Nav Challenge 3
20 September, 2022Nav 3 report
With chaos at home and spending the day before on the sofa suffering from a creche bug (i have no idea how and why kids recover so much better than parents ...) I was glad to be at the start line. The plan was to just do the short course (the sacrifices one makes for children :D ). Some discussions were had at the start about Liam’s crags are 2 m high, how boulders are marked on the map, that we weren’t to cross any road and that there was no need to cross any fences. Once we all had the sheets in our hands, Liam started the clock and off we went marking controls.
Marking controls went fine, helpfully, a lot of them were labelled on the map with the description that Liam had included on his sheet. Only the river bend was harder - there are a lot of river bends so I picked the bend right next to the path seeing as the short course should be done on trails for most of it. A quick look at the overall pictures had me decide my direction pretty quickly as I dislike steep downhills but don’t mind going up them. I headed through the gate right behind Stuart and Kathryn to figure out at the dry lake where i actually was on the map (good start - haha). I knew with the bug still in my system there wasn’t much running to be had so jogged around towards the boathouse where I met Joe who informed that the lake was once filled with water and the ruin used to be a boathouse. While running to the next control, I was planning my route from the river bend up the hill - there is a fence marked so I need to be to the left of it as there doesn’t seem to be a way to cross later on .... noted. Next up was the cave that looked more like a waterfall. Now to tackle the switchbacks. It looks confusing on the map and even more so in reality with various shortcuts. Orla went past me here and I just didn’t have the energy. After a few shortcuts, I took the trail for a minute to actually figure out where I was and decide the next few shortcuts to take. I could see the river downhill and a fence. Wait a fence? Liam had said no fence crossings (my brain didn’t make the connection this was the fence I had already seen on the map). Helpfully, the fence had a sign on it pointing towards a crossing point where I met Ger who mumbled about control 2 being ‘that way’. We punched the river bend and I went back to find the fence being slightly confused by everyone else following the trail. The uphill wasn’t too bad, a few ferns but else lovely walkable forest. The mast as a next control was a no brainer to be located. Now 2 controls left, what is the best route. Originally, I had planned to get the open mountain one at the crag followed by the fence corner but on revisiting the map figured it would be shorter to go across to the fence corner and then the crag. Done and dusted - not quite. There was a very inviting trail segment pointing right towards the crag - unfortunately, there was a lot of heather between the end of that trail and the crag so I gave in, went back to the wicklow way and approached the crag that way. After that, it was a straight forward run (aehm, we might call it a trot) home to enjoy some lovely hot tea and watermelon.
Thanks Liam and team for planning and for once I didn’t regret not being able to do the long course.
18 September, 2022 - Mick HanneyToday was my quite belated first IMRA race of 2022. I have had bad luck all year with an injury but I'm back where I can run, not to the same extent as before but you appreciate it all the more.
The short course was all I am fit for. Liam had done a great job on the controls with some nice variation and route choices available.
I took my time at the start to get the controls marked up and double checked them on the master map. The last thing you want is to incorrectly mark up a control. Controls 1 to 6 for the Short Course.
Conditions were perfect at Djouce car park - cool, clear with sunshine. The opposite of what a Nav Race Director wants as it might make controls that bit easier to find :-)
I didn't over-analyse the route, just opted to go for the higher 2 controls first and see after that.
First control was a Fence Corner off forestry beside the Wicklow way. Handy enough start after a slow jog/hike up the furrowed track.
Two other runners in my vinicity at the first control. Maeve stretched out ahead towards the next control at Liam's Crag. This was off to the right of the trail towards Djouce. As you got near the control was very obvious, Wouldn't have been as obvious for anyone descending to it.
Next control was back down the Wicklow way towards the Dargle and near the top of the Ayling Abyss by a Mast I had never seen before.. Met a few other runners here inc. Maike and Ger who were heading in the opposite direction.
Next control was a bit trickier. A rough downhill alongside Ayling Abyss but never on a decent trail with lots of trees for obstacles. As one neared the bottom the sound of the Powerscourt waterwall was clear from the left. Passed Joe on this section heading in the other direction. He said he had issues finding the control near the stream bend. I stumbled across it by following first a downed fenceline and then the river downstream slowly, never being too confident in my actual positioning on the map, so probably a bit lucky on this one.
From here, things went awry slightly. I'm not familiar with the maze of trails in Djouce woods. Decided to avoid the minor paths and approach the next Control (the Cave) from a more significant fire road. In my confusion I was headed the opposite way but realised it from race memory of the Earls Drive races. Cue a 'doh' moment, and reversed, thumbing the map to find the Cave after a bit of lost time.
Last control of the day was an easy pick, along the 'lake'. Wasn't aware there was a boat house here before, and nice to see the control sitting up inside the structure. Almost ran past it as it looked like an organic object alongside the trail.
A mean short uphill finish and done. 2nd on short course I think in a slow time but who cares. Had a great time; so happy to be back on the hills.
Nice chats at the finish line discussing routes of travel - clockwise, anti-clockwise and those in between. A nice spread of treats at the finish line. Thanks Liam, Liam's lads and Clare for a brill event.