A much, much better day at the office

Event report – Dark and White Winter League rd 3 – Grindleford

My training diary on Saturday showed no training for 10 days due to a cold I picked up off of Holly. With the cold still there I wasn’t sure that I ought to race today really. Manic bike maintenance on Saturday night after driving home from Somerset didn’t help either but I put the bike in the car anyway and decided to make a decision on Sunday morning.

Trips up through The Peaks are always a pleasure early on Sunday mornings with no traffic on the road and this morning was no exception. Arriving at the event centre in Grindleford it was good to see Emily Benham, Britain’s current MTBO superstar who bagged a silver out in Lithuania, though being a poor student she was forced to cycle to and from Sheffield to take part. After my last effort at a Dark and White Event I spent a good 1.5 mins having a look possible routes and realised that again it was not going to be possible to get them all.

I decided to leave the lower value controls around Eyam to the end and headed out up on to Baslow Edge, with stunning views out to the west.  The day was characterised by vicious climbs and very fast descents, but as I am still without a replacement for my GPS I didn’t get a total height gain or max speed.
I decided to put a physcological demon to bed my diving down into Cressbrook and attacking the long climb out after bagging a control. A bad experience in the past given me the knowledge that the climbs are much bigger than those indicated on the map and I was a little hesitant at going back down there.

Looking at my watch I was ahead of schedule so a quick bit of re-planning brought in another huge climb at the end up through Eyam to Sir William Hill, again with stunning views back across the valley. However the climb told and I arrived at the control with no time left so I let rip on the final 250m decent into Grindleford.

A mistake on a road junction added to my lateness  by a minute or so but I was only 51/2 mins late in the end.

Now full results are published and I was 3rd (several Vets upgraded themselves into Open) which I am very happy with.

Mark Stodgell ( Stodge ) 


Brocton & Milford Regional Event

I’ve been looking forward to this event for weeks. I don’t do as much foot orienteering as I would like, mainly because we can’t be bothered with running on poor quality West Midlands country parks etc when we live right next to some of the best terrain in the region and are so busy doing other things. We tend to prefer to compete less often but don’t then mind travelling further to get the quality.

Living on the map should obviously give me quite an advantage, and calling in to the house for a quick hot ribena and buttered crumpet on the way to the start was a treat you don’t normally get at an event.

I basically had a cracking run. I was unsure whether I was now ready to tackle a M35Long course but I’m glad I did, winning by 8 mins, although still making a minute or so of mistakes. The course was very well planned, the weather lovely and a great atmosphere at the finish. Results here.

So it now looks as though I am now officially back to full length orienteering courses after 6 years in the injury wilderness. To say im chuffed is a bit of an understatement, and am looking forward to it hurting getting out of bed on Monday morning as its a feeling I’ve not had for a long time. I really feel like I can draw a line under my whole sesamoiditis injury episode and move on.

Mark Stodgell

Sunshine and wildlife

With legs still very tired from last Sundays efforts at the Compass Sport cup I have had an easy week. Work has been tough with a huge presentation on Wed, then working till 3am upgrading 60 odd workstations. Thursday nights club run from the Garsides house had a great social feel to it, with Ray getting the Spam award for running the wrong course last weekend.
The weather today was amazing, bright sunshine, with only a little of the promised wind. I decided to just go out and enjoy riding round the Chase on my roadbike as I am out on the mountain bike with Alan tomorrow.
Within 15 mins id seen 5 deer, a fox and countless squirrels. The fox ran straight out in front of the bike near Chase Road Corner, probably the closest I’ve been to one. The views into the valleys were great with the Autumn leaves and bright blue skies above. Views out towards The Peaks and The Wrekin also spectacular, with no haze at all.

I stopped for lunch at Birches Valley Cafe, which is now very good, and then bimbled home, legs still struggling on the hills. Cath was back so we grabbed the camera and headed out into the conservation area where Chasers are holding the British Orienteering Champs in 2010 to get some publicity shots.

Having designed the logo I have got to put together a basic flier in the next month so it was fortunate to get some good weather.

National Inter Clubs Final – Compass Sport Cup

I had thought of missing this as there was a Dark and White Mountain Bike event on up North but thought I’d better represent the club, even if it just meant taking points off of other clubs.
After a fairly tough weekend and early part of the week training I had a couple of rest days on Thurs and Fri, but went out on the mountain bike on Saturday and zoomed round Follow the Dog. A planned houseful did’nt materialise as our friends who were coming up from Cambridge came down with D&V. The upshot of this is I probably didn’t drink as much as I would have done. After a head to head race at Chris and Karens Wedding O, I had an idea I was fairly running fit, but I suprised myself and a few others by storming round 10km in 67.18 today. I had a few controls on the heels of Nick Barrable and realised then that I was going OK and made very few mistakes but my legs towards the end got very very tired. I have to decide now whether to carry on M35 shorts or step up to the long course next year !

The course was very fast and furious but lots of room for error in the low visability holly woods and gorse thickets strewn over the area. Holly had a great time with the other Chasers ‘children’, although some of them are now in there first year of Uni, waving her chasers top as one by one we all came in. I hope Tom Roach is OK he had a very bloody head as he came in. Lots of photos available here…