ARDF 80m race 2:02:00  ***
shoes: Nike Trail (Blue)
80m US ARDF Championships at Fallen Leaf Lake, near Lake Tahoe, CA.
I remember complaints about the FLL map from the 2003 US Championships, and I asked Bob Cooley what they were. He said there was a lot of unmapped undergrowth. As it turned out, I only found a little unmapped undergrowth, but I screwed up the course so bad it only hurt me a little.
How did I screw up?
1. I lost contact.
2. I didn't take accurate bearings when I had the chance.
3. As a result of 1 and 2, I made some terrible route choices.
4. I got discouraged in the massive patches of 3rd green or slash undergrowth (not an IOF symbol), and didn't push hard enough.
At the same time, I do have some criticisms.
2 had no business being where it was. I think there was a powerline nearby, and that's the only way I can reconcile my bearings (short of me screwing up completely, which I just don't accept). It was 2 or 3 cycles from the trail for me, but only about 200m, so you know it was thick.
This might not be fair---I thought 2 was higher up the hill than it was: Once I got 2, I had to decide to descend to the flatter area, or go cross-hill trying to miss huge areas of thick green. It seemed like the only reasonable thing to do was to go cross-hill. Interestingly, people who had to get both 2 and 5 probably should have gotten 5 after 2, and didn't have the difficult choice to make for 3 from 2. That would have really helped.
I told Bob Cooley that I would have liked the course better if the numbers were reversed. He let us get too far down the corridor before getting cross-bearings for 3, 4, and 5. 3 was very close to a big hill, and that greatly influenced my decision to cross-hill to 3. Had an earlier signal shown it to be clear of the hill, going cross-hill would have been much less of a good choice. I have been thinking about whether 3 is unfair, but I have to think that it is not. Part of the question is: Did many people initially place it up the hill?, but another part of it is: Isn't this a test of fitness as well as navigation and DFing ability? Isn't near a hill legitimate? I need to consult about this question.
At 3, I was about 125m from the control, and yet it took me 2 cycles---about 10 minutes---to reach it. It was thorny, slow undergrowth. I just couldn't imagine why a control was placed there.
On my way to 4, I encountered the first of the unmapped undergrowth, and I chickened out and took a trail, probably adding on a full cycle (5 minutes).
I had no idea where I was, except near the road, so I aimed for it (going to the finish), and quickly found more undergrowth. If I trusted the map, I would have straightlined, but I didn't, and I added maybe 300 or 400m to my route and took the curvy road into camp. It just didn't seem worth the risk to go cross-country. Later, I found out that people who went straight lost 5 to 10 minutes over my road route. I hate it when chickening out is a better route than being aggressive, but I'm guess I'm glad I knew enough to chicken out.
My 2 hours was good enough for 4th in M40. In the grand scheme of things, I thought this course was better than the 2m course. I felt like one control, 2, just ruined my whole day. I really want to blame the course setter, but I honestly can't. I lost contact. I made the decision to cross-hill from an assumed location way uphill of where I really was. I basically completely screwed up the course from 2 onward.
I need to work on 2 things. I need to just quit messing around and mount a reversed-rosette compass on my 80m receiver. Alternately, I could go back to Gyuri's ruler attachment. Second, I need to run more 80m courses. I have very little confidence running them, and I need to be a lot more familiar with my receiver.