Orienteering 8:03:00  32.0 km (15:06 / km) +975m 13:06 / km
ahr:119 max:145 shoes: VJ Integrator
The Crooked Compass Adventure. 5 mandatory controls - 8 hr time limit.
Note to self if I re-read this... anything that sounds like complaining in this is strictly about how I feel now about my performance after looking at my downloaded route. The experience was fantastic and I love The challenge of 8 hours in the woods. The location was amazing and had some very unique features.
PRE RACE DAY
I was feeling comfortable with the training I logged gong into this. It was light but gave me confidence. Unfortunately the Blizzard of 2017 hit just 5 days before the event. This created elevated anxiety about how to manage my physical ability over 8 hours in deep snow (something I have never done before) Snowshoes were seriously considered.
Friday nights weather also turned questionable. My plan was to drive out Saturday morning (3 hours west) this would put me passing through the cold front with snow. At 9pm I opted to go immediately and sleep in a nearby hotel. This worked and lowered some potentially high stress.
Check-in opened at 6:30. I was there 6:45 or 6:50. (See 'NOTES' entered for Lessons to learn). I did not read all the course notes or get to review the maps as much as I would have liked. I need to manage this pre-race time better. I was 2-3 minutes late to the 7:30 race meeting and may have missed a critical point about a trail alignment.
One of the last things Brent said before "go" was that the mandatory controls had to be completed in order. So, after "go", I asked him "so you're saying I cant go backwards?" "no, 1-5". Well, that changes things. On my way to control B3 I looked at a new game plan (not the best thing to be doing). As I approached my second control, B1, I saw Sandy and Valerie and followed them to the CP. It was at that point I realized I lost my punch card :( - apparently, after CP 1 i folded over the wrong sing of the bag which left the other end open. Valerie has a photo of me crying over my lost punch card. I gathered my stuff and went to punch and mark my map when Sandy called my attention to my thumb compass I left in the snow.
Ok, I can deal with this. Abby and Brent provided their phone numbers in case of emergencies. I figured this qualified :) I could see if I could pick up a new punch card at the manned F2 station. So, heading to B2 I was rummaging through the maps, clue sheet and race notes to find a cell number... several times. I caught up to Sandy and asked "Sandy didn't they give us there numbers. I cant find them anywhere." (wait for it) "Yes, there on the punch card." :( She was kind enough to read me Abby's number off her card. The call to Abby confirmed I could pick up a new punch card at F2.
New Game plan #2 - I looked at my watch. 30 minutes into this 8 hour course and I've completely re-planned my route 3 times, lost my punch card, almost lost my compass, and had to call the event director.
After a bit of an extended search for B4 I decided to skip B5 and head to the other side of the PA Turnpike. This was managed on an overpass of Rt 915. My short range plan was to get controls
I, R, F1, and Q (in that order) prior to stopping at F2 for a new card. I did this to save elevation but looking at it now I should have done I,F1, R and then F2. I ran past Q two more times before the day was over.
My next short range plan was to sweep the west controls (H,G,E,D,C,B,A) in that order. My attack on H started at Q (which by the way, was on the abandon turnpike) So now I can say I have orienteered on the PA Turnpike. H and G worked well but half way to E I realized I was heading uphill and I wanted to get all the low controls (E) In retro-spect I should have saved E for after A as I was 3/4 of the way to D at that point.
My route to D was across a nasty cross slope with a lot of downed trees. It seemed to go on forever... which most of these legs did as the maps were 1:24000. B was completely botched because I missed the fact that the intersecting trails at the top of the ridge were really SW of the control instead of NE. I attacked B twice heading SW, the last time for over 1/2 km until I realized that the hand drawn trail on the map was not a secont trail but the trail to attack from. :( :( I got B then A and got back to the abandon Turnpike (about 4km away from F3 which was near the west entrance to the tunnel I would need to take to get back across the new Turnpike and to F4 The tunnel being about 2km. This meant I would be traveling 6km on the turnpike... Kind of fun but a hull. I decided to pass the time with a call to Patty. :) 5 minutes which was fun as she didn't understand how I could be on the Turnpike :)
The tunnel was neat but very cold. There was a good breeze that I was walking into and no way to get away from it. On the East side of the tunnel and 3 hours remaining my plan was to get the last mandatory control and head for finish - maybe picking up a few controls if they were close.
I did get B10. It was on a spur about 100 vertical feet above the trail but I rationalized that I had to make the climb sooner or later, I should get some points for it. There was a good beaten trail leaving B10 in the direction of B9 which was on a jeep trail that lead to the finish. Good Plan....that route was 1km with an additional 250' vertical that seemed to go on forever. ..and my watch died in here.
I got to B9 and got up on the jeep trail, a little over 2km (and another 400' vertical) to the finish with about 20 minutes remaining. Doable, I thought, except I started down the trail in the wrong direction.... 1/2km before I realized the error. (to help with the trickery, there was a stream that paralleled the trail the entire length but it crossed over at the point I steeped out on it so either way I went, the stream was on my right.
18 minutes to go and now the finish was 2.5km away and 450' vertical. @#*!!!. It took me 21 minutes and it was one of the most difficult, physical obstacles I have overcome in recent memory. I'm very disappointed I went overtime but I am extremely satisfied with my overall effort and specifically those last 21 minutes. I really just wanted to drop to my knees and give up.
SEQUENCE: B3, B1, B2, B4, I, R, F!, Q, F2, H, G, D, E, C, B, A, F3, F4, F5, B10, & B9.
Hated to pass on B6 but I knew I could not afford the time or energy.
My garmin put me at 850 vertical feet of climb. I say BS. Sometime I will hand calculate it.
I have estimated the last 47 minutes at 4.4km to add to the garmin info that stopped at 7:16:32 and 27.6km