07 May 2006
A mixed morning for the British team with 7 of the 10 athletes qualifying for this afternoon's final.
The terrain was very hilly and fast, and with relatively little route choice it was all about hitting the controls cleanly and quickly, and running very quickly when possible. Starting in the town, the first 2 or 3 controls were like an urban sprint, and then it moved into some marshy hilly edge of town parkland. One massive climb on all the courses around 1/3 of the way really sorted the men from the boys (have to admit i was reduced to a walk by the top), and the rest of the course was no let up to reduce the lactate levels with short sharp climb after short sharp climb. The thick forest was runnable but tricky, and there was a plethora of paths and fields in between offering good runnability but possiblities for parallel errors.
The finish was in a ski-stadium.
Pippa was the unlucky girl, missing out narrowly in heat 3. Jenny was also living dangerously, qualifying in 17th spot. The others, Sarah, Helen and Rachel qualified more comfortably.
In the guys, comfortable qualifying spots for Jamie (8th), JD (7th) and myself (7th). Craney and Rob missed out, but not by a lot. Craney was only 61 seconds down on the heat winner but down in 20th place which really shows the quality of this European Championships field.
We are all back at the hotel recovering, stretching and eating before driving up to Tartu for this afternoons race.
Thanks to Liba Sheeran for the pics