Sunday, February 8, 2015

Behind the times: Tassie World Cup

Yep, I've finally got around to a very belated report! Usually I'd be able to blame this on the slowness of the internet down here...but seen as everyone else has already posted their reports from Tassie, that excuse may not fly this time. So I'll have to take the flak on this one. Sorry. It's now been over a month since Tassie and the 1st round of the World Cup. And let's be honest, I've had time to write this post. But I haven't.

On arrival home from an amazing two weeks in Tassie, it was straight back into student mode: and as any grad student will attest - as submission gets closer and closer (or atleast, as you think/hope/pray that it may be getting closer), any time spent doing something that's not writing or working is accompanied with tremendous guilt. But on the flip side, anytime you succeed in remembering or doing any every day task you're incredibly impressed with yourself. You almost expect a huge fanfare and congratulations...Like last Sunday, when I managed to go to the super market, AND reply to an email. (sidenote: sorry anyone whose emails to me have got lost in a black hole of thesis)

The current string of PhD comics reflect my life scarily accurately.

So yeah, a Tasmania report has not been written up til now. Interpret that how you will. It could mean I'm getting closer/more confident of submission. Or perhaps I'm just too fed up to work today! ;) In any case, here's how I remember Tassie and World Cup one month on:

First up, the races:

Sprint Qual: This one went well. Set in the stunning Cataract Gorge, my race got off to a great start when I managed to pull off an amazing save from face planting on the way to a very public start triangle. From there it felt a bit like racing through the Wellington town belt. But without the usual encounters with homeless people. Instead, every time I turned a corner out on the course, I seemed to encounter Swiss girls. Perhaps not as angry as the homeless, but just as intimidating, and a lot faster! After safely qualifying, I was even asked to pull off my most casual of poses for the local paper. Nailed it.

Synchronized orienteering. It's a thing. Photo: Orienteering Australia

Map 1 of Sprint qual. Map2 on DOMA

Sprint Final: Oh dear. The less said about this the better I think. I may have been able to train enough in the last couple of months to get my leg speed up, but my brain speed lagged far far behind. 1x30s+ mistake in a sprint is dire. 3-4 x 30s mistakes is fatal. My worst sprint performance that I can remember, so very frustrated and disappointed.
Bad day out of the office.

Non-World Cup middle: I just have to put this race in it's possibly the best podium I'll never get to stand on. Admittedly everyone was taking it easy, but by dialing back the effort I managed to have an error free run, and come in less than a minute behind Tove and Ida. Apparently they weren't as excited by the prospect of standing on the podium with me though. But that's OK, because:
Photo: Orienteering Australia.

Middle:  I still have very mixed emotions about this race. Although, it was really  nice to head into terrain feeling at home in it for once! I nailed #2 which a lot of others had issues with, so that was good. But I then made a massive parallel error on #6, losing minutes on the wrong hill top (seemed to have a lot more rock than was mapped - and I feel justified in saying this, cos my mum made the same mistake when she went around our course later! And mother knows best ;) Usually a ~3 min mistake at this level would be game over, and I was fuming straight after the control. So I'm proud that I pulled myself together and finished the race off well. Results wise: I'm stoked with the Oceania win (and Matt Ogden's Oceania win with 13th position, getting us and NZ extra spots at WOC). 12th place in the World Cup race is decent, but I'm still pretty disappointed at making such a silly and costly mistake.


Long: This was always going to be a tough day, mentally and physically. I must have been planning the long leg a bit too much to begin with, resulting in a mindless parallel error on the way to #2. This meant Mari had caught me by the long leg, which wasn't such a terrible thing. We took similar routes, however after the first hill I didn't see much of her, as we parted ways into the bracken. I saw even less of her after she got a hurry up courtesy of a snake too! Knowing I'd dropped a decent length of time by the spectator, I just gritted my teeth and kept plugging along. So I was pleased to catch back up to Mari and Jess around #12. However, my lack of long terrain training told by #15, and I just leaked time on #16, messing around with route choice and then missing the entrance the path across the marsh. At the end of the day though, 13th place was a decent result. But I was left frustrated to drop 3-4mins on #16, especially so close to the finish.


Overall I think the results are a fair reflection of where I am at the moment. I was aiming for top 10 results, however with Orienteering and training not being my primary focus over the last months, I'll take 12th and 13th places. A little disappointed, but sometimes good enough is good enough!

A few too many moments like this;
Aislinn can't watch as I make another silly mistake ;)

As a whole it was awesome to stay with such a large group of Kiwis throughout the races, to catch up with everyone, and to just have great time! A huge thanks goes to Rob.G and co for organising good accommodation well in advance. Time away from the races was well spent at coffee shops, swimming at beaches/rivers/any body of water the south islanders could find, or just spending hours staring into rockpools. It was a beautiful change of pace, one which even our adopted Swiss, Marion, got used to. Initially amazed by our relaxed planning, by the end of the trip she was fully on kiwi time, even being beaten out the door by Em on the last day.

Two hours later the fish were still eluding capture...

After the WC races I took the chance to take 4 more days off work, teaming up with Lukas, who can't get enough of Australia after living down here last year, for some exploring. We managed 3 runs in 3 days, covering a fair bit of Tassie; from Coles Bay to Walls of Jerusalem to Mt Field NP. Everywhere we went it seemed we were just ahead or behind other orienteers: including the day at Walls of Jerusalem where something like 10/15 people spotted all day were swiss orienteers!
Also that day, I got what was coming to me for all of my snake jokes and comments: Peacefully walking along when:
Lukas: "Snake!"
Me (abruptly stopping): "Where???"
Lukas: "You're standing on it..."
And he wasn't lying. Luckily the snake was as surprised to be under my foot as I was to find it there, and we quickly parted ways!

Cue stunning photos:
Day 1: Coles Bay and Hazards Beach

Day 2: Up to Walls of Jerusalem

Day 3: Mt Field West
But that was all over a month ago! From one snake pit into another. One week after returning from Tassie I gave my PhD public seminar. It went well, I think. One supervisor was reading his I-pad throughout, and another had his eyes closed. Afterwards I was told 'good work' and 'keep the chapters coming'. Votes of confidence if ever I heard them!

As for those asking when the thesis will be done and I'll be migrating North? Well I'm afraid I can't really give a definite answer.
I'm keeping the chapters coming. Slowly. And perhaps a bit behind time.

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