orienteering 1:43:56  9.8 mi (10:36 / mi) +403m 9:24 / mi
A cool course, confident going in, and things were clicking along nicely at the beginning, cut through the marsh along the stone wall and looped the cliff to get to first one, then just sorta headed out towards 2, crossed the powerline cut and crossed the stone wall, but then didn't recognize the terrain in front of me... slowed down and then figured it out and turned left to collect #2, kept to the right of the line on the way to 3, below the massive cliffs and then cut into the marshy area. Nothing looked like I expected and I slowed way down to try to sort it out. Glad that Speedy was moving confidently towards the control, as that helped snap things into place. Ran hard out, staying down by the marshes along the line to 4, hit the stone wall and followed that to the top of the cliff and attacked from the top so that I didn't have the scale the cliff. Contoured along the ridge, then down and up out of the swamp, contoured the little hill before 5 too, and came right into the flag. 6 didn't seem to be such a tricky control, it was just a little lower on the hillside and there was a huge reentrant behind it, so I was perhaps too loose heading out on the hillside, I went below the first cliff because I had to drop that contour at somepoint, but the hillside was too rocky and I climbed right back up to get better running. When I made it to the catching reentrant, I couldn't get things to match up, but suspected that I was too high, so I dropped down and checked the cliffs below me, but didn't see the control and then I was too low. I climbed back up, and relocated off a saddle near the top, and came back to my original vantage point. Saw Eddie disappearing but still didn't understand where the control should be. Channeled Balter from a training camp many years ago when he explained that standing around doesn't get you more information, and that even running in the wrong direction can help because you'll see something you can use. I did this, running to the next ridge. When I turned and looked back I saw the flag nestled between two cliffs that I hadn't checked thoroughly enough I guess. 3:30 lost.
The woods were amazing on the way to 7, and I caught back up to Vadim here, and also saw Ian leaving the control. I decided that an easier route might be better for me, and took the powerline all the way around the mountain, coming right past #10, and the past the long pond. Caught Eddie again here and then the next two controls were smooth and quick. I had decided that I wanted to go right around the first hill. I executed that part of the leg nicely, coming through the stone wall junction, but then I continued to drop and instead of going just south of 15 and 16, I was forced to come along just north of them. I should have just gone a little farther and turned it into a great trail leg, but instead I slowly climbed back up those extra contours and came in along the little trail. Stopped to check a rock feature about 50 meters too early because it looked like a boulder to me and I had stopped orienteering once I got into the reentrant. On the way to 12, I dropped straight down to the stream and then ran up along the other side and curled around into the control. Stayed on the road for a long time into 13, and then gleefully headed to the drinks table at the finish area for some water and most of my Gu. I didn't like the idea of cutting up and over the ridges on the line, so I ran the trail on the left route to 14, coming right past 21. Climbed out of 14, and wanted to stay right on this leg, but managed to drift all the way down to the bottom of the hill on an extra mountain bike trail and now I had to run the trail back all the way again. Sigh, everytime I try to open up and just run... I hit the control perfectly from below, and then was very pleased to see Jordan when I popped up out of the cliffs to head towards 16. I read this one wrong, and dropped two contours on purpose even though I needed to climb instead. Lost a minute trying to make sense of my new surroundings and then regaining all that climb. A drop down the hill to the next, crossed the stream and contoured around to the left through the white woods to 17. Took a big fall, breaking Ken's FR305 in the process and then found the control. A bit wobbly to 18, as I was trying to dump the spring from the watch band into my pocket while holding the rest of the watch in my right hand. Saw that 18 to 19 was a trail leg if you just went basically straight. The climb out of 18 was feeling pretty brutal though and if I wasn't trying to impress Nikolay when I passed by I might have slowed down even more. Caught up to Ken as I neared the end and then I got that horse returning to the barn feeling, as I noticed the rest was downhill to the finish. I followed the stone wall in to 20, and then because I had already been past 21, I got overly confident on 21 and got pushed too far left and into the wrong reentrant. Figured it out quickly, but had to climb back up and over into the correct one. Then it was just a matter of running as hard as I could into the last control and the finish.
I lost a lot of time on the course, but my running speed was able to compensate for my various mistakes. Happy with my fitness.