Orienteering race (Rogaine) 12:00:00  *** 29.85 km (24:07 / km) +1652m 18:54 / km
spiked:12/18c slept:6.5 weight:171.5lbs
SVO Rogaine. Partnered with the much more Rogaine experienced Dave Onkst, I got through my first 24 hour Rogaine. Starting, my gear bag felt a bit heavy and weighed +15lbs. We decided to get the larger climbs and density of controls out of the way by going clockwise. We figured we'd be able to loop around and be back to the base camp by morning, then do another loop to finish out.
Getting used to the less detailed topo maps took some adjustment. There were far more features than mapped. It was hit or miss on route choice and some errors resulted from unmapped trails or other map differences such as 20ft contours. In the first 12 hours we went from the start triangle to: 24, 51, 73, 53, 44, 72, 25, 60, 45, 54, 30, 35, 22, 70 (but we never found 70), 63, 43, 42, 34 (I think we got this far before midnight). The distance shown was measured straight line from control to control as in done orienteering. However, some rough measuring of the actual route for the first 12 hours shows approximately 28.2 miles.
Going to 73, we were recalling Peter Gagarin's experience at Ultramarathon's as once editor of the magazine by that name. This must have invoked the 5ft. long rattlesnake to appear in the road and shake his tail at us before slithering away. We spoke no more of Peter after that but warned the Domine's when we saw them. Going to #72, we risked taking an unmapped trail to a ridge road. Coming out behind Susie and Rick DeWitt, we passed them but were unsure of where we were on the road. We questioned, then passed the correct turnoff, not seeing the DeWitt's again until 3 controls later. Coming out of The Narrows from the Mont Alto map, we surged ahead of a bunch of people who were on our tail by both finding a fast road then hitting the much more technical control #30 dead on. All this advantage was lost when we fumbled getting to the first water stop, #35. Our straight approach pulled up just short and then trying to relocate from the road we were confused by the trail markings on the map that looked like houses.
Going to #70 from #22, we encountered private property on the direct route. We went around but then didn't have a good bearing to go off of. We missed and wandered a bit before seeing the DeWitt's again as they were leaving the area. We tried attacking twice more off of the stream and off of the road bend with no luck. We should have attacked off the large pond in the field. There were just too many unmapped ponds here (I'm told this area will become an O'map eventually). We felt the 70 minutes we lost didn't justify further investment and we were worried about the oncoming darkness so we went on.
The next fiasco was trying to get to #63. As did everyone else attempting the route, we ran into the umapped 12 ft. high deer fence marked private. We chose to go around to the right. In the process we found it to be an 800m long deviation that forced us to making an unplanned +340ft climb over the very steep Kettle Springs Mtn. Dropping off that with headlamps on and it now being truely dark we encountered the mountain laurel and rhododendrons that forced us on hands and kneeds to crawl 50m or so underneath them. On the other side, we noticed the reflective tacks on the trees and used them to go up to the unmapped Appalachian Trail on Rocky Mountain. They helped us know which way to go. We spiked #63 but it took a lot out of us. It was a low point for me. As a result we abandoned plans to go to #52.
I was very slow for a while after this and tended to wobble when climbing. We ate a meal just past #43 and that helped a lot. Closing out around midnight, we walked on the road toward #34 and decided to play it safe cutting off our lights and jumping into the woods when a pickup truck peeled out and approached. We kept the lights off as we passed the party at the house ahead. We turned them on just in time to find the trail leading to #34. We missed it initially but Dave spotted it on our slightly lower return along the ridge--it didn't seem like much of a spur.