Orienteering race 13:30*** 3.16 km (4:16 / km) +54m3:56 / km ahr:149 max:197 15c
SART Round 4 @ South Seattle College
The way SART works out, Round 4 is always the real grinder because it's the last unforked race and you've got two fast, evenly matched groups of five battling it out for spots in the final. My heat was David, Graembo, and the two Erics. Legs still felt fresh waking up in the AM so I definitely felt like I had a good shot to make it through.
Out of the start I took the left trail toward 1 which was not optimal (and Bonesaw followed me) but we met back up at the next junction just a step or two behind the other guys. At that point the Jonesaw found himself in the lead, which I think surprised him because he hesitated at the next junction and fell back in the pack. David reached 1 first, though we were all together through the first 4. I nearly ran into the OOB baseball field but stopped myself in time (and got a helping shout from Graeme).
I found myself leading out of 4, and I decided to take the trail route to 5 because it looked like less climb. Could hear at least one person just behind me but didn't know who it was. Took 5 in the lead (overall actually), then disaster struck at 6. I went down the hill, but then for some reason I decided the wall just to the north was the wall right behind 6, even though that makes no sense. So I climbed up the passable wall and wandered into the long grass along the steep hillside for a bit before figuring it out - a time loss of 26s (!) according to WinSplits. The good news was that I came back into contact with Graeme and David while wandering, and they were only about 10s ahead out of 6 - so all was not lost. Had no idea where the Erics were, but I figured they weren't ahead because I hadn't seen either of them.
Started working my way back to Graeme and David, but then was surprised to see Bonesaw way ahead of everyone across the parking lot on the way to 9 - it turned out he was the one right behind me on the way to 5, and had gone through 6 and into the lead without me ever seeing him. Over the last few controls I was able to cash in the freshness of my legs and had the speed to get into second and close the Bonesaw's lead from 23s down to 7, but ran out of space to catch him. As it turned out I was able to snag the fourth qualifying spot, just seconds ahead of Thomas, Peteris, Graeme, and David. Happy to make the final despite such a big and dumb mistake.
Orienteering race 15:46*** 3.45 km (4:34 / km) +7m4:32 / km ahr:172 max:190 29c
SART Round 5 @ South Seattle College
And the final, where you put in whatever's left after the carnage of Round 4. I squeaked into the final last year with the fifth spot, but was pretty wrecked and had little energy left, so finished in a pretty distant 5th place. This time around, once again for whatever inscrutable reasons I continued to feel good and was again ready to attack - as opposed to attempting to survive, which I think is an important mental distinction.
Negotiated the first set of butterfly loops pretty well, though I did have an inefficiency coming out of 9 when I looked down into where the passthrough is and it didn't look like I expected, so my solution was to go the longer way around the big stand-alone wall. I had the same forking as Ian, but was in the lead with him basically right on my butt the whole time.
I came out of 10 in the lead, and held it into the start of the second butterfly loops. Had a little hesitation and maybe chose the wrong (right) route to 13, but I think it's about a wash. Then in the garden I had the same forking as Bonesaw, who had made a mistake earlier and was a bit behind, so I was alone through that area while the other three guys were together. I was definitely pushing the navigational limits here, and took two or three routes that were not the absolute shortest, but I held it together and most importantly was decisive, smooth, and accurate for the most part.
I had a 5s lead coming out of 22, but hadn't had time to figure out where 23 even was on the map so wasted a bit of time with that, which allowed Ian and Adam to jump back in leaving the garden. Now I was in the exact spot you don't want to be in - doing the work in front while the fastest guy in the tournament sits on your back, biding his time. I stayed ahead of Ian almost the whole way to 23, but he made his move just as we approached the building. Here I made a tactical error, choosing to take the left route in the hope that it might spook Ian into making a mistake, because I figured I'd lose a sprint at the end anyway. But no such luck, and I lost as much as 8s there, a gap which more or less stayed the same for the remainder. I did manage to hold off Adam for second.
Really happy with my race, and with SART overall, especially my physical performance. This replaces 4th place at Sprint Camp 2014 as the best of my eight VSC/SART results. Hopefully it's a sign that I'm getting back into good shape!