Orienteering race 45:30  **** 6.1 km (7:28 / km) +290m 6:02 / km
The Most Important Race of the Year, aka US Relay Champs.
To me, this is the most important race of the year and has been for some time, basically since the defining moment in 1999. Thanks to being a part of the best club in the country, I've been privileged to share in a tradition of success.
DVOA's results since 2000 are impressive, IMHO. We have won 1 out of 5 medals awarded at the relay champs; have medalled every year except 1 in the 4 point category, twice in 12 and 3 times in 8. We have 4 golds, 5 silvers and 3 bronzes.
With respect to the 4 point team--sometimes is showcases youth; this year we had a veteran flavor. Ironically, the team featured 2 former opponents, now happily assimilated, and one very long-standing DVOA member who fought for us even while outside our borders.
For me personally, this was my 4th gold in the open or 4 point category, and my 5th or 6th including junior categories. It just goes to show the importance of a team effort because I have enjoyed nothing close to that level of individual success.
Anyway, the race was good. Not my finest performance, but I am quite satisfied. I joked with Wyatt that if he gave me a 5 minute lead, I would be fine--knowing that against HVO, a 5 minute lead would be a tremendous gift. Well, he outdid himself and delivered even better.
Actually, when I went out, I had no idea how much of a lead there was, but knew there was something good, because Sergei hadn't done the last loop--a couple minutes worth. So, I knew I had a cushion.
I promised Coach Balter I would have a plan for every control, and I almost did. Unfortunately, I almost blew up on the 2nd control, despite being careful and following my plan. I made a (ex post) stupid parallel error attacking the control and got into an almost panicked state before finally gathering my wits and finding the control. I still don't know how I screwed it up, but there would have been a simple heuristic to prevent what I did... anyway, from there, I buckled down and got methodical.
Things were smooth, more or less, until the map exchange, where I saw feet and understood I had already lost 2 minutes. Although, that was kind of good news because I thought I would be hard pressed to lose another 4 over another 1.5 K.
Nonetheless, I lost some time on the boulder control up the hill--really the only time I lost contact mid-leg. But, I figured things out, and that was basically it.
So, I was able to bang out the rest. I orienteered pretty well--most controls were spot on, and ran hard but not too hard.