Tweedaagse van Brabant [NL] - Day 1
Today's competition on Boshoverheide had everything you expect of a competition in this part of The Netherlands: sand, heath and small contours in this very nice sand dunes area, oh and did we mention sand?
The courses were pretty well set by Peter Bleyens, usually one of the always active Trol members, but in his spare time also a member of KOVZ. Some people complained about too few controls in a few difficult areas, but they forget that navigating through these difficult zones is sometimes already difficult, an example clearly illustrated by leg 11-12, where there are quite large gaps between the runners. This does not apply to the area around control 14. That part is often one of the most difficult parts of the course on Boshoverheide, but a bit neglected today.
A bit more problematic was the placing of the controls: when running towards 5, you could see control 6, before one arrived at 6, he could see control 7 and just a few meters into the terrain, 8 was visible. With a better placement of these controls, this wouldn't have spoiled the orienteering fun in that area. Also, the last control was not in the right position. "De Laatste Post" does not tolerate such a devaluation. This blasphemy even decided the M21 race!
When we look at the results of today, we see that the Men's 21 class was won by Dutch runner Marco Mensink, 2 seconds ahead of yours truly, and 22 seconds faster than Geert Simkens, on his return to his previous level after some injury troubles.
The women's class was easily won by Miek Fabré. Also on her return to the very top after a feet injury at the JJLVK competition in Germany, Miek had a huge gap (4,5min) to Veerle Tulleneers, who lost a lot of time making mistakes, and was also faster than one M50 runner "De Laatste Post" heard whining about the level of female elite orienteering in Belgium. The final spot in the top three was for the Finnish KOVZ runner Heini Rantoja.
Tomorrow, we'll see the decision in this 2-day event on the map Weerterbergen, which will bring us sand, heath (not as much as today) and small sand dune contours (more so than today). In a lot of categories, everything is still possible. Prizes are announced. Given the location, DLP expects 300g of Dutch cheese for the winner, two bottles of milk for the second place and one coffee for the third (or isn't it that they sell in a coffeeshop?).
After all the serious stuff is told, time for the trivia section: Both one of the van der Kleij's (Jeroen) and the Belgian railways, in the person of Jackie Vandijck were rumoured to have arrived at the CC long before the first start at noon, admittedly because of the unusually late starting time, but still... For both, this is something of a once-in-a-lifetime achievement and worth the effort of writing it down.