Orienteering 38:08  4.99 km (7:38 / km) +103m 6:55 / km
19c shoes: 201304 Inov-8 Oroc 280s
US Team Trials Middle, Moreau State Park. At this point in the trials, it was make or break time for me. I had been on Moreau over Memorial Day last year, and I knew that it was tricky, technical terrain. Chatting with ebone, he suggested that compass would be critically important in low visibility, possibly foggy woods. I focused on having and executing solid plans and clean entrances and exits from my controls.
I don't remember the first five controls terribly well, but I was careful and patient. It rained throughout the day, and it was often hard to discern the marshes.
1: I checked off the marshes, but I think the last marsh seemed to fill the reentrant, and I missed a little left. I stopped where I expected the control, then figured out the rise to my right and hit the control for about a 10-15s loss.
2: I aimed on the line, used the marshes to my left, and stumbled through the marshes in the circle; hesitant, 10s.
3: Used the line of cliffs as a handrail, popped over the hill N of 3, then overran the cliff before circling back, probably 10s.
4: Simplified to marsh, left side of big hill, slid down the cliff (unintended), crossed the marsh, and picked off the last two marshes. Hesitant and slow after the last big marsh, with lots of compass and trying to read the other marshes.
5: Over the hill, along the line of cliffs, but my attack was poor. As I spotted the control, Boris (2 minutes back) caught up to me.
When I ran into Boris, my strategy changed - he was running much more aggressively, which prompted me out of my cautious strategy. The control locations also became much less tricky. I reasoned that Boris could easily lose me, so I kept orienteering and stayed in constant, though I ran much closer to the edge of control. Boris was almost always a useful attackpoint.
6: Mostly struggling to keep up; past the marsh, over the ridge, spotted the nose.
7: Boris and I took different lines; I followed him left of the line, then stayed lower after the path crossing. I checked off the nose, reentrant, boulder, bif cliff to my left, and in.
8: Boris and I again diverged, and I lost sight of him entirely. I took straight/right, through the reentrant, past the cliff, marsh, cliff, wide ridge, marsh, line of cliffs, and up. Lots of compass. Boris came streaking in from the left and beat me to the flag.
9: Chasing Boris, compass, straight. Nose, marsh, around the hill.
10: Aimed to keep the hill on my right, chasing Boris, down into the flag.
11: Straight; almost visible from 10.
12: A very tricky control, though easier with Boris in front of me. Passed the spurs, but I probably would have messed up the attack over the line of cliffs with the sketchy information I had. I think I checked off the cliffy nose just right of the line and the two hills?
13: Took a different route than Boris; I liked the line of marshes left of the line, so I immediately crossed the marsh, popped down to the stream, then rode them to the cliffs N of 13. Boris was to my right, and popped in and out of sight. I went up in the circle to try to pop down into the notch, but 13 came sooner than expected and I lost about 10s.
14: I thought Boris was running too low into the reentrant, but I was wrong. Used the cliff left of line to guide into the control.
15: A nice leg; I had planned to run left of marsh, right of cliffy knoll, and up the spur into the control. Boris, maybe 30m ahead, ran right of the first marsh, so I followed him. The final spur seemed very protracted, but as Boris obviously hadn't punched, I was a bit more confident.
16: Down, up, down, up. Compass, expected the control on the right hill, but it was nestled in the left one. Had to slow to figure out the circle details.
17: Decided en route to 16 to cross the marsh; hopped to the island, then twice across the marsh. Sluggish charging up the hill after the marsh's energysuck, but control was right where I expected. Boris put some distance.
18: No sign of Boris; up, marsh + boulder, up, down. Saw the control from the top of the hill.
19: And in.
I obviously had the best start time, and Boris catching me was a huge benefit. I finished third US and won an individual medal that I don't feel I really deserve. I think I had good command of the woods, but I would definitely have finished a few minutes slower without Boris to drive me on. Luck of the draw, I guess. I did handle running into Boris well, and I definitely was orienteering the entire time. I think that if I had ignored my map, I could have chased Boris down; his maximum speed was curtailed by his need to navigate. It was great seeing how he orienteers, because it was blazingly fast in this terrain.