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Training Log Archive: PG

In the 7 days ending May 27, 2007:

activity # timemileskm+ft
  rogaining2 23:15:00
  hike1 1:40:00
  Total3 24:55:00

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Sunday May 27, 2007 #

rogaining 10:15:00 [1]
shoes: Pegasus 08/06

The rest of the rogaine.

Our route.

Some general comments:

-- The contours were excellent most of the time, as long as you adjusted for the 40-foot interval. There were quite a few small knolls on the tops of spurs that weren't quite big enough to make it on the map. Most of the navigation was done strictly by the contours, with compass for confirmation, especially at night. The main failing of the contours was in the eastern part of the map, where the geology was different, many more rements of volcanic activity. The were lots of very significant rock feats (cliffs, rock outcrops) not on the map, plus a "badlands" feeling in places that was not conveyed by the map.
-- The vegetation was marginally useful. All the "forest" was scattered trees, no problem going through. In many cases the trees were dead from a fire a decade ago, so visibility was rarely impaired.
-- The roads were mapped ok, the "trails" were as mapped some of the time, and non-existant or at least hard to find some of the time.
-- The was a little bit of water in some of the "streams."
-- In picking routes, since we were walking the goal was to go as straight as possible while avoiding the steeper slopes, especially trying to avoid going across the steeper slopes. Most of the orienteering in the daytime was easy, so there was no reason to pick a route because it made it simpler to find the points. At night that was a consideration, though there was still a feeling of "go right at it, we can find it."

Comments on specific legs:

The plan was to try to get most of the west and southwest points before dark. I had measured the distance as 20.3 miles straight-line distance to #44 by the lake, and figured at 2 mph that would get us there at 9:10 pm, about when it was getting dark. The first few legs were simple, though uphill, but we were still ghugging along at faster than 2 mph. I think our average to the first water stop at 45 was 2.5 mph.

The next three legs, 73, 51, and 39, all had options to use the road. To 73 it was a toss-up, don't think we gained or lost anything by taking it for a ways. To 51 it seemed to far out of the way. To 39 I don't think it was quicker but it was easy on the feet and a chance to chow down. 39, by the way seemed to be, well, someplace out there. I can't say that it was wrong, but I wouldn't swear that it was right. Barb spotted it about 150 meters from where I was expecting it to be, but I may have just been off.

To 69, it was a bit nasty getting through the first couple of reentrants. Maybe would have been a little easier to go lower.

A slow trudge up to 58, which was about 100-200 meters lower than mapped. Didn't make any difference, still easy to find, except my pleasure at a really good time on the leg quickly dissappeared when I saw how long it was taking to reach the flat ground just 40' higher than the control.

To 75, a little swing to the right to avoid the steeper part of the canyon. And the first specific AOWN moment -- this doesn't count the views, the flows, various deer sightings -- a rubber boa. Just about stepped on it, still hardly noticed it as if wiggled away in the grass.

Beautiful view at 100. We had been advised to be there for either sunrise or sunset, but that was not to be. Still making very good time, I was thinking there was a good possibility that we could get through 82 by dark. And that seemed like a really good idea.

To 67, first a steep descent, then a steep sidehill. We thought about going more to the right to avaid the steep sidehill, but it seemed too big a detour. Barb was somewhat apprehensive about the steeper slopes but she managed them just fine. I was the one who seemed to be always falling down.

To 80, more slopes but not bad. Control (a spring) was at the bottom of the main reentrant, not quite as mapped.

To 71, good options (or maybe no good options). Going right seemed to work well.

To 41, going straight/over was probably quicking. The trail along the hillside east of 41 was very overgrown and eroded. Checked our time here, oops, not doing as well as planned. How come? Oops, seemed like my measurement was a mile short. Getting 82 before dark was suddenly iffy.

To 68, dropped our packs for the only time. Felt nice!

To 40, a moment's cnsideration of a wide swing to the left but it seemed like way too much of a detour. Steep down and up, then a fence just before the control, one of maybe 40 we had to crawl under in the course of the 24 hours.

To 50, the geology was ghanging, more big rock. Looking out from above 63, it seemed better right to 50 than straight. Still making good time, 82 looked just doable.

To 66, no the map didn't just disappear. But a piece got photomerged into some alien place in my computer.

Massive rock cliffs and spires around 53. Didn't miss the control, but sure was confused on the approach as to what was what. Fortunately Barb had it figured out.

Around to the right to 82. More massive rock, plus lots of erosion, looked the the badlands. Really hard to make sense of the terrain/map even though the plan was simple (east to the height of land, look for the spur below the big cliff). The light was fadingand it took a bit of the courage of our convictions -- it looked like the right spot up above us, and it looked like we could get there but climbing above and around several deep/steep erosion gullies, but it was a few anxious minutes. Punched in and headed down to the stream in the last glimmers of light.

To 70, the "griller" -- we stopped for maybe 5 minutes to get the lights out, then went for what should have been an easy walk down the trail. Except it was overgrown and hard to follow. Managed pretty well though, but then came AOWN episode #2, another snake, this one I stepped right over without seeing and just then Barb yelled and I looked down and it was moving into the longer grass and rattling its tail. It was maybe 3 feet long, yellowish bands around it on a dark background. Rattlesnake? Maybe, I wasn't sure. So now it's dark, and there are snakes all around, poisonous ones, and a moment later Barb happens to look to her left and and -- AOWN episode #3 -- there is a pair of big eyes staring back at her, and she yells again, and rushes up and grabs my arm and says something about we have to run and there are big wild dangerous animals and let's go, fast. So we scoot along for maybe 50 meters, and we haven't been mauled yet, and things slowly calm down. And we continue on towards 70.


More to come later, time to go get some exercise first, beatiful sunny day out....


Now the clue for 70 was “Griller” and I kept trying to catch the odor of burgers or dogs, but nothing. I thought it would be right by the road, but we went past it, maybe 100 meters, but Barb pointed out that we were even with the butte just to the right of the road and had to be past it. So back we turned and she spotted it pretty quickly. No burgers, no dogs, just a couple of foundation slabs, some beat-up metal sheets, broken glass, and also a control which was all we cared about. Found out later it had been a crematorium for the Rajneesh….

We had what we thought was a decent selection of night-O controls, some easy, some a little tougher. 49 was simple, 61 ok, 62 a little dicey but we got it fine, though I’m pretty sure it was 100 meters or so too far south – you could see the high country just to the west real well in the moonlight and the relationship seemed off.

Over to 62, up and down and up, and the first up was painful, a blister on my left big toe popped and a big one on my right heel was complaining mightily, and several others small were saying, Don’t forget about me. So at the top we took a 10-15 minute break for surgical treatment. The one that had popped was easy, Barb had some Compeed to apply and it actually worked well. For the one on the heel, jabbing it with a safety pin to drain it, Barb kept squeezing it hard and saying stick the pin in again, we’ve got to get all the fluid out, I think she may have been enjoying this, I was definitely not. After a while enough was enough and she put some Compeed on it too. It helped, but that sucker still hurt the rest of the way. And then she took a look at my socks and said, These are no good, so out came her extra socks, and they did feel a whole lot better. Of course they didn’t have a zillion dried grass seeds in them, poking holes in my ankles. I had at least a couple hours before that started again.

So anyway 62 was easy, ditto 30, ditto 81 although the trail we were going to follow didn’t exist, ditto 65, that trail there didn’t exist either though we did get to go under a few more fences. Someplace on the way to 81 Barb heard some cows and shined her light at them and then announced that it seemed like the dangerous and huge wild beast about to attack us on the way to 70 had in fact almost assuredly been a cow.

65 was easy, though we took some care not to walk off a cliff on the way. 60 was a little shaky, no more moon, but we could just barely make out the hills on the horizon and that helped a lot.

And then 74, the most fun control. Passed another team about halfway, dropped to the streambed and noticed they had pulled in behind us. The stream didn’t exist but the little reentrants were all there, stay to the right at the first two junctions, then left, then right, up it a ways, and then I remember saying, This has got to be it, it should be right here, and we went around a little bend and there it was. Very cool. And the lights were no longer behind us, they must have felt we didn’t know where we were going. Excellent.

More down and up and down to 55, nailed it too, and as we headed off to 57 the sky was starting to lighten, and I think it was here that we were snaking down some twisty, narrow reentrant and sneaking around and sometimes under rock outcrops and I’m thinking my feet hurt, and suddenly Barb pops out with, “This is really fun!” Did I say I had a good partner?

There was decent light by the time we hit 57, and then a quick trip to 42 for more water and to pack away the headlamps. Three teams there when we got there, the same three there when we left a couple 3 or 4 minutes later, LIFO, excellent.

Except this was the end of my plan, I thought by here we would have chewed up a lot more of the 24 hours. But we still had a full 6 hours left. My feet were hurting. I believe Barb was thinking, Damn, only 6 hours left, when is someone going to have a 48-hour rogaine?

The next choice of controls was obvious, the northeast loop, even if you did have to go off the map to use the low route to 83. 83 was a steep climb up between two cliffs, the map doesn’t do it justice, the final climb to 79 was wicked steep, twice as steep as shown or so it seemed. But pretty soon we were past 54 and on a easy stroll down to 76, a small cave under a stone arch? Yup, it was there, sure glad we weren’t there at night.

Past 37, picked up more water, then up to 46, real easy, spiked it, only it wasn’t there. Map was perfect, everything fit, but no control. Went up another couple of bends to check. Nothing. So on we went, sure of ourselves but still a little concerned. And then botched 31, went up one reentrant too soon. I think I said two or three times, this doesn’t look right, but up I went anyway. No too bad a miss, just had to traverse over to the next one, but still pretty dumb.

At this point I was thinking we might be getting pretty close to done, maybe even just do 38, 33, and in, but we still had over two hours, so at Barb’s suggestion (insistence?) off we tromped to 56. A long ways up and a long ways back, and as we got to 38 I was thinking, I’m wondering what she had planned for me now. Did I say my feet were hurting a lot? And we just had four left (43, 33, 34, and 32), and I was thinking/dreading that if we hustled we could get three of them.

If we could have gotten all four, I think I would have said, Let’s go for it, but what I really said was something like, How about 33 and that’s enough? And she, bless her, said that’s fine, if we get beat by 10 or 20, or 30 points by another team, I’m cool with that. And I think maybe her feet were hurting too.

So we headed in, 45 minutes still left on the clock when we got there. But a very fine performance.


So we were done. I get a couple of cookies and walk back to the car to get changed and start packing up. Except the tent is gone. Really. Gone. Really. Stolen? Hard to believe. But it was extremely windy and I had forgotten to stake it down, and I supposed it could have been blown a little ways. So I look around. No sign of it. I get in the car and drive around, no sign of it. I go and ask the organizers if they knew anything (a tent in Lost and Found?). Yup, a tent had been found down in a ravine, but it had already been claimed by someone else.

This was really something. My memory is no good, I forget to lock doors, I've left my credit card behind a couple of times in the last couple years, I can't remember names, but losing a tent. Or to be more precise, a tent, a sleeping bag, two pads, a pillow, a pair of pants. All gone. The only saving grace was my wallet and glasses were in the car, and they key for that was in the usual spot behind the tire, where everyone knows to look. This was going to be fun explaining to Gail.

The rest of the day was the usual post-rogaine blur. Drive back to Portland, only making it about 20 minutes before pulling off the road to sleep for an hour, then some caffeine and ice cream and the rest of the drive was ok.

Thought I would try to find a fitness club open on Sunday to take a shower. Asked at a gas station, yup, there's a 24-hour fitness club just a few blocks away. Turned out it wasn't any old 24-hour fitness club, it was "24 Hour Fitness Club." I wasn't sure if that meant it was open around the clock, or if it specialized in training for rogaines, ultras, and adventure races, but it was open, a huge establishment. I parked, grabbed a $20 bill, went in, asked how much to take a shower.

You can't.


You have to buy a day pass.

OK, how much is a day pass?


$15? To just take a shower?

Yup (like all the young women's responses, this was in a decidedly businesslike but also decidedly unfriendly tone).

So I walked out. And got about 20 yards away, and stopped, and said to myself, You really need a shower, just pay the $15. So back I went.

OK, here's 20 bucks. (She gives me change.) Where do I go?

First you have to fill out this form.

Huh? You're kidding me.

Liability reasons.

To take a shower? (But I fill out the form, being quite sure that my handwriting was totally illegible.)

Ok, here. Oh, and can I get a towel?



You can buy a towel. We only sell them. (Did I mention my towel was also in the tent?)

Give me my money back....

And to think, 24 Hour Fitness sounded like the perfect place.


Some dinner, and then the red-eye to Newark, and a connection to Boston, and a couple hour drive back to Sunderland.

What a fine trip.

Saturday May 26, 2007 #

rogaining 13:00:00 [1]
shoes: Pegasus 08/06

Big Muddy IV rogaine in Antelope, Oregon, with Barb. Awesome performance, got 53 of 56 controls, 3rd overall.

At the Swiss 6-Day in Zermatt last July, there was a free day in the middle and I had in mind to take a hike up to the hut at the very base of the Matterhorn. And Barb Bryant was looking for someplace to hike, so we ended up joining up. A couple hours up, very fine scenery on a perfect day, an hour or so down, and good company. But what I think was really going on was that she was checking me out as a possible rogaine partner. At some later time there was mention of that possibility and then at some later point, I'm not quite sure how it transpired, I had made a commitment to do the Big Muddy Rogaine in Oregon with her on Memorial Day weekend. And not 100% sure that was a good idea, because the body isn't as young as it used to be but 24 hours is still 24 hours. And then certainly less than 100% sure when I zapped my left hamstring in a fall at the North Americans in October. And then way less than 100% sure when I zapped it again in North Carolina in March.

As it happened, we were planning a general strategy meeting for that weekend, and we had that anyway despite the fact that I could barely walk. "Strategy" in the sense of what kind of pace we might go at (fast walking, very little running seemed favored by both), how often to stop along the course (as seldom and for as short a tine as possible, again favored by both), how often to go back to the hash house (never, by both), and how serious/competitive to be (moderately serious, but more emphasis on enjoying it, again by both). So easy agreement on those things was a good sign. Though there was the question of whether I would be healed by then. Good enough to at least walk, I said, so the plan was still on.

So sometime in mid-April we signed up and bought plane tickets, and then I zapped the hamstring again the second day of the HVO meet (my sterling A meet record this year is 2 days DNF, 1 day finished but very slow, and 6 days at the event but DNS).

Now with tickets already paid for, training went to plan B, virtually no running, certainly no running in the woods, but lots of walking. And keep the fingers crossed. And as it turned out, my hamstring was ok at the start of the rogaine, and ok at the end, despite any numbers of falls in the rocky terrain, especially at night.

There was the usual procedure for a rogaine, get the maps 2 hours in advance to plan the route. I'm used to having my partner do that (Fred would tell me what order to go in, then let me find them, his work done). This time we spent maybe 45 independently looking at possibilities, then compared notes. We had similar notions about what might make a good route, and pretty quickly put together a plan to get about 3/4 of the controls, which I thought might well be all we would have time for. We could make plans for rest depending on how we were doing. Which was fine, except it didn’t allow for the possibility that we might be able to get them all. That never crossed my mind. But you never know….

Race report will be on Sunday’s entry, along with the map.

Friday May 25, 2007 #

hike 1:40:00 [1]
shoes: Pegasus 08/06

Hike with Barb about 2/3 of way up Dog Mountain in Washington state, up to the junction at 1,960' using the eastern trail when it forked.

A foolish thing to do under my normal training regimen (i.e don't train the day before a normal running or orienteering event, don't train for several days before a rogaine or ultra), but I figured I had been doing so much rogaine practice that a little extra hike would be ok. But just to be clear, it was Barb's idea.

And a fine idea it was.

Part of rogaine preparation is to get to know your partner. About 15 minutes before we turned back she asked me what my CV was. I believe that CV is a phrase that academics use, and she is a doctor so she qualifies for that designation, and I think it boils down to asking what I had done with my life. Now I believe a CV is supposed to be limited to such things as where you worked, what honors you've earned, what you've published, and so on.

So I played along and gave her a few of the highlights, with special emphasis, of course, since we were preparing for a sporting event, on my squash match with General Westmoreland.

Yes, the General Westmoreland. For those of you too young to know, he was the head of our side in the Vietnam War ("Second Place, Southeast Asia War Games" is what Don Davis's t-shirt used to say), and then Army chief of staff. And yours truly was a first lieutenant, stationed at the Pentagon, I believe this was in 1969. And on a Sunday afternoon I went to the officers' athletic club to see if I could pick up a game of squash.

I stopped at the window where they took court reservations, and heard the man in front of me saying something about looking for a partner. I'll play, I piped up, and he turned around and looked my up and down and thought for a moment and then said OK. And I saw that it was Westmoreland. Hmmm, this will be interesting. I never asked why he was looking for a partner, I mean, who would dare stand him up? But it didn't matter, I had a match.

To the court, warm-up for 5 minutes, and it's clear I had a better game than he did. I won the first game, and then the second, both about 15-5. I wasn't trying particularly hard to beat him (although I was not a fan of his, to put it mildly), but I also wasn't going to let him win just because he was the really big boss.

It was now about 2:20 to 2:25, you got a court for 30 minutes, so I figured we had time for one more game if we didn't dally, so I picked up the ball to serve to start the third game. "Give me the ball!" he said in his commanding voice. What was this, it's my serve for having won the last game, I think I wondered. "Excuse me, sir?" I thnik I said. "Give me the ball," he said again. I think I wondered some version of WTF, but I tossed him the ball, and he did one slow lap around the court. And then tossed the ball back to me to serve. The General's version of a Time Out?

Game three was another 15-5, or maybe 15-4 or 15-3, not close again. It was now 2:30, and there were two officers in their 30s, majors or colonels I assumed, who were in the balcony, waiting to play next.

"Give me the ball" again. Another slow loop. I was aware of the time, but he was the Man, and if he wanted to play more....

Another 15-5 or -4 or -3. "Give me the ball" again. I looked up in the balcony. "Sir," I said, "I believe these gentlemen have the court reserved."

He looked up at them. "You don't mind if we play another game?"

"No, sir, go right ahead, sir," came the obligatory response. This is really lousy, I thought.

So I toss him the ball and he does another lap, slower than ever. And then the 5th and last game is just the same, maybe 15-2 because I was pissed. And it is 2:50 when we turned the court over to the other two and they would have 10 minutes, and it really pissed me off. Though I, too, probably like the colonels, was smart enough not to say anything. But as little as I cared for Westmoreland before that, I sure thought much less of him afterwards.


Now in the normal business world it can be useful to be able condense a long story into an executive summary. For rogaining, it's just the opposite. And I was clearly in good form -- my CV report ended just as we reached the parking lot.... :-)


At some point either during the hike or during the subsequent drive to Antelope, Barb pointed up and said, "Isn't that the moon?"

Well, it sure was, and it was only about half full. And we were sure the event web site had promised a full moon rising about 9 pm.

Which left 2 possibilites. The web site might have been wrong. That was the better of the possibilities. The worser, and it was much worser, was we were out there on the wrong weekend.

It wasn't til we saw the first O' sign that I could relax. Would have never lived that down....

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