I have been in Tasmania for 5 days now and have done 2 quality training sessions with the other New Zealanders here in preparation for World Cup Round 1 starting today. The 2 forest maps we have been on were mostly relevant for the long and middle distance.
I did this first training on Mt Pearson alongside Chris Forne so that we could discuss the map and give each other instant feedback on our navigation. The training was broken into 3 parts, the first focussing on comparing our stepping stones and route choices, the second focussing on navigating faster with an increased pace, and the third to get more time in this unfamiliar terrain. I started off navigating pretty well and I found the rocks and contours were pretty clearly mapped. I was interested in the vegetation in the gullies as this was pivotal for route choices and in most cases it was soft and so we could push through it without any problems. The runability through the forest was quite variable with some slopes having a lot of fallen branches and trees not shown on the map and the hill tops and spurs having more spread out trees with very few branches on the ground. It was mostly easy to pick the best line to run through the forest as the visibility was very good.
These photos taken from the same spot facing in opposite directions show the variable runability in these Tasmanian forests.
I made some mistakes near the end when I was getting tired and thirsty, but gained essential confidence throughout this session and it was extremely fun orienteering in terrain very different to what I get back in NZ.
The second training was on Livelys Bog, again with a mix of exercises to further improve our confidence with different elements in this terrain. The dense vegetation in the marshes on this map was denser than the previous day’s and avoiding the dark green was always the best option. We didn’t have great success in the line following exercise which indicated to us that simplifying the rock detail would be essential to help us navigate more smoothly. We also think the map in that area was not perfect as we spent a long time in some areas and still didn’t understand them. In the mass start section I lost contact on 2 occasions which I was disappointed about. Both problems could have been avoided by using the contours more and staying stronger on my direction, as I was spending too much time trying to pick the best line to run through the bracken and branches
Matt Ogden and I managed to contract food poisoning and so I didn’t do any proper training on the 30th but managed a small run on a sprint map on the 1st. I’m feeling much better now but still not perfect and I’m not sure how my body will be when I’m running hard in today’s sprint qualification.