Never before I was orienteering in Vorarlberg, the furthern most western region of Austria, close to the Swiss border. Last weekend the Austrian sprint championship (national competition for Switzerland) and on Sunday Swiss Middle Championship (Austria Cup) were organised in Feldkirch and Göfis.
The Sprint offered some interesting route choices and tricky controls at the beginning as the mapping was not that clear. Impassable hedges were drawn very thin, too thin, so I stopped already at the frist control to check if the hedge close to the second control is passable or not. I came to the conclusion that is should be, but decided to take the way through the play ground as I recognised that it doesn't look passable. From that on, I didn't have furhter troubles, just did some wrong route choice decisions. Back from the castle to the old town it would have been faster to take the route without steps. To control 13 and 14 I took the wrong routes again, but just some seconds were lost.
I succeeded in defending my Austrian sprint title. It was fine to compare with world top runners from Switzerland. Of course it was not their most important competition, but anyway, finishing on second spot, just 4 seconds behind Matthias Merz was a great success for me.
The next day, we had the possibility to compare in the Swiss middle championship on Austrian ground ;) I ran full speed again as I knew, this time no Swiss runner will slow down. The runability was very good in most parts, just some undergrowth or dark green areas slowed down some times. The most difficult area was on the first part in the loop, otherwise orienteering was rather easy I think. Also the route choices were not that demanding.
I managed to became fourth in the Swiss Championship, not more than 2 minutes behind Hubmann and Merz. It gave me some self-confidence after some disappointing World Cup competitions in Finland. Middle Europe seems to suit me better :) So, let's find out what World Cup in Norway will bring.