This Year's Portugal Orienteering Meeting (POM) is based all around Gouveia, which is up in the mountains in the middle region of Portugal. I'm here traveling with a family friend Martin Wilson, who kindly let me tag along to get some big races in.
We arrived in Portugal on Wednesday (after our plane from London was turned around on the first attempt for "operational problems") so that we could have two days of training before the races started.
On Thursday we went to the POM Model on a map Arcozelo da Serra SE. This map is supposed to be similar to days 2,3,4. It was a bit rainy and misty when we first arrived but it cleared up to be a really nice day! The sun even came out! So I just ran round all the controls first taking in the terrain. Afterwards I walked around for a bit to really understand the way the mapper was mapping the rocks. There is going to be a lot of scrambling! its almost faster to keep to the bare rock. And then afterwards I went out and did a few more controls in different orders and stuck in a longer leg that took me through the main rock bit near 42.
|Map at 1:10,000|
What did I learn?
* The rocks here are HUGE!!!!
* If you are able to simplify the map down it is very fast running
* The green slash is brambles and should really be avoided as much as possible
* These controls were much easier than the ones in the race will be
* There isn't that big of a difference between the different kinds of rock, however the shapes are mapped very accurately
* A clean run but slow will be MUCH faster than trying to push the pace and getting totally turned around in the rock
Photos from the area:
|Near Control 42 the big gap between the cliffs|
|Control 42 :)|
|One is marked as a thin cliff line and another a more blob :/|
Friday we took a trip to the town of Folgosinho up in the hills to do the sprint model event. It was again a quite cold and rainy day. I thought coming to Portugal meant sunny warm weather! But so glad we drove the hour or so to get here as it was such a fun little town. Really hilly and cobbled streets and small passage ways. Reminded me of Italy's JWOC sprint in 2009 in a way. For training I had Martin create a sprint course for me to run so that I wasn't thinking about which control to go to next. So started off on his course and went round it at a fast pace. It was a lot of fun but goodness tricky in a few places! Afterwards walked around the controls I had more difficulties with seeing where I missed the alleyway and such. And then decided I wanted more training so ran the sprint course backwards, and still bobbled some controls!
Photos from area:
This is the small alleyway that lead into control 35. I missed this the first time I ran the course it was so small and behind a parked car and then coming out of it the second time around managed to then mess up at the junction. Great control!
This was the little square that control 37 is on the edge of.
And yes there is even loads of rocks on a sprint map! The fort was very cool and had a great view from the top.
Spot the control? I'll give you a hint its on a rock haha
This was the view from the fort looking down on the town, during the one bit of sun we got that morning haha.
And the control is #41
We rounded off the day with another trip back to the other model event where I just went around with Martin for a little bit and we talked about keeping the head up and picking the big features to look at. And then went back to finish with a Portuguese style Pizza :)