Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lynn Woods US Champs re-run

After the US Orienteering Champs last fall, CSU had a lot of leftover maps from the middle distance race at Lynn Woods.  I decided that since we had all these maps, printed with great quality, of courses of great quality, on a map of great quality, I may as well hold a meet that was just a re-run of the champs!  We ended up getting a bunch of folks who hadn't made it to the US champs, so for some it was a totally new course; for others, it was a chance for vengeance.

I didn't set all the courses; there had been way too many controls last fall, and I was worried about hosting this thing with just 2-3 helpers, so I limited the advanced courses to brown (short), green (longer), and blue (longest).  I had actually run the blue course last winter, as prep for the 2012 US champs down in Georgia.  It had taken me 1:04 then, but without controls in the woods, you're really slowed down, because you have to verify where you are at each control.  I wanted to run the course again, and see how fast I could do it with controls in the woods.  I didn't remember enough about the course to have a huge advantage; most of my advantage came from setting out the streamers a few weeks ago, and then hanging the actual controls this morning.

I started my race around 1pm, after pretty much everyone else had started and finished, since we weren't going to pick up the controls until 3pm.  Brendan started 3 minutes after me, since he was my major helper-outer with regards to control set-out and pick-up.  It was really fun to have somebody to race against - I held him off until control 9, where I saw him for the first time, and he quickly dropped me on an uphill through thick vegetation.  But then, I saw him again, on my way to 14!  He had made a navigational error, and I had nearly caught up!  Unfortunately, he is just faster, and ran away from me again, to end up beating me by 5 minutes.

Overall, my race was quite clean.  I'd made a slight bobble on my way to #1, but I quickly figured out where I was, and kept moving.  The next 11 controls were all very good - I was reading ahead enough to know what was coming and keep moving consistently, which is a real challenge at Lynn Woods.  The map is detailed, the vegetation is thick, and there is just a lot going on all at once.  This of course makes it a wonderful place to orienteer!  If you can avoid the greenbriar.  At 12, I had a brief hesitation just before the circle, when I'd tried to make a rocky hill be a rock in my head.  Luckily, I noticed this change in reality, and put myself in a better location.  It was very thick on my way to 13, and I was also noticing that I was getting tired - I haven't had that many orienteering races where I've been able to push myself to above threshold for long periods of time!  This was cool.  But then I had lots of trail running to do, so tried to really push the pace again for the last few controls, and seemed to make it 'round without too many bobbles.  Awesome!  I was pretty psyched about this race, and it didn't hurt that I was third place, behind Dancho (crazy Bulgarian) and Brendan.  Splits.

Route from last February, 1:04:xx.  Very squiggly-looking, with many more red bits.

Route from Sunday, 49:35.  Much smoother-looking, with a more consistent speed.

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