Boulder Dash Day 2 - Blue Course
For the first time in a while, I was not the first starter, and so I was pretty pumped to run with people when I got to the start line. I started 3 minutes after Will and watched him dive right into the woods from the get-go. When I started and flipped my map, my immediate instinct was to take the trail around to #1, and so I did a 180 and ran right back through the start call-up lines and through the finish on the way to 1. I had a good split on this leg and was off to a confident start.
I picked up Patrick Shannon (+6 minutes) on the way to 2 and punched it a bit ahead of him. I was feeling fresher than the day before and took off for #3, expecting to run hard through the section of the course that went through simpler terrain. Of course, I forgot that I should orienteer too and immediately made an embarrassing parallel error, thinking I was one trail junction further than I was. Over a minute lost there.
I knew that Jordan started 3 minutes behind me and was not surprised when he caught up going into 4 and eventually passed me going into 5. He easily dropped me on the climb up to 7 and I never saw him again.
I was pretty shaky in my orienteering on the next few legs, missing a trail to 10 and stopping short to 11. I stopped and refocused at the start of the long leg to 11 and ran the first half well, hitting the trail exactly where I wanted to. When I took off on the side trail, however, I quickly lost it, and ended up guessing wrong when trying to come back, ending up further south of the line than I wanted to be. On the bright side, when coming down a cliff I found myself right next to a porcupine, the first one I've seen in the wild! It was right in front of me, turned around, puffed up its quills, and waddled away. Pretty cool!
In the middle of this leg I was slogging through the swamp and the green, but finally climbed into the white woods and followed the stream to the swamp to the control. I felt like I had lost time on each of the last few legs, so I was pleased and energized to see Will appear at 12 as I was coming into it.
After hitting 13 together with Will, I had another meltdown in the same exact area where I lost 8 minutes at NAOC a year ago. I could not make sense of the area around 14, thought we had overrun the control, and took nearly 5 minutes to relocate. Will relocated immediately and punched the control over 3:30 before me!
I was pretty discouraged at this point, but decided to snap out of it and push hard for the rest of the course. I ran hard and clean for 15-16-17 and then sped up again to 18, spiking it at full speed and seeing Will appear once again! I promptly screwed up 19, losing about 15 seconds, but recovered and finished right behind Will.
My "orienteering angry" final section of the course seemed to work well, as from 14-F, I was 14 seconds slower than Greg and about a minute faster than Jordan. Maybe I need to channel this anger with myself whenever I orienteer...
I was again surprised to end up 3rd for the day and thrilled to finish 3rd for the weekend in a pretty strong field. This felt like a big improvement from June, when I was consistently 2.5 min/km slower than Will Enger in every race.
Alli had a strong race on Green, showing that she is successfully overcoming Lyme and getting better at orienteering with every outing. Barney, Inara, and I happily cheered her into the finish.
We finished the weekend with a buffet lunch with Martin at Jesse's in Hanover and a looong drive back to DC. Thanks again UNO for a wonderful weekend of racing! I hope to have more chances to race at Burnt Mountain and finally take revenge on the Bermuda Triangle around the 14th control.