With the New Year and the holidays now fully over the business of getting back to normal activities was the agenda for most people. Luckily the WENT series resumed on Wednesday and it was the turn of a cold, misty night up at Cairnwood Forest. There was a light sleety rain and even though there was still snow on the opens trails, most of it had melted within the forest leaving the ground very wet in deed. For ‘not a very nice’ evening there was a good turn out of runners all eager to start, hoping the run will soon warm them up in the cold night’s air. The format for the event was the standard 45 minute score. Unlike the last two events there were no dumbbell legs, which I think most people were happy with. The Emit timing system was also being used this time and gave both the runners and the planner another chance to get use to it.
There was a ‘gradual’ mass start at 7:30 and again people started to run off in all directions. I had a rough clockwise route planned and quickly headed out to get my first control at CP108, Next I got CP102 and followed the stream down the hill to collect CP101 before running the short distance to get CP103. Next I headed diagonally up the hill to go to CP124, but I wasted about 4 minutes searching for it. I was in the circle ok but could not see it. Eventually I found it in a large ‘depression’ which did not seem to match the description. Continuing up the hill I headed to CP105 and again I had difficulty finding the control box. It was nicely tucked away behind a bit of green. CP125 was next and I followed the trail up the hill until I was able to follow the earth wall directly to the control. The mist got thicker the higher up the hillside and this caused your visibility to drop down to about 10m. CP102 was a bit of a fight through the light green and undergrowth, but was not too bad. Back on the trail I run the short distance up to the junction and turned right. After about 60m the trail bend left slightly and from here I cut slight right and following a faint single track which lead to CP109. Reversing back to the trail, I continued on up and cut in left to get CP123. This control was another tricky one to find back again turned out not to be too bad.
CP108 was the next control to head for and I had a couple of route choices. Either follow the main trail around north or south to CP108 or cut across the middle bit of wood directly to it. I took the easier but longer option of heading back north and go around the path to CP108 and found it without any problems. I over shot CP107 by about 10m, but quickly doubled back to get it. For CP122 I took the direct route through the undergrowth (there was a very faint track). I took a careful route diagonally through the forest and got CP121 spot on. One more control and it was a quick run down to the path that run parallel with the road and I followed this until I hit CP110. Except where was it? I spend a minute looking for it and found it tucked again in a small drainage ditch with I just did not see the first time around. Just over a minute later I was at the finish. Course cleared in 43 minutes.
Apart from the two mistakes at CP124 and CP105 and the mistake at my final control (CP110) I felt I had a good enough run in the differcult conditions. I enjoyed it which is always a good sign. The emit cards do take a bit of getting use to. They do not beep the same way as the Sportident system does and only flashes a wee red light. The card can ‘hover’ over the control to register, so can be quicker to ‘dib’ than a Sportident. However, wearing gloves it was difficult to see the red light so at every control you had to double check to see if the light flashed.
The final WENT is in 2 weeks time down in Castlewellan, however ‘O’ training will continue on Wednesday evenings over at the Dub. There should be details on the LVO website about it.