Results from November Classic - 07/11/21

17 QOs made the journey to the New Forest to take part in the November Classic.

Personally, I found the terrain exhausting and it highlighted my less than perfect compass navigation skills. More detailed review from me and hopefully others to follow.

The results are below, but a special shout out to Oliver Lewis - just 12 seconds off coming first on Orange, and Robin Fieldhouse for coming in 7th on Black.

Black - 13.9 km / 185 m climb

Pos’n Name Time Behind
7th Robin Fieldhouse 90:27 18:02
20th Oliver Rant 112:58 40:33
27th Pete Shirvington @Pete 138:28 66:03
- Adam Fieldhouse DSQ

Brown - 12.7 km / 170 m climb

Pos’n Name Time Behind
8th Philip Sorrell @daylightgambler 120:24 38:57

Blue - 8 km / 110 m climb

Pos’n Name Time Behind
41st Andy Rimes @andyr 68:26 20:02
51st Brian Pearson @BrianJP 72:25 24:01
97th Matthew Knipe 120:11 71:47

Green - 5.1 km / 70 m climb

Pos’n Name Time Behind
87th Tony Hext 66:34 29:42

Orange - 3.6 km / 60 m climb

Pos’n Name Time Behind
2nd Oliver Lewis 41:10 00:12
18th Annabelle Lewis 91:17 50:19

Short Blue - 6.9 km / 80 m climb

Pos’n Name Time Behind
92nd Martin Lewis 93:22 43:16
106th Rosie Wych 116:29 66:23

Short Green - 4.1 km / 55 m climb

Pos’n Name Time Behind
32nd Roger Craddock @craddocktaunton 57:32 21:30
65th Karen Lewis @KarenLewis 74:33 38:31
86th Adele Appleby 101:53 65:51
- Bill Vigar DNF

RouteGadget is up if you want to review the maps: Routegadget 2

Orienteering events seem to follow a similar pattern for me at the moment. The first few controls go wrong because I am not used to the terrain, then I over-compensate and choose conservative routes, then things start coming together as I start reading the terrain until, towards the end, my exhausted brain makes a major error. I am hoping this is because most venues are still new to me and not, as I fear, that this is just what happens!

The November Classic on Sunday was no exception. On the 2km hike to the start, it was clear that this was going to be a navigation challenge, with wide expanses of open heather-clad heathland. The only similar orienteering I have done was on a part of Dartmoor I know really well so it was with some trepidation that I set off from the start.

Looking back at my route (you can see it in all its glory on Routegadget 2), I was actually on the right bearing to control 1 before letting the vegetation pull me away but I can still feel the rising sense of panic I felt when I stopped running to compare the seemingly featureless open nothingness with the equally all yellow featureless map before spotting the top of the control on a bush not too far away…

Control 2 was worse - I was never really on the line and I missed the (now obvious) contour feature on the map above the control site. I realised my error and corrected, but I lost a few minutes.

Now came the conservative route choice stage - trying to find line features to follow and other features to use for navigation. But, I did start noticing the terrain more and, whilst my fine navigation near the control sites took longer to click, I had a bit more confidence on the longer legs. I was even 2nd fastest to control 8, albeit with a tow.

Control 9 was one of several controls where I was a lot more cautious on approach. The planners had been given a lot of additional out of bounds areas before the event, and I was keen to avoid personally putting the future of orienteering at stake by over-shooting and straying into one of these areas.

Control 19 to 20. Urgh. Weary of all the tussocks and heather, my weary brain gave up on this leg. I had no plan, and lazy compass work and map reading put me very offline and ultimately put me on a path I thought was somewhere else, taking me further off course. I then started navigating to 21 before thankfully realising my mistake and adjusting. Apparently, I only lost a few minutes - but I was pretty grumpy for the next few controls.

Despite having been running for 2 hours covering 15.5km across difficult terrain, I still managed to find something left for a sprint finish!

The course was a lot of fun and, whilst there are a lot of things I can look to improve on, I am happy with the result.

Next up … Dartmoor…

After pulling a hamstring forcing me to a walk and nearly mispunching at Salisbury causing me to backtrack a couple of controls, I was less than confident about running the Classic. I’m glad I did though, as it was a challenging course, very scenic and good weather. I couldn’t run to full capacity as my leg was sore and I avoided changes of speed to minimise the chance of a repeat pull. This probably helped with my navigation though I still came unstuck on some legs trying to go direct through dense heather. I remember an article by Martin Bagness saying that it is all about the route and spiking the control should be a given. In that respect I only had one miss near the circle and was happy with 16 of 19 routes in between, the 3 in question weren’t disastrous so I came away feeling good and glad I took the gamble. I thought I would give the Wellington street O a miss and will see for Dartmoor…