Orienteering race 1:02:47  4.84 km (12:59 / km) +258m 10:15 / km
spiked:12/12c shoes: Integrators Orange
Calero A-meet Brown Day 1. 4.3 km. 215m climb (I get 285m). 1:02:47, 1st of 46 (10 in M65). Virtually no navigation errors.
Start 8:30 (early runner). Cool at outset but warm by the time I finish.
Woke up 5:30, finished breakfast 6:25, worked out OK.
With the US Nationals starting in 6 days, planned to skip tomorrow and to try not to kill myself today. As in Big Basin two week ago, very patient, which led to great accuracy: felt like I knew exactly where I was all the time. (Can this strategy work when there are faster and more skilled competitors?) The map seemed very accurate - perhaps having it at 1:7500 really helped. Though I could’ve made better route choices in two places, and though I had to alter my route twice because the terrain ahead was nastier than anticipated, I really did not make any navigational errors, which has to be a first.
Quads sore afterwards (as anticipated) but not horribly so. Toes somewhat bruised - been a while since I’ve been at killer downhill event (there was also a 120m climb to the start) and it didn’t even occur to me to wear my toe protectors.
Never saw anyone else while out on the course.
1. Up to the top of the spur, survey the hill ahead - vegetation all made sense. Just W of the lone tree, see the woods downhill and aim for the gap just to the right of them. Then see the top of the lone tree, know it’s the one I want, and as I get closer see the bag.
2. Missed the best route choice here. Knew I didn’t want to go straight because I didn’t want to climb out of that big reentrant - but going all the way around seemed far out of the way. Nevertheless, chose the latter since I didn’t want to wear myself out so early in the race. Climbed a little, contoured NW over the top of the hatched green, saw a way down in the middle of the first side reentrant, crossed the lower part of the spur between the two ditches, angled upwards (tough going on slippery hillside), came out into the big clearing exactly where planned, just above the little finger of clearing pointing SE. On a bearing over the spur, see the part of the forest jutting out E; it’s thick so go just to the right of it, veer a little left and spot the bag. BEST route would probably have been to go a little SW from #1 and then contour under the cliff to the same spur-between-the-ditches that I wound up crossing anyway. Judging by the splits, lost :40.
3. Down the hill, hitting the road at the bottom of the big reentrant. Took a few seconds to spot the fence crossing. Once across, the huge spur looked reasonably clear, so slogged up that, hitting the clearing at the top perfectly. On the road to the bend directly N of the control, then down along the left side of the spur and soon spot the bag. A little surprised I had the best split on this one since it was such a big climb and there were several stronger runners on the course.
4. Good route choice here, decided to play it safe and stay out of the green areas along the direct route (though heard later that they were quite passable). Contoured a bit around the spur, then SW into the big clearing and continued in that direction onto the road. Past the notch in the fence, see the lone tree directly N of the control ahead, cut down at an angle towards the control. See the black X (some weird looking manmade thing) to my right, so know I’m right on, and soon see the bag.
5. Contour SW across the ditch and then down into the creek, uphill just left of the huge boulders and out into the clearing. Slog up. Cliff to my left helps me judge my elevation, read the fingers of forest, nail it. Ole beat me :38, but that had to be because he’s so strong on hills - I don’t see how I lost any time on this one.
6. Scouted out my exit route on the way in, so proceed up (essentially due W) quickly. Between the patches of dark green and onto the road (it was so close). To the second gentle curve, see the white patch with the green patch to its left, don’t even look at the map after that: just go right between them, straight down, and soon see the bag.
7. Contour NE, across the road, across the spur, identifying rocks and vegetation without hesitating, until I cross the line of rocks going down the spur. Pause for a couple of seconds to survey the vegetation ahead (and downhill). Easily identify the finger of clearing running downhill to the right of the dark green, so (again) don’t look at my map further: down, to the end of that clearing, make a 45-degree left and soon see the bag.
8. Reluctant to go down because it looks nasty, but there doesn’t seem to be a better way, so down I go, along the straight line. Managed to get through the vegetation without much trouble, contour below the little cliff over the spur but then stop at the edge of the next reentrant - it looks too steep both on this side and the other. (Others said they crossed it, so maybe I was just at a bad point.) So, change plan: go NW down the spur to the boulder, then NNW to the road, turn right, down across the ditch, up to the middle of the bend, then contour into the woods. See the first patch of green, skirt to it’s left, but there seems to be more thick vegetation ahead than mapped. To my right, see the lip of the pond, so head towards there, but soon see that there is way too much vegetation to get around the pond, so back out, go around the vegetation that initially thwarted me, see the fence with streamers marking a crossing point (though there’s nothing on the map), and once across, look up and see the bag. All that stuff with the thick vegetation happened fast, so maybe I lost :20 there, and probably another :20 earlier in the leg when I re-routed myself rather than cross the ditch. My split ranking (as with #2) was 6th, the only two legs worse than 4th.
9. Difficult walk along the straight line up to the road, then up the road until it levels off. Able to jog the rest of the way along the road. Look for and see the ruined fence (actually pretty intact) coming down the hillside. Had thought about following that fence down to the ditch and then contouring, but thought it wiser to stay out of that forested reentrant, so stayed on the road until the fence crossed again, made a quick left around the dark green, took a bearing and plunged into the woods, and soon saw the bag.
10. A little to the right of the straight line, slog up the hill. Had thought about contouring around from there, but it didn’t look like that much further to the top, and the lone tree on the E side of the saddle looked like such a good attack point, went that way, and even jogged some in the saddle. As I was coming to the lone tree, seemed to be a gap in the crown of trees that I could see over the lip of the ridge, right where I expected the patch of dark green, so I was a little concerned. But once I got to the ridge, I could see that, yes, there were no trees there but there were thick bushes on the ground - that is, it was indeed the patch of green. No need for further map reading. Down, along the left side of the dark green, curl to the right into the ditch, and there’s the bag.
11. Contour across three spurs, trying to stay high enough so that when I hit the fence I’d be able to see the fence bend above me. In fact, I hit the fence right at the bend, meaning I unnecessarily climbed one contour. Fortunately, that was a good crossing spot, so went across, took a bearing, and within a few steps spotted the bag - though had to bash through some tree branches to get there. Might have saved a little time with a braver route, dropping a little instead of climbing - but I did have the fastest split on this leg :-)
12. At first glance, thought this would be easy, but certainly not the case. Contoured E until the N facing spur just E of the top of the seasonal stream (this area seems more complex than mapped). Considered continuing to contour, but that way might have been more complicated once across the road, so forced myself uphill to the road. Checked that I was indeed halfway between the two lone trees E of the road (and the rocks looked right, too), so down to what I expected to be the top of the ditch at the edge of the forest, and there it was. Ran down, keeping the ditch on my left, trying to not worry much about the detail since the clearing at the bottom would be a catching feature. But managed to check off features anyway, and knew right when I should veer a little to the right, and when I did the bag was right there.
F. Toes hurting from the downhill running, so don’t blast into the finish.
Very physically demanding run, but being able to read the map so well that every single control was right where I expected it to be was quite gratifying.
My Garmin appears to have had a glitch at 59:40, just as I was at the top of the ditch leading down to the last control: you can see on the uploaded track, there’s a straight line from there directly to the finish, as if the device went to sleep and then suddenly woke up again. Indeed, when I crossed the finish line, the watch said 59:56.
Top 6 on the course:
1:06:38 Steve Haas
1:09:53 Gary Carpenter
1:12:29 Ole Bergset
1:14:37 Chuck Spalding
1:20:23 Rich Parker