Portugal O Meeting 2023 - Day 1 (Middle)

Read part 1: Portugal O Meeting 2023 - model event

Like the international athletes @Pete and I now are, we prepared for today’s race with a night on the town - food (and wine) at a restaurant followed by a late night playing pool in a cafe. Thankfully we had a late start time of after 3pm.

The event centre was buzzing with hundreds (there are nearly 2000 entrants) of orienteers from across the globe lounging in the sun listening to the music and commentary.

It was a long walk / jog to the start - almost 2km, and we left plenty of time to see the start procedure (basically as you would expect except for the final minute you stand next to your map box). From the start it was about 200m to the start kite out of sight.

I started 4 minutes behind Pete, so it was a bit of a boost to get to control 2 just behind him. The terrain upto control 7 favoured me - technical with undergrowth making it hard to pick up speed. We both come in to control 3 out of position, but I snuck into the control when Pete was not looking to get clear. I was a bit hesitant to control 6 until I realised there was the fence to use as a catching feature.

From control 7, the terrain opened out and became very runnable. I was a little scrappy between 8 and 11. On the way to 12 I helped a lady who was lost - enough of a distraction to lose focus and I drifted off course to the wrong boulder and got disoriented. I had to spend a few minutes bouncing to other rocks before I worked out where I was.

Unfortunately that was enough for Pete to catch up and he past me after 13. I mostly kept up to 14, but his sprint finish was toi o much for me to keep up.

Overall I was 25th out of 68, which I am really pleased with, with room for improvement.

Afterwards we took advantage of the meal deal with beer at the event centre and enjoyed the last of the sunshine.

Tomorrow is the big day - a long distance in the morning followed by a sprint in the evening.

In the morning we met up with @andyr and @RosieW for coffee in Portel.

This sign is at the finish of tomorrow’s sprint (it is assumed we will have to run up the hill to the castle a few times).

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Meanwhile on M60 ( my new age group this year)…
Day 1 was a game of two halves: fast and technical initially followed by longer legs in less technical open areas ( ie favouring the runners, not me these days)
I easily dispatched the first 5 technical controls finding the mapping of the complex boulder/outcrops ridden terrain easy to read and follow
Overconfidence then led to a couple of mistakes overrunning and missing the controls losing a minute or two- on a medium course this is enough to lose many places in the rankings. The second half as said favoured good runners with relatively simple legs between easy controls with excellent visibility- not ideal for me and my arthritic knees these days
However a great and enjoyable first day with lots of jolly socialising afterwards in the afternoon sunshine with old friends and new
Result 60 of 100ish finishers
Looking forward to the long event tomorrow…

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