|I went out partnered with Stephen Koehler, age 10, with whom I've been training for a couple of months. Unfortunately, he developed a big-time sore throat on Friday, and yesterday it had progressed to heavy-duty congestion. We were concerned about whether he'd be in any condition to do the race at all, especially if it were raining. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and we gave him a bit of ibuprofen and sudafed, and he seemed psyched. The big S trail route to #1, left of the line at first, then right, and cut off the trail due east of the control to follow the form line in.
|Straight toward the control to the rough open, then took the trail and cut through to the road at the wiggle, east of the green blob. We could see a bunch of people going to the right around the big thicket on the other side of the road, but we went left of it (with Charlie), crossed the stream, and got there just ahead of the crowd. Which was sweet.
|Climbed up o the plateau, then started the long sidehill, but it was on a shelf, so it really wasn't bad. Had to stop for a bit of shoe emptying. Got to the trail/stream crossing, and took trails the rest of the way up. Several people with with us at this point.
|Up the trail to the corner, then diagonally down the hillside and crossed the stream just below where the bed got deep and narrow. Figured we needed to go just a bit further south, but then Rick DeWitt came running northwards, saying something about having overrun it, and that Henderson was south of there already having punched. We all looked at out maps for a second, then said, "Naaaah", and continued south for just a few meters... to the control.
|Trudged up the hill, swung by the tower to be sure of our location, then ran ino featureless woods looking for a stone wall that was remarkably hard to see. There were enough people in th evicinity that I figured somebody would find it.
|Straight at it, but when we came to the steep descent, we just went down the fall line, hit the lower road at the stream bend, and followed the stream up for what seemed like an awfully long way through deadfall.
|Right fork. Across the gravel, then straight to the road. Left on the road to the trail leading to #7R, attacked from the second junction and spiked it.
|Straight to the lake, then took the trail around the lake to the right (not that it really mattered), passed very close to #7L and got to see a few people who we had been with clawing their way through the green coming up from #7L.
|Through the camp, attacked from the trail bend just left of the line, went left around the little marsh, and dropped down to where the reentrants merged. I wasn't quite sure which spur we were on, but Stephen, who was situated low enough to see under the foliage, spotted the control. Yes!
|Down the hill to go to the right around the big thicket between the marshes, and out to the field, where there was a path beaten down straight to the control. As we approached it, a bunch of guys who had been with us a while back popped in from the left, apparently having gone the other way around the thicket and taken the trail.
|Discussed whether Stephen wanted to change into the dry sneakers and socks that we had sent to the aid station, but decided he'd be better off sticking with the soccer cleats that he had on, given the muddy conditions. Spent a couple of minutes at the aid station (included in the next split).
|Trail to the clearing, then into the woods. I got us close, and again Stephen saved the day by spotting the control.
|ENE, parallel to the crevices, then down to the trail, and ran trails to just N of #13. Hesitant approaching our turnoff, but then we spotted the large stream ahead, and climbed up the hill to spike it.
|Bob Huebner and Rob Freeberg, who we had seen earlier, showed up again here.
|Running along chatting with Rob, and discussing what we were planning to...
|Stephen had wanted to go with a skip that saved us climb rather than distance, so this was it. Comfortable trail route around to the left, which might have been a bit more distance than if we had gone to #16, and may have not saved us any time, but did save some wear and tear on Stephen's legs.
|I had told Stephen back around #5 that all of the serious climbing was done, but there might still be some short, steep climbs. Like the one just after the bridge on this leg. At the top of that climb, we went straight at the control, aiming off a bit to the right. That worked fine, except I got distracted by some other stony stuff near the stone wall, just N of the control, and I did a tiny loop around before heading further south to the control, making this our only small miss.
|Out to the trail, up to the building, and into the control just behind Bob Huebner.
|I told Stephen that this leg was going to be hard, and he asked if I meant hard for me, or hard for him. What I didn't tell him at the time was that it was emotionally hard, because this was the leg that killed somebody. About halfway along we went by the spot where Gari Williams died a few years ago, but we took a route higher on the hillside today so that we could follow the ruined wall. With Bob for this leg, and we caught Rob who had made an error here.
|Tricky control, in a vague area where I didn't trust the mapping of the rootstocks. I was heading for the right spot when Bob found it first.
|We took the road, and as we got to the bend, Bob said that he was skipping and continued on to #23. And the rest of us continued on a few more meters to get the control on the cliff.
|Straight through the woods to the road, over the bridge and up the trail a bit, then cut in and looked for the stone wall so we could handrail our way in. Caught Bob at the stony knoll, heading the wrong way and looking confused.
|Since we were clearly in good shape, time-wise, I asked Stephen if he wanted to navigate the rest, and handed him the map. He took us down to the trail, along with the rest of the crowd, and Valeriy Doverov caught up, moving pretty well. That got Stephen motivated, and he picked up the pace, cut the corner just before the clearing, and we all arrived at pretty much the same time.
|The other guys punched faster, and Valeriy took off... north, toward the escarpment! Bob headed off after him, and Stephen gave me a funny look to say, "Where are they going?". I told him to ignore them, and we headed south, with Rob right behind us. Not so fast up the steep trail, and I hesitated when we hit the field, because I was looking at the wrong circle and was expecting to see a thicket.
|Rob made some threatening noises like, "I'll outrun you now!", or something to that effect, which prompted Stephen to totally turn on the jets and tear up the chute. Youngest Billygoat finisher! (Which lasted about 27 minutes, although he's still the shortest finisher ever. :-) After my wondering whether the cold would stop him completely, he turned in an amazing performance. I had said that this could be my slowest in years, but in fact it was faster than my time from two years ago, and of my 23 Billygoats, this was faster than four of them (and only slightly slower than one other). Bravo, Stephen! (And bravo as well to Isabel!)
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