The middle-distance in Oslo was another success for me, with a 4th place, only 3 seconds of the podium. As I hoped, the start was placed at Vettakollen, and the first half of the course was really nice, with a lot of shorter legs with direction-change in beautiful terrain. I managed to avoid bigger mistakes and had a good feeling of flow in my orienteering even though I lost time to both 3rd and 7th control. On the second half of the course the terrain changed to be faster running but with more routechoices. I did well and had a clear third place in the race, but got caught on the top of a cliff to 18th control and lost important seconds. I pushed all I had on the tracks in the end, but in the finish I was too slow and Kyburz took the third place just 3 seconds in front of me. Still I was very satisfied with my performance and of course the result, which is my best in a World Cup race since 2008 (5th). And compared to my expectations, it was a positive experience to run the middle distance, because the course planners had chosen the best parts of the terrain and made a good course.
Yesterday it was time for 3rd stage of NORT, Knock-Out Sprint in Göteborg. The Qualification race went like the qualification in Norway, just good enough to qualify fot the final as nr 20, 57 seconds behind. But I lost almost 30 seconds going straight over the hill to the 7th control, partly because I had to jump 2 big cliffs which was not on the map to come down. My body and especially my stomach didn't feel very good in the qualification race, but in the afternoon I was feeling better, and I felt ready for a battle in semi-final.
My tactic was to be offensiv in the beginning and since the organisers "choose" to show the womens semifinal course on the big screen during the end of the qualification race, I (and everyone else I guess) knew almost every single control and routechoice before the start. What a mistake from the organizers...!
But what I did not know, was the the condition of the tree-surface in the starting and finish area. My coach tried to say that it was extremely slippery on the tree which was still wet because the sun did not dry it, but I couldn't hear him. So I tried to get a good position towards the first corner, but when I tried to jump the first step, my Inov8 slipt and I fell on the step with my knee, while the others tried to avoid me. My knee hurted, and I was very close to give up lying there, but I got up and tried to start running again. After some steps it felt better, and I decided to give it a go. So I put my map away, and run as fast as I could to close the gap to the others. I managed to catch the tail on the first control but I was stressed as hell and I simply forgot to look at my map again. Towards the top of the hill I was in a good position, but the I felt very uncomfortable on the extremely slippery rocks, and couldn't focus on the orienteering. People were very confused out on the first butterflywing, myself included, and I got lost and simply couldn't find out were I was. After a minute or two I found the control together with Merz, but the race was lost even though I ran well on the last part of the course. On the way to the last control, I choose the fastest left routechoice (at least according to the map), but running on the wet tree was crazy and almost dangerous.
I know I wasn't the only one having problems with the slippery surface and I don't like it when the safety of the runners are at risk just to have the perfect spot for a arena. And its not fair competition, when the conditions are that extreme, so the runners in front, fall over, and the secondary runners benefit from it...
The organizers could have advised us to wear spikeshoes, put out some non-slippery surface on the tree or maybe just informed us "that the tree is very slippery, so be careful", before the start, so there would have been no unecessary risk. My falling over (and all the others) could have been avoided, and I am a bit pissed about it, because after the race my knee started to swell and hurt, and during the night a had pain. So this morning I decided to travel to Copenhagen, to find out how bad it was. Luckily the swelling and pain is not inside the knee-joint, so hopefully I can run normally again soon, but right now I can't walk normally. I have still decided to travel to Finland tomorrow together with the rest of the Danish Team, but I don't know if I will be able to run the last 2 stages of NORT. At least I hope that I will be able to get some WOC-relevant training in the days after NORT.