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Race Evaluation

Mid Atlantic Champs: Blue


1. 0-1 I ran Blue because I needed the training and because Tom Strat said QOC was short in this area for the team scoring. I didn't expect to score points in the tougher competition but wanted a good run. Peggy and I started together at 11:16 but she ran Green due to an injury that was aggravated last week. Heading out, I ran toward the parking lot passing the cheering Ted Good, a QOC teammate, who starts later on Red. Taking the trail at the end of the parking lot, I descended. Almost immediately the trail didn't seem to match the map. The leaves were deep and the rough boulders were hidden. After rounding a few bends, I just decided to set a bearing and continue dropping toward the farm. Attacking from the sharp cornered field, I paid my penalty by climbing but spiked the control
2. 1-2 Going straight at a steady but not fast pace up the hill, I spiked it. I think I caught a glimpse of John Torrance while climbing. I didn't know who he was at this point. He was going more to the right.
3. 2-3 Going straight on rough compass, I contoured but dropped a little too. I think I emerged at the trail intersection near the charcoal terrace and fortunately recognized it. Dropping down a little, then cutting across more straight, I started a pace count from the next trail. I dropped just a little low. At the end of the pace count, I looked upward and soon found it.
4. 3-4 Up through the rocks and green was slow. I ran straight into the fallen trees too but got over them soon, dropping into the reentrant. I saw the large rock far off and was very pleased after running around to the other side of it to find that it was the correct one.
5. 4-5 Going straight, getting a little tired on the climb made me stop to check too often. I hit the road very near the trail intersection, and in so doing, knew where I was. I aimed for the rock group successfully, then kept going to the control. John Torrance is leaving just as I get there.
6. +06:305-6 John seemed to be going straight across the slash-green. Even though it looks out of the way, I decided to go to the trail to the right. Later John says he also when to the trail but took a straighter route. I found and used the intermittent trail, pausing because it seemed too long to get to the next. Finally on the big trail, I ran down but had difficulty reading due to rocks hidden amongst the leaves. Checking-off the first intersection, before I know it, I pass the second, not meaning to. Momentum from running down made it hard to stop. Probably at the bend, I attacked but didn't check compass too carefully. I read the contour wrongly and dropped too low. I saw a rock to the right and ran to it. This one was marked as a cliff on the map. I realized that I probably was too far right now so I headed back up a little, then left to more rock/cliffs. Dropping to the trail, I sought to relocate by rounding the big bend at the bottom of the reentrant. Now climbing up on bearing, and walking the steepest part, I went too far left before seeing it to my right.
7. 6-7 Straight down into the reentrant, I turned left at the trail, trying to use it as a better climbing route. While climbing and reading, I hyper-extended my left ankle on leaf hidden rocks under my toes while pushing-off. This made me hop about and aggravated an injury caused by the same thing last week. On the trail, I cued-in on the large rocks across the hillside, passing NW of them. Crossing the reentrant, I roughed-into the reentrant with the control and saw others (recreation course runners?) headed that way too. The climb was slow but short and I spiked it just as the others arrived.
8. +00:457-8 I went right toward the trail and park border. Using the trail, I went the whole way up to the intersection, then turned left. Counting pace and recognizing the bend, I stopped and set a new bearing to attack. This time, I was too far right; drifting while going through the mountain laurel. At the end of pace count, and in-view of the stream, I circled left and hit it.
9. 8-9 Rough compassing to the trail, I hit the bend that I had just attacked from. Setting a new bearing and rough compassing, I spiked it.
10. +04:009-10 I set a straight bearing to contour me into the power lines. I didn't read/realize the thick green at the edge of the power lines until I came-up on them. Impenetrable, I decided to use the trail to the right, on the ridge. Just before I would have hit it, I found an opening an ran into the power lines for a little. Crossing them, I just ran fast and turned left at the next intersection. I saw the first trail intersection on the left but planned to get closer before attack from the second intersection with the trail on the right. I never saw it and ended-up at the forking intersection NW of the control. Coming back, instead of attacking from there to avoid some green, I left reason behind-I didn't pace count. Seeing a dirt mound on my left, I estimated which one it was and attacked. The mound must have been the second, not the first one because my attack missed. I ran just past pace count, the read the contoured hill north of the control. Doubling back along it, I finally saw the control and again turned right-an un-pretty spiral into it.
11. 10-11 Out to the trail, I emerged at the junction. On pace count, I targeted the beginning of the white area on the left side of the trail. Not seeing the rocks at the end of the pace count, I set a bearing and quickly ran across them, following them somewhat to the control.
12. 11-12 Just trying to get back to the trail, I kept getting drawn left and up the knoll by the thick mountain laurel and rocks. Since I wanted to go to the trail intersection anyway, I just kept going with it and emerged near the intersection. While setting a bearing, Tim Good came through on the Red course for QOC. He told me that Ted Good (on Blue for QOC) has gone down the trail. I probably went straight through the thick green but was able to keep a good straight line. Hitting the trail at a bend I saw Ted coming down th trail, about to launch his own attack. Though I made several mistakes last week when using trail bends as attack points, Ted's presence in the same area confirmed my location. Ted got there first.
13. 12-13 Ted was already off and almost out of sight contouring in a straight line by the time I had finished punching 12. Straight seemed good so I gave chase, gaining a little ground. Ted's presence gave me some urgency and confidence to move quicker. I think I would have hit this one only a little slower without him in front.
14. 13-14 This would have been much tougher for me causing a likely error without Ted ahead. At first, I just followed to keep in contact-both pace and direction. I gained ground as he was reading the terrain more carefully. Ted paused at trail crossings and so did I. Ted was off again before I could fully assess things so I followed again. I had lost contact with the map so I didn't want to lose contact with Ted. It was featureless to me in this area. Crossing the ridge and using the slope of the land was my clue. I knew we were going to the right of a direct route and that the cliffs and thick green area would appear on our left. Shadowing Ted, I had the benefit of seeing how straight our track was. We shifted left at a clue that Ted saw, not me. It might have been the increasing steepness, some rocks ahead, or thick green that he may have seen to the left.
15. 14-15 Ted was off again and I had to play catch-up. Going straight, we moved fast down the hill. I didn't pace count as I would have done w/o him around. Tripping on rocks, I managed to keep on my feet and catch him. During this same descent, I felt like I bruised my right heel and felt it the whole way to the finish; at the writing of this it is more of an arch injury. Some commotion ahead lead us right to it. Tim Good, wearing red, was just punching having fought his way through the thick green that we went around on the way to 14.
16. 15-16 Tim, now on the same route homeward, had gone for the trail several contours below. Ted set out to contour across and I again followed. At the rocks, we thought aloud about Tim's choice but since we were already committed, we went forward. About half way across the rocks, Ted fell. I asked if he was alright and he confirmed so I went on. My plan was just to contour across, climbing slightly along the way and attack from the catching trail bend. I expected Ted to be right along but never saw him again. The woods were clear so I kept a fairly straight line. I hadn't been pace counting since I had started following Ted and since I was planning to stop at the trail. As I approached still out of sight of the trail, I saw Tim in his red shirt appearing to come-up a trail. Another older person was going down the trail from higher-up. This cued me to look uphill where I saw John Torrance's in QOC O' clothes. Though I don't think I had met John in-person earlier, nor recognized the clothes to be official QOC garments, I remembered seeing him around #2 and #5. He was checking-out rocks and climbing so I decided to go up also. Ted later told me he saw my change in direction and thought I was climbing too early. It was risky to rely on others but it worked. As I climbed, John seemed to take-off to the right. I headed left to check the same rocks that he had since I couldn't tell if he had already punched and was moving-on to 17. It turned-out that he had just seen the control to the right and was sprinting to it. I reached there about 20 seconds later.
17. 16-17 John had taken-off but was heading further downhill to the right than I wanted. After crossing the first trail, John adjusted and our paths converged. John was ahead still but I closed the distance. We used the intermittent trail, then stopped at the end where it intersected the vertical one. John took-off first and I followed. Since I was shadowing, I could see that John was running a straight path in the direction I wanted to go. At the trail just past the twisted reentrant, John stopped to read the terrain and gauge vertical distance but I kept going. He later told me he wasn't sure if he was going straight and so had to stop. Perhaps there's a lesson here analogous to the established fact that two cyclists go faster by trading leads than they would by going side-by-side. The reasons are different but seconds are shaved by trading and not pausing group movement. I was fairly confident of our location. I looked back and saw John drop down on the trail. I could see the house far below and it queued me into the horizontal distance. I dropped a little but rocks slowed me some. John decided to cross horizontally too by this point and reached there just ahead of me.
18. 17-18 Now in a bad habit of following others, I gave chase to John as he headed left of straight; up the steeping hill. In retrospect, had I stopped to look longer, I would have contoured across the power lines and climbed the big reentrant to the saddle. As I chased John on the climb we got drawn more and more left by thorns and rocks. They were greener than the map showed on the edge of the power lines. Even in the power lines, the way was choked and slow. We crossed the last part of it on a trail that took us even more left. John had pulled ahead a little and was starting to get out of sight through the bending turns but as we turned right leaving the power lines we found ourselves amongst some buildings. John made a u-turn believing this was an out-of-bounds area. We went around and then turned right upon hitting the road. John moved-out fast but I was confident I could keep-up here. He decided to turn left, attacking from a bend in the road. I decided it was quicker to run fast on the road to the saddle before turning left. We converged again. He punched first, just ahead of me.
19. 18-19 Shadowing John as we went straight, I could tell we were going a little to the right. We crossed the road and trail and then John began to check rocks from the right side to the left. I skipped this heading higher, straight to the left. Separated and seeing it first, I sprinted and punched, not knowing where John was.
F. 19-F I checked the map and took off at a smooth fast pace. Half way through I thought John might have a good kick coming from behind so I stepped into a sprint and finished ahead. I felt the race was pretty good for me. Still, I made one big error and a couple smaller ones. I got a lot of help from others on the course and though they all did the course faster than me, I managed to finish ahead after making contact. Another plus was that I may have scored some points for QOC. Low turnout from DVOA helped. The shadowing I did today will help me improve my own navigation. I hope I can repay the favor one day. For the surprising number of you who have gotten to this point reading this, I don't know what to say. I write it much for my own analysis and kind of enjoy re-experiencing the race. Posting it instead of just writing it is a way to keep myself honest. I tend to write much too much being otherwise verbally quiet. I self-flagellate my errors and exorcize my demons in hopes of understanding how to get better. Hopefully as Randy Hall recommended, I'm recognizing things I'm doing good as well. I'm surprised you're reading all this introspection. Though I read your comments and gain by them, the term "get-a-life" jokingly comes to mind. I do feel flattered that you care to read my comments and I enjoy the tips you've given me that help me progress. Maybe one-day I can navigate nearly as good as you.

Total Time Lost - 00:11:15

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