Not often does one find a rogaining-type event that is relatively close by, and couldn't pass this one up. Even helped out in the marketing and dissemination of fliers at the local REI store and other outdoor events, hoping that a large group would get interested and flourish into a mass car-pooling parade, which of course never happened, and I ended up driving the 200+ miles solo.
So, in the 6 AM darkness I leave home and venture into the Great North. I have with me a traveling growler, which i plan to fill up at the Ellicottville Brewing Company, of which I've heard much about. I get there early, and tour the town a bit. Rustic, it has a nice charm about it.
The event HQ is in the ski resort area. Once there, I meet a group of three that happened to live two miles from me. A lost chance to carpool. They learned about the event through either the Explorer's club or an email announcing the event. Other participants arrived from Cleveland, Youngstown, Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto.
Because of the limited capacity of the SI-8 cards, the 6-hr racers will start with a first map, and upon return, download and clear the SI card, and be given a second map, to then venture back into the field. The total count of controls in both maps is 40. There is also a 3-hr event, for which the map has all 40 controls drawn on it.
Maps are given 15 minutes beforer race start. Quick glance and then we're off. Decide for a counter-clockwise direction, going first on the NW corner.
Chose not to go to 9 from 6 because I realized I was going to get to 9 anyway as I moved away from the NW area towards the center of the map.
After that, went for
Had a bit of an error by "sleeping on the wheel" as i walked uphill on the dirt road going N between 7 and 14, not noticing the water stop and keeping on going north until the road T intersection.
After 22, my sequence was
but I now know I should have done 22-19-15-23-20
22 was really really deep down the slope, btw. It was mentally painful going downhill knowing ahead of time how physically painful was returning back upslope.
Had some trouble finding 15, I thought it was going to be quite visible, and afraid of having gone too much downhill, started exploring sideways.
19 seemed on appearance to be really really tricky, but for some reason, maybe luck, found it without too much problem. Really liked the insidious SW qualifier on the multiple stream/reentrant junction inside the control circle. Devious.
On the approach to 23, got off well from the NE corner of the pine forest, but then started looking at the clearing of rough open as attackpoint and use one of the streams that fed that clearing to eventually lead me to the control location. Unfortunately, on the terrain there were more rough open clearings to the NE and following those, ended outside the map. Frustrated, abbandoned and just went NW, and by accident finding myself into a logging road, that luckily, was on the map. Once re-established map contact, ventured again on what I thought was the control location, and did indeed find it.
From 23 to 20, it was the biggest field of 1.5 meter high bush of forest rose bush. The thorns were soft and was able to wade through without too much tear and scratches. Once in the middle of it, I was motivated to continue the charge up no matter what.
On the way back to HQ, the sequence was
Once reached 8, and pretty much physically exhausted, I didn't want to see any more uphills, and with the point value of 2 and 1 being only 10 points, said to myself: "fuggettabbouttit", and skipped 'em lowpointers, and coasted downhill after punching 8.
Arrived at HQ with 760 points at 4:49. Saw happy people eating hot foods. I asked myself why I torture myself, and skip such pleasantries of life. Ate some muchies, apples, lots of lemonade, and set off for part 2. Why I do so, I don't know.
With just one hour of time, and physical exhaustion, it was pretty clear I wasn't going very far. Chose to go W with sequence
For me, it was the obvious choice. It guaranteed a downhill return. I could always roll down back, even with just a few scintillas of calories left to burn.
Overall, it was a nice and pleasant event. The weather was great. For a running event, it was not hot, thus didn't need much water. Lots of trails went through spruce and pine forest, something I enjoy. Also, this trip was an opportunity to get to know this corner of the Empire State. And got try out that brewery in town.