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Training Log Archive: TomN

In the 7 days ending Nov 17, 2013:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Orienteering2 2:03:02 6.96(17:41) 11.2(10:59) 350
  Total2 2:03:02 6.96(17:41) 11.2(10:59) 350

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Sunday Nov 17, 2013 #

Orienteering race 1:05:13 [5] 5.7 km (11:26 / km) +220m 9:35 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280

DVOA Fall Festival Day 2, Hay Creek Green-X. Seemed a little less technical, less bingo-ish than yesterday. Hillier, which I don't mind at all. Undergrowth a little less pleasant than yesterday, with most of the Mid-Atlantic thorn-bearing species present and accounted for. I had another good run, but not a great run.

From the start, I took the lower trail to the reentrant, then up to the control. But it was the wrong control! Quickly recognized it as the charcoal platform to the north, and continued on to the right one. Too slow on #2, I went too high on the trail before cutting over. Then dipped too much, found another wrong control on a charcoal platform, and continued on to the right one. A little shaky on the long traverse on 3, but recognized the trail when I hit it, then a very workmanlike pass through the short legs 3, 4, 5, and 6 on mostly compass bearings.

Lost 4 minutes on #7 without hardly noticing. The problem was the trail. I didn't see it as I came down off 6, but I knew I was too far when I hit boulders. Slogged back up (hence the loss of time), got the trail this time, and had no problem with the control. Tapio and I left #7 at the same time, but again I couldn't find the trail and watched him hare off downhill. I worked my way around and down the steep side of the hill, crossed the little trail midway, and followed the line of rocky pits into #8. Why is it that the minor trails were more visible than the major ones?

Lots of route choices on #9. I left the trail at the 3-way junction, climbed straight up, traversed under the dark green, and contoured to the control. I thought it was a pretty good route, don't know why I wasn't faster on it. And this, by the way, had to have been the most magnificent charcoal platform in the whole 2-day event. It was as big as a skating rink and just as flat, and you could see it from a long way off, although the flag was tucked invisibly in the back. Nice one.

#10 I found by counting paces and then looking behind me. Then downhill, tried to hit the big trail but didn't see it, kept going and got to the clearing below the lake. Crossed the clearing seeing GlenT going the other way (he wondered what the heck I was doing there) but got up to #11 with no problem, just the time lost taking the long way around.

Back across the clearing and into the woods at the rock pile with a flag on it, saw #13 from a long way below and huffed up the hill to punch it (later on at the finish, I was seriously worried that I had punched the wrong control, because it turns out there was another one, equally visible, on the charcoal platform to the west). And then, uneventfully, on to the finish.

So, good map reading and terrain knowledge, good running speed, but three bad mistakes, each due to crossing a trail without seeing it, pretty quick recovery in each case but the loss of time on those three detours was what took me out of contention.

Fourth place in M60 in the combined total.

Saturday Nov 16, 2013 #

Orienteering race 57:49 [5] 5.5 km (10:31 / km) +130m 9:24 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280

DVOA French Creek Day 1 Green-X. Well, this went better than expected, but I have to admit, expectations were low. I'd been to French Creek a few times, around 5 years ago, and not done well, concluding, at the time, that it was the hardest orienteering I'd ever seen. Charcoal platforms were, to my eye, faerie visions that were there one time and not the next. Or, pessimistically, locations where a control was needed and no feature existed.

So, to my growing surprise and pleasure, as the run progressed, I found that this terrain was actually navigable. I still didn't see any charcoal platforms that weren't marked with control flags, but there were enough visible cues to get around and even relocate. Maybe I've learned something in the last 5 years after all.

I liked the common control #1. It gave me time to read the map, get my distance calibrated, and think about the first real leg. I didn't know if I'd see the faint trail on the right, but it turned out to be flagged for white or yellow, so I gladly followed it to the junction with the major trail. Then a very careful bearing towards the rocky ground. As I approached it, it seemed to loom above the forest floor like a castle. Holy crap, what is that? Is that it? I couldn't have missed it if I tried! So then it was easy to #2, and now to #3.

Not much to think about here, except I decided I needed to hit the trail exactly in the middle of the bend in order not to waste any time attacking the control. So, up to the trail, spot the bend to the tower, follow the rock band (not on the rock band, as I unfortunately discovered, but beside it on the even ground), then carefully following a series of charcoal platforms and boulders to the trail, which I hit dead center on the bend, and from there the control was easy, past a couple of big rocks to the smaller ones beyond. The splits show that I was first on Green at that point, yay!

The next 2 controls 4 and 5 were easy, but apparently I was too slow. Still worried about losing contact, I guess, and not focused on the clear navigation features in each case.

Then a big mistake on #6. My plan was to hop on the trail and follow it to the bend nearest the control, but that failed, due to a combination of seeing others leaving the trail in the general direction of #6 and losing track of where I was. So I committed the cardinal sin of leaving the trail without a firm position fix, got into unrecognizable features, relocated to the trail much lower down, hit the mountain laurel and recognized it as the green on the map, then up to the control.

On #7 I got a little off and didn't see the reentrant, spent a little time making sure it wasn't below me before heading up the hill to where it really was.

Now to #8, which I figured was a make-or-break control in the middle of nowhere with very little to guide me in. So I decided to climb up to the tower and use the same old rocky ground from #3 to attack from. It worked pretty well, as it turned out, but it was slow due to the extra climb. I didn't go all the way to the tower, attacking instead from the marked charcoal platform just NW of the rocky ridge. Spotted the flat place in the contour lines, dropped down the next slope, and there it was, pretty much a bingo. I counted that as a victory. After the fact, I think there would have been plenty of features to guide me around on a contour route that would have been a lot faster.

#9 and 10 were steady and uneventful. On #11 I again let my head be turned by others who, it turned out, were on Brown and had 2 controls in between my 10 and 11. I got to admire their control placements, but I should have stuck to the original plan.

Ron Bortz and I had been within a second or two of each other a couple of times before, but this time we were tied for 4th. He's a very steady navigator, but as he told me a couple of weeks ago, anything can happen at French Creek.

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