We have just returned from the EUOC weekend in Sheffield. The weekend was marked by excellent terrain and some spectacularly long race times for myself and Rob. Meanwhile, the Welsh Champs were cancelled so Matt ended up smashing it around the Western Night League instead. This weekend has a selection of fell and orienteering races on offer. Bring it on!
EUOC - Rob Elston
Just the three of us set off with an SU hire car Saturday morning: Nuhaadh still sidelined with a dancing injury... When we got to the peak district we launched straight into a "fun" relay. The fun factor was somewhat diminished by having to wait two hours in the snow and wind for my other two runners to finish before me. Essentially we were put into random teams of three and ran one after another: first team back wins. The course was an arduous 5km with lots of climb and sheep fields. Navigation however was mostly straight forward with plenty of paths in the middle section. I found the end the hardest as it was a steep descent into a river valley amongst broken ground and thistle bushes.
When we had finished we enjoyed a shower in Sheffield's sports centre, and a very useful swimming costume dryer. The SU was equally impressive (being no.1 in the country), and we had a filling meal before a celidh and, at last, a night's sleep on the floor of a village hall. Not only did we miss out on a traditional veggie curry for dinner but, since we were unsure of the facilities, we didn't buy porridge either!
On Sunday we drove back up to a similar place to Saturday where the SYO had arranged for a whole road to be closed. That road was extremely exposed being nearly 400m up. The windy and even snowy conditions demanded a compulsory cagoule and whistle. And much to Peter's annoyance it wasn't even enforced. The race itself was on a moor with heather up to the waist, 10m tall crags, decent sized rivers, and, of course, a boulder field from hell. I spent nearly 40 mins in that rocky bomb site labyrinth that was only about 300m wide. I found Peter near the end; he was looking like one who, on a lonely road, doth walk in fear and dread. Out of the 9 controls in that place, hidden behind a thousand thousand slimy things, I found one with good navigation, 3 by following a likely orienteer, and 5 by shear luck - except it wan't exactly luck since I spent so long in there I deserved to find them. By then it was getting late and I was beginning to feel like the mariner home from an epic journey. The smell of Onosh guided me in like a landing strip to a plane and once back in the car and out the wind, then, and only then, were we feeling ready for the next one!