The West Point Long Distance course. Much like the sprint from yesterday, my run was only acceptable. In general, the navigation was not difficult - much more emphasis was put on route choice than on most other Long courses I have raced. The routes to 2, 8, and 15 were all particularly important and costly if chosen poorly. Obviously execution of the routes, especially on the difficult hillside with 8-14, was very important, and the course was very physical - lots of hills and steep sections.
I chose a good route to 15 - left to the trail, an acceptable route to 2 - north to the road and right of the line, and a poor route to 8 - along the side of the hill. It's particularly unfortunate, since the 7-8 leg was not radically different from 1-2 from last year's middle distance. As with the Middle, the best route was south through the parking lot to the fenced paved protrusion, then up the hill. My route was accurate, but slow; I lost two minutes to Brendan. I then messed up twelve, drifting far to the north into the saddle, at the cost of about four minutes before correcting. I was very slow to thirteen and fourteen, where I took a Gu. Fortunately, I chose wisely on the long leg to 15, and picked up two minutes on Brendan. The last controls were fun and quasi-technical, with emphasis on choosing good attackpoints. I twisted my ankle leaving 16 and hobbled around for a minute or so.
I was clearly fatigued from the races the previous day; I was not moving as well as I had on the middle distance course. While I'm not overly discouraged by this result, it is not a significant improvement over my previous long races; for instance, both my US Champs races in October were superior to this one. It is true that my race performance was superior to last year's West Point long course
, but I still am disappointed. In the short term, I will focus my efforts on the WCOC meet; in the longer term, I will go on longer runs.
Also, kudos to Sam, who finished 2-0 against me this weekend. It should also be noted that she out-trained me in April by almost five hours (even counting lame cross training, like biking). I will regroup and then move to challenge her again.