Woke up to a coating of new snow outside, so that's snow for 10 out of the past 11 days. Milder and drier weather began to push in during the day however, so that's apt to be it for snow for a while--for a few days at least, anyway.
I took the sun to be my signal, and I headed out to Pelican Bay for some O': 11.8 kms of mix of rougher and nicer footing. Blew one control pretty badly when I wasn't paying close enough attention to the map, and which can't in any way be blamed on eyes that aren't seeing as good as they used to.
Saw one beer can, which I stashed in a convenient place for harvesting later on, and saw one smallish, nearly yearling moose which ran off before I could even say hello.
I finished up before dark, which I count as a plus, especially given that I had no light with me.
Yesterday I was looking at results from the Team Trials races, which brought back some memories. The first Team Trials I ever ran in were in 1978, and which coincidentally also happened to be hosted by MNOC (MinnOC, back then, I believe.)
Few will know or remember it, but participation at that Team Trials was by invitation only. As I had only been running Red and had been orienteering for less than a year, I had no expectation of getting an invitation. It was quite surprising and quite a thrill when I did get one, though. It turned out that someone I didn't know and had never met--Keith McCleod, I think--had for some reason intervened on my behalf. I had no reasonable or unreasonable expectations of making the team; it was just exciting to get to go and get to compete against the best orienteers in the US. It was a lucky break for me, because I came back from those races determined to get better.
Those trials consisted of three classic length races with selections from the combined total time, with the top three finishers being automatic selections (I believe) with two others discretionary picks. The first race was on a tiny map of a piece of kettle moraine prairie (I can picture the map and area but for the life of me I can't remember the name of the map). The second day was at Afton St Pk, which is a rugged, hilly area of bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. The final day was at Lake Maria St Pk, which was quite similar to first day in most respects, but a bigger area and more wooded sections.
A couple of things stand out especially as I think back to that weekend. One was it was where I met Ron Pontius, who has been a lifelong friend ever since then. Another was meeting Steve Tarry, who was one of the best US orienteers at the time, and who was kind enough to go over his routes with me after the day at Afton, and give me some tips and ideas about how I might have gone about my race better. And, finally, on Day 3, I was an early started, and right out of the start we had a leg to the first control that neatly bisected a large pond that was in full view of the start.
Normally it would be an easy route choice decision, to either run left or right around the pond and then continue on the leg. But on the race day, the pond happened to be dry, and the question was whether or not to risk the direct route across the pond or not. If it wasn't too muddy and was relatively firm, it would clearly be quite a bit faster. On the other hand, it could just as well have been an impassible mire that you would get hopelessly stuck in. The first few starters ahead of me all hesitated out of the start, and elected to go around the pond. When it was my turn, I took a harder look at the dried pond, decided the mud didn't look too bad, and headed straight across. It turned out to be not bad at all, and was definitely the way to go.
After the race, someone came up to me and thanked me; they had started right after me and had watched me get across the pond with no problem and so they had done the same thing. In my memory, it was someone who ended up making the team--George Tuthill, I think. Well, it was a long time ago. Memories may improve with time, but accuracy of memory? Probably not so much, at least not in my case! ; ) I'd still love to remember the name of that Day 1 map, and maybe it will come to me, or maybe someone else who does remember it will prompt me.
To come back to the present, it was a shock to see the scoring list and see how thin the fields for the Team Trials were. It feels like sport part of orienteering--that group of M21s and F21s who are seriously training to be competitive--is melting away before our very eyes. It seems quite odd, and I have no idea how to explain what has happened and/or is happening to the sport here in the US.