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Route to Christmas: Day 17 2016

Today’s leg in Route to Christmas is one of the absolute highlights of the year – the long 3rd leg in the Course of the Year 2016: The 4th day of France 5 Days 2016. With the help from course setter Ludo Ruiz we have a comprehensive analysis of the leg, including comments from the athletes.

Too fast and you lose control, too soft and you lose too much time

The leg is as usually first provided without routes – you may take a look at it and think about how you would attack this leg (if the image is too small, you may click on it to get it larger). When choosing your route, remember that this was one of the most tricky race of the year for the competitors. Thus you’ll need to have a real plan for the leg…


You find other maps from the area in omaps.worldofo.com here. See also latest additions in 3DRerun from this area in order to learn more about this terrain type.


Next you can draw your own route using the ‘Webroute’ below. Think through how you would attack this leg, and draw the route you would have made. Some comments about why you would choose a certain route are always nice for the other readers.

Then you can take a look at how the runners have solved this 2.3 km long leg. But first the course setters comment:

On this map, it is preferable to simplify the vision of the elements when possible, that’s why the Lucas’s route is interesting because he preferred to make a detour by relying on features while taking risks sometimes looking for the yellow passages in the green. I propose another choice, by circling in red the elements that must absolutely be found to stay on its route, but running in the vegetation is not easy, this choice will not necessarily be faster even if it is shorter than that of Lucas’s route.

The routes shown below are:

  • Lucas Basset (in red line, and better choice in little red dotted line) 2900 m : 12’14
  • Stanislav Mokry (in blue line) 3170 m : 16’46
  • Yann Locatelli (in green line) 3020 m : 15’59
  • Matthieu Puech (in pink dotted line, and better choice in little pink dotted line) 3060 m : 18’16
  • Matthieu Kern Gillard (in yellow dotted line) 3620 m : 18’25
  • Max Peter Bejmer (in blue dotted line) 2720 m : 15’51
  • Théo Fleurent (in brown dotted line) 3715 m : 18’34
  • Planned route by the course planner  (in orange line) 2500 m


Here the comments of the athletes:
  • Lucas’s comments : “I remember great sensations on this route, a great technical mastery all the way as well as a big physical commitment once the I left the fence. I was really in control of my orienteering (which has not been the case at all in these competitions in general). Just a mistake of direction out of 2, I lost easy 30 seconds, but the rest was really very good.”
  • Matthieu Puech’s comments : “On this map, one possibility is to simplify to death by making big detours. You don’t win time, but you will not lose too much, or in any case less than if you don’t find a good route. Théo, for example, went all the route by path. In the end we have the same time or almost on 2-3 (18.16 and 18.34). One other possibility is to try to find a route near the red line by jumping from one yellow / white passage to another through all the featuresThe difficulty is to maintain a good speed while staying in anticipation, not to go in a “dead end”. Because it is an option of which you have not necessarily planned totally all the micro-choices leaving the 2, it forces you to stick to the map all along to not lose the thread. This is technically and mentally hyper demanding, you are on the wire permanently to find the right speed: too fast and you lose control, too soft and you lose too much timeTero [Thierry Gueorgiou] is hyper strong at this little game there, that’s why he is unplayable on this map. It would probably have put a nice jerk on everyone on these 5 days.
    I wanted to leave on the option straight and try to found the right passages. The first part of the route is correct even if I could go a little more by the right at the beginning to avoid going up/down. On the other hand after having recrossed the red line I fell a little asleep, I let myself embarked too on the left losing the map-terrain control, suddenly I found myself in the blur at the time of recover the big path … and then I put myself in the hard, I took a moment to take back the thread precisely (roughly by passing the fence). So I was on the wrong side of the impassable green and it took that I tinker a route with the yellow passages under the control 5. The end of the route was correct but the evil was done.
    For me the key on this route is the moment when I lose control and I do not make the effort to recalibrate right away to go back on the planned route. You lose a lot of time on this map when you sail in the blur while trying to recalibrate along the way.”
  • Théo’s comment : “On the competition day, it was very hot and I was very tired from the previous days. At the 2nd control, I made the choice to go all around with the track to keep my physical resources (easy running on the track) but more important mental resources as there are less things to read. I made that choice in order to finish the race more easily and it was a choice by default. I knew it wouldn’t be the fastest, or the one where I would have the more fun technically (a shame to run on track on that kind of terrain) but considering the heat and the energy left, it was the smarter choice at that time, the most strategical. Then I had time to drink quite a lot on that track and my bottle was already half empty coming to the 3rd control. The realisation wasn’t perfect however. First part (going to the track, running on the track and reaching the first fence) and the last part (around on the track) were easy. But the crucial part was the middle one where I was a bit lazy and just took a bearing toward the track. In that terrain, you have to read the narrow yellow passages between the green and I didn’t make that effort. The consequence was that I got stuck in the green numerous times and lost quite a lot of time and that part. It was a nice leg, very strategic, but of course I would prefer running it again in better conditions in order to master the “straight-line” routechoice. Something that was way too risky during that race.

And finally the course setters route – one step at a time – so that you can study it carefully.

Thanks a lot to Ludo Ruiz for preparing the best leg of this year’s Route to Christmas!

Density map

See below for a density map of some of the ones who have drawn their routes so far.

Additional information

You find the complete map in omaps.worldofo.com at this location.

Route to Christmas series

The Route to Christmas series at World of O has been very popular the last years – giving the readers the opportunity to do one Route Choice Challenge each day from December 1st until December 24th. If you have got any good legs in RouteGadget, GPSSeuranta or 3DRerun from 2016-competitions – or old forgotten ones which are still interesting – please email me the link at Jan@Kocbach.net, and I’ll include it in Route to Christmas if it looks good. Route to Christmas will not be interesting if YOU don’t contribute.

Not all legs are taken for the interesting routechoice alternatives – some are also taken because the map is interesting – or because it is not straightforward to see what to do on a certain leg. Any comments are welcome – especially if you ran the event chosen for todays leg!

About Jan Kocbach

Jan Kocbach is the founder of WorldofO.com - taking care of everything from site development to writing articles, photography and analysis.

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  1. Some thoughts about my routechoice.
    As Théo said, that was quite a lazy routechoice, and I’m not really satisfied with it.
    But, I’m not sure that going straight would be faster for me, at least not that much compared to the possible time lost. And in fact, the middle distance the day before which was a technical disaster for me (and many others) was really important in the decision, I was totally unconfident about my technique.
    Not so good execution as well on this leg. Just a 1km rough bearing, trying to find the passage through the green until the big path, and not so much speed although.
    But, I think that the physical and mental energy saved was important to finish the race not too bad.

    Nota : the 10th control is also worth a look.
    This map, is the 5th stage on 5th stage, not the 4th (as far as I remember)

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