Orienteering race 2:06:44  *** 9.8 mi (12:56 / mi) +321m 11:44 / mi
So this is my third Billygoat. The first (unlogged) I spiked the first control and then proceeded to wander around Moreau for a few hours. The second I also got lost a few times. I decided that I was orienteering too much and not following enough, so this year I was all about following, bashing, and orienteering, in that order. And it worked.
It was warm but dry, and I felt pretty good, and well hydrated. We were marched up to a sidewalk and they said go. I was near Ian, who I knew well enough to know I might be able to keep up with him, and we ran in the woods.
S-1: Followed Ian to a trail, not looking at my map. Last year I think they gave us 30 seconds; not this time. Lost time on the pack, but gained it back on the next climb. As we got to the trail to turn off of to go to 1, Ian and another guy ran past and punched 2, which was right off the trail. I did as well (I could always go punch 1 and come back) but then consulted my map: 1 was a pretty decent skip and had two additional plusses. First, it meant I wouldn't have to worry about which to skip the rest of the way. Second, it would mean that I'd have faster people coming by me the rest of the way if I got in to trouble. So it worked.
2-3: Ran the trail, then bashed on a compass through the woods. I lost Ian but kept Adrian in my sights, which was fine. Not too much orienteering to 3.
3-4: I started out from the control on a small hill, and then traded leading with Adrian. He led a bit to the left of the control but I saw the punch and scampered up to the top of the cliff/large boulder and punched, then let on that I'd found it (and caught my breath).
4-5: Running with Adrian. Kept to the right of a pond, then handrailed off some cliffs and a stone wall. We wound up one reentrant south, but pretty quickly found the control. I am still not sure of goat etiquette and whether you are supposed to talk to people you are running with.
5-6: Adrian led to a trail and then went right. Right? It seemed roundabout. I went left and shot down the trail, then found a crossing of the pretty good-sized stream there. I ran with a guy with a Norge jersey on, and we handrailed the wall up towards 6, then attacked off of the trail—a pretty easy find using terrain.
6-7: Not a bad attack off the trail.
7-8: Ran down the trail and stopped at a flat area and looked for rocks, then saw Norge coming out. Saw a lot of people going up in to 6, so figured even with the early skip I was doing okay.
8-9: 9 would have been a nice skip except it was a water/gatorade stop. These were important. I cut in one trail early so had to scamper down the scree to get to the tennis court.
9-10: Trail run was easy. Finding the control in the vague reentrant not so much. Looking at it now I was not really looking in the right place, but found it. Still was only a couple minutes behind Ian.
10-11: Followed someone up the hill, but he put some time on me once we got to the white runnable stuff. Still, I moved pretty well to the attack (stone wall, reentrant, left of rocks, find the hill) and spiked it. That feels good.
11-12: It took me some time to figure out the route. First I was going to take a compass bearing but there was so much vague. Then I followed a trail around a marsh. Finally I remembered Alex telling me to use contours. Contours! White running along a swamp at the base of a hill. I got caught by Balter and he led us to near the control (I was a ridge off), but a parallel error away. We met Adrian at the control.
12-13: East to a stream, down the stream bank.
13-14: Up a trail to a curve, left off of there (still with this group of 4).
14-15: Trail, green, white, reentrants.
15-16: Here I just followed Adrian mostly and my map a little. He did pretty well and led right to the control.
16-17: Here I followed Adrian and he (and the rest of us) went well north of the control. We got pulled a spur north and through some green; we should have descended through white. I correctly spotted the end of a stone wall and we reconnoitered. When we realized where we were he said "well, this is going to be the wet way." It wasn't too bad. But my feet did get a bit wet. Nothing like the mud last weekend.
17-18: Following Adrian, trying to keep up. It was getting pretty warm out (but I was glad to be wearing pants). Handrailed off the stone wall, then crossed reentrants. I grabbed water and forgot to punch—not realizing until a while later. A bunch of people did this, and with the temperatures they were giving people controls (Adrian vouched that I was there with him).
18-19: Long leg following Adrian. Never really lost contact, but didn't orienteer until the end. But then I led us to the control. He'd run most of the navigation, I'd run the circle. This would actually be a great Billygoat strategy, sort of a team memory-O. One person runs the long navigation, the second person figures out the attackpoint and finds the control.
19-20: Following little lakes.
20-21: Contouring up to a rock.
21-22: I let Adrian go ahead and he led off to this peninsular control which was easy to find across the fields.
22-23: I slowed down—I was hurting with the temperatures—and no one was nearby. Punched, then ran easily to the finish (it was flagged).
Finished, ate pickles and drank pickle juice, which was wonderful. Then put on a sweatshirt (sunblock) and waited for my t-shirt. 7th overall, which is about 25 places better than previous years. I orienteered some (3-4, 5-7, 10-12, some of 17 and 19) and followed quite a bit. That's what the Billygoat is all about. But I mostly kept contact with my map when following, which is good, and felt good, except for the heat.
Interesting, last year I ran 2:07 but was 37 minutes back; this year 20 minutes back. The year before I ran it in 2:30 and was 60 minutes back. At this rate I'll win next year. It's funny, this Billygoat didn't feel any harder than the others, even with the warm temperatures, but apparently it was—I just a) orienteered better and b) followed better.
Now to check for ticks!
(Look at all the controls I spiked—mostly following people to them.)