Orienteering 42:25  5.4 km (7:51 / km)
spiked:17/18c shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280
US Relay Champs. I was running the first leg for the CSU 4-pt team (CSU 1) with Alex, Ali, and Ken. Mikkel or Biggins would have been logical replacements - Mikkel is definitely stronger than I am on longer courses, but his point was needed for the first 8-pt team (CSU Primo) with Izzy, PG, and Greg. I was nervous approaching the mass start; COC, Chicago, and DVOA all had strong 4-pt teams. Overall, I had a solid run - no major mistakes, and finished with the lead just over two minutes ahead of speedy from DVOA.
I took off at the start, and was in the lead. I tried to relax and read ahead; the trails were a bit confusing to 1, but I didn't err. Speedy outmaneuvered me through the green and punched just ahead of me. I was faster on the downhills, and we crossed the reentrant to 2 together. We curved around the spur, but he edged past me to punch 2 a few seconds ahead. Ctrl 3 was a trail run followed by a slog uphill to an impossible-to-miss clearing on the ridge; Speedy got to the control first, followed by me and Matthias from CAOC a few seconds back. We took essentially the same route to 4 and punched in the same order. To 5, speedy and Matthias were a bit far to the right, and I punched about 10s up. Six was forked - I noticed Matthias and speedy leave the trail earlier than I thought, but I stuck to my plan and ran into my control alone.
I figured the fastest route to 7 was taking the low trail along the reentrants, but I guessed that speedy and Matthias would go high along the spur. I pushed on the trail, but had to negotiate some downed trees. As I rounded the final spur before the big uphill climb to 7, I saw speedy to my left, and we dragged ourselves up the slope together. He punched first into 7, but I squeezed past him through the green to 8. I kept the lead on the short legs to 9 and 10, but I was wary of trying to break away too fast and make a mistake. I misread the contours at 11 and ran up the wrong reentrant about 30m to the right; speedy punched the control first, and I had to fight through some green to get to it. We were together to 12; 13 was a longer leg, negotiating some ambiguous hillsides. We were cautious, and reached the control simultaneously. He then ran low to 14, while I stayed high - my route was better, and once we reached the road free of vegetation, I kicked up my speed. Control 16 was forked, but I had a comfortable head start at 14 and never looked back. Speedy finished about 2:30 after I did, followed by Matthias, Balter (Team Water Dragon) and Will from COC. Hearing the roar of the crowd as I came into view of the arena was magnificent.
My race was pretty safe; I didn't break away from Vadim until the end. It would have been nice to finish with a 5 minute lead, but even if I had the physical stamina to do that (unclear), the risk of navigational error would be high. Running first leg was great fun, but the lead pack of Matthias, Vadim and I broke away quickly. The last time I saw anyone else on the course was on my dogleg out of 6. Alex, Ali, and Ken all had great runs, and we finished with a 2:30 lead.
Running 15:00  2.5 km (6:00 / km)
shoes: 201110 Inov-8 Oroc 280
Warmup, starting about 25 minutes before the mass start. I changed clothes, put on my bib, took some shot blocks, warmed up and stretched. I felt nervous, but my feet felt excellent.