 5 – 6km.

IMG_0135 Day 1

Day two was a big day. I decided to ride to the event. It was 26km away from where our accommodation is and the first 7km was downhill. After the ride I ran my course with only a couple of errors at the very end which I was pretty chuffed with, even though I wasn’t that fast on foot.

This is days two of the Christmas 5 Days. Course 3.

IMG_0134 day 2

After I had finished the previous coach of the Australian team Kay Haarsma told me to get ready for the MTBO training, which was on the same map I had just raced on. It was a small exercise that I rode with a couple of the senior riders who raced in Hungary for Australia. We did the first four controls with one minute intervals then we rode to the 5th Checkpoint and did started the intervals again to 6, 7 and 8. The minor tracks almost didn’t exist. At times it felt as if you were just riding through the bush guess where the track went.

This is the larger scale map we trained on.

IMG_0130 day 2 mtbo

Training was done for the day and there was still a race to go in the afternoon at 5:30. The race was a scatter race a point’s race and a line course race wrapped into one. The rules were you had 75 minutes to collect 15 checkpoints in any order and then come back to the finish to start your lined course of 5 checkpoints. Each control was worth 20 points. It was held in at the Indigo Vineyard which we raced the Australian Championships relays at last year. They had used similar control locations for the scattered controls and I found it fairly easy picking a route. My route took me down south to the control at the dam and then heading out east to do an anti-clock wise route around the map. My only problem was that I had stuffed my control descriptions under my riding shorts which had the row number for the checkpoints in the vineyards and when I went to retrieve the descriptions they were all wet and had torn when I pulled them out. Luckily my main rival was doing a similar route and I chose to follow his wheel through the vineyards. He was much stronger and perhaps a little fresher than I so at times it was hard to hold his wheel. Even though it would have been hard to pull away from each other regardless. He finished in 37:02 and I finished behind him in 37:22. He got away from me on the last little rise to the finish.

Here are the maps, we had to do the scatter side first before we could do the lined course.

IMG_0133 c1 IMG_0131 c3

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