US Team Trials Long - Blue Mountain
A great course by Neil. There were plenty of technical and physical challenges, and the high humidity didn't do us any favors. The expected winning times were off by about 10+ minutes, so we were suffering out there.
My performance was, once again, mediocre. I started out calm, at a moderate pace, knowing that we were in for a long day. Fairly clean through 5, and was happy to see Clem (-3) as I came into #5. I stayed higher than him to 6 and was sure I spiked the control except that there was no flag. It looks like there was a very similar group of cliffs with a reentrant just above #6 that didn't make it onto the map. Clem, who was lower, saw the control first and was gone by the time I got to it, losing a minute. I then took a bad route to 7, drifting was too far left off the line and being surprised to catch Clem again before the fire break. After 7 I was by myself for the rest of the race. A lot of other blue runners seem to have had company over the course of the race, which surely would have helped the pace a bit, but such is the luck of the draw.
I took a long time choosing the route to 8, but was happy with my plan of using the mountain bike trails and then doing some climbing up the big mountain, but contouring a big chunk of it before dropping down to the trail that leads to the control. I executed well and had a nice section of 8-9-10. I am pretty sure my route to 8 was good, as both Jordan and Sergei went around to the right and did not gain much time on me, despite running faster.
To 11 I was again considering all the way right versus straighter, choosing right in the end, as I was looking forward to some flat running on a big trail. Like an idiot, I missed a turn-off and ended up having to bash through green and swamp to get to my trail. I lost 2 minutes here, probably most of it due to the mistake and maybe some due to my route.
Definitely thinking about water on the way to 12 and 13, and feeling tired as I started the final big loop. I planned and executed 14 and 15 well, and was feeling pretty good about my race when I blew 16. I was a bit low on the slope and found a big cliff that wasn't mapped. It took two attempts at relocation before I climbed higher and found it. Loss of another 2 minutes.
After this I managed to hold it together, and was particularly pleased with the route and execution to 19. The last couple of controls were a struggle, and my orienteering was very much stop and go, but never to the point where I felt completely dead.
In the end, I was the 6th Team Trialer, which isn't great. The good thing to take away from this was that I didn't bonk and felt stronger than I would have even a couple of weeks ago, and much stronger than I struggled through the US Classic Champs at Moreau - that was a definite low point.
Looking forward to the decisive middle distance tomorrow.
Route Gadget: http://www.vmeyer.net/gadget/cgi-bin/reitti.cgi?ac...