I think everyone assumed I'd be nervous for my first WOC race, and pretty much everyone I saw yesterday and this morning tried to offer me advice. I figured it was easiest to just ignore them all and do my own thing - I know how to play this game; other people may be better at it, but I know what to do. So I wasn't that nervous starting out. It's nice having low to no expectations. I just wanted to beat at least one person. "Simplify, be safe, be steady".
I spiked the first control, so that put me in a good mood. The 2nd started well, but then I suffered a minor brain fart, and did a 180, thinking I must have gone too far. That probably lasted 15 seconds or so before it occurred to me that I was running in exactly the wrong direction, so I turned around and found my control. Goofmuppet! One more quick leg, and then the first of two long legs. I took another safe route, gaining 9 extra contours, but spiking the control. For the next long leg, to 5, I'm not sure my route was ideal, but it was functional. I channeled my inner French cow (you know - they have one long leg and one short leg, to better stand on hills) as I contoured across a steep grassy slope, and then nearly made a mistake in the circle when I couldn't find my large depression, and found a large hill instead - luckily realized what was going on pretty quickly!
5 was the water stop, in a small depression, manned by two french people. I took a cup of sports drink, and the guy said "Allez! Allez! Vite, vite!" But I stood there looking at my map, and took another glass. And then another, at which point, the woman sort of sighed. "Courage!" they called after me. Whatever, I like my sugar drinks.
Then I spent 17:35 going about 400m. I couldn't find a simple, safe route, so chose to just go straight and pick stuff off. That never works well for me, and it didn't magically work this time, either, although I got close. But I had a poor attackpoint - mistook a dot knoll for a hill on a nose, and so when I attacked my control from two contours too low, it wasn't there. Relocating takes a long time, and I actually found the woman manning the control before I found the control. Very frustrated by that; I know I'm slower than everyone else here, but I'd like to not also be stupider. I could have at least relocated a little faster!
Three more controls in the knobbly stuff, that went pretty well (some hesitations, but no mistakes), and then the finish. After catching my breath and all that, I asked Ed if I was last. "No, you're not last! Oh, wait. Yes, you are last". I was kind of bummed, but then some more stragglers came in, and I finished 20th of 28 in my heat. Not last! I'm pissed about that huge mistake, but what's done is done.
The top 15 from each heat go on to the finals, and Ali finished 11th (I think) in her heat, enough to move on to the finals, on Wednesday. Samantha had a rough day, making a 19 minute mistake, and ended up just a minute or two out of qualification. The men have a tougher field, so none of them moved on. We think we're good, but then everyone else is so much better! This is also just such difficult terrain, that there were many people who made huge mistakes, and there was a huuuuuge spread between the first and last runner.
This map shows the winner's route; there are three separate courses for the three qualification heats, and I was in heat "B". This is the winner's route from course B.
I'm glad to have my first WOC race out of the way. I do wish I hadn't blown that one control, but I knew I wasn't fast enough to move on even if I'd had a clean race - qualifying for the finals wasn't one of my goals this year. Those girls are so speedy! Anyway, first race over, and with the middle distance quali the following day, the focus immediately moved to the next race.