Edinburgh Sprint - Men's Open - 6.9km - 4th by 2:50 to Murray
A pretty miserable scene. Rain was bucketing by the time my start time rolled in. I kept myself motivated though (with the help of the girls behind me) and I felt pretty fit. Looking at the blank map at the start, I had a guess at where the first control might be, the most obvious fence end on the map. Planned my route there and guessed it right!
So starting was brilliant, knew exactly where I was going. Arguably not the best route though as others took the first left while I waited for the stairs. 2 seemed too easy, but I caught someone going into it and overtook him. 3 also seemed like it was meant to catch people out although it was straightforward. I thought I was being sneaky exiting but damn, high wall, back on myself, a few seconds lost, but I think I took the right choice going through 5. So when I got to 4 is was just a back on myself control and BOOM top split (joint). 3rd overall here, 14s behind Murray.
6 was a mistake.. Went into the centre of the building and ended up doing a big loop to get out of it, maybe as much as 20s lost here. But exiting was back on myself again and I got 1s off top split to 7, a 2:30 leg. Had 8 sussed, rather than weave in and out I'd bomb it past the control and attack from behind. This worked great, best split and into the lead! 1 second ahead of Chris and 6s ahead of Murray and Simon. This was probably the highlight of my weekend as it just went downhill after this.
Safe route to 9, fastest route too I think. Safe once more to 10 but I was a bit of a chicken and took the steps which were v.slow. Lost as much as 20s here somehow (?) but so did others, strange. No one in the top 10 had a good split here.. Good to 11, planning 12. Something weird happened here. I had that "rebel against my best judgement" moment which I thought I had dropped over last year but it came back and lost me 40s on taking a shocking route to 12, thinking I was being sneaky. Realised this within 10s of exiting but it was too late to turn around..
Still a pretty big banana to 13, and I was stuck in a thread of poor choices. 14: got to it quickly but spent a good 15s running around because it was pretty much above me, told the girl watching the control that it was very cheeky of them whilst I ran past. Can't even remember 15, oh well. I could see what the planner was doing at 16, inside corner, not outside. However took the same route anyway and just bolted it round the wall. Map change over was coming up so I memorised the route to 17 and flipped over.
In and out of 17 and I remembered seeing 18 earlier on so ran straight to it. Round all the buildings to 19, may have lost a few seconds. Then good to 20 and 21 but my pace was down. Then quite straightforward to 22, but lost a few seconds to 23 taking the north way round.
Happy with my route to 24, just a second off top split. Slightly hesitant on 25 seeking the entry into what felt like private property. Plus, I was planning the next two cheeky controls. Got them both very happily though and overtook Peter G here. Left him going to 28 where I could guess what the planner was doing. Fast to 29 but I maybe should have planned the next few better... 30 was very cheeky and almost everyone I spoke to took the first entry which allowed us to see the control but not get to it. so back out and round, losing 10s at least, but 25 off the best. Easy enough to 30, planning the next one. I would've been in contention for 2nd at this point but the next few controls were pretty badly done.
Probably quite a good route to 32 but just kept trying to make sense of the map. It didn't help that I thought I was toking the round route too and found myself approaching from the other side without knowing it. So a good 20s gone here. Then something felt very strange approaching the last control, and I was very hesitant. Even on the run in I thought the planner might try to catch us out...
Good run, but at least 2:15 I reckon from mistakes. This would have landed me 30s behind Murray but I doubt his run was very perfect either... However pleased with the 4th place, and I beat a lot of people from last year. Pace was slower than last year but it was a lot more tricky this year and I think everyone agrees. Plus the conditions were very poor (which also means later starters probably had it better). I think this is a good indicator at what my season's going to be like, and it's looking good. Toe held up ok too. Can't wait until Race the Castles!