Running 5:00  1.0 km (5:00 / km)
shoes: 201304 Inov-8 Oroc 280s
Running from parking to the start, including getting lost and wandering around for a bit. I'm surprised I've managed to put 363 km on my Orocs, especially since they are still structurally sound.
Orienteering 1:49:53  *** 13.0 km (8:27 / km)
19c shoes: 201304 Inov-8 Oroc 280s
2013 Blue Hills Traverse. After some urging, I persuaded Giacomo to come to the race, and drove to Harvard to pick him up at 10 AM. Despite the absurdly cold weather, the field was solid with 42 starters; top contenders included Giacomo, Ethan, special HVO guest Andis, Dave Donaldson, Jean-Charles, and others.
The Traverse is the poorer relation of the Billygoat chiefly because it is always held in the Blue Hills. The variety of the Billygoat (and the novelty of the skip) makes it a much more popular and widely attended event. If the Traverse were in a more convenient location (e.g. Blue Mountain), perhaps the field would be deeper. I regretted the absence of feet and Andrew. I think of the Traverse as my race even though I've never actually won it; because I've set it twice (and actually only contended in 2012 and 2013), I am intimately familiar with the terrain.
I started very strong: Giacomo and I were running together out of start, but I took a better route on the long leg. I also broke away from him exiting, punching through some green to pull out of sight on the trail run. I really wanted to avoid getting stuck on a trail run with Ethan or Giacomo; I figured my best shot was to get away from them early. Despite a 30s hesitation in the circle at 2, I was a minute in the lead. I lost a minute at 3 getting stuck among the rocks, and was only up 15s on blueman Andis, and we took the road run to 4 nearly together.
A major trail that I was planning on using to attack 5 had been deleted recently by DCR, so I bashed through green slash on the hill summit. There are lots of smallish boulders near 5, and I wandered around asking "are you my boulder?" before finally spotting it; Ethan, Giacomo and Dave all caught up. Furious, I bashed down to 6, which we all punched simultaneously, and tried to pick up some distance on the short legs 7-10. At control 10, Giacomo, Ethan, Andis, and I were all together. This was precisely the situation I wanted to avoid, with maybe 5-6 km of medium trail legs left.
We all took the same route right to 11, and Andis fell a little behind. As we merry three were running down the trail to 12, I made the decision of the course: I tried to be tricky and take a more direct route through the woods rather than the trail route I expected them to take. I executed my route adequately, though with a small loss, but entered the circle at 12 to find Giacomo and Ethan together leaving it about a minute up on me. I took the left trail route to 14 and lost 30s on route, 30s in the circle to G/E. At this point, the race was already lost. To add insult to injury, despite nailing my attackpoint (end of higher stone wall), I somehow failed to move 80m up the hill to 15, managing to hit about three other clearings before finally finding the control when Andis came into the circle. I have never been angrier during a race than I was at that moment - overwhelmingly frustrated with my inability to find the control. I seriously considered quitting the race in my rage.
Andis and I blasted down the hill to 16, and I foolishly decided to take 17 straight rather than than bouncing off the left trail. I pulled ahead at 18, but threw away my small lead by botching 19, and Andis beat me for the irrelevant 3rd place. Misc: Dressed for speed: Axis blue O-pants, long sleeve, CSU top, gloves. I drank a monster and a medium DD coffee 3 and 1.5 hours in advance, and only consumed half of a fig newton and a cup of gatorade during the race. No Gu.
What lessons can be learned? Had I been alone at 11, I would have taken a less risky route to 12, but I felt I had to gamble. Perhaps in a three way run to the finish with little route choice, there isn't a way to decisively win, but it is possible to decisively lose. My fitness can improve, but I wasn't exhausted or broken by the end. I did walk some short steep trail uphills, e.g. to 5 and 11. I need to practice the psychology of trying to chase someone down, especially someone who is as fast as I am. Most importantly, I need to take gasoline to the hill around 15 and burn that entire swath of forest to the ground.