The following morning we hopped up and headed out on the Middle Distance course starting on the jetty in the centre of Nida township.
Chris heads off...
The course was super tricky through the houses, followed by a fun easier bit out in some forested dunes, then back in to the funky red and white stripped lighthouse before whizzing back down to the wharf. The day before on the Model Map Chris had a flat tyre and his chain broke, so he was relieved when his bike survived the course.
We had a farewell coffee with Julian and Jana in the sun (it was the first sunny day in about 3 weeks) before they caught the bus and headed off the spit and on to Poland. We basked in the warmer weather, then explored the wonderful dunes that make up the reserve, getting a close up of two snakes along the way! Hisssssssssssssssss
The following day was a sprint event starting in the Sea Museum in Smiltyne (just before I started I saw a sea lion and some emperor penguins!) The sprint was challenging but heaps of fun, it mostly involved weaving through detailed tracks in the forest. Unfortunatly I made too many mistakes to do well at all and poor Chris go another frustrating flat tyre. Both feeling annoyed, Chris insisted on a repeat of my course. We rode it together and both felt much happier after analysing some mistakes and seeing how easy it was to do it so much better. In the afternoon we explored some other dunes, then headed back to our happy wee camp site in Nida.
On the dunes and the pretty surrounds of Nida
The final event was the long distance starting in Juodkrante about halfway along the spit. This was an awesome event on some really fun and difficult terrain. Both Chris and I loved it and felt much more pleased with how we went as well. I still made plenty of dumb mistakes, but I felt much more in control in general. Chris came 13th overall and was only a few minutes down on the leaders and I was pretty pleased with my 25th place. After wards we hung around on the pretty beach feeling quite content enjoying the afternoon sun.
On Saturday they held the relay which we couldn’t race in as we needed a 3 person team. So we mucked around then rode the men’s course in the afternoon. In the evening they had a banquet in a bar on the wharf and we had a fun time with the somewhat raucous mountain bike orienteers.
We left the Neringa spit early the following morning having thoroughly enjoyed the events and the amazing landscape to drive back to Riga and return the rental car, then transport our gear to catch the overnight ferry to Stockholm. Mission achieved we have made it to Sweden and are now hanging out in the flat of the very hospitable Alastair Landals and his partner Juliette. We have some orienteering maps of forests right near the flat so we are going for an exploration tomorrow. Chris is very excited.