Falls Classic at Letchworth State Park, hosted by ROC
I woke up with a cold this morning and had been getting pretty bad sleep the last couple of nights. On the other hand, the past two months of training, jump-started by the SML Champs races in Idaho, had been pretty good, so I wasn't sure what to expect from my body.
S-1 (+0:00): The leg S-1 started off with a 70m climb, and I could tell on the way up that my legs felt pretty good.I was able to run most of the way up, until the final steepest section into the road. Spiking 1 gave some confidence.
1-2 (+0:00): 1-2 was very similar to the first leg of the Blue course from 2014 long champs, which I had studied the week before. Another spike.
2-3 (+0:36): This leg started down a green reentrant full of thorns and brambles, and I had the privilege to break trail for everyone else on the course. I executed cleanly, but perhaps not sufficiently aggressively through the green.
3-4 (+0:23): I ran down the ridge to the trail and then attacked down off the trail bend. It's possible that going straight would have been faster.
4-5 (+0:00): Contouring and staying just above all the fallen trees.
5-6 (+0:00): Cut through the light (and some dark) green over to the road, then road to trail and attacked through the shallow depression in the green. Ran just past the control, then turned around and saw it. Probably lost 10 seconds here.
6-7 (+0:00): Still feeling good here. Contoured around in the white woods, then over to the road. Cut the corner from the water stop, then ran along the telephone line to the open marsh, then climbed up, following the stream all the way to the control.
7-8 (+0:03): Contoured most of the way, but let myself drop a bit too low and then had to climb in order to pick up the two shallow ponds that led me into the control. Could have executed a bit cleaner.
8-9 (0:00): Straight. Picked up the hilltop about 120m north of the control and dropped just a bit lower to make sure I saw the flag. Spike. Here, I started seeing people for the first time, as the course crossed near the start area. It was nice to see other runners, even if they weren't on my course, after a lonesome journey thus far.
9-10 (+0:14): Thought about going straight, but decided to climb up to the trail. Started to get tired here, so the climb felt like a slog. Got going a bit on the road, and then an easy attack down from the water stop.
10-11 (+1:00): Route choice error. I certainly should have climbed up to the trail again. Instead, I went straight, imagining nice running along the contour shelf. This didn't materialize for the first half of the leg, and I was fighting the vegetation and micro climbs and drops the whole way. I did hit the control dead on, but not without much hesitation along the way. Time loss of a about 1:15 here, I think.
11-12 (+0:00): Made sure to hit the stream between 11 and 12, cross it, and follow it down. Spike.
12-13 (+1:25): This was my worst leg of the day. I don't think I registered that 13 was a full 5 contours higher than 12, and so I never pictured myself climbing along when planning this leg. Instead, I climbed gradually and expected to end up at the control. In addition, I got thrown off by an extra stream and thought I was already at the final ridge before the control circle when I arrived at the big stream halfway through the leg. I was thoroughly confused and had to convince myself that I was way too low and climb up to the flag. Probably 1:40 or so lost here.
13-14 (+0:07): Dropped down and ran in the nice woods between the lake and the OOB area, then followed an animal path across the swamp and climbed.
14-15 (+0:00): Aimed off a bit left to make sure and pick up the subtle ridge the control was on. Clean here.
15-16 (+0:37): Feeling very tired here. The woods were junky and the three climbs were slow. JayXC won this leg by running the road all the way around. I had not expected that to be the faster route, but it clearly was. Good to keep in mind.
16-F (+0:05): Slow.
Overall, I was satisfied with my race, especially the first half. I came apart a bit in the second half, but managed to limit the damage. Probably about 4 minutes of total time loss for the course - not ideal, but not too bad either. Ended up winning Red X over Nick by 3 minutes and over Hammer by 5, including winning 8 of the 16 splits.
I then hung around on the tarp with Alli, Barney, and Inara next to the download. It was a nice place to be, as many friends old and new stopped by and chatted. It's fun to see my former competitors through all the junior classes, Patrick Shannon and Steve Brooks, showing up to races with their families and kids. Hopefully our kids will all race each other for years to come.
We then went to the AGM, where Kris presented a concise and informative report of how the BOD has started the process of putting the federation back on solid financial footing, after reaching a low mark of having negative unobligated cash at the end of 2016. Things are looking up financially.
Finally, Alli and I had dinner outside in Mt.Morris, and were joined later by Alex and Ed, Ian, Kris, and Bob F. A great evening with fine company.