Today was the second last stage af NORT 2012, a sprint qualification and final in Kajaani, Finland. My knee has been much better the last two days, and with some painkillers, I didn't feel any pain today.
I did a good and solid qualification race, with a good technical flow, and the legs feeling good. The only mistake I made was to the 10th control where I simply didn't see the flag and was just standing 5-10m away from it for some seconds before i saw it. I lost 10 seconds to the best split there. In the finish I was only 7 seconds behind the leader as nr. 7, and would have ended up as 11th, 24 seconds behind.
BUT... When they read my Emit-card in the finish, they said that I didn't have a punch on the 14th control. I remembered one control where I didn't punch it 100% because of too high speed, but running away from it, I thought that it would still be good enough. And it would have been in 9 out of 10 times I guess, but not this time, and I was disqualified because I didn't have the punch on my backup either. That's the rules and I have to accept that it wasn't good enough today, even though it is one of the worst ways to be disqulified, because I was on the control and people saw me there. Especially because it means that I'm out of the total NORT, and will not fight in the chasing start tomorrow for World Cup Points and glory.
We can have long discussion about the different timing systems, Emit and Sportident, and how well they are for different distances, but today there was no excuse for me, and I simply have to learn from it. The positive things from todays race is, that I actually did a very good sprint-performance in a kind of flat, urban terrain, which is normally not my favorite. I had a high speed and good routechoices, and I take a lot of positive things with me from the Sprint-part of NORT.
I will still run the competition tomorrow, starting far behind the others. But the terrain is very relevant for the middle distance and relay for WOC next year, and I can still compare to the best in the world, so I will do my best.