Orienteering race 2:15:20  *** 11.69 mi (11:35 / mi) +750m 9:39 / mi
15.39 km listed; 8:48/km
Ultralong recap time.
S-1: Still fiddling with my watch at the rather abrupt start, so basically ran in the herd without looking at my map till halfway to the first control. Leader made a slight mistake so Peteris and I actually got there first.
1-2: Is dis de leed?
2-3-4: In the front group with Kerrin Rattray, Eric, and Peteris. Relatively simple legs.
4-5: Maybe my best leg of the course. Left 4 at the same time as Eric, took a different route, got to 5 a few seconds before. A novel experience. In the lead again!
5-6: Rattray came screaming in to punch just ahead of us. He was moving noticeably faster than everyone early on but was making some small errors here and there.
6-7: Didn't drink at the first water control cuz I wanted to be in the lead :) Got passed by Rattray just before the control.
7-8: Longish gentle uphill road run. Trying to keep pace. First nav error here; I made the classic mistake of paying too much attention to others and not enough to my attack point. Ended up too high in the reentrant and was caught again by Eric.
8-9: Felt tired for the first time; decided not to try and hang with Eric for fear of dying 2/3 through the race. Peteris just behind.
9-10: Road run, then made a small error in the circle. Peteris punched first.
10-11: I went low, Peteris went high, we met again and bobbled 11. Many of the hillsides in the northern area were far greener than mapped, which caused problems at times.
11-12: Straight at it. Leaving 12, dismayed to see a group of three coming in.
12-13: I went left, everyone else evidently went right. I made up a few seconds on the pack behind, either by speed or route choice.
13-14: Long leg, but one clear route. I got real clever/lazy on the climb at the end and actually arrived at a spot not one but two spurs away from the correct one. Saw a big boulder - can that be the boulder that 15 is located on? Yes it can.
14-15: Retracing my steps, having now been caught by Peteris & co.
15-16: Another long leg; the group went their separate ways here. I could not see a viable route, so ended up bumbling along for a while with hesitance, which is more or less the worst thing to do. Finally came to a road well south of the line and was with Mikell Platt for a bit, then got away only to randomly bump into Mikkel Conradi.
16-17: Mmm, delicious manned control.
17-18: We caught back up to Peteris on the way out of 17.
18-19: Road run, but treacherous getting down to the road through a patch of very nasty Northwest-style green (without the blackberry bushes). Peteris got stuck worse than me, and I didn't see him again. Met back up with Mikkel.
19-20: I think everyone other than Kerrin and Eric is behind the two of us now...
20-21: Content to be right behind Mikkel on the way, then he made a minor mistake which gave me a small lead.
21-22: Not sure what happened, but never saw Mikkel after leaving 21.
22-23: Trickiest leg on the course, in the hydro-mining area. Super paranoid and careful here, because I was pretty sure I was in third overall and second American. Spiked it, but quite slowly.
23-24: Last leg of consequence. Again, being deliberate and just trying to avoid blowing it with some bonehead mistake.
24-25-26-F: Huzzah! Still plenty left, but happy to not go the extra couple km.
Having never won an individual medal at a US champs race before, I'm thrilled with the result (silver), and pleased with my own physical race as well, regardless of the outcome. I had a strong beginning (1-7) and end (18-F), while leaving something to be desired in the middle portion.
It felt more like a Euro long; I never reached that particular level of suffering unique to the Ultralong, where most of your leg muscles are cramping, the fastest you can go is a hobbling limp, and you vow to never do this again.
Surprisingly, heat wasn't much of a factor for me, with the 9 AM start time combined with water stops every 2-3 Blue controls, and not in small quantity. Each time I'd start feeling hot, I'd get to a water stop, dump some on my head, pound two or three cups, and be good to go till the next one. If you could win awards for the most jugs of potable water anyone has put into a forest, these organizers would win all of those awards.