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Route to Christmas: Day 4 2019

– It is one of the most difficult terrains I have ever been to, is Simona Aebersold’s description of the terrain of today’s leg in Route to Christmas. The map is Les Plans d’Hotonnes, and the race is a Swiss Selection Race over the long distance in May this year. The chosen leg is the 21st leg in the men’s class – just after a map exchange (actually a map flip).

To put this leg into perspective, the ground is not the fastest. This is a terrain where you often try to look for paths to increase your speed, but as always you have to make compromises. 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):


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 leg below. Looking at the leg, it is first very tempting to try to run left as the coursesetter has clearly set the leg in a way where he invites you to start running on the nice paths and open areas to the left. However, I got suspicious at once because it looked so clearly like a “course setter’s trap”. It is just too obvious that you have a nice way out of the control to the left, and then you are pushed far out to the left and have to run a lot longer than on the options to the right. But even if it feels obvious when looking at it on the map now, I am not sure I’d taken the right choice under competition pressure in the forest. Would you have (comments below are very welcome!)? Going straight would be an option in most other terrains which look the same when looking on the map, but the ground in this area is quite tough, so you probably lose too much time going straight.

Looking at the routes (Note! Split times are from GPS times and not from actual split times), it is clearly faster to go right, and around a minute may be lost on a route to the left and even more straight. Daniel Hubmann goes very far to the right and loses some extra time. Again – going around here looks tempting, but the climb toward the control gets too tough. A very nice leg by the course setter here, this course is really something to consider for “Course of the Year 2019″ as suggested by Aebersold (the women’s course).

Density map

See below for a density map of some of the ones who have drawn their routes so far (available during the day when some readers have drawn their route).

Additional information

You find the complete map here.

Route to Christmas series

The Route to Christmas series is a pre-Christmas tradition at World of O – 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 GPSSeuranta or 3DRerun from 2019-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. I wouldn’t say that the terrain is slow and tough.
    Nothing here to compare for example with Vercors/ Annecy (Semnoz) / la Féclaz terrains which are close to this terrain. Not fast overall terrain neither (some part very fast), but definitly not slow and that what make this terrain from OO’Cup so nice beside the technical challenge compared to tough WOC2011 terrains where you need to fight everytime (and be careful not to get injuried…)
    To figure it out, a modest video clip shot by Marian Basset during a mass start training (most of it is from the open areas but there is forest parts also)

    • Thanks, MKG! Although it is not really slow, the forest is not exactly the fastest – but of course nothing like la Feclaz etc.