Day 2 at Petrified Forest -- Rainbow Forest.
Unlike yesterday -- when people seemed to scatter in multiple directions and I was alone almost the entire time -- a lot of us seemed to have similar counter-clockwise loops today.
I followed the dry washes whenever possible, and I didn't have the same navigational mistakes I had yesterday.
I think I was ahead of Sharon until #43, where I lost a bunch of time trying to find a way out of the steep, crumbly, slot canyon area without killing myself. I'm sure she was smarter and back-tracked out immediately.
The Shahbazian team apparently had a similar ordeal at #43 but caught me near #51. We had a similar pace and plan, so we were together for most of the rest of the course.
As I left #35, I passed JP going the other way and he informed me that Sharon was ahead. From that point on -- no more photos! no more lollygagging! full speed, no mistakes! ;-)
I passed her just after #34 and managed to stay ahead. The only question was whether she might have had a better route with more points. I got to the finish with 15 minutes to spare, but there weren't any other controls close enough to get in that time.
As it turned out...I was ahead by enough points to edge ahead of Sharon in the two-day combined results -- fifth overall, 2nd female (behind Sanna, who I knew I had no chance of beating -- she cleaned the course today and got all but one control yesterday).
I snuck away without doing control pickup... I felt kinda guilty about that, but my feet were killing
me and I was exhausted.
I had about 30 minutes of tense anxiety on the way back to Phoenix, when I absent-mindedly almost ran out of gas on a long isolated stretch of the highway. I made it to Payson and filled up with 9.6 gallons -- which makes me think I had less than a half gallon to spare?!
Overall, a really fun weekend with perfect weather. After my mostly-horrible races at the recent BAOC S-M-L meet, it was great to be able to RUN and navigate well.Charlie at #42: