ARDF 2m race 1:00:00  ***
spiked:1/4c shoes: Adidas Tri-Star Cleats ($35)
Thursday Night ARDF Practice at Mt. Airy Forest (using the old map), set by Bob Frey. We picked Thursday night because Bob decided it was too risky to do something during Mother's Day weekend. I sure appreciate Bob's wisdom, and I think the other two adult attendees do as well. (Maybe we should add an AP event for Mother's Day so it's in our log and on the event list...)
Transmitter 3 wasn't working. That one is mine, and I am still verifying what happened with the batteries. Since the event, I've replaced the NiMH pack with a 7-cell AA alkaline pack, which should last a year or so before needing replacement.
This course basically kicked my butt. I started about 1 minute late, and 2 was on, weak and north of the loop-road-spur. So I said to myself, "No problem, that's for the end of the course", and stopped paying attention to it, which was a big mistake.
Minute 3 was silent. Four was strong and a little to the right of the sunset ridge trailhead. I waited near that trailhead and drew bearings for 1 (which was to my left, and obviously next since 4 was so strong and obviously close to the trailhead).
Unfortunately, when 4 came on again, it wasn't close, and in fact it was one full value weaker than from the top of the hill (spur). Which meant it was probably on the spur where the relay started---which meant I was going to have to go back for 1. So---I screwed up the order.
Addison and I left 4 to the north, where I had 5 and 2 plotted. Brian DeYoung was at 4, but he apparently had a reflection plotted for 5, and went south out of 4, which cost him some time.
I plotted a crossing for 5 which was about 50m away from where it actually was. This is very surprising since it was in a reentrant, and I would have expected that placement to reflect worse.
As I was waiting on 5 to come on so we could run it down, 2 came on, and it was weak. I had what I thought was a good bearing from a high location at the start, and looking at the terrain, I identified a spot for 2 that would explain both bearings. So we got 5 and then headed toward where I thought 2 was. (Addison was checking my bearings and I was trying to explain my thought process to him, and ask him questions he could figure out.)
We got to a good spot to wait on 2, and looked for it, but couldn't see a flag. When it came on, the signal was much too weak to be nearby. I had no idea what had happened, but knew I needed 1 and decided to get it and see if I could get some bearings for 2 along the way.
We passed the start and got a signal for 1 to the left of the loop (where the eastern-most controls for the relay were). This didn't line up with my bearing from the sunset ridge trailhead (near the antenna and building just west of the loop), but the signal was strong and as I followed my bearing when 1 was off, I could see on the map a little spur that would make those two bearings fit. Dick, Addison, and I went toward the spur tip (which was where I thought it was), and it came on before we got there. We had overrun it by about 50m.
I got it during the transmission, and as it went off and 2 came on, 2's signal was just terrible. There was no obvious peak---it was just this diffuse omnidirectional signal. This was really frustrating. My first bearing was for 2 to be north of the start, but i had been there and it wasn't there. Now I'm obviously closer to it, but the signal is reflecting from all around me, even though I've got a decent high receiving location. I decided I needed to get even higher, or maybe get somewhere high enough that the receiver can tell me which side of the main ridge line to start searching---somewhere where the signal is stronger to one side than the other. (This diffuse signal thing is very rare, in my experience.)
Addison and I headed toward the loop. I saw the shelter at the the top of the little hilltop inside the loop and thought that might be the best place to wait, but it was several minutes before 2 came on, and I thought I should keep moving. I suspected 2 was on the end of the sunset ridge spur, and when I got a signal from both sides of the spur (from near the trailhead), I ran as fast as I could down the spur. Addison said I just in front of him one second and 100m ahead of him when he looked up again. Just before it went off, 2 was a little stronger to the left (E?), but I decided to go to the tip and wait.
When it came on, it was weaker than from the saddle area. This was getting frustrating. We moved toward an area of 3 depressions (one where I put a control for the relay). I noticed tapes in two of the depressions, which I thought was funny.
2 came on, and it was uphill. I ran as hard as I could, and the signal sort of bent several times as I crested a gentle spur. I got a bearing just as it went off. It was pretty strong, and I guessed I was within 100-150m. I started off on the bearing, sort of looking around, and saw it off to my right, about 20m away. So---it wasn't a spike, and it wasn't pretty, but we got it. This is the T for which my first bearing put it north of the start. It's 700 or 1000m SW of the start. Either I wasn't paying attention, or this is just one crazy spot to put a transmitter.
There wasn't water dripping off the trees, but the ground was fairly soft from rain earlier in the week. That probably made the reflections a lot worse.
One really good practice session. Crazy confusing.
Rollerblading 36:00 
I rollerbladed while Katie ran.
You're asking yourself---"Matt, why are you rollerblading with a broken wrist? Are you stupid or something?"
To which I'd answer, "Maybe." Katie wanted to run, and I was tired from the ARDF. I thought about biking next to her, but that seemed painful for the wrist. Rollerblading should be okay if I didn't fall. So my choice to rollerblade was really more about my confidence not to fall than stupidity. Or at least I hoped.
I decided to use real rollerblade wrist guards rather than my custom-built splint. I decided they would offer more protection.
It was a really easy effort, although I did top 20mph twice going down 2 hills. I didn't fall, although I was a little shaky at low speed, and I was definitely running scared.
It was a decent low-effort workout, but I decided it was probably not something I should do again, at least in the dark.