Orienteering race 1:08:30  6.3 km (10:52 / km)
shoes: Icebug Gryllo
CVOC FUMA Red. Addie and I took the long drive down to this event, located somewhere between Richmond and Charlottesville. Initially panicked because we couldn't leave until 10, the drive was near 3 hours, and the starts closed at 1. But we got there at about 12:40 and were welcomed, changed clothes and got going in double-quick time.
The drive down was lovely. We took Va. 3 west from Fredericksburg, then 20 south to U.S. 15. I had never taken that route before. The area around the battlefields at Chancellorsville and Wilderness was inviting -- big rolling fields and open woods (at least they looked open from our vantage point). Lots of fine-looking orienteering terrain off both sides of the road. The towns were, for the most part, depressing, but Gordonsville looks like a nice place to visit. Gordonsville was totally hopping on the way back, with the Porkapalooza going in full swing.
In the town of Fork Union, the academy is the main thing going on, but there are some big old southern Colonial houses in town. The registration was in the science building, and the start was right outside the door. The map started from the campus, with some sprint-type controls, and headed into the surrounding woods.
I wish I could report that the terrain lived up to the views on the way there, but it was, unfortunately, what I've come to know as Richmond-area woods: dense and brambly. I'd hate to think what it would be like in summer. The brambles seemed to be about arm-level. At least, that was the region where the blood was flowing most freely -- down the hands and onto the map, the compass, and the punch card. Not that I really noticed. The map was good, with a lot of detail, maybe more suitable for a sprint. But there was some good white woods with subtle features a little ways from the campus, and the Green and Red courses went in there, which I thought was the best part of those courses.
There had been sunshine on the drive down, but during our runs there were scattered rain and snow showers, so we had full conditions to go with our late starts. Towards the end, squeezing the pin punches was difficult due to wooden hands. Addie led the Green course and I finished 3rd on Red, 5 min behind Vido, who was the only other QOC-er I recognized on the list.
But, the refreshments were fantastic. Four or 5 different soups and chilis, cornbread, hot drinks, and fresh fruit, all served indoors in the science classroom. We talked to a few other late finishers and warmed up. Thanks go to Carl Muench, who designed the courses and organized the event and the apres-O scene.