Started the drive from Pittsburgh at 5:30 AM. Our start times are clustered at around 11:20-11:40 AM. With the exception of some fog in the couple of hours, no problem in the long drive.
From the get-go, made a mistake
. Flipped the map, and saw the circle of control 2 and thinking it was control 1, went for it. Only when I realized that the terrain didn't match, I succumbed to deep deep depression. There you go: it is possible to mess things so bad from the very get-go. I am living proof.
Quickly, I get going. Get to 1, get to 2, and run through the brush for 3. I see Eddie, and decide to follow him for a bit. Turns out that Eddie was too much on the West, and missed 3 (and a 7-minute mistake for him). I got to the stony ground, spaghetti-circled-it
, went to the trail to the west to establish an attackpoint, and amazingly, got back again to the same (wrong) stony ground. More circling, saw Wyatt, followed him for a bit, but then suspected that he must have already have passed 3, so went again to the trail to the West, looked very closely for features along the trail to choose the correct attackpoint, and eventually found 3 with no problem. Lost time: 25 minutes. Definitely for the world-record books.
So there you go, now psychological bruised, chose to run a safe race, and sticked to trails as much as possible. The rocky ground just wasn't for me, and started not trusting straight-line approaches from control to control, and chose trails (longer route) instead.
From 13 to 18 was paired closely with Sergei, following him on his route, except for the leg 16-17, where he went straight and I went on trail.
From 18 on, Pavel and I pretty much ran to the finish together. Fun stuff.
Talking later to my son, age 15, who did Orange, he had a long leg similar to my 7-8 leg, and comparing time splits, he did it in 3 minutes less: he went direct and I went on trail. I knew the time was coming when child outbeats dad... and the inevitable finally happened.
Lessons for the next day: stay away from stony ground, and use trails more often.