Running race 31:52  *** 4.02 km (7:55 / km) +41m 7:32 / km
spiked:8/8c shoes: Yellow Falcons
Joseph D. Grant Park North. Day 1 of 2-Day Classic A-meet. Rather chilly and misty (rained from midnight until about 6am). Ground was mice and soft, lots of very wet ankle high vegetation, so feet were very wet right from the beginning. Started at 10:14, 3rd person out on Brown.
Brown: 3.4 km, 120m climb, 8 c. (I calculate 100m of climb on my route.) Excellent run for me. No navigation errors, made good route choices and made them quickly, only a few very short hesitations in crucial spots, and ran hard from the outset (expecting my time would be well under 40). Ken Olsson, a Swedish 40-something ran 29:09, and then I was first among the legit Brown runners. Penny ran 35:18, Chuck Spalding 36:37, Steve Haas 41:19, Kim van Berkel (M-Br) 42:50, Leigh Bailey 49:35.
1. Recognized quickly that I needed to take the little trail off the bend of the fire road. Once at the copse, could see the two trees in the circle, and there was an animal trail going about 2/3 of the way there. Tweak my sore left ankle, but it was OK the rest of the way (but sore in the evening).
2. Have had to make this route choice several times in the past, and there was no doubt in my mind that for me crossing the stream bed directly was folly, so caught the intermittent trail going NW then through the saddle S of the fire road (passing Nancy Lindeman), cut diagonally across the spur and soon see the tree with the two rocks behind it.
3. Swing a little left to get on the nose of the spur, then the little hilltop, and see the tree with the rock behind it ahead. Steep downhill was tough on my feet and legs. On my right, a much younger guy was running pretty fast directly to the control. This was Ken Olsson, the aforementioned Swede, who had started two minutes behind me (and was a day-of-meet registrant). Judging by splits, it appears that I lost 10 secs on this leg, but not sure where. (Penny and Chuck each beat me by a few secs, the only leg either beat me on.)
4. Best route was clearly N to the road. Contoured around the spur, took an animal trail that went conveniently across the reentrant, then angled up to the road (walked a bit), hitting it right where the lone tree is E of the little hilltop. Quite winded, but forced myself to at least jog on the road. Studied the map as I ran to the highpoint, realizing that having a good attack point from the road was going to be crucial to getting this one right. Ken was maybe 150m ahead and left the road just after I crested the hill, so I figured that whoever he was, he wasn't on my course. Planned to go to where the last two trees were on the right, but could see them clearly ahead so left the road 80m beforehand, cut diagonally across the reentrant and tried to go down the nose of the broad spur. Seemed to be the beginnings of a shallow reentrant a bit to my left, so kept an eye on that, but then thought I was alongside the left side of the small clearing just SE of the circle (I was), saw a patch of green ahead, and then spotted the bag beyond it. I was closer to the left side of the green, so bashed through a thinner stand of vegetation to get to the bag. Just as I was coming in, Ken came in, contouring from the right.
5. Diagonally up back the way I came, then contoured and climbed a little, aiming for the hilltop just N of the road, which I nailed. (Ken had headed down, and I never saw him again, but he got to the Finish only a minute ahead of me [he lost a little time near #7].) W to lone tree, verify that the open spur ahead was not the one I wanted, SW to the next lone tree (meanwhile had seen a runner 100m W, through the trees, but didn't recognize that it was Marie-Josee, on Green), then W down the nose of the big spur. Saw a standing dead tree ahead on the nose, identified it on the map, stopped momentarily for a good bearing to the control. Across the trail; Marie-Josee appeared on my right. Soon saw the very small rock with the bag on the downhill side. Punched in right behind MJ.
6. Good route choice leg. No way I'd take the trail by the creek because of the nasty creek crossing and the steep hill at the end. First thought I'd run along the N edge of the field, but then realized with my tiring legs, I'd be better off on the trail further S. So, diagonally down towards the trail junction, nice animal trail across the shallow end of the creek bed, cut across the S flank of the hill and finally to the road (where I had to walk a little, so planned the next leg), to the top, then straight N to the control. My split on this leg was better than 34 of the 35 Green runners, and only 1 sec behind the top Green.
7. Straight down, though it was a bit treacherous plus I had to zigzag to avoid some vegetation, and also puzzle for a second about an unmapped trail. Left on the trail at the bottom, see George coming down on my left, through the gate, pace count, see the nice looking dry stream bed, down to it, then bearing towards the control. Struggle a bit up the side of the reentrant, but once up it, see the bag dead ahead.
8. At first thought I'd go around the left side of the lake, but before punching 7 realized there was a trail around the right side, so went that way. Very careful to make sure I didn't miss the trail junction, which was indistinct and gave me a couple of seconds pause (many people ran right by it and made sizable errors). Easy from there.