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Race Evaluation

Hudson Highlander:


1. Still recovering from a bad cold that I had a week ago, bad chest congestion. Took a swig of cough syrup before starting, and left the bottle at the map exchange in case I decided I needed more later. Worked my way up to a reasonable place in line on the run to the start triangle, and on the way studied the map well enough to see the trail route to the right. As most of the crowd headed straight for the control, I went right, along with Greg Balter, Vladimir Gusiatnikov, and some others. We settled into a line with Greg in front, me second, Vlad third, and some other people behind, I guess (I know Jeff Saeger was back there somewhere). About halfway to the control, Vlad said something like, "Ha ha ha, look to the left", and we saw the "leaders" coming up out of a valley. Will Hawkins dropped in behind me, and soon asked to pass so that he could keep closer tabs on Greg. Sergei Zhyk went by soon after, and Boris Granovskiy (and maybe a few others). Some of the hotshots then cut off to the left, and some of us continued on the trail. Dimitriy Kourtchikov passed us at some point, and soon after that we came to a trail junction that I immediately recognized as Times Square. Hadn't really intended to go so far to the right, but whatever. Followed the obvious trail from there to the control. When we got to the place where we needed to cut left to get to the hill, Vlad said "No!", but I knew I was going the right way. Jeff was right behind me, and Sergei wasn't very far ahead (having gone straight). I could see a few others ahead as we headed down the back side of the hill, and I ran down to about where the circle was, and stopped. Jeff said, "I'm counting on you, J-J", and I replied "Well, we're close". Jeff spotted the flag just off to our right, and also commented on the presence of John Fredrickson (who was sitting there taking splits).
2. Right around the marsh. Dropped down early to get to some good running, then found an unmapped trail that allowed us to get most of the way to the control on good surfaces. On the way up the reentrant, I commented on how big the cliff was compared to the way it looked on the map, and headed up the opposite side to go to the control. Jeff asked where I was going, thinking that we needed to go further up the reentrant, but I was in just about the right spot (a smidge too high, actually). Vlad caught up with us here.
3. Took a chance
Dashed over the top of the hill, came down the other side, and saw nothing. Vlad and I figured out that we were too far right, and I hollered to Jeff that we had found it.
4. Along the trail, then cut over before the stream. Randy Hall's splits show him being a couple of seconds ahead of me at this point, but I think he was actually a couple of seconds behind, because I remember seeing him and some others (including AlanYoung) as I was leaving the control.
5. Right around the marsh. First we encountered a huge mass of people going the opposite way, taking the left hand trail route to #2. Then we hit a big bunch going the same way as us, taking the right-hand route to #2. Small trail to big trail, and at the small trail that went uphill, we diagonaled up toward the control. There were still quite a few people in sight, including Jeff up on my right, and a cadet ahead, and one behind. Followed the crowd to the control.
6. Did not plan ahead
Did not check features en route
Bad distance judgement
Not thinking clearly
Lacked concentration
Jeff and a cadet disappeared up ahead, and I started feeling iffy. Started coughing a lot, and wasn't paying very close attention to my map. I knew the control was very close to one of the WOC controls, but I failed to navigate, and overshot by a lot, winding up at an open marsh about 200 m NE of the control. Coughed and hacked whil standing still for several minutes (it seemed), then tried to figure out why I seemed to be on a trail. Found the faint trail on the map, and went back to the control no problem. I knew there should be a WOC control stand nearby, but didn't stick around to hunt for it. And at this point, I was all by myself.
7. Took the pass left of the line, knowing that the unmapped Bottlecap Trail runs though that gap. Followed the bottlecaps down until I could see the big marsh up ahead, then banged a right and kept my eyes open -- fortunately, the control was very easy to see from this angle.
8. Did not like map
Confused parallel features
Down to the stream/trail crossing, then across the flat area to the faint trail, which I followed to just before the big patch of stony ground, then straight from there. Got myself a contour too high, I guess, and checked out some cliffs up there first -- the one the control was on didn't seem very "upper" to me.
9. Bad distance judgement
My favorite leg, the first half anyway, a sweet level/downhill blast with good running. Just as I started, I encountered Robert Molnar on his way to #8, and gestured back in the right direction. Was a little off to the right attacking the control, and Robert caught up.
10. Robert went straight, I went right and caught the trail to save a little climb.
11. Robert was visible up ahead in the distance for a little while.
12. Drank most of a bottle of jumelade, then headed out. At this point, I didn't seem to be in too bad shape. Shortly after the triangle I saw a guy up ahead who I didn't recognize, but when we crossed the "dirt" road, he headed up the road. Don't know what he was up to, maybe confused and heading to #25. Never saw him again, in any case. Trudged up the faint trail that heads toward the control, and had no trouble finding it. But my calves were starting to get twitchy.
13. Read map too late
Confused parallel features
Did not read control description
Not thinking clearly
Lacked concentration
Went a little too far to the right, and got into a little laurel. At this point my right calf cramped up, and I stopped to stretch it out. At the same time, I started coughing again, enough that I choked so hard I threw up a little. When I recovered from that, I walked onward, and came to the open marsh north of the control. Headed down, everything should have been fine, and I got to what I thought was the right spot, but I went all around the boulder and saw no flag. (Had I looked at the control descriptions, I would have seen that I was looking for a cliff.) So I went a little further west, and nothing looked useful over there, and I decided to head uphill. Found the big stone dome NW of the control, attacked carefully from there, and found another (bigger) boulder further down the same reentrant I had found the first boulder in. No flag there, either, but then I looked at the cluesheet and found the control on the adjacent cliff.
14. Just kind of contoured along, slowly burning off altitude, and was pleased to arrive at the right spot just as Jeff Saeger was punching in, saving me from having to hunt around. I was surprised to see Jeff right after having made a big mistake; he must have made an even bigger one.
15. Ran too fast
Read map too late
Cruising along with Jeff close behind, and ran right past the control. Just as I figured that I must be a tad too far, I heard Jeff calling me back.
16. Lacked confidence
Jeff led on this one, and we got prety close, but stopped one spur too soon. This was on the edge of the area that I mapped, and it looked familiar, but I scratched my head for a second before recognizing the fact that the open spur was right in front of me, and I hopped over it and found the flag, with Jeff coming in right after me.
17. Now I was in very familiar terrain, I specifically remembered the marsh just east of the circle, and the slot canyon on the SW edge. Climbed the steep open rock face on the SE edge of the circle, and looked back to see Jeff having trouble with his footing while doing the same. No problem finding the control.
18. Straight, just right of the line, though I was losing track of where I was on the way there. Jeff got me close, and I spotted the control.
19. A very nice leg, moving fast and a perfect spike.
20. Smooth.
21. Bad route choice
Went a little left, by the marsh, because the running looked cleaner. But it was slower than Jeff's route slightly right, because be didn't have to do the two lines of climb through garbage at the end.
22. Saw Joe Brautigam and somebody else up ahead of us. Straight.
23. This leg looked familiar. If memory serves, there was a WOC leg that started at a dot knoll about 200 m NW of here, and went to the same place. I remembered that Arto Rautianen had taken the trail option around to the left, which looks tempting, but it cost him. So I opted to go straight, as the winners had. My plan was to pass to the left of the marsh that's under the line, but when I got there, I was pretty far right. Tried to remember whether the vegetation was passable to the right, but allI knew for sure was that I hated this area when I mapped it, that it was all deadfall and burnt-out laurel. Went right anyway, got through okay, and tried to stay on the granite domes as much as possible to avoid the nasty stuff. Things were looking very familiar as we drew close, and I was suspecting that this was in fact a WOC location. Recognized the hill and surrounding features, and popped right over to see the control and the remains of a WOC control stand. Joe and friend arrived behind me and Jeff, and Joe said I'd have to explain how I did that leg so quick.
24. +01:00South to start out, between the marsh and the open hilltop, then SE through the gap. This was also similar to a WOC leg. The other three guys headed up the trail a ways toward Bald Rocks to come down the broad open/bare rock spur that led toward the control, but I started feeling pretty bad, and decided to cut off much sooner and avoid some climb. About 300 m west of the control, there's a pair of very large cliffs that form a V, and I passed south of that, snaked my way through the laurel, and found the control no problem, but I was slowing down a lot. The other three were out of sight, and from then on, I was all by myself for the rest of the race.
25. Tired
Straight, walking.
26. Tired
Straight, I guess. Can't even really remember this control, was feeling really bad and didn't know if I'd be able to continue, never mind finish.
27. Tired
Because I was walking, I was able to be careful and economize, avoiding any extra climb on the way to the control.
28. Tired
Saw Sergei starting the last loop as I left the control. Walked (slowly) back to the map exchange, seeing Jeff, Joe and the other guy going out on loop 3, and arriving just in time to see Boris start the last loop.
29. Tired
Sat down, ate a bunch of cookies, and drank another bottle of sploosh. Was hoping to find something like potato chips, but no such luck. Talked with Gail Gagarin for a while, and saw Jerre Hansbrough walk in after his second loop and quit (he was in rough shape, had apparently been lying down asleep for a while!). Eventually decided that I could move again, and started walking down the trail. I think I walked the whole way to the control. Got to the circle, found the boulders on the SE edge, scratched my head, and figured out where I was at about the same time as I saw a guy with a clipboard skittering back into position. Wondereed why there was somebody out here, then looked at my map and realized this was King of the Mountain. He suggested I relax and take my time, and I commented that it didn't matter, punched, and trudged onwards.
30. Tired
Not thinking clearly
Lacked concentration
Went kind of too far left and hit the trail early. Oh well. Followed it around, stopped to take a leak, got to the stream crossing, and headed uphill. Trudge, trudge, trudge. Popped up onto the ridge, didn't know where I was, decided to keep going., and got to the top. 100 m overshoot, turned around and found the control, which still had a couple of people taking splits.
31. Okay, downhill, maybe this will feel good. Was able to do some running, got between the marshes with no problem, and went straight in.
32. Tired
Early on in this leg, I think I stopped and had another coughing fit, but I don't remember for sure. Nice run down the same hillside as #9, popped up onto the hill in the north part of the circle, and spotted the flag.
33. Much of this leg was on a trail where I was passing casual hikers out for a stroll. At the stream crossing were a half-dozen little kids. One boy asked what I was doing, and I said I was in a race. Then a few paces on, a girl asked where I was going, and I started to say something about heading for the finish line, eventually, but then she asked "Are you orienteering?", and I said that yes, that was exactly right. That cheered me up. I think I climbed up to within about 5 meters of the flag and then had to figure out what I was looking for, but fortunately I saw the control.
34. Straight, found some good paths through the laurel.
35. Straight.
36. Got right into the groove between the cliff and the outcroppings, and the chute made the control easy to find.
37. Feeling better than I had at the previous loop, so I made it a point to at least jog in. Grabbed my last bottle, and talked with Paul Bennett, who mentioned that there was a pack of 8 or 9 people, including Peggy, who had started the previous loop not too far behind me. Oh, swell, now I have to try and hustle to stay ahead of people.
38. Tired
Jogged around to the start triangle, then followed the small trail for a while, but it faded out, so I went uphill to pick up the larger trail, and popped out at the cairn (actually an old chimney) which made the attack very easy.
39. Stone wall, through the gap, up the left side of the indistinct marsh, and in. Never noticed the trail option to the left.
40. Did not plan ahead
Read map too late
Bad compass work
Didn't see the trail on the map, intended to go straight, but drifted right in the bushes and came out near the 'g' in "Hogencamp". Cut over from there to the trail, and attacked from the form line hill just outside the circle on the E. Noted as I approached the control that this could be a very tricky placement to find. But as I was thinking that, I noticed that the bare rock I was standing on had a control on it.
41. Tired
Didn't see the trail option. Clambered down the cliffs into the deep pit of despair, and then walked up the long reentrant to the control. Just as I arrived, I got the worst calf cramp I've ever had in my left leg. I tried to stretch it out, but it was locked up so tight that with all the weight I could bring to bear on it, I couldn't get the ankle to flex. Somehow remained on my feet through this excruciating pain and finally got it to let go. As I stood there, wondering how long I would need to stretch it, I looked to my right and saw the control, so I knew that at worst, somebody would eventually find my body.
42. Made a point of enjoying the magnificent view from up here.
43. Definitely looking over my shoulder at this point, not knowing that I had almost a 20 minute lead on the pack. Down past Thunderdome, picked up the trail for a bit, then hesitated when I saw the feature, wondering how to avoid wading through the sea of junky vegetation to get to it.
44. This trail used to be my daily commute when I was mapping here 12 years ago. Lost track of it just where it drops off of the bare rock, but knew I'd hit the trail that it intersects. The trail from there down to the road has been rerouted slightly since the map was made. I intended to cut over at the clearing, but wasn't sure where that was, so I turned when I saw the laurel up ahead.
45. Running and looking over my shoulder. Cut through a little barberry to get to the control.
46. Up to the dirt road to get out, which was probably dumb. Was pretty confident that nobody could catch me now.
F. Put the hammer down and sprinted the chute. Why not?

Total Time Lost - 00:39:00

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