|Going in to this, I didn't have much of a plan or anticipation of doing well. Pacing was my main strategy along with using the faster train of runners, reading along and not overrunning a control. I knew the competition was thinner so harbored a hope to finish in the top 20. I expected Peter to beat me since he'd been training well and this is his terrain. I should have taken a second restroom break but it was too close to the start time when I realized the need. Going with the flow, I remembered going down this same trail at the last A-meet and getting lost not far off it. At the power line crossing I got some idea of where we were again but still followed the crowd in. Randy, Ted, Dave O., and Wyatt were near.
|Down to the lake, I was behind Joe B. and Wyatt. Ted Good appeared ahead on the slog up to the control.
|I was glad the crew was still together. Looking at this leg in retrospect I don't think I'd have much trouble hopping the 4 ridges and hitting the control or at least the catching trail. However at the time I felt like I was hardly able to look at the map while trying to chase everyone.
|A much easier leg, I still didn't do much reading of it. I was able to look ahead a bit and knew we'd be climbing well into #5--this helped me mentally prepare. Ted Good was ahead.
|Still chasing Ted and others ahead of him, I walked and jogged where able. I didn't use the trail much. Instead I followed the crowd taking the straight line approach and we seemed to get ahead.
|Here's where oxygen debt and following got to be a bad mix. For some reason, leaving #5 I thought I was leaving #6. We were going downhill and I recognized that we were going westward a lot instead of south but I was thinking we'd just be going around that way because it was a better route. I was glad to finally be going down so I started to let gravity do the work--I opened up my stride and started passing people. Ahead in an obvious reentrant I saw people slowing down to cross logs so I thought to go around getting out of the reentrant. I couldn't see that the people ahead were punching the control but fortunately, Ted and one other kind person taking pity on me called me back after I'd passed it.
|My mistake at #6 put me a few steps behind the train I'd been running with. I plowed down the hill and saw Greg Balter. Trusting his skill more than mine, I latched on and wasn't careful with my map reading. Greg was moving fast enough and the waterline had changed enough that I wasn't sure where I was when crossing the lake below a beaver dam. I figured we were east of it and should keep going south but Greg kept pulling SE. Another guy tagged along behind from a distance. Remembering this area and having navigated well through in the last Troll Cup, I kept thinking we should use the trails to keep a solid contact with the map. I knew we needed to go more south than we were. I made my choice to stick w/Greg (albeit hanging back so as to try not to distract) however without contact with the map I figured I also had better not leave him. I think we wandered almost closer to #8 than #7. Eventually I spoke up and he said I should have spoken up earlier--I think he would have turned west on his own by that point anyway. He got us to a stream and just N of the control whence we all felt a bit of relief seeing Eddie Bergeron come through hunting like we were. I looked south over a small ridge and saw it and called Greg over. Throughout this leg we were moving at a fast pace; just not where we needed to be. Afterward Greg explained that his plan was to aim off and come down the wet reentrant to the control. We had passed the wet part of the reentrant by being too far east where it was dry. Trusting others and hanging with the crowd had gotten me through #6 at much faster than I could have on my own. If I'd had the confidence to leave the group I think I might have done this leg faster on my own.
|Despite the problem at #7, I still felt more confidence with Greg's ability in this terrain than mine. Since he was headed the right way, I trailed behind him again, albeit closer. Again I felt we were going too far left and didn't speak up. We crossed paths with Alar R. who pointed us back down the hill to our right, backtracking a little.
|I underestimated this leg. Just leaving #8, I suggested to Greg that this or #15 would be good to skip with a slight preference to skip #15. Since we were already moving, the decision was made. Greg was still moving faster than I could read. We went over the knolls to the right. I though I knew where we were crossing the second to last gap so when we got near the circle and didn't see it I tried to make things fit. I saw some streamers to my left and downhill a ways. This turned out to be 150m west of the control. Greg stayed higher. After checking far enough I turned back. Greg soon popped over the hill, whistled and pointed to where I was intending to go next, then popped back over and disappeared. Climbing was slow enough for me to loose contact with him as I rushed in to punch.
|I was in a rush to catch up to Greg and left #9 by going N. Realizing this I cut back E, then S so that I ended up on the knoll SE of #9. I calmed down giving-up on catching Greg and started getting into the map. I charged downhill in the reentrant to the trail in the larger reentrant. Alone at last, I stopped to relieve myself (distracting me since the start) and read the map carefully. I noted that I was at a low point on the trail in both directions thus confirming that I'd descended to the correct reentrant. I attacked slowly (sometimes walking) climbing the cliffs and following the edge of the reentrant through the green and right to the control. Time lost was for the mistake leaving #9 and for my little break at the trail.
|Going out of #10, I folllowed the contour too much instead of the the bearing. It was more runnable and got around the green. I paused at the big reentrant which the trail was in and spyed the pool of water figuring it was the small marsh on the map. I intended to go on bearing but either got turned when angling up the hill. I started having a hard time matching-up the relatively flat ground with the contours I knew I should have been climbing. I hit the reentrant and had sense enough to stop at it. I saw some rocks below and figured they were my cliff but after dropping to inspect I saw the stream on the edge of the map and turned around.
|Leaving #11 tired, with no one around and a few mistakes to show for my first legs alone, I made an effort to read and plan better. Instead of going straight I contoured around to the right then climbed going left in a big reentrant. I don't remember crossing the smaller trail but intended to and did hit the larger trails SE of the control. Attacking from the trail junction, I spiked it. Going slow helped.
|I went straight despite the better running to be had by dropping quicker. Crossing at the trail junction I kept straight and going slow to spike it.
|After a bannana piece, two carb drink cups the word from the people manning the control was that I was in 22nd place--my place the previous year. I wasn't sure to be happy or not since the fast moving train was ahead of me. I tried to run out straight but got a bit too far right. I caught a glimpse of someone in white. I stopped on que and saw it to my left.
|I skipped this one having planned to do so since #9.
|I left #14 quickly. Not looking wide enough for routes, I just decided climbing the huge knoll on the trail would be fastest--wrong but not by much. Once on top, I got moving but not as fast as I'd hoped due to rocks. I made an error by cutting right one trail too soon but realized it and came back. I read the trail bends and the contours to get to an attack point above the control and was much relieved to glide through a small patch of green woods and spike it.
|Leaving #16 and climbing the reentrant by toeing off both jogging and walking, I saw a guy in white above me; same guy from #14 who later turned out to be Erik Osborn. He disappeared as I made may way painfully up to the trail. I attacked off the small knoll due east of the control and spiked it. At my final approach I saw Eric heading off toward #17.
|Having a very similar leg in QOC's Broad Creek meet earlier in the year (#2) and having messed that up helped. I took a more direct line instead of contouring over to the ridge first. In the process I regained sight of Eric but also spotted Ted Good. Ted got there first, Eric, and then I. I was happy that I was getting into a train again.
|Eric and I passed Ted who was not doing well with cramps at this point. I got into the lead a bit and cut left on the trail for faster climbing. I cut right rather vaguely as the valley was narrowing and was a bit uncertain since the hill there seemed taller than the contours showed. Ted could be seen taking a more direct line below me. Eric had stayed on the trail longer than I and then was able to charge up the hill faster. He was on target and ahead as we spiked it.
|The green on the map didn't look good though I had relatively pleasant memory of it from the Troll Cup. The trail however was faster on the last leg and at this point in the race I didn't want to risk a miss for small gain and the chance at cramping again on steeper hills. Eric had thought the same so I gave chase. Doubt about the choice lingered. I expected Eric to slow some and pushed only moderately hard. He seemed to be feeling at least as strong as I and I didn't make-up much ground. I figured I'd save it for a kick but I slowed a bit on the trail even to verify location. Across the power lines and odd trail intersections we cut up the reentrant walking fast. I thought I'd seen Gail Gagarin again and assumed she'd be doing a shorter course. I was surprised when I passed and discovered it was Earnst Linder--sorry Earnst; I was getting tired. I also looked back to see Adam Rudner walking behind me too.
|I rushed out and saw Peter Gagarin ahead. He seemed to be thinking going through the finish would be good to get an easy attack and this made perfect sense to me. Eric was going more direct somewhere to my right I think. Peter went through the clearings and stopped wondering where the control was. I saw it, pointed and suddenly all three of us were charging for it. A fallen tree in my path let Eric get there first but probably hindered Peter, who had been closer, enough for me to get in in front of him. I thought about the usual thoughts of not outsprinting Peter near the end but since we hadn't been running together up to this point any way, this didn't apply.
|Leaving #21 I thought about kicking past Eric but more about getting there ahead of Peter. I tried to get back to the open areas justifying the longer route with better running. I tripped and fell flat a few meters from control #21 when crossing a fallen tree. It seemed a long way to the finish and I pushed hard--not enough to catch Eric who also finished hard and fast on the straighter route. I was rather surprised to find that I'd placed 14th and would get some lifetime points. I guess I was behind so much at the manned control because many of them had skipped #9 or something earlier. Most of my goals were fulfilled except not overrunning a control--thanks again Ted.
Total Time Lost - 00:13:00