Orienteering race (rogaine) 6:00:00  35.0 km (10:17 / km) +800m 9:14 / km
shoes: BrooksCascadia 5
Great Fall season day, beautiful foliage colors, great weather. This is the third year I am participating at this event. Drove up with Kimmo and Yaki, and we arrived a little late at around 10:15 AM, and as he hurried up from the parking lot, Olga calmed us down by saying that the start is delayed, as someone realized that the maps were not here, and someone is driving back home to get them. Eventually the start is 52 minutes later, at 11:52 AM instead of the scheduled 11:00 AM time.
While on the first year I went for sweeping all controls in the first map, I've learned that specifically for me, it is wiser to instead pick and choose the higher pointer controls and leave the lower pointer controls alone, something that I did do on the second year. And for the third year (this race), such was the intent as well. BTW, learned this strategy from reading Stina's route in the earlier years.
While last year I wore a waist water bottle belt, this year I tried a camelbak. With it I was able to also carry five energy bars, medical accessories, and a whistle. On me I was also wearing a Garmin GPS watch, a thumb compass, the SI card, and digital camera, the latter which I kept in my right hand for eventual action shots of people I would encounter on trail.
It was great to see participants from Ontario and Ohio as well. Looks like it was going to be a great event for everyone.
my overall plan was to go counter-clockwise on the first map, and then, based on time availability, choose some high-point controls on the second map.
1 Followed the crowd
20 Unsure at first if I should have gone to 5 directly instead, but realized I was not coming back to where 20 was, so went for it now.
5 Big rootstock, so big that I just didn't see it. A cluster of 5 people found it within 3-minute span of time. A moment of spontaneous "congregation".
10 Probably not the best route: went for the trail a bit north and then went southwest. Maybe a more direct route would have been better.
15 Nice control location, a bit of sunlight in the middle of the forest.
22 Uneventful. Trees and more trees.
19 Used a spring just to the north as attackpoint and went south, but could not find the right location, and went a bit too West. Eventually found it. Saw a permanent orienteering course sign.
7 Followed a creek up. Found another permanent control sign, this one for a boulder.
14 Running along the road, saw a more direct route to the control, and should have taken that, but was suspicious that it might have been instead the small stream in dark green, so chose not to go in that way. I was wrong. Oh, that is one big pile of rocks.
3 Found lots of people in and out around this control and the water stop
11 Wow, what happened here? I ran past the control, like, I must have been 10 meters away and didn't see it. I blame the orange leaves and colorful foliage for this camouflaging. Only realized what I've done because a team of two was running in the opposite direction, and glanced back and saw it.
23 Shared the long trail run with the team of two, which I would see again repeatedly many times, apparently we had the same strategy.
18 Messed up again. While the team went straight down, I chose to use a small trail above the slope, and then descended later, and got to the gigantic rock formation pretty quickly. Then, it was just a question of finding the control, same contour line as the big rock, should be child's play. Wrong again: got the feel of some mysterious gravitational pull into some large rootstocks, and wasted precious minutes into climbing over fallen logs to check all sides of the rootstock, in case if it was intentionally positioned on a side so that it wasn't obviously visible. Then (again), saw the team of two running away downhill at great speed. Are they seeing it? no... it seems too far downhill... so I look uphill, and voila', there it was, in plain view from all four sides, on a mini-rootstock that must have been 60 cm high. Okey... I ponder, what about 'em giant rootstock just 100 meters away? I see that they are not on the map. So, this is my first moment of critique on the choice of a control location. Participant was distracted by other adjacent locations having the same feature, but much bigger and distinct, which were not on the map.
24 Ahhhh, this is the control that Yaki was talking about. So, again, caught up with the team of two, and we start the slow slop uphill on the creek from the paved road below. We got to a point were it clearly looks as if the creek starts, almost like a cirque in miniature. But no control. We (me and the team of two) look around, sideways, downhill, and we venture uphill, and we see it and note the ribbon hanging from a branch, "hey, it was even vetted". [probably the vetter hiked from uphill. had the vetter hiked from downhill like us, the mistake would have been caught]
17 Mistake. Went too far up, and realized when the trail started going downhill of how stupid I was. (still am). Bumped into Yaki here, coming from the opposite direction on trail.
16 Clean route
13 Clean route. The dark green of the pine forest is not as intimidating.
21 Since the dark green is not as intimidating, went thru it. Choosing where to cross the marshy area and creek to go north was more the challenge. Looks like I found the right spot, because I emerged right at the dense evergreen grove that would guide me to the control area.
12 Mistake. Took the wrong trail. Beat myself to the head. Had to correct, and found a control of map2. Went to grab the control and then backtracked a bit to reach the map exchange area
map exchange - Asked the volunteer what time did the 6-hr race started. Wasn't sure. Had a GPS watch, but remembered to turn it on at about 10 minutes after race start. For some reason unknown to me, I registered as if I had only one hour left, when I actually had almost two full hours left. In the previous years, the race ended at exactly 5:00 PM. Today, it was to end at 5:52 PM. My GPS clock time was displaying 4 PM.
14 So i ran pretty fast on the road to grab this high pointer
10 (should have gone to 4) On the way back, picked this control, and thinking I had little time left, ignored control 4.
12 Still confused about time left, run past the map exchange and head to the general area of the finish. See Kimmo running in opposite direction, and then see others running in opposite direction, and at that point, I get suspicious on why they are not all running towards the finish. So I ask, "at what time does the 6-hr finish?". "5:52", and I see on my clock something like "4:18", and I realize all of a sudden that I have ALOT of time left. It was like discovering a secret compartment of your wallet with a wad of extra cash. So i backtracked, went downhill, punched, and saw Olga seconds later.
17 Traversed into choppy lumber, but eventually reached it
9 Long trail run. Olga was there too, we photographed each other (it was nice for Olga to say "hey, lets take a picture of you too", as I normally don't think about the viewfinder from that side coming into my side, so i gave her my camera, and now I have one -one- photo to show mom. Thanks Olga).
15 Another long trail run. Bumped into a cluster of people at the control location. Could not see the flag, but as Stina pointed in her log, the feature was "depression". Yep, it pays to read the clue.
13 (intentionally did not go to 5) My strategy was to grab the high pointers in the northwest corner, and skipped grabbing control 5 for fear of not making it in time. By the time I was on the road at the closest location to 5, there must have been 48 minutes left. Found 13 pretty easily.
18 A bit of panic here right after punching 13. Do I have enough time. Chose not to go to 18, and started running back, but then the slogan "no guts, no glory" came to mind, and said to myself, "sure, why not", and headed downhill. Lots of fatigue in my legs, now towards the end of the long race, but stayed focused. A bit of panic, but incredibly, made all the right choices in bushwhacking thru, and found the control in little time.
2 Slog uphill, and once I reached the lake, I knew I was going to finish in time, as it was all downhill.
16 traverse thru some wooded area, intersecting a bunch of ski slopes
F - The last minutes ticking, and from here to the finish, down the ski slope, a bit wet, almost took a spill slipping on the wet grass.
Total km covered: about 35 km in 5:56:23
Well, another Ellicottville race concluded. And another drinking glass, this one for second place Men's (and overall), which I used to drink the Stainless Steel Obsession IPA from Ellicottville Brewery that we went to after the race. Kimmo also got a glass, his for first place overall.
Kimmo, Yaki, and I got back home at around 10:30 PM. Great day.
Looks like next year, for the 6-hr, they will have only one map, with all controls on it. I agree.