September Update

After the World Championships I suddenly realised I had a lot of work to complete before the snow begins to fall. With all the travels and training prior to WOC, I had little opportunity to get into the forest and get mapping. It’s time consuming work with 1.5sq km typically taking me 7 days to draw. Of course, it can be longer or shorter depending on the terrain.

Not only is it time consuming, but it’s also fairly fatiguing. I actually don’t walk hugely far in an eight hour day, most of the time is spent standing still or walking around a clump of vegetation, but for some reason I finish a day of work and I’m drained.

It was with this reason in mind, that I opted out of the World Cup final races in Portugal in mid-October. Going would have meant another 6 weeks of hard training, combined with lots of work. I felt this combination would leave me exhausted and not performing to my best in Portugal, so I made the tough decision to call an early end to my season and focus on work for some weeks. It was the right choice to take. Two weeks into mapping, and I’ve barely been on my bike for more than an hour every few days.

The autumnal weather in Norway is occasionally putting a stop to work. Rain isn’t conducive to drawing and just makes me wet, cold and miserable (so I often opt to stay indoors!). The weather is changing distinctly each day now. Last week I was greeted with warm days, 23°C and sun. This week, drizzle, heavy fog, 10°C and a wet forest (thanks rain!). I have started to develop a fascination of mushrooms though. Omdalsvatnet is full of different species and the forest floor on occasions has been a blanket of red fairytale mushrooms! The fascination extends merely to wondering which ones are edible, I don’t plan to start being able to name them!

The forest itself is incredibly varied. From white runnable featureless forest, to steep car-sized boulder strewn slopes. The area has undergone various degrees of felling in the past so the vegetation is varied and complex. In many places there is a gradual change from white to green so placing the boundaries is tough. Occasionally I’ll be in a featureless section and suddenly stumble upon a humungous boulder, and I find myself wondering how the hell it got there! Perhaps there really are still rock throwing trolls in Norway …

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