Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scottish 6 Day

My big race this season was the Scottish 6 Day event which turned into 8 days because I signed up for the two sprints as well.  That meant 8 days of racing with no rest, man did I feel tired at the end. The day after I was done racing I was in Edinburgh trying to go up the stairs to Calton Hill and I had to stop and rest because I was so tired and sore. I also learned that when you come to these big events, you need to remember to pack a Canadian flag and a stool!

The first race for me was the sprint in Nairn, which was right after the WOC Sprint Relay. It was really exciting to spectate for this race, the organizers put a lot of effort to make this race spectator friendly and I think they did a pretty good job. After the WOC racers were down we got to go out on the map in a shorter version of the race. We ran through sand dunes, a really fun part of the town and park. We even got to run the same spectator and finish shoot as the WOC runners.

The first official Scottish 6 days was on a map called Achagour. When you look at this map it seems like a mix of different terrain but it is all WET and MARSH! I forgot how marshy it can be in the U.K.. I also found that if it is yellow on the map it is not nice and clear open like I am used to, it's open from you waist up with lots under your feet. Also if you are going to try and run along or through a marsh be prepared to fall in waist deep at any moment. My race was pretty good, just slow trying to get use to the terrain. One thing I remember from the race is on the last half everyone had at least 20 black flies flying around their heads, which was fine if you kept running. 
Day 1 map

Day 2 was at Strathfarrar, man was that a hard day. I had a horrible race that day, I didn't finish. I spent almost 30 minutes trying to find my 4th control and probably the same time on the 5th until I gave up. I am not good at orienteering on precision compass and I definitely needed it for this race. It's really hard to see contours or features when it is just covered with chest high bracken (tall ferns) the whole time, I was surprised I wasn't covered in Ticks. 
Day 2 map

Rest Day was a rest day for some and a sprint day for others. The sprint took place in Forres. This was a really fun sprint race. There were little traps and you had to make sure you stayed in contact with your map. I thought the course planner was a little mean with the last 5 controls. They put 4 controls on this big hill that was very runnable if you weren't tired or not slipping around because of all the dead leaves on the ground. Afterwords I went to spectate the WOC middle and cheer on the Canadians.

Day 3 and 4 were at Darnaway. I really enjoyed this map! It was closer to what I am used to, lots of runnable forest with negative topography. I had a pretty clean race on day 3 and made two very stupid errors on day 4. It really takes it out of you when you run one of your long legs and a half. The WOC Relay was also in the same area on Day 3 so it was really easy to cheer on team Canada!
Day 3 at Darnaway. I couldn't get all the cars in and even kept flowing in.

Day 3 map

Day 5 and 6 were at Glen Affric. So this was kind of in the same area as day 2 and I let it get in my head on day 5 and it effected my race. I did better then the second day but I had another unfinished race. At the end I had 3 controls left and I just couldn't find my 22 control. I kept relocating and it just didn't work. I finally threw in the towel because nothing was making sense andI was getting really dehydrated. The last race was the longest with the most climb and I was feeling pretty nervous because of the previous day but then I decided to race how I like to race and enjoy it and I finished!!! I also had a pretty good time during this race.

Day 6 map

I had a great time at Scottish 6 days. I got to see some orienteers I haven't seen in awhile. I got to race in new terrain and learn some valuable lessons in my opinion. I learned if you sign up for W21E you are going to get your moneys worth and as I mentioned at the beginning bring a stool and a Canadian flag. I also learned that I really like 1:15,000 maps more then 1:10,000.

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