The World Cup Final was held in Stein am Rhein, a Swiss town close to the German border. Virtually flat in Swiss terms, it still felt pretty hilly in the middle race, and I was struggling with a combination of lack of strength on the climbs, and not resting enough beforehand. Without too many mistakes, I finished 28th, 7 minutes behind Thierry - some work to be done in this kind of terrain. The sprint was in the town centre, and I knew it could potentially be very tricky, with a large number of controls, and my plan was to stay ahead of myself, and try and save the seconds at every opportunity. I started really well, and orienteered very cleanly around the first 9 controls. Then, when we came back into the arena, and had a map exchange, I failed to pick up what was going on immediately, and ran right past the 10th control, in the middle of the arena, within half a meter, and continued running down the street. I went 50m too far before I realised what was going on, and even when I came back it wasn't clear. After that I had an almost perfect run, losing a couple of seconds towards the end as I was getting tired, and we had some controls in little passage ways off the side of a larger road. Without my error, I would have been really happy with the result, but the loss of 25 seconds there turned my really good race into a bad race and an average result which I am not satisfied with. I take positives out of the fact that I was running fast enough for a really good result well inside the top 10.
That control - after my race I thought it would be interesting to see how the women coped with the control in the arena, and I saw 2 runners run past and just miss it out, 4 or 5 run past and come back 30-60 seconds lates, and maybe another 5-10 stop and look really confused. I suspect that there was a similar phenomenon with the men, and I think that to have a control that so many runners have problems with is a little bit indicative that something could have been better. Having said that, the majority of the best runners didn't even miss a step, and had no problems tells the story that the rest of us should read the map a bit better.
Back in Stockholm this week, before heading back to UK for a couple of races next weekend. First the FRA relays, then the CSC final.