Orienteering 1:27:20  10.03 km (8:42 / km) +147m 8:07 / km
shoes: 201510 X-Talon 212
2016 Billygoat at Townsend, course by Alex Jospe and Ed Despard. My training has been lackluster at best for the past year, and I came in to this race feeling unprepared physically. I spearheaded the effort to remap Townsend in 2013 and directed the A-meet in 2014, so I am more familiar with the terrain than most. The mistake I've typically made in mass start races is blowing up too early - pushing to an early lead, red lining, and making mistakes, so my goal was to run within my ability. Note that this was my sixth - and fourth consecutive - Billygoat.
I correctly anticipated the direction we were starting in and set off down the trail near Isak and Will. Control 1 looked like an obvious possible skip, but I elected not to both because the route to 2 was questionable and to avoid repeating my past errors. I attacked from the trail a bit earlier than Will and Isak and lost about 15s negotiating some green. I arrived at 1 with Peter Z and Zach Lyons. I foolishly decided to go straight through the woods to 2 rather than busting down to the trail, losing 80s. I was in the lead of a small pack and did my best to ignore them and make the best decisions I could. I was feeling ok - running comfortably. Wyatt jumped ahead of me into 4, and the pack of Wyatt, Carl, Peter, Boris, and others moved en masse through 5-7. I deviated substantially from the group to 8, running a bit north to the trail, then taking a fairly direct line from the junction to 8 while most of the group missed to the north. I chased Wyatt to 9 and on the way decided to skip 10. I had been contemplating both 15 and 19, but 10 seemed best. It turned out that everyone except Wyatt came with me.
I spotted both 11 and feet about halfway on the 9-11 leg, and steadily gained ground on him en route to 12. The navigation was a bit tricky to 12, and I was overly hesitant. The ridge to the east of 12 was quite prominent, and I managed to put things together just ahead of everyone else, punching with feet - and apparently at the head of a pack of 8. Feet said something to me on the leg to 12 that I didn't really comprehend at the time; we diverged, with him staying about the cliffs and me taking the line below them. I reached 13, and I was alone. I took a painful spill on the descent from 13 to 14, banging my shin hard enough to lacerate it. I came into 14 about 20s ahead of Boris and decided to try to put some ground between me and the pack on the trail leg to 15. Unfortunately, I didn't have the gear to gain any separation - scarcely pushing 4:30/km. I lost about 15s in the circle at 15, but still took off with a small lead.
I was familiar with the sexy fast woods on the 15-16 leg, but in my urgency, I completely botched my execution and hit the trail quite far to the right - just SW of control 7. Essentially everyone passed me on this leg, and I ran at the back of the pack through 17. To 18, the pack spread out and many missed to the north of the control. I punched 15s behind feet, but unfortunately, he beat me on every subsequent split to the finish. I ran into Will E. while I was running on the trail to 19. The pack broke up near 19, and I found myself running to 20 immediately south of 17 with Boris and Peter Z. I felt fairly confident in my ability to run straight from 17 to 20 though I was unable to drop Boris. I hit the first trail correctly was confused about my location when I hit the second trail - I believed I was north of the bend, so I idiotically ran south. Once I punched into the woods, I largely put things together, but it still took some stumbling around the marshes near 20 to finally punch with Boris and behind Carl and Olaf. After following to 21, I set off on a more direct line than the other 3 to 22, hit the trail fine, and finished the rest of the course alone. Carl Underwood was just coming into view when I punched 24.
There were some moments of good orienteering, but they were largely offset by my failures at 16 and 20. I'm annoyed with my conditioning - I simply didn't have the speed to break away from the pack. It's hard to be satisfied with fourth loser, but it's about as good as I could hope to perform right now. The two mistakes at 16 and 20 merit attention because I don't really understand why I messed up.
Big congratulations to Will E for a great performance on his first major race in New England terrain and to Isak for carrying the Swedish standard high. The race organization was excellent, and I very much appreciated the pizza and munchies.