Mountain bike race (FatBoy) 1:17:50 10.68 km (7:17 / km) +138m 6:51 / km
STARS MTB-O short course.
19 1/2 year ahead of my schedule for starting to race, I tagged onto this because I think it is a good event that deserves increasing attendance - that and Bash had things under control so didn't need any extra help.
My plan was to take a fairly relaxed approach and focus on accurate navigation. The plan was to take the time at each check point to pick a route to the next one until I was finished. Without a compass I tried to get my bearings using the big trail map at the Chalet as reference once we got the race map - North was a bit different than my instinct wanted to believe.
CP 1&2 were straight forward being on trails I remembered from testing the novice course two years ago.
CP3 was a big error and where I think I lost most of my time. I clicked a lap on my Garmin at each check point so I could look at where the flaws were later, and so I could see the CP-CP distance in lieu of a bike computer (I stayed on a screen showing temp, heart rate, heart zone, speed, distance in lap and an 8 point pseudo compass). I missed the small trail to the left from red to greed. Not a problem because I could go the long way around on green and catch the other end of the little trail. I stopped where I thought the CP should be, but didn't see it. I then raced around the area like a bit of a fool until I picked up the flag exactly where I had originally expected it. So two lessons:
1) not all trail entrances look the same - some aren't traveled as much so don't have that tell-tale worn to the ground path
2) trust yourself and look *carefully* before going off plan
I did pick up the trail easily when picking up the CP after the race and the flag was very visible coming at it on the right trail.
The rest was pretty uneventful. I crossed paths with a fair number of rides, mostly going in a different direction than I was, but didn't second guess my plan. I paused at the bigger intersections to make sure I was where I thought I was before moving on. I generally picked a route that I felt was least subject to error without going a long way out of the way. I paused a couple of times to help people identify where they were on the map. I guess I looked like I knew what I was doing.
I was under an hour at CP11, so figured I might as well pick up the two bonus CP and stretch the ride out a bit.
Great event. It was nice that the rain settled down for the bulk of the actual race time.
At the pub I asked a group of guys if they were dirty bikers - they were so I sat with them for a bit. Turns out they had been riding Palgrave so I made sure they knew they could have been racing. A couple of them seemed keen on it based on having done some orienteering in school. Their families needed the seat I had taken so I headed home to elevate my leg (it finally clicked in that I had been about 4 hours standing, walking or riding a traditional bike and was likely to sag if I didn't).
I am now in the market for a good compass. My last one was military and worked a charm snowshoes across woods and fields in the north. Recommendations most welcome.