Winter Race season 2013-14

Reached the year end in my Orienteering race schedule yesterday, a season that has been strengthening for last ten years. September to March happens to be when the biggest proportion of races are held, and having this adventure sport over the whole dark of winter is what I love. All these winter weekends show peoples dedication, participation all weathers, training, competing- and experiencing the ever changing British seasons. My track cycling race season starts in May, so this post is a summary of winter season as the bike training turns into racing again this spring. Lacing up the Inov-8s for the last race of my season:-

My total participation:- I competed in 27 events over the last 7 months, 3 less than 2012-13 and 2 less than 11-12. This leaves me 2/ 34 in the British Orienteering federation rankings for the South West area, in my age class 40-45 mens. Theres nothing like data first thing in morning, and Ive some more. The last two years saw me gain some 2nd places, this year happy to have made a 1st at the T.V.O.C  Chiltern Challenge which was a 7.1 K race on 09th February, from 84 competitors very happy with this result. Looking at the overall season picture, I had a string of 5 top tens in november/ december so on good form in general. Its great to have a bank of experiences I can share with the youth of the club, our ‘WOJ’ squad, Wessex Orienteering Juniors. Orienteering relies on having a sense of awareness, as a solitary activity we fundamentally compete alone in the forest, even though we may know there are 25 others competing against us, no -one starts at the same time. Steve Peters chimp paradox is discussed widely now regarding sport competition-if you know of this book, and Ive read it, theres the parallel of us racing alone in the forest, we race with the chimp,  the inner voice assisting or hindering progress. Ive mentioned before how creating a positive mental thought loop is what gets us good results in races, my Yoga teacher abhors racing- seeing any sport as illustrating a futile ‘end gaining’ that takes us away from centredness, but I see these moments along the way as all part of something that contributes to the whole persons psychology. Back to the data.

Wessex Night League 2013-14. Second year Ive competed in this, and second time of completing 8 events over the year. Theres an earlier post about night league racing on this blog, there will only be perhaps 20 runners do these events, as racing in forests in pitch black with a headtorch isnt for everyone, but the number of Night urban events are leading to greater numbers every year taking up the headtorch. Orienteering needs some new activities that draw in other members, and urban racing, streets interspersed with parks where we still have to navigate accurately are helping that. The competition is given handicaps, to enable the age group results to be more fairly gained. Non-handicapped league results led to a 5th from 97 competitors from my 8 events, happy with that. There were 12 events in the season, of which I helped organise 2 others as well, a yearly trip to Brownsea island to set up one of these one of the highlights. A superb way to improve your navigation ability, direction finding and decision making, anyone who has done night racing will see their daytime results improving, the necessity of relying on the map and compass is akin to doing long walks in mist, if we get caught out on the hills in mist, clag or whatever you like to call it, the compass will never let us down. Heres Gavin Clegg and Eric Whapples just before we went on the staff ferry to Brownsea Island:-

I will be taking part in the Lakes 5 days event after having ridden the coast to coast East- to West to get there this July, until then Ive the monthly WOJ coaching to do, other than that its time to have a rest from running races, and get into track cycling racing again. September will return again, but before then its April showers, the best month of the year May, and that thing we call summer. WOJ squad yesterday:-

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