US Classic (or Individual?) Champs at Greenbush, Wisconsin.
Our traditional original championships, except this year it was only one day. (It's been one day a couple of times in the past, but that was because the other day got tossed out.) I've always been a big fan of the 2-day event -- if you're leading after the first day you have to sleep on it and then go do it again the next day. If you're behind, you still have hopes. In either case, the event lasts for 24+ hours instead of being over in just an hour or two.
Hopefully next year it will go back to two days. And I think one other benefit of that will be to draw a bigger field. The field today was good, a lot of the best folks here, but not deep.
I had low expectations. Partly because my body has been complaining a bunch since I did the 50-miler, and partly because my focus for the year in orienteering was this summer in Europe, so any orienteering I might do this fall has seemed not so important. Seems silly to say that about our national championship, but it is what it is.
But low expectations didn't mean not trying. The pre-race plan was just two items -- simplify the orienteering, and go to all the controls. The latter seems to be a necessary concern these days. The former was just an extension of what I was doing in Europe -- simplify, simplify, simplify -- so that you can go both more safely and also faster.
And there was also the concern that my left calf would crap out....
But it turned out to be a good day. The leg felt OK all the way to the end. My orienteering was so-so. Actually, I seemed to start out quite tentatively, and it wasn't until halfway through the course that I felt like I got moving a little. The motivation was that I had just screwed up #6, and just as I got back in touch with reality Ethan Childs and Tim Parson came by, both moving faster than I had been moving.
We punched 6 together, and then took slightly different routes to 7, and I never saw either again. And was quite pleased to get in before them, though Ethan still got me by three minutes on the day.
But the rest of the way I felt that I was moving better, and also more in touch with the map, and reading it better on the run. Just a little bit of the feeling like I used have much more often. Terrain like this is so sweet, and I used to feel totally comfortable in it while running as fast as I could (such as WMOC up at Camp Ripley in 1997), but now it seems that my ability has deteriorated significantly. Can't run so well, can't read the map when running very well, can't remember what I've seen on the map, and therefore just generally much less sure of myself.
So it was a lot of fun today to have at least a few legs where it felt a little bit like old times.
I think I ended up 3rd on the Green X, Ethan was 47, Ernst 49. I think I was first M60, Walter Siegenthaler next in 58, Jeff Saeger next at 60, roughly.
And as far as the pre-race plan, most of the time I simplified pretty well. And I did go to all the controls. :-)
Course is here
. I'll post my routes later.