Orienteering race 11:48*** 1.81 km (6:30 / km) +5m6:25 / km ahr:138 max:163 spiked:9/10c shoes: 2012 MT101 Black
Very easy course in the archaeological park at Paestum, running around the Greek temples. Didn't stop me from making a rather terrible mistake, overrunning #4, losing at least 1:30 in the process. 18th out of 39.
Many of the elite show up for these races, including the Hubmann brothers, Gustav Bergman (seeing him made me think Ross should be here, too) several other WOC contenders.
No race until this evening. While as often happens I brought a lot of things I don't need, I seem not to have brought a headlamp, so I hope to borrow one for the night o at Agropoli.
Out wandering around, to the beach for a bit. This is the most pleasant and warmest weather of the trip, but certainly not yet a day for swimming. Walked down the road for a bit toward the archaeological park, but eventually decided to turn back and walked back partly on the beach and partly in the strip of pine forest between the beach and the town.
Orienteering race 13:35*** 1.57 km (8:38 / km) +76m6:57 / km ahr:143 max:167 spiked:9/shoes: 2012 MT101 Black
Night sprint in the town of Agropoli. I borrowed a headlamp from Trygve Fosse who was starting much later. Much less complex than the small town spinta of the last few days, but still plenty of chances for mistakes. Maybe could have gone 1:30 faster, but still ok, 8th of 39. 2nd control was longest leg, a slog up to the castle. I have no uphill in me, so that was slow. Otherwise a couple of sub-optimal routes, and only once where I went down the wrong side of a wall and had to back out. Fun to see the elites finishing at high speed.
Heading south into Calabria. I was amazed by the steep snow-covered mountains all the way south to the instep of the boot, now heading deep into the toe, greener and gentler terrain, on the way to Savelli for a race and a party. Long bus ride to get here, but stunning countryside.
For whatever unknown reason, my back has been generally happier the last several days than it has been in a long time. Climbing a lot of hills and stairs? Going for a short o-race almost every day? Daily pasta applications? Who knows.
Orienteering race 30:20*** 2.53 km (11:59 / km) +133m9:30 / km ahr:132 max:160 15c shoes: 2012 MT101 Black
Very fun race in the hill village of Savelli, in the mountains, and pretty hard to get to. It is the birthplace of Nick Manfred, singer and friend of the Park World Tour folks, and the day was scheduled as a celebration for him.
The map, even at 1:2500, is very detailed, all houses of different shapes, narrow streets and staircases. Claes Nideboom did it for the occasion.
Times were quite spread out, best on my course was around 23:56, I was 8th out of about 17. Not much opportunity to try to run fast, precise navigation being he watchword. Some small mistakes, but nothing major, just going really slowly.
After the race we spread out to a few restaurants for a very nice pranzo. Era Ora was the restaurant I went to. 8 different things on my appetizer plate, prosciutto crudo, a bocconcino of bufala mozzarella, more bufala with honey and walnuts, eggplant carpaccio, a little ham and egg tart, a strip of grilled zucchini and a small piece of a harder cheese. Fabulous, particularly the eggplant. Then rigatoni with tomato sauce and some wonderful meatballs and Steve beef in tomato sauce. Next plate was a bean and bacon soup with crusty bread, then a little creamy dolce and a small glass of limoncello. Ready to crawl in the bus and sleep, but there was a ceremony to go
A rather long address in Italian by the mayor, who speaks very well and clearly. Certainly it was wasted on the Scandinavians, but there were also quite a few townspeople in attendance. Then some rather extensive prize giving- some very nice gift baskets, not the rocks and sticks sort of thing at all. Then a lengthy fussing over Nick, before he sang 5 or 6 songs for the happy crowd.
This was quite a big deal for the town, and they were out in force. I don't think this is a place that gets a lot of tourists - just way off the beaten path. They even gave the kids in town the day off from school.
On the cold side, but generally the weather was great, sunny and brisk.
The ruins at Pompeii in the morning, being a guide for my Swedish friend Margareta, then lunch at the rather prosaically named Pizza and Pasta in the town square, a nice place where the owner and I remembered each other from the several times we ate there last year. A very fine rigatoni with eggplant, sausage, bufala and provolone.
Then a trip up Vesuvius, good brisk walk. And late to our new hotel in Paestum.
Left at 6am on the bus to Pozzuoli to catch the ferry to Ischia, but on the way we learned the ferry from Pozzuoli had been cancelled because of rough water, so we scrambled for another plan, which involved catching another ferry from a different harbor, so longer on the bus, and a much longer ferry ride, arriving at the island at 1030 or so. First start pushed back from 11 to 1130, and it was already 1115 when we arrived at the park, so I had to hustle since I was the third starter.
Orienteering race 21:41 1.08 mi (20:05 / mi) +46m17:44 / mi ahr:117 max:151 shoes: 2012 MT101 Black
Small town forest, very thick, but with a lot of trails, mostly faint on the map. Turns out that the course could really be done without going into the thick stuff, which was good because I was wearing shorts. The terrain was very complex, with lots of big rock features, depressions, man-made objects. I was really thrown on the way to the first one and went past it. I never did figure out the map scale until I was done. So maybe a 2.5 min error on 1, then an inefficient route to 2 that cost another minute, and then settled down. One more rather bad error that I got lucky on. Heading from 5 to 6 I got distracted by the parallel line from 8 to 7 and ended up navigating to 7, ready to punch, but it was the wrong code for 6. Took me several seconds to realize why I was in the wrong place, and so maybe another minute lost. However, everybody else was having trouble too, and the times were spread out. When I looked I was 5th of 25 in M70, and on a different course from the M65s.
Had a nice time comparing notes with Bjørn Sandlien, also M70, who remembered meeting PG in the early 90s with some enthusiasm. Nice fellow, seems quite fit.
After the race we hiked to a local restaurant for a rather serviceable penne with tomato sauce followed by a rabbit cacciatore that was excellent. Then we had a bus tour of the very interesting island, although I am getting way more bus time than meets my needs. And finally the ferry, this time really to Pozzuoli so it didn't take as long to get back.
Around Capri, from the harbor to town, CCW to the Faraglioni and the natural arch, then a bit of wandering before hustling up to the Villa Iovis, the ruins of the palace of the Emperor Tiberius, didn't have time to go in, because they told us to be back at 1230 at the dock, but then we didn't leave until 130, so I could have toured the grounds.
After a bus ride to Positano and Amalfi, back to the hotel in Sorrento, the very comfortable Flora, in time to see my Norwegian friends on their way out for dinner. As it was raining, a good portion of the group descended on the pizza joint next door. For a very tasty tomato and mushroom pizza, a nastro azzurro beer and a bottle of water, my tab was only 8 euros. Amazing. Super thin crust, it came out almost as soon as I ordered it.
Orienteering race 29:16*** 2.26 km (12:57 / km) +61m11:25 / km ahr:121 max:157 18c slept:7.0 shoes: 2012 MT101 Black
Short race in an old hill town (San Gregorio da Sassola) seemed like it would be fun, easy. It was pouring at the start and fairly cold. The race had three distinct sections. The first was 6 controls in a very steep forested park, impossibly slick and muddy with the rain, uncontrolled sliding down, hand over hand climbing grasping at branches to get back up, then a fast descent through the upper town, a fairly rectangular grid, and finally a warren of steep, narrow winding staircases, very tiny with a blown up map section to illuminate it, but not really enough for me. Even the best time in M70 was over 15 min a K, and I was 10th of 29. This time the M65s did better and I was 21st of 48 overall.
Left Rome this morning and headed now to Naples, and finally tonight to Sorrento.