“Mountains Of The Moon”
World Masters Orienteering Championships, Cesana, Italy, Class M-40, Long Final
By Hans Egefalk
The long final was at Cesana, Italy, with the chair lift up to the starting area at 1,800 metres (6,000 feet). The course was at between 1,800 metres and 2,300 metres (6,000 feet to 7,700 feet). The place was Italy, but just on the very border to France, in the Alps in far northwest Italy. What a marvelous, absolutely murderous terrain and towards the end it felt like this would be the final orienteering competition for me. Not another one. Enough. Silly sport.
When I was lost, or didn’t know where I was, on control 13 and asked a few fellow runners where I was (think it was a Finn and a Norwegian), they just scoffed at me. Bastards. At the end I couldn’t think, couldn’t run, wouldn’t function, but merely staggered forward like a drunk searching for a home. What a course and how steep and at that altitude! But at least noone threw rocks at me.
Blue sky, not a cloud, at least 25 degrees C (low 80’s F) up there. Lots of controls to find and always steep climbs up or down with several ridges and valleys to get lost among when you stumbled among the rocks. There was neverending scenery and at times I lost focus on the orienteering and instead just stopped and looked at the view. Spectacular. My course was about five miles as the crow flies, which meant that I ran probably at least seven miles as I got severely lost on control 2, 13 and 16–and almost made it outside the map on No. 2.
Orienteering constantly gives you challenges and tells you that you can’t be too highly strung or believe you’re too good. Still, barely past the shower, a few sandwiches, a cup of tea or two, maybe a beer and a dinner, and I’m asking myself when I can get back for more.
– Photos by Hans Egefalk