This was brutality at its most fun, a Middle distance Team Trials Blue course that wound through deathly steep hillsides overgrown with manzanita bushes and open fields where mining activity had created a unique set of complex contour features.
I had a prolonged struggle at the start line with my control description holder; I finally got it to work, two seconds before I started. As a result, I started off the race quickly (perhaps too much so), and was fortunate to have no issues with the first two controls. The third control was where the climb factor began to kick in; I overshot this control by a bit to the right, and Austin, whom I had passed to #2, punched in front of me.
#4... was more mountaineering than orienteering. I crawled (literally, we were on all fours) up the hill steadily, but not as fast as Austin, who gained a substantial lead to #4. We followed the trails through the thick, nasty green to #5; the approach to the control involved some more belly-crawling under manzanita, and I got my visor ripped off my head on multiple occasions.
#6 was a tricky control, but I attacked it from the clearing far to the east and hit it straight on (Austin took a route to the south). On the way to #7, I used the rootstock visible in the distance to find the surprisingly well-hidden pit, and #8 was straightforward. On the way to #9, I lost sight of Austin as I entered the steep thickets once again. I plunged down the big re-entrant to the indistinct path, which I then followed into the control (which I found after thrashing in the green for a while). For #10, I contoured to the rock outcropping, found the area of bare rock, and followed it into the boulder.
#11 and #12 were my biggest mistakes of the day. I almost mispunched on #11; there was a remarkably visible control on the Red course to the north of mine, and I remembered to check the control code just
in time. On both of these controls, I thrashed around in the dark green for a while before finding them; the contours were almost impossible to read at such a fine scale.
#13, #14, and #15 were brutal slogs up hills, but once I got into the saddle where the start triangle was, everything changed. The course ran downhill, and I was finally able to pick up speed and actually run while orienteering. I overshot #17 but hit the power lines and quickly relocated. I ran to the trail bend on the way to #18 to save some climb, and found #19 and #20 without a problem. Climbing two wrong spurs on the way to #21 was another annoying mistake (I was getting a little brain-dead at that point), but I pulled it together, running up the last few hills and down to the finish.
Overall, I would say I had a decent race; I made a lot of mistakes, but all of them were minor bumbles in the control circle that were resolved within seconds. The Long distance awaits tomorrow...Map link
I finished 1st among US juniors, and 4th overall.