Orienteering race 2:40:45  12.0 mi (13:24 / mi) +625m 11:32 / mi
Billygoat, Earl's Trails, Amherst, MA
Beautiful day, but my only goal was to run clean and get my shirt.
S->1: Huge mess leaving the start as the woods were a bit green. Went low and north following one of what appeared to be three trains. We were rightmost, but it was minimizing climb and I was comfortable. Saw all sorts of folks I knew but was unclear about whom I would be able to stay with. Hit the main trail E of the control and took the trails in to just above the flag. 16:32
1->2: Started with Sharon Crawford and Sam Levitin, but we split up at the second of the three N-S trails east of the control. Came in solid and caught a group that was confused by the cliff system NE of the control. WinSplits says that I lost 43 seconds here, but that must have been just general slowness. 14:59.
2->3: A group left in the general direction of #3 and fanned out. I was second from left with Ken Walker to my left. We were both too far left and came in behind most of the group. WinSplits says I lost 1:03 here and I believe that. 3:42.
3->4: Down the hill, follow the train. 2:03
4->5: Across the hill, Ken and I took the trail for a slight northerly arc into the control, 3:39
5->6: Debated this as a skip, but nobody else seemed to do it, so I slogged up the hill with Sharon, Sam, Ken, and a few others. 6:04
6->7: Everyone split up en route and met back at the control. 4:47
7->8: Our "pack" is now a trio - me, Sam, and Sharon. We trail hop over to the leg with some sketchy map contact, and then go clockwise around to find it with no trouble. We seem to have caught some folks, but perhaps these are slow "Lite"rs? 14:34
8->9: Followed Sharon N through the green, but a dogleg back to the trail was probably better. Otherwise fine. 3:03
9->10: Crowd dispersing again and our pack reforms; three of us together into #10. 8:37
10->11: Group disagrees about where to depart trail E of #16, but we reconvene near the circle so I guess it didn't matter. 14:51
11->12: First real "route choice" discussion as Sharon and I prevail so we all take the trail to the south. 5:13
12->13: More or less straight to it. 3:49
13->14: Halfway through the checkpoints in 1:38. Shirt is secure if we can avoid big errors, but more importantly it's time to head back and choose the skip. 22 looks tempting but it's a sucker play. [Splits analysis shows that I am right, but that I am the sucker; it was best.] Sam wants 16; I like 18; Sharon is undecided. We are all tired climbing the hill to the saddle on the way to 14 so we delay the decision. Down the reentrant, the hill to the right of the control is quite visible so this one is navigationally easy. 7:55
14->15: Comfortably in as we debate the choice of skip, choosing 18. WinSplits says we lost 49 seconds; surprised it's that much. 5:04
15->16: North across the trail and in; at the time, it seemed like a long way in, but looking back at the map, it makes sense. We were tentative, though. Lost 1:13, again that feels high, but... 5:55
16->17: We got dispersed again as we took different breaks at the water stop, but we came through it clean and "met" at the control. 4:21
17->19: Trail NE to main trail E. Just after it passed the green, we decided to "hop" one trail S and we took that one to its bend, 200m west of control, I attacked directly (a bit over the hill) but Sharon said that she was going around. I should have listened; she was in and out before I got there. 11:54
19->20: East up the hill, hitting the fence at the corner right on the line, through the start/finish zone and then in without much trouble. 6:09
20->21: Trying to stay right of the string, I bonked a bit both mentally and physically. Sharon and Sam began to open up some space and I zoned out for what felt like a real long time. (Obviously it wasn't all that long given the split.) As we approached, I started reading the topography a bit better and then noticed the flag as they were heading past it to the right. (To be fair, I think Sharon had just realized her error as I called out.) 4:07
21->22: It's now the homestretch and we trail hop west until we hit the trail just S of the control, Somehow I spot Ken Walker ahead of us on the trail (shouldn't he be done by now) running past where I think the flag is. And the flag IS there as Sharon and I see it at the same time. 6:16
22->23: Back the way we came, hopping trails as we approach the "band of saplings". Barb Bryant just ahead of us heading in at what looks like the right spot and is. Ken comes in just as we punch. 3:43
23->24: Southwest as Ken pulls away, but seems to miss it right. Sharon heads straight in to the green, but I try to go around a bit (hoping futilely for a break in the green) and she beats me to the control. 3:15
24->F: Could I catch Sharon in these 50 yards? Is it appropriate to do so? In the time it takes to decide, the decision is removed from my purview. 0:13
All in all, one of my better Billygoats and it is always fun to run with and learn from Sharon.