So glad they announced that the map was going to be in two paper sheets, each of 11x18 inches size and printed in 1:10000 scale, and got really motivated to attend. Prepared myself for this event by training a bit and did a final long run a few days earlier at McConnells Mills State Park
, which has similar terrain.
Being familiar with the terrain from previous editions of this annual event, decided to sweep the western half first, and then, based on time availability, do what I could on the eastern half.
Following several leaders, got to control 2 at about 8:15 minutes in the race, and ready to punch with the SI card, when I realized the SI card is not strapped on my finger, and none of my pockets have it. Concluded that it was inside my vehicle, as I picked it up at registration when I first arrived and was wearing shorts, and must have placed it in the pocket of the shorts. So ran down back to the start and vehicle, said hello to the organizers, picked up the SI card, waved again to the organizers, and charged again uphill to control 2, clocked at around minute 22. Stuff happens
Many controls that followed, went intentionally slow and started counting streams, boulders, to eventually locate the exact position of a flag.
Things were going very well, until the group on the north-west corner, 31-32-33-34, which I knew it was going to be navigationally challenging. Sticked to my plan of first finding 13-12 and then the four. Had a sense of where 13 was, and encountering a participant holding a map that was coming from the opposite direction, queried "is it nearby?" and the response was "you are real close", and so I ducked into the rocks and after a two minute search, located it
The first boo-boo
was coming down from the top, half-way between 13 and 12, down to 34. I did find a stream, and it looked legit, but there was no flag. From my GPS track, I now know that I was between 34 and 31. Totally lost now, zig-zagging a bit, decided to abandon everything and run downhill in direction northwest, and use the road at map edge as catching feature to regain map contact. Accidentally find 33, and everything returns normal. Find 32, 34, 31 without any issues.
Arrived at control 9 with only 2 hours left. Stop to eat and study the map. Run on the road and trail to 6, then to 15, then to 11. At this point I am 4h50m, and my initial plan of getting to high-pointer 39 is tempting but risky, given that my tired legs may collapse on the uphill slog from that control.
Decide to not risk and start my return after control 11. When I regained the top of the hill, realize that my hand/thumb is missing the Moscow compass that was strapped on it. Run back a little bit in panic, only to realize the futility of finding it. At this point, I am resigned and just go for an easy return to finish, checking 5, 4, 1, 3. It was a good exercise of without-compass-navigation, something that would make Tom Rycroft proud.
An overall great event, excellent map, really interesting rock features, great volunteers, organizing, planning vetting. Participants came from Ontario, Quebec, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York. Photos
Eventually, the following morning, found the lost compass. Backtracked some of the route I went to, not finding it. Only when I returned to where I parked the vehicle, on the gravel road between 6 and 15, that I suddenly remembered that I did stop near a trail head to reach out for some food from my pack. I look down on the grass, and there it was. I SEE the compass !!
wow... that's some luck.
Only problem I had was with a pair of socks I started wearing this year. Ankle compression socks, really good, wore them in long distance running events on pavement, and one regular-length orienteering course. But on this event, at about the 3rd hour, started to get some blisters. So, for climbing hillsides, these socks create friction. Decided that for rogaining, my better choice is a double-layered sock, where one layer sticks to the skin, and the other sticks to the shoe.
Enjoyed the rock maze formations
so much that returned to explore
and study them in detail the next day.