Hudson Highlander XX
26.1 km (8:34 / km) +1110m 7:04 / km
Course analysis will be split into three parts, each analysis follows the map.Map Part 1Route Gadget Part 1
First off, I knew going into this that I would very physically challenged. 26.1 kilometers of orienteering in Harriman is pretty hellish, what with constant rocks beating your legs and having to wade through blueberry bushes. So the plan was to run at a comfortable pace and adjust the pace as needed as I was running. Going into the race I was a little worried that my technical skill might be lacking as I have not raced here, or on an actual big orienteering map, in quite a while but It went pretty well with only slight hic-cups. The first map went very well for me. I finished this course in roughly 54:30 and was second behind Greg who finished roughly 2 minutes in front of me. I did lose a little time on this part. Starting out I basically took the same route as Greg with very slightly differences. He was the only person in front of me so I have no idea how the spread was behind us, but I can imagine we were all still in viewing distance of each other. After Greg exited #1 I didn't really see where he went so for this control I was alone. I ended up compassing to the right for whatever reason. Once I hit some cliffs, it was pretty obvious where I was so I corrected pretty quickly. Right before I hit the control I saw Joseph Barrett hit it so I was now in third. We stayed together until #5. Here Joseph stopped, but I was pretty confident in where I was so I continued and hit #5 without a problem. Next time seeing a person was exiting #7 where I saw Will Hawkins entering it. On the way to #8 I also entered the swamp at the wrong angle so I ended up way right of where I wanted to be. Again, I realized where I was pretty quickly so I did not lose much time at all. The rest of the course went quite well and pretty much orienteered by myself for all of it with Will following me within viewing distance.Map Part 2Route Gadget Part 2
Between the first map and the second was a 5k trail run. This went decently for me as well, but I had a little trouble being sure I was going the right way. Since I was alone, I kept thinking that it was possible I took a wrong turn somewhere, since there wasn't constant streamers for reassurance, but once I hit a mandatory control I no longer had such worries. At the end of the trail run I was still in second about 5 min behind Greg. This map is where things started getting rough for me. I decided to take the trail to #1 and it was pretty bad. At this point the constant rocks started to really hurt my feet. Every time I stepped on a hard surface, I could feel my studs digging into the center of my foot which was quite painful. I was also getting quite hungry by this point and started to wish I had a bigger breakfast. Anyway the trail didn't help, and it was also super vague and I ended up losing it. About a minute later, Will caught me and I managed to get back on the trail. Will ran off, and I decided not to speed up after him. Stopped for a nice drink and continued in now third place. I did see Will later on when he was going to #6 and I was going to #4, and then I saw Ken and Will Hubsch when I was going to #6 and they were going to #4. The course went pretty well, albeit slow, until #7. Here I got thrown off my compass again and much more severely than before. I hit some green and after bashing through it, I saw more green. I thought the green I was in was on the line, so upon see more green I realized I was very far right of the line and corrected. This ended up costing a lost of time and the pace was super slow as it was either all green or all uphill. Hitting #7 was also tricky from where I was so I ended up missing it a little before correcting. After this fiasco, the trio of Boris, Joseph, and Ken caught me at #7 and we continued on our merry way. By merry I of course mean that I had to force myself to not lose them, and was quite close to letting them get away multiple times :') On the bright side this now marked the first time in the race I was in an actual group and I could relax a little more on the concentration aspect of the race. We finished the second map and I got to eat a whole two pretzel pieces before continuing. At this point our group was basically in contention for third, with Greg being now about 20 minutes ahead of us. Yikes.Map Part 3Route Gadget Part 3
Final map! I think I shed a tear of joy when I saw that it only had 100 meters of climb. Pretty much stayed the rest of the course with the same group with a few splitting offs. The most notable one was to #5. Me and Joseph took the right route choice while Boris and Ken took the left route choice. Almost right away I realized that their route choice was faster so I ended up speeding up a bit to insure that I wouldn't fall behind either of them. Interestingly enough we all met up at the saddle before #5 anyway. On an interesting note, apparently as I was going to #5 I was within meters of Will Hubsch who was going to #2, but I think I was focused on reading my route and I didn't even notice him. The four musketeers continued on from #5 and had an exciting last few controls. I decided that I would mentally exhaust and confuse my opponents so I ended up tripping and falling like five times in a row to #6. I'm pretty sure the rest of the group was wondering what was wrong with me so the plan was a success! After hitting #6, we started to take off a little as the end of the race was near. Joseph seemed to have the most strength left as he got pretty far ahead of the rest of us, and stayed that way all the way to the finish. I decided that if I couldn't get third I must get fourth. With this in mind I decided to freak out Boris by grunting and gasping for air as loudly as I could as I out sprinted him into the finish. Pretty effective strategy and finished the race in fourth! Interesting enough, Greg didn't gain more time on me here so guess he was pretty tired by this point as well.
Overall, I am happy with my result. I put up what I consider a good fight for the other competitors and it was cool to see how much I improved in this long distance race over the last few years. I guess the goal for next year will be to improve from 4th, or at least be closer to Greg. I didn't count time on this race because I think I could not have gone faster than I did. The reason being that I ended up speeding up when Boris, Ken, and Joseph caught me. Even if I was 5 or 6 minutes ahead, I am pretty sure they would have caught me anyway as I was moving quite slowly. Now if I had more energy to spare, this would have been a different story, so the biggest lesson here is eat more I guess.