European Champs -
Getting three times into the finals and making some points there. That were my goals ahead of the EOC 2010. But already after the first competition, sprint qualification, I was not able any more to reach them. Achieving my best result on the long distance, I would not have believed it, if you told me prior to EOC.
But what happened? It's already some time ago, that I made sucha big mistake to the first control in a sprint competition. With losing about 45 sek, final was already nearly gone. I tried everything afterwards, but some further small mistakes to 5th and 8th control prevented me from being in top 17 in my heat. The final was very interesting to watch in the sand dunes. Unbelievable, that the course directly passed the accommodation of some nations, but as the results showed - there was no direct link to that.
After watching, I tried to skip any thoughts on the sprint, and focused on long and middle q. Although I had some smaller mistakes in the long qualification, I could get 10th place, which was clearly enough for qualificationi. The hot sunny weather on this day, already demonstrated what to expect in the final. Middle qualification race was my best competition during the week, concerning my mistake rate, resulting in another 10th place in my heat.
In the relay we set a different running order. Markus on the first, me on the second and Warti on the last leg. Although we lost the contact to the leading teams on the first leg, I set my goal to catch up with some teams started just a few seconds ahead of me. Unfortunately, I took the wrong nose to the second control, and was caught myself from some runners, who started behind me. The first third of my run was full of smaller mistakes, most of them being parallel mistakes, caused by wrong direction or misinterpretation. Well, the second and third part were quite good and satisfying. Warti did a good job on the last leg, being the first time in the first team in senior team. Place 14 in the nation's ranking (overall 20) was the outcome, not as good as last time.
On the rest day there was enough time for analysis and preparation for middle final. In the previous races I often ended up in the wrong valley, took the wrong nose and so on, because I passed the valley at a different place than I thought. As the vegetation was quite dense in most areas, you could often see the valley forking when you were close to it. I was too lazy in checking my direction often enough, especially when I was going "around the nose".
Being well prepared and focused, at least I thought I was well prepared, I entered the middle final. Somehow, I could not put my goals into practice. To the second control I made a similar mistake than during the previous days. My intention was to attack the control from further right, but I was not that far right, one valley further left, crossed the path, run around the nose saw the control in the stony area, punched, and "oh no" number 33, but I needed 32! Some of the moments, when you would like to dig a hole, jump into it, and cover it. Well, back to 32, back to 33 and continue to fight. I did not manage to learn from the mistake(s) and did some smaller ones to the 6th, 8th (stupid route choice), 10th, 13th (stupid route choice), being already overtaken by two runners. Place 47, running time 42min by a winning time of 34min. Nothing more to add.
For the long distance on the last day, my strategy was to check more often than usually my direction. Additionally, I had in mind to drink enoguh at every refreshment control and take some extra energy gels, because I expected a running time of about 2 hours (good guess running 2:03 in the end). The first loop was pretty good, but to control four I did the same stupid thing as the previous day. I got to control 5, causing some extra minutes. I passed the valley and entered the green area, where I originally intended to do so. But somehow I got unsecure and thought I was at the stone one valley earlier. Continuously, I got further and further away of the 4th and caught myself at a clearing with a control. After checking the code, I recognised that I am already at the fifth - bingo.
Running back to the 4th, I realised that Khramov had already overtaken me. But surprisingly, I met him again at control 7, because he took a different route choice. Anyway, he had a different round in the butterfly, I made some stupid mistakes there, which caused me further minutes. Of course, this mistakes always try to break the motivation, but I tried to resist. When Yury Tambasov caught me on the way to control 17, my new goal was to finish ahead of him (he started 6 minutes behind me). I could see him very often, and I also benefited from him, but we also did different route choices in between. But after missing control 28, I couldn't clearly identify the shape of the valley below the control circle, he was one minute earlier than me in the finish.
This competition was really tough, due to the length and the weather, but I was happy to finsih being still in "good" condition. With place 31 I got at least some World cup points, although my performance was again "non-acceptable". But that's our sport. Until the next competitions, i'll try to come back to my usual routines.