orienteering race 2:53:56  *** 6.6 km (26:21 / km)
8c slept:4.5 shoes: adidas Response Trail XII 0867
Riviere la Peche - the cursed map
Classic course 6
After control #7, I eventually fell off map S of 8, had to give up and seek safety bearing. Lack of hydration or lack of confidence or lack of sleep caused me to lose focus and found myself walking in opposite direction of bearing. However, after encountering two bears (big one and small one), I concentrated on NE and joined trail (which would prove to be TCT about 200m north of water station (which I never got)). I was still not certain where I was and had never noticed how the NCC & TCTrail has no signs along this stretch. When the bears saw me and I saw them, we agreed to change directions away from each other. Even so, when I stumbled on any controls (not on my course), I punched them leaving an electronic record so that search and rescue might find my body if mama bear came back for me.
I enjoyed the start of the course, first two controls nearby to build confidence, then long trail run and pasture run toward #3 though I did leave trail too soon hiking over hill and rocks. Numbers 4 & 5 were both long pasture runs though I did pass by #5 and was stopped by creek valley. Ran to the trail, through pasture but then walked with careful spot-on navigation to #6. At that point, I was holding on to 7th in my age group (out of 10).
I knew what was coming. In past three events on this map, I have failed to finish due to the true orienteering legs (with no trail options and no catching features). I even spent the winter on snowshoes on this map, improving my navigation, HA! I suffered for 24 minutes, stumbling round the hill that hosted control #7 before finding it. I expect such difficulties on true orienteering challenges. But after 1h16, fatigue was setting in and I chose the no-brainer option to the lake just beyond #8. Apparently, I never got to lake. I began to notice occasional misdirection seeking #8. I saw lots of traffic and knew I was on a route from somewhere to somewhere but I didn't bother any runners until John Ranson came along. Disturbing his day, he helped me, convincing me I was back near #7. I let John go and would eventually fall off map. Fortunately he went on to do well in his first A meet.