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Training Log Archive: Bash

In the 2 days ending Mar 3, 2013:

activity # timemileskm+m
  XC Skiing - Classic1 7:52:41 26.39(3.3/h) 42.47(5.4/h) 697
  Snowshoe Orienteering1 7:36:47 21.41(21:20) 34.46(13:15) 613
  Total2 15:29:28 47.8(19:27) 76.93(12:05) 1310

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Sunday Mar 3, 2013 #

8 AM

Snowshoe Orienteering race 7:36:47 [3] 34.46 km (13:15 / km) +613m 12:10 / km
shoes: Salomon XR Crossmax CS pink/gr

CNYO Snowgaine Day 2

After a great pub night with the Canadian contingent plus Arthurd and Ang, I put my map, pins and string on a board and stewed for awhile. I finally made a pre-bedtime visit to Arthurd's room to get her opinion as a super-experienced New York orienteer. The problem was the private property boundaries. Based on my interpretation of the map, the straight route from 66 to 26 was illegal - about 2 km of it passing through private property - and this made it complicated to plan an efficient route around the remaining controls. Arthurd not only confirmed this but produced a map from another rogaine where those areas were shaded in another colour to make it extra clear that racers must not go there.

She said that when you see boundary lines on a NY map, you can sometimes figure out where the private property is based on where the controls are placed and where the buildings are located. There were lots of buildings in this area, which is what caught my eye. So that meant I could only approach 26 from the north or the west. This led to a weird-looking route that wasn't very efficient but c'est la vie. In addition, we still had to pick up 48, the one we accidentally omitted yesterday. But given that MBR skipped 88 and had to plan an 18 km road run to pick it up today, I really can't complain! :)

'Bent and I were glad that we skied yesterday. In fact, I think we chose the right mode of transportation for yesterday's route in yesterday's conditions, even though we can't take credit for clever strategy since we just did it because we felt like skiing. We'd also brought our snowshoes and we decided to use them today. Dee commented that we were lucky to experience two different races, and that was true. Sunday didn't seem repetitive in any way.

However, that wasn't entirely good since it took us awhile to get our act together. My snowshoe pole broke five minutes before the start so at the last minute, 'Bent lent me his poles, one of which occasionally collapsed when I put weight on it. We had to take a break after a few controls when 'Bent's bladder hose froze. Worst of all, my brain took awhile to shift to snowshoe navigation, which is different, and to get used to the map in a different way.

Yesterday's route was trail-based where possible but today was more like regular orienteering; we could travel more easily through the bush so it made sense to go in straight lines and cross more creeks. There was a feeling of freedom when we were bushwhacking or climbing hills but we felt slow when we were crossing lakes or going downhill on snowmobile trails. It was a nice contrast!

We started off with 18, 15, 22. This was only 2.5 km into the course and it took me that long to remember how to navigate on snowshoes. Then some beautiful forest trekking to 35 and 34, followed by a scenic lake crossing to 52. Filled with dangerous confidence, I messed up 83 because I wasn't paying enough attention since it seemed so easy. Famous last words. We agreed that we'd gone too far so we went back most of the way to the trail to relocate, then returned to the same point and realized that we hadn't gone quite far enough. From there, we did a major bushwhack to the snowmobile trail, then did the southeast group - 62, 67, 66. We ran into DoubleDown_on11 and Escondido, who mentioned that a black Lab had been hanging out with them. Escondido looked a little rough; I only found out later that he'd done a face plant through the ice into frigid water, and DD11 had hauled him out by the snowshoes! We also met Beez and Animal-O in here. I think they were having fun.



After 66, the private property boundary pushed us northeast so we did the 50-39-23 loop next. We ran into DD11, Escondido and their pooch at 50. We patted him and he happily joined our team. My heart sank a little, knowing that we wouldn't really be racing anymore, and we were only 4 hours into a possible 8-hour day. However, DD11 and Escondido had done their good deed, feeding him and keeping him out of trouble for a couple of hours, and now it was our turn. He really was a sweet dog - older with a grey muzzle but obviously fit enough to travel many miles through snow. Tail always wagging, big Lab smile. No tags, unfortunately, but he looked well fed and had a charming personality. He reminded me a little of ThunderDog before she became too old to do long hikes. We were in the middle of nowhere and he had been following the other team for awhile so we doubted he could find his way home. That trumped racing.



We got on a snowmobile trail on our way to 39. We could hear noisy snowmobiles coming but the pooch meandered into the middle of the trail, not hearing anything until they were almost on top of him. Apparently, the poor guy was mostly deaf. Thank God the snowmobilers swerved around him at high speed but they gave us The Look.

I was going to have to make more dog-friendly route choices from now on so we veered off the trail. In the woods, he wandered around happily, sniffing tracks and peeing on stumps. He couldn't hear us if we called him but if we happened to catch his eye and wave, he would come over. We weren't getting anywhere and we couldn't leave him there to die so I suggested that 'Bent convert our tow rope into a leash. This kept 'Bent occupied for the rest of the race since "Buddy" (as we named him) loved to pull 'Bent hard whenever he found tracks in the snow, and he wasn't concerned about whether 'Bent was getting dragged under low branches. Fortunately, BazingaDog has trained 'Bent well in that department so he wasn't too fazed. After 23, there was a tricky area of private property which we avoided at first but when we saw a building, we went over to see if any dog lover happened to be home. Nada.

Then we headed into 26 and even though I was pace counting well from a nearby attackpoint, we allowed Buddy to haul us along some snowshoe tracks and deluded ourselves for a few minutes until we finally smartened up and turned around. From there, we trekked to 36, then bushwhacked north about 1.3 km to the snowmobile trail, continually looking for places to cross the river.

By this point, I was getting nervous about the time remaining. We hadn't expected to have to worry about the deadline but we hadn't expected to add a teammate. We finally found a beaver dam with a chute of water flowing past at one end. It was tough to access with a diagonal log walk, a jump over the chute into a shrub, then a scramble to get better footing. I went first and succeeded. 'Bent let Buddy off-leash then proceeded to get a soaker when he came across. That left Buddy, who worriedly ran along the shoreline looking at different options and finding them all unacceptable. He made a couple of brave attempts but found it daunting when the snow at the river's edge gave way under his paws. At one point, he went right into the water and 'Bent tried to grab him but he scrambled back up on the side he'd started from. It took awhile to coax him using hand signals but he eventually came back on the log. I held tight to 'Bent's pack and 'Bent leaned forward to grab his collar when he went into the water. Success, finally! 'Bent got wet up to his thighs and poor Buddy was completely submerged in the chilly water.



Up to that point, we'd been able to convince him to drink when we found open water. Funny, after this, he had no interest! :) We stopped to share chips, crackers and cheese with him, and he sat down politely when he realized treats were coming - further proof that he comes from a good family.

We got 48 but kept our eyes on the time. I was stressed thinking about Dee waiting to ride home with us, especially knowing that we had to find Buddy a safe place before we could leave, which was going to take even more time. Then we got on the snowmobile trail and hurried north as fast as we could go. By this point, Buddy was taking more walk breaks and we could hardly blame him. We wouldn't take our own dogs on such a long expedition. But he was a trooper, hanging in there while we got 43 and 33, then we all ran along the road to the finish.

Yay, we cleared the course - first time I've ever done that in a rogaine! Our hope had been to place 2nd of the 7 Veteran teams behind Joe and Sony (who were 3rd overall), and that's how it turned out. Congrats to all the Canadians on their podium finishes - and also to Joe/Sony and Arthurd/Ang for their category wins.

The first hour after we finished was quite stressful as we tried to find a safe place for Buddy. We couldn't cross the border without his papers but we wanted to be certain that he was with someone who would feed him and let him stay indoors until authorities could help to sort things out and hopefully find his owners. While various people tried to come up with a plan, Buddy got a hamburger, then sprawled in front of the fireplace inside the building. Finally, the Camp Zerbe caretaker appeared, and he turned out to be a dog owner willing to take Buddy in and make the appropriate phone calls - phew. One day later, I've left a couple of messages to try to find out what happened. Sure hope our teammate is OK!

Thanks to Mark and Barb for all their hard work in putting on another stellar event. Maybe the Canadians can outnumber the Americans next year? :)

Saturday Mar 2, 2013 #

8 AM

XC Skiing - Classic race (Ungroomed) 7:52:41 [3] 42.47 km (5.4 kph) +697m


CNYO Snowgaine Day 1

Another fun weekend in NY! The Snowgaine provides incredible value for just $45 per person including two 8-hour days of racing and hot food at the end of each stage. It was great to go down there with a 16-member Canadian contingent, several of whom were first-timers. We had a fun birthday celebration for Leamer on Saturday night at LD's pub. Big thanks to DoubleDown_on11 for organizing that! At the end of Day 2, every Canadian team hit the podium including Getawaystix and Hermes, who took the overall and Coed wins, and Escondido and DoubleDown_on11 who won the Male category. Yay!

Although we had less than an hour to plan, I hauled out the string and pins for route planning. It quickly became apparent that the course was clearable, even by us, so the problem changed to: "How to design loops for two days so we can get all the controls?" We decided to head to the west side first and save the east side (closer to race HQ) for Day 2.

'Bent and I had always planned to ski on Day 1 - if not both days - because we really enjoy bushwhacking/ungroomed skiing, and there aren't many opportunities to do it in a race. We knew we couldn't be competitive in such a tough field so we might as well have fun. Looking at our route, I couldn't see any compelling reason not to ski, so we did the road run from the start with waxless touring gear in our arms.



The route to our first control (64) involved a good chunk of bushwhacking and showed us that trails would be a lot faster in some types of vegetation, even though the distance might be greater. The snow was crusty and we could often stay on top of it, which was great. However, the crust was slippery and the forest was full of big moguls, some of which had little puddles of open water between them and all of which had saplings scattered around them, so micro-route choice was paramount. My waxless skis like to track in a straight line so it was hard to stop or turn with no layer of fluffy snow to dig into. Stopping could be an issue, especially on the steep slopes near creeks. It was exciting to ski across a few creeks on logs with a foot of snow on top. I took off my skis twice during the day to execute difficult moves but that made me sink in so it wasn't effective. The second time, I went shin deep into a creek and gave myself a good soaker for the second half of the race - oops! Let's hear it for socks with neoprene.



In spite of all this, we had a blast. On some of the snowmobile trails, we did a bit of skating on our waxless skis, and the early downhills were fun. Once we hit the busier snowmobile trails in the afternoon, we couldn't enjoy the downhills as much because we decided to ski in complete control so we could dive off the trail if necessary. Some of those drivers are crazy fast over blind hills! The first time we tried skiing downhill more slowly, 'Bent caught an edge halfway down the hill and did a swan dive into the snowbank. I reminded him that we simply had to be *prepared* to dive off the trail but we didn't have to actually do it unless we saw a snowmobile. :)



Skiing was adventurous and fun and led to different route choices. Usually I went back out to a main trail using the track we had just come in on, then we'd ski along the main trail until it was time to attack the next control. This meant going a greater distance but we averaged a little faster pace on trail, so it balanced out.

These beautiful old stone walls were mostly visible and easy to use as handrails.



We started with 64, 56, 41 north of Hwy 104. Then we headed down to 47. It was early in the race and my orienteer's brain saw the "uncrossable" solid black line lakeshore on the map and instinctively thought, "Oh, we can't go there", even though it was by far the best route choice. So we went out the way we came in and added 2-3 km to our route to 85. Duh.

It was around this time that I remembered the state/county boundaries on the map, which is something we don't have to deal with in Ontario. In some NY races, it has been very clear where the private land is but on this map, there were cases where the property line represented the boundary between state and county land, both of which are public, so it was hard to know. From that point on, I tried to figure it out.



45, 37, 21, 46 (returning to the trail in between), 55, 65, 63, 88, 53.

Then I screwed up. We were homeward bound and had planned to pick up a few controls depending on how much time we had. I forgot 48 and went for 38 instead, leaving us a big out-and-back for tomorrow. Then 49, 42, 51, 43, Finish.

We stopped near a couple of later controls since I had promised an interested writer from the New York Times news wire that I would take a few pics this weekend.





Super fun day! I was especially impressed that Beez did this on skis when she has only been out about 10 times in her life. Even with years of skiing under my belt, there were some nervous moments and I even managed to run into a couple of trees.

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