Orienteering race 1:32:14  **** 5.3 mi (17:24 / mi) +123m 16:14 / mi
spiked:12/16c shoes: New Balance 479
It was a dark and rainy day... And a great time was had out on the Salmon River Fish Hatchery;-)
I have mixed feelings on this event, but the positives outweigh the negatives. For the record, this is my 11th A-meet race at my 5th event over three years.
I was a bit shocked when Barb gave me a finish time of an hour thirty two - I knew I lost a great deal of time on control 15, but didn't think I was out that long.
The start was good and 1 was over the lip of the saddle as I expected. 2 was another story... I'm sure I was over-eager and missed that on the first pass, but then I struggled with the numerous contour lines and deciphering how they laid out. Splits show me at 10 minutes getting back to this control, ugh.
Thankfully after that, things smoothed out. 3 was fine and then I ran for the crossing path on 4. Popped out left of where I thought and took the island / stream / peninsula / stream crossing and skirted around to 4. I think it was an extra bit of delay there as the control was further than I had thought.
5 was a bit longer as I turned around leaving 4 but was back on track quickly. I took the simple but fast route to 6 - back on the indistinct trail to the main trail and all the way along the water to the park border. I didn't want to risk heading in on an indistinct attack point and waited - and then saw the border signs and rode them up to the control. Faster as I was able to run all the way there.
I meant to head NE to the trail at 7, but once again came out far left - past the gate. I took the trail and attacked into 7 well (though apparently slower because of my off-route). 8 was water and I worked the ridge and vegetation to it. 9 seemed reasonable.
Before seeing splits I would have said I did 10 reasonably well, but the splits show I lost a bunch of time - even thought I consider it one of my "best" decisions on the day. I left 9 intending to take the ridge NW to the trail junction and around, knowing that if I happen to head more West I can take the trail to the junction. I came out at the trail and headed N on it, but was surprised at the distance - and then hit the water pipe. This confirmed where I was and I took the trail to the trail and cut in for 10 after passing Mike. I spent too much time locating 10 inside the depressed area.
Hind sight tells me that I headed NW and then W from 9, reaching the trail bend closer to 4 than intended - If I had not re-corrected to the larger junction, I would have been quite a while out there...-) (The trail bend "looked" like what I would have wanted on a straight shot, but I turned it down)
I'm very happy with 11 - navigation wise. Back to the trail and across the "shelf". I took the spine up, crossed on the top of the area there, and dropped the 5 meters into the control. My time is a bit slower than I might have liked, but I think I was spending more time navigating;-)
12, 13, 14 - I was able to "see" the features on the map and see them in the terrain, and they came well.
And then there was 15...
Coming down from 14 was no problem, but then I was not in a "swamp", I was in something else... So yes, it was a swamp, and was mapped as a swamp, but it threw me as I realized I had run out into it.
I wasn't comfortable in it and wanted to skirt the area, knowing the trail behind 15 would catch me - and it did... I lined up the trail and the raised land and followed it south expecting to find the control - but no. People were headed West, and I had been left of my line all day, so I went checking on other "spurs", but no, I saw the clearing a ways out and knew I was too far. So I came back on a line that would once agin put my right there - but no, I reached the hill.
One more pass West and I reached the N/S path - and took it to the path intersection at the clearing. Set compass and worked that one once again - to no avail. About that time I saw a large rootstock and realized they were rather distinct if I could match them up...
It took a little bit, and I was surprised to come around a fallen tree and find the control behind it.
So - Control 15 was immediately South of a fallen tree. (I didn't stay to check it out completely, but that's my impression)
Every time I passed by - and probably that first time, I could see the land, and could see the swamp, and could never see the control because it was obscured by the vegetation.
I think Rick said the control was "obvious" from across the swamp - ugh...
I'm thinking it was not intentional that way, but my attacks never considered that the flag would be hidden "on a spur" like that. I should have been more confident and used a different search in the area that I thought it was.
On the plus side - I relocated with near certain confidence in between each of those passes and did find it.
It's a lesson...
Finish was easy esp since I'd run by there a couple times already...-(
So - 4 "bad" controls; 7 controls in the top half or so.
One thing I did not do - I had no huge mental error at my point of exhaustion. Even faced with the issue at #15, I was in control and positively working the whole time. I also had the "right" decision to bail out along the path at 10.
I was also reasonably fresh for all 90 minutes of my time out. 14th fastest to 16.
And so - I was able to look at some new things to train on:
- veering left - I think I "knew" that I tended to head left, but seeing it happen several times in the same event puts a big spotlight on it.
- sloppy map reading - I think a couple times I would have been better served by taking a few more seconds to really look at the map and where I wanted to be going, especially noting where the control is positioned.
Condition wise - the rain and dim lighting made my vision issue even more of a problem for me. While I have the magnifier on my thumb compass, it was pretty much useless trying to read through the water-distorted lense.
I'm not a fan of the map - it may well be the only sane way to portray the shallow features of the park, but there were just too many darned lines for my bad eyes to read and figure out (in the dim light and rainy conditions). Maybe at a 1:5000 scale I could handle it...
So - I've got things to work on - but it was a great way to spend a rainy Saturday out in the park;-)