NAOC Long - M45+
Double Duck Flats, Cranbrook, BC
This is the race from which I can learn the most.
1- Straight. Knew I was on when I hit the long open area.
2- Thick & a bit slow. Found rocky knoll so I looked for black on the map, nope but the control was behind it. Reremembered to calibrate my rock translation from Chicago levels (where mapped boulders can be knee height).
3- Easy & fast but could have avoided a few contours going right around hill.
4- Stayed high but then inexplicably drifted right running downhill. Caught myself in time but was not decisive as I didn't see the hill until close to it.
5- Easy but walked some uphill parts (already tiring a bit).
6- Good plan, well executed.
7- Saw just a jumble of black between 6 & 7 but still went straight & got caught on top of sizable cliff. Flag not hard to find once I climbed down.
8- Got caught in some green heading there. Should have been more careful because I alomst missed left.
9- So the wheels come off my race at this point as I drop from ~5th to ~20th. My key o-skills either misfired or stopped functioning. I have replayed these next three legs over and over in my mind and am glad to finally put them to rest in writing. So what happened? Reading ahead, I saw that 9 was a key route choice leg and wanted to form a good plan. I saw left but really thought I could do better so I looked at right for a while, even stopping after punching 8. At one point I thought I had a good route along the fence so I started moving SE but the many deep reentrants finally changed my mind so I headed back left. As I ran along, I allowed myself to get annoyed by all the time I'd already squandered instead of focusing on visualizing the control area. When I left the trail and climbed up to the clear area, I was distracted by another runner stopped there. The confluence of being tired, annoyed & distracted had me thinking that I was higher up the ridge so I started to look for the cliff (in the wrong place). Finally took a long, deliberate look at the map and my error was clear but the time was gone and my concentration further shaken.
10- Moved too quickly along a bearing and fell left of the saddle I planned to go through. Where I normally would quickly recognize & recover from this parallel error, I was fuzzy on what happened and still not thinking clearly so I stumbled around until someone led me in. More anger & shaken confidence contributed to...
11- Contour inversion!! The 5 contours to the NE of 11 looked like a climb up to it so I chose a route that didn't take me across a bunch of fantasy reentrants from that direction. Thus I missed the optimal route choice to the right and instead climbed to the left. I would be ok except I was still expecting the small second trail to be through a valley so, when it kept going down, I stopped in complete confusion (see red dot). But I didn't stop long enough to really figure out where I was and instead plunged on in frustration. Of course I paid for my hastiness by having to unravel which similar reentrant was which.
12- I wonder if straight was better; contouring was pretty fast.
So after all that I have simply reaffirmed that this is a mental sport. How many times must I learn that and to keep myself calm & focussed?? Also though, I do remember from last fall that being fit helps in many direct and indirect ways. I need to break away from my work focus and get my training restarted in earnest.