Originally signed up to race this with JJ, but due to his mothers passing on Thursday, I became a solo competitor. I always prefer to do these longer races as a team, both for the comraderie, and because its more difficult to talk yourself out of something with a teammate. But all in all, this was a good effort. With a variety of folks, particularly early on, but a lot of solo time in the woods too, probably 2/3 of the day was spent solo, not infrequently in virgin woods with no herd path..
Had the offer to tag with team Rev 3 - whatever they're calling themselves this week (Joe B, Sony & Britt), but knew they were racing and didn't want to dig myself into a hole. My game plan was to keep it conservative, keep the HR down, and finish in good spirits.
B3 - With a crowd up the first hill to B3, well back in the conga line (by choice). Steve Tarry right behind me so we chatted a bit.
B1 - solid herd path down the hill, tempted to jog a bit, but kept it at a walk.
B2 - road for a bit, then into woods and followed herd path down to the stream.
B4 - control was described as a 1m cascade - but this was an area of dense Rhododendron, back and forth, hunted a bit with a lot of other hunters, but as my game plan had me crossing the interstate around an hour in, I bailed and headed north to stick to the game plan. Most likely I was right on top of it at some point, but to no avail.
P - having the advantage of elevation, I opted to climb a bit more and grab control P. Control O down the other side by freeway had already been eliminated from my plan, and M & N seemed a bit too far to do and still stay on plan. So down into the valley I headed.
R - Crossed Rt 915 to the Snowfield Trail only to find no one else had been here yet - so into virgin territory I went. On a trail, but 700 feet of elevation drop over about 1000m of distance on fresh, slippery snow made for slow going. Not risking a major digger this early on... Cut off the trail to go down reentrant to what looked on the map like a knoll in the lower part. Saw some knolls with no flags, finally looked at description. "Inside tunnel under RR trail" - nothing on the map looked remotely like a trail or a railroad, then noticed a berm with a stream disappearing into a 3 foot culvert underneath. Sure enough, flag was about 20' back into the culvert. Had to remove pack and dig out the flashlight to get the control, but not bad - at least it was a dry culvert.
I - A little ways south there was a drawn in trail (which could have easily been drawn all the way to and past the 'tunnel', but regardless, an easy jaunt on path to control in a grove of conifers. Steve Tarry picked me up again here.
F1 - First mandatory control - in a tunnel - a legitimate tunnel this time, standing height with flowing water, but no issues..
F - Good trail going up the spur to height of land, but at Steve's suggestion, contoured around saving a couple hundred feet of climb so into virgin woods we went - he went quite a bit lower, I stayed up a bit in cleaner woods. Got to the vicinity of F a few minutes before Steve, I had checked out a couple rocky outcrops that looked promising and matched the contours and was considering bailing on this one, but Steve appeared and convinced me to keep looking a bit further, eventually finding it on another outcrop a bit further S than I had checked.
E - A bit of contouring on Big Wood Ridge, then across abandoned freeway and followed the stream W - quite damp and soggy in here, feet quite wet. Got to control site and a few other folks were trying to fashion a route across the wide stream. My feet were wet anyhow, screw it, into the stream and across, problem solved..
Looking across the valley coming down off Big Wood Ridge and over to Pine Ridge, I made the decision not to climb up to controls A-D and save my legs. Steve elected to head up this hill, so this was the last I saw of him until the end of the day.
Q - I made my way back to the abandoned turnpike and headed for this control - in the median in a hole in the ground under a couple pieces of old guardrail. Interesting control location..
H - northwest into the marsh, another deep wader across the stream - mid thigh, but solid bottom so secure footing. Was concerned about tripping and going full submersion, but safely across.
G - quite straigtforward, though some other folks hunting. In and out for me.
F2 - Second mandatory control with a sign-in sheet. 3h35m elapsed for me here.
J,K,L - North to pick up these three controls, no issues, nothing of note..
M, N - Exited control L up to Rt 915, had intended to head down Oregon Rd (dirt) to the tunnel, but was a bit ahead of schedule. After a bit of internal discussion, opted to climb the hill and grab M & N which I had previously elected not to attempt. Was all that climbing, by myself worth it for two meager points? Not even remotely, but I had the time so what the hell, long up hill slog.
F3 - And then quickly dropped that 700 feet back down through virgin snowy woods and an unbroken Tunnel Trail to the third mandatory control at the west entrance to Sideling Tunnel. Took a break here to pump some fresh water.
F4 - Sideling Tunnel - this was pretty cool, 1.3 miles long, gently uphill, jogged the whole thing. Dark & cold though, this was really the only point all day that my hands were cold. I had stowed my gloves after the first 15 minutes this AM, so ran the whole day without gloves, which was mostly fine except in the tunnel, and when having to put a hand down into snow when climbing..
F5 - brutal sidehilling along the freeway with lots of loose scree and plenty of invasive species type nasty vegetation in places. Felt something in my L hamstring pull - not real badly, but it was tender when climbing.
B9 - Looking at the remaining controls, there was a lot of climbing anticipated. Decided to play it safe and not risk pulling something more severe a long way from the finish, so I climbed up to just below the freeway (active, not the abandoned section we were on earlier) to avoid the huge reentrant and got myself to the height of land and got on Jerry Road (snow covered dirt road) for the long walk back to finish. Told myself I'd grab any controls I could see from the trail. This was just a short 40m down the hill off the trail - ran into Rev 3 crew here.
B6 - This was a bit further off the trail and although I didn't really want to go get it, I could see it, it was an easy in and out, so in and out I went.
And back to the finish on Jerry Road with a short stretch on Rt 915. Tired and hungry, but I hadn't done any further damage to the hamstring, inclement weather stayed away until after awards and then into the car with Jeff & Joe for the 7 hour drive back to CT. Which also went off without a hitch.
Really missed having my traveling compadre, but managed to have an enjoyable and successful outing nonetheless..
Alexis Rzewski Flickr Photos