Last weekend came the most hotly anticipated race of early November - the November Classic. After a good event last year, hopes were high for another skogalicious experience. Early investigatory work suggested that the Black course was planned to be 18km long, and with this news, some of CUOCs most masochistic members decided to make the trip down. However, closer to the event, our hopes were dashed as the distance was brutally reduced to a measly 12.8km. Unperturbed, we resolved to compete nonetheless.
On Saturday the scouting party headed out early, rendezvousing with a squaDRON GOld in Cambridge for the trip down. Arriving in Winchester, disaster struck! There were no car parks, and the team were forced into an arduous walk across the town to the assembly. James ran the Men's Course, coming second only to Eric Nilsson Simkovic, former Austrian National Champion, and leaving DRONGO captain Ben in his wake. Emma elected not to run, because "I didn't want to run two days in a row, and I wanted to do some work, but I didn't end up doing any work."
After the race was a DRONGO pub meal, where too many people wanted a Christmas pie, but the demand was too high for the kitchen to cope, and Ben had his second disappointment of the day, having to opt instead for steak and kidney. Emma found her favourite chocolate shop, so lots of chocolate was purchased and eaten.
After Winchester had been exhausted, everyone bundled into cars to head to Zuzka's parents' spare house for dinner. The fun people dropped James and Emma off at the house, so that they could work like the diligent people they are, while everyone else went to a firework display, then came back to cook. However, there weren't enough saucepans, which resulted in a DIY chilli, with lentils and tomatoes in a saucepan at the bottom, and three steamers of veg cooked on top.
Soon enough, the rearguard of Paul, Fiona, Rowan, Tin and Niki arrived. We ate dinner and then explored the Strakova family library, featuring some page-turners as 'Scottish Jokes' and 'What Not to Wear', which provided some mild humour and some excellent advice from top fashionistas. We then went to bed, ready and excited for the next day's race.
On Sunday morning we got up bright and early, and Paul made a big pot of porridge, only to but surrounded by ungrateful cries of 'why didn't you make it with milk?' Luckily, Niki is vegan, so that provided a more valid excuse than 'It's nicer this way'. There was also a box of Frosted Shreddies, which we decided it were definitely a better option than Shredded Frosties.
We left and continued the drive down, and as we got closer the weather got wetter - it seems we picked the only place in England that it rained that day. The last bit of the drive through the New Forest had some really nice roads with donkeys and horses, as well as some pengaluscious forest either side that we wouldn't be running in. We arrived at the assembly in a nicely drained camping field, then went to pick up our EMIT cards, making sure to leave plenty of time for complaining about EMIT.
The start was approximately 1/2 Warmup away, which was good, although did mean we had to warm up without jackets or face the necessity of coming back to the clothing dump later. The start had a strange setup, with a 150m run-out, with the maps after it, giving no time to look at the map before you get into the terrain. The courses were "fun, quite short", according to Fiona, "spirally", according to Jeremy and "control filled", according to Helen. The area was almost completely open, with a couple of palatable wooded bits, and so much gorse that it was mapped with symbols 407 and 410!
Today's results were well padded by CUOC, with good representation on both Men's and Women's courses. Top results were from Fiona, coming 1st on the Women's course, and Paul coming 3rd on the Men's to hand the DRONGO captain his third disappointment of the weekend. Full results here:
|Short Brown||Fiona||8th (1st W)|
Well done to everyone who ran, and keep signing up for Training Tour!