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Race Evaluation

"O" in the Pines A meet: Sunday - Long Brown


1. At the local meet in Carlisle, Mass., a couple of weeks ago, I spent a LONG time standing at the start (at least of couple of minutes, I felt like a beginner rather than a 40-year O-veteran), completely unable to make sense of the map in the vicinity of the start and therefore completely frozen in my ability to choose a route to the first control. Until finally it dawned on me that I was making the mental blunder of, not sure what to call it, control shifting: my brain was already leaving #1 proceeding to #2 while my body was at the start on the way to #1. I did the same thing here! Except that luckily here, unlike Carlisle, the strategy for start>1 begins the same as 1>2, namely "go north on trail", so I was moving in the right direction rather than standing around. The mental reset occurred at the trail junction 100m into the course, so luckily I didn't really lose anything here.
2. Chose the trail route, partly being unsure whether off-trail might be almost as slow going as yesterday, and partly because I am always biased towards a trail / easy navigation choice early in a course while getting my head into the map and to have the opportunity to look ahead and do some route planning.
3. Trail again, back into the woods between boulder on left and small trail on right.
4. Lost a bit going to the conifer to the south first.
5. Straight-ish, using bits of trail along the way. Intended to end up in the heavy-dashed trails east of the control but instead ended up in the light-dashed trails northeast of control, which I belatedly realized when the trail I was on continued straight due west. So it didn't cost me, just ran south down the (very vague) reentrant. In fact maybe it was lucky, attacking lengthwise along the reentrant may well have been safer than attacking crosswise from the heavy-dash trail system (see DW's comment on BL's log).
7. Trail route seemed clearly the better choice to me but apparently not to everyone (e.g. BL and KW per above-referenced DW comment).
8. It's totally irrelevant but when talking to folks afterwards, I was struck by an oddity of the course setting: Green course shared our #8 and #9 but the map switch occurred #8 for us but at (our) #9 for them.
9. Vague reentrant, not sure I would have characterized the control location as "upper part" but it didn't really matter as visibility was excellent in the area.
10. Again see the above-referenced DW comment--I wasn't really reading all the marsh / vegetation detail but the curved fence around the old pasture/orchard made it a non-issue.
11. Hoped I'd see the dashed fence, instead found it by feel when it caught my thigh (luckily not at a barb). A bit of a slog and fight through the green and marsh (and thanks to the earlier starters for making a path) but it all opened up beautifully, running-wise and visibility-wise, on the other side.
12. Stayed along the fence on an unmapped ride/trail all the way to the boulder with somebody else's control at the foot of the slope. Worked beautifully but the folks who took the driveway route or the between-the-knolls route seem to have done just as well.
16. Stayed on lower trail, intending to key off the nearby boulders for the attack, but wasn't able to read the rocks; luckily, the slight kinks in the trail were just kinky enough that I was able to read them instead to decide when to attack. Only just now, a day later, am I noticing the intermediate small-path route, probably was the best choice; still a safe route, bdcause if the path became too faint to follow, just bail out to the upper trail.
17. Another mental blunder: Somehow in my late-in-race haste I failed to notice that the knoll was right next to the trail and so I ran along the east side of the spur practically to the road. I do this disconceringly often, focusing so strongly on contour-reading that I tune out blatantly-obvious features like trails and stone walls. (The inverse of the beginner problem of not seeing or understanding the contours.) This time it only cost me a few seconds.

Total Time Lost - 00:00:00

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