ARDF 53:41  7.63 km (7:02 / km) +41m 6:51 / km
shoes: 201004 Inov8 X-Talon 212
The 80m course from the 2010 US ARDF Championships at the Miami University Natural Areas map near Cincinnati, Ohio. I had a decisive performance: the second and third fastest times were George Neal (M50, 63 minutes) and Brian Ackerly (M21, 68 minutes). I had an excellent race; I lost one cycle on the first control when I took a bad bearing, but otherwise was without error. With an absolutely perfect run and considerable luck, I think 43 minutes was possible, but I am satisfied.
My splits, with parentheses denoting a perfect run finding all controls on cycle in the order I took:
Control 2: 11:29 (7:00)
Control 1: 5:23 (4:00)
Control 5: 12:27 (9:00)
Control 4: 9:10 (9:00)
Control 3: 9:09 (9:00)
Go + Finish: 5:51 (5:00)
Total: 53:29 (43:00)
The 80m frequency is more straightforward than 2m because there are no reflections - the receiver accurately indicates the direction and approximate range of the control. Raw speed is then more important than radio aptitude.
The courses were shorter than is typical because sections of the original courses were inaccessible due to land access rights. All the classes were given an extra control (except M21, which already has all five), so M40, M50, and F21 also had to visit all five controls. Because the courses were short, mistakes would be more costly, and I believed that I could push harder without risking exhaustion.
At the start, I ran hard to the eastern edge of the 750 meter exclusion zone around the start, and was apparently feeling good enough to run 3:30/km for the first few minutes. Control 2 turned out to be near where I guessed the closest control would be, so I set off towards it. On the first five-minute cycle, I ascertained that the correct order to visit the first three controls was 2, 1, and 5, with 3 and 4 more distant and near the finish. My bearing to 2 was poor, and I ended up about five hundred meters too far to the south. I doubled back and found it at minute 11, on cycle - a five minute error. I had a good idea where 1 was, and found it 90 seconds off cycle after taking a good bearing and some hard running.
I was about 300 meters from control 5 as its second cycle ended, and I slowed to a walk to try to find it off cycle on the last known bearing. I traveled about 250 meters without finding it, and settled at a trail junction to wait for it to come back on cycle. Les and Jens, an M40 from Boston and a German M21, arrived at the junction after me, also waiting; when the signal came on very nearby, I pushed very hard into and out of 5 and successfully left Les and Jens behind me. I then ran hard to the projected vicinity of 4, hoping to find it at control 5 + 4 minutes.
As 4's cycle ended, I had a good bearing and tried find it off cycle. I passed over a spur, through a reentrant and onto a second spur without seeing anything, so I scanned about until the cycle came on again. It was frustratingly close - within 100m of my position - and hidden in the reentrant I had passed through. After struggling up the steep, muddy sides of the reentrant, I set off at a hard pace towards 3 to try to get it at control 4 + 4 minutes. That was too ambitious, and I found it without difficulty at control 4 + 9 minutes.
I put on what speed I have left - on a suboptimal route - to the go control, which was situated on the bank of a stream about 8 meters wide and 50 cm deep. The finish was on the opposite side up a chute - apparently the set up was to provide photographers with dramatic pictures of ARDFers fording the stream, but I thought it unnecessary. The water did not trouble me, since I was wet from fording several streams earlier, and crossing the stream did wash much of the mud off my legs. Nevertheless, crossing a rocky stream with sensitive electronic equipment solely for photo opportunities was unwise. I was the first finisher, so I enjoyed cookies and powerade while I waited for my competition to come in.