Rome Orienteering – Day 3

Finally after 2 days in Rome’s outlying parkland came the main reason for the trip, an urban orienteering race in and around the old city of Rome. The finish start and assembly area were all adjacent to the Colosseum, a beautiful although slightly bizarre setting teaming with tourists on a Sunday morning.

We had a strange incident at the start when a whole load of police motorcycles suddenly came piling through the park gate where the entrance to prestart was located – followed by a few Lancia Thema’s with blacked out windows and more police outriders. They headed out into the park….. – someone important I assume?

Knowing I more or less kept it going the day before I went out hard, managing to plan well ahead and getting good flow through the controls. The first section was fairly straightforward route-choice decisions and trying to keep the pace up as we looped our way through the parks, streets and squares. I lost about 10 seconds on one control, not seeing it where I expected, I carried on, then double backed and the kindly restaurant owner stepped out the way with a mischievous smile on his face having been stood in front of the control…. The second part of the course took us down into the tourist honeypots and it was a really challenge trying to navigate at speed, dodge the tourists and avoid getting sold a selfie stick, a laser or a squashy pig! I decided on a round about route #14 to #15 to avoid the climb, complication and crowds of a direct route – I’ve since walked it and spotted an even more direct small staircase – the splits will show what the right decision was….

I made a small mistake on the next control losing about 20-30 seconds, the map showed steps where there was in fact a ramp, which confused me and I then compounded it by miss-reading a code before realising I had been correct in the first place gggrrrrrrrr…

It was then a case of keeping the gas on, dodging the tourists and not making a mistake – crossing the line on an uphill finish by the Colosseum.  It was a fantastic experience, the crowds of bemused tourists I think just add to the experience, although being extremely frustrating at times.

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