the grapes hang high
...at least at Swedish Championships. After a clear upward trend in my ongoing season was I heading for a top result in at least one of the Swedish Championships, long, middle, relay. With top result I'm talking of a top 10 position, as you are going to the award ceremony then.
The Göteborg area offered challenging competitons in all three events (5 with qualifications). In the long I was even close to fail the A-final, but still made it with a 9th place. The final clearly showed my deficites in that kind of terrain. I didn't do too bad technically, but continuously losing time due to suboptimal running speed in the heather, gras, etc. - typical Göteborg vegetation. Placd 19, 14min behind, it wasn't even enough for a cheap tetra pack wine.
After a few training days in the Göteborg "stumble" terrain, the middle qualification was waiting. With only seven per heat qualified for the final, you can't put too much on a safety run. Doing trainings in that type of terrain doesn't always offer the biggest fun, but competing is something different, when you throw everything into the challenge. The outcome was a 4th place - solid a-final qualification.
The first part of the final was similar to the qualification. I had no real problems there, but got in trouble to the 10th control, staying too high on the slope, making an extra loop and losing nearly one minute.
What could happen if you fold your map too small, is that you don't line up your compass needle with the north lines but with another straight line instead, f.ex. a powerline. And if you forget everything except the direction, you end up in a wrong direction. In my special case, losing some 30 seconds again. And to complete the 3-package: hesitating when running out to the spectator control because the many fences and stripes contributed to some confusion.
Leaving all the struggles at the spectator control, I did a satisfying final loop, gaining some lost positions back. In the end, a 14th place, well, somehow similar to a better tetra-pack wine, but still no merlot or similar...
So, the relay was the last chance to pick the "SM-leave" (this small somehow medal what you get for a top-10 place). Several parameters were against us:
-) I couldn't keep Bergman's speed on the last leg (crazy guy running like hell) - but still improved from 16th to 12th
-) in average we were not good enough - or the others in average too good ;)
-) we were disqualified due to misspunch
thus offering us only pure water instead of an expensive Welschriesling
The weeks before SMs, I participated in some Austrian Cup races (the grapes hanged a little bit lower) - and I won a bottle of Styrian Welschriesling, yes!
And to get all the wine back I missed at SMs, I'm going to Italy today, before I will try to put a satisfying finish on this year's World Cup league in Baden, Switzerland.
Team picture in Italy