Fountainhead Regional Park, VA
We don't have UltraLong solo orienteering races in Canada (nor a Hudson Highlander or Billygoat) so this event was one of the main attractions of the weekend for me. The female elite course was almost as long as Raid The Hammer with a similar number of controls - very fun!
I signed up for the elite category to get as much orienteering as possible but one thing hadn't occurred to me until I read the course notes this weekend: Men who run the Red course are given a 1:10,000 map but the only women's category on the Red course is F-21, and elite women are required to use a 1:15,000 map. So if I want to run the Red course in future, I may want to sign up in a men's category!
Although I was nervous about it, the map scale turned out to be a non-issue for this course. This event mostly tested route choice, running speed and endurance but the control locations were fairly obvious once you got to the right area - not tiny depressions or low cliffs. I'd expected to need my compass magnifier in addition to my reading glasses but I never did.
Unlike the past two races, things went pretty smoothly except for a minor hiccup on #20 when for some reason, I ran happily toward a rootstock on a spur, knowing full well that I expected to find it in a re-entrant.
I ran 1.5-2 km longer than Joe (we compared notes afterward) to avoid climb but that probably helped to save energy. It was a mass start but as a slow runner, I was by myself most of the way, which I really enjoy. The terrain was gorgeous!
Photo by Aaron Linville - not sure who the runner is
For some reason, falling was my thing today. My toe caught a root within the first half kilometre, and I crashed my ribs and knee into rocks when I went down. A later fall banged the other knee and made my index finger bleed inconveniently onto my compass for 20 minutes. Just to make sure the other side of my body didn't feel left out, my feet slid out as I was descending a steep slope, and as I plummeted to the valley bottom, I smacked my back on a couple of hard objects and filled the back of my shirt with dry leaves like a scarecrow. All very glamorous.
My ranking wasn't anything to write home about, however, there were considerably fewer people on the Red course today and a bunch of DNFs and MPs too. Almost everyone ran in their age category to compete for the U.S. Champs. So I'm much happier than I was with yesterday's disaster. I could have gone a little faster but I was pleased with almost all of my route choices, and that's good enough at this point in the season.
Great job by Jon Torrance, Valerie Meyer and a big team of QOC volunteers. I really enjoyed the weekend - nice to catch up with some orienteering friends. We should get a bunch of Canadians to do a road trip to the next U.S. UltraLong Champs within range of southern Ontario. I think a lot of you would really enjoy it!
The drive home was long and tough compared to the drive down. I had to pull over for two naps, and a snowstorm started within 60 seconds of crossing into Canada and continued for the rest of the way. I got home at 1:40 a.m. Blah.