Austrian Championship long and team
Although I'm already in Estonia at CISM, I want to give a review of last weekend's competition in St. Lorenzen, with Long distance and team Austrian Championship.
I can look back to a successful weekend. On Saturday, I managed to defended my Austrian Champion title at long distance and on Sunday, I could win the team competition with my club mates Thomas Lang and Helmut Gremmel.
Both competitions were organised from my home club HSV Pinkafeld and Pongo was course setter for both competitions. I think, he did a good job, of course you can never satisfy all people’s wishes and made the best out of the terrain, consisting of a steep slope with a lot of climbing meters, many paths, some stones and cliffs and few denser areas.
On the long distance, our club’s goal was to achieve all three medal places in men’s class and we were happy to succeed. I could take the victory ahead of Markus and Bindi.
There were two long routes along the course. At the first route choice to control 4, I decided to take the less boring one, going via the start a long different paths and forest passages, close to the line. Markus took the one on the left side, first uphill and then just continuing the path close to the control. He was 20 seconds faster, but still losing some seconds in the control area.
At the second long route to control 18, there was only one option I think. Many controls were placed at root stocks, which were not always easily visible. At these controls I lost some seconds, but the rest of the course went well.
At the team competition, each team consisting of three runners, has only one SI-stick. This year, we had a set of controls with a free order of choice, at the beginning and at the end. In between we had about 25 controls in a fixed order to run. Additionally, there are some “meeting controls” where all three runners have to meet for punching. All other controls, you can divide freely within your team.
Our club strategy was to win gold and silver, that’s why we divided our elite runners Helmut Gremmel, Thomas Lang, Markus Lang, Martin Richter, Martin Binder and me in two similar strong teams. As I made a bad decision for the running order of the first set of controls, we lost about 2 minutes to the leading team 1 (2xMartin and Markus). This was something that could happen, but I was completely surprised or even “shocked” when I noticed that we are just on fourth place after half of the course, behind Wr. Neustadt and Graz, without further mistakes. Some controls later we could close the gap and take the lead, but only because our club’s first team had one big mistake. But all the stress turned out to be unnecessary, as we noticed that the two other teams had some controls left from the first set of controls.
Before the start we were discussing if it was possible to punch ex aequo at the finish line in case that both teams are leading and close to each other. After some “hand break” controls in the final part we decided to run into the finish. I feel a little bit sad for the other team, because we split the team randomly but I am also happy for Thomas and Helmut. Helmut, still junior, won his first title in senior category.
This team event always makes a lot of fun. You have a lot of contact during the race and rearrange the strategy throughout the race. And you only have once a year the possibility to exercise.