Rogaine 4:39:19  *** 20.61 mi (13:33 / mi) +431m 12:44 / mi
31c shoes: Salomon SpeedCross 4 - BLACK
Nain Rouge Gaine 6 hr rogaine by Lost Arrow Sports
Brighton Rec Area, Michigan
Drove up Friday night to stay with Work4Justice. Chatted for a while before heading to bed. Woke up Saturday to have a leisurely (and yummy!) breakfast and took our time getting ready for a Noon o'clock race! Still arrived 2.5 hours early and had to wait for maps. When we got maps at 10 I spent an unusually long amount of time looking at options, particularly planning my start and finish. It seemed like saving the NE corner for near the end would be the best in terms of staying dry the longest. It seemed like SE was a good starting option, but it also seemed the most obvious and I like being alone. I chose to head N and W to pick up a few easy 10 pointers and save the SE loop for last. It turns out it was a unique choice and it worked really well for me.
2 hours was plenty of time to plan and chat with lots of people we havent seen in a while. I highlighted my intended route and scalex'd it - 19 Scalex miles. Definitely doable, but if you add margin for scalex inaccuracy it seemed like it might be a little tight, especially adding in 1 unknown bonus control. Marked time goals at every 1 hour/3 miles.
At noon we were off to the sound of an air horn and some chilly sunshine, ~ 35F (which is chilly for standing around, but honestly just about my perfect racing temperature!). Over the course of the race we had sun, wind, flurrys, blizzard, a little bit of everything, but only a dusting of snow so light it was barely enough to even tell if there were footprints in it, so no follow the leader.
I ended up starting out more or less alone, picking up 80, 81, and 83. Although thye were only 10 pointers, I thought they were actually some of hte most difficult to plan into my overall route. From there I continued west to 73, 74, 33, 34, 42, and 51 which was my 1 hour goal. No navigation problems and I was about 7 minutes ahead of schedule, which meant clearing shouldn't be too tight if I stayed clean. The first Bonus clue (satellite map + ridiculously long plot) was at 51, and I quickly recognized the location, having been there for a streamer course several years back - a cool spot on an island with a gravestone from an old farm family. It wasn't too far out of the way for my end loop, so I sketched ir on my map and took off. I also so Ati and Rick here.
The next 3mi/1hr goal was at the end of a rather long road run used to connect to the W portion of the map. I popped in after the private property and picked up 53. I remembered this area from last year, and it was pretty much as thick as I remembered it. I drifted and didn't hit the trail cleanly, but it was an easy correction. From there I continued on to 55 and 62, where I again met up with Rick and Ati. I was a little confused since I had smoked them on the road run, but they had gone all the way and skipped 53 for now. 55 was my 2 hour goal, and now I was half an hour ahead, not having accounted for bushwhacking vs. road running in my 3 mile estimates. I was feeling good with breathing room, especially since I knew where the bonus was.
I turned N for 64. There were 2 options, cross the stream W and pick up a decent trail, or take the peninsula N on a game trail. I took the N option hoping I could find a dry crossing, but not keeping my fingers crossed, remembering this being rather wet in the past. Sure enough I had to get my feet wet, and went about knee deep here. The water was cold, but it was a quick crossing. I was able to start running and warm right back up. 64 was my biggest bobble, hesitating slightly and finding an unmapped parallel reentrant (much smaller). Just as I decided to bail to reattack, I saw the flag peaking over the top of the next hill over, phew!
From here I turned back east and it was mostly a trail run for a while to pick up 54, 52, 48, 49, 47, 37, 36. No problems with these. 52-48 was my 3 hr mark, and by this time I was 50 minutes ahead! I picked up the road and popped off for 43 on the Appleton MTB loop. There was a couple consulting the map, and when I arrived they were like "darn we gave it away". I assured them I probably would have found it. Popped off for 35, and then the real adventure began!
Last year in the NE section I did 2 regrettable things. I got lost in the spaghetti trails that make up the Murray Lake MTB trails, and I went around the swamps adding considerable distance only to find out the swamps were frozen and easily crossable. Sydney gained a tremendous amount of time and considerably less distance, taking that approach, so I decided it was my turn. I tried to time my run on the MTB trail, estimating 7 minutes to get to the narrowest crossing point. I actually overshot it a bit, and crossed at a wider point (I must have been moving faster than expected!) The vegetation in the swamp was rather thick - mostly scrubby trees. I wouldn't say it was quite frozen, but it also wasnt muddy, just a thin layer of water on some fairly solid ground, so it wasnt too bad to cross. I grabbed a stick before heading in, and I took my time. I picked up 31 and then headed to 32. After 32 there was another stream crossing, and the point I chose I suddenly plunged up to my sternum - BRR!! Luckily it was only a few steps before I was back out. I had intended to get 40 and then the bonus, but on my way I could SEE the pine trees marking the island off to my right, and decided to just go for it since I was already wet. This crossing wasnt quite as deep, about knee to waist level, but it turned out to be quite broad so I was in the water for a few minutes. By the time I exited on the island my feet and calves were frozen blocks of ice. I chastised myself for being stupid - I think it actually took longer than it would have coming from the road. But hey, I had an adventure. I followed the streamers back out to road while chatting with Phil, and then took off at a jog to try to warm my legs back up. I ran into Team Kiwi at 40 and they said they only had the S loop left - ME TOO! That put some fire back in my legs.
The S loop was 5 controls and almost all easily accessible by trails. I picked up 70, 72. I made a dumb choice going to 41 thinking it was a spur instead of a reentrant, so I unnecessarily climbed the biggest hill on the whole map twice instead of once. Oops. From 41 it was a "sprint" back to the finish with a quick pop off for 82. No sign of Team Kiwi on this loop, so I figured their S loop must have been different, maybe the 10 pointers I started with.
I got back and checked in with Angel, with my beads this year. I was shocked to find out Team Kiwi nor Syd were back yet, and I was first to clear. I was a little worried I must have missed a control! Nope! I pulled off First overall in a pretty competitive field - my first "real" solo win (besides 8 hr Dogman where all the most competitive were on the 18 hr course).
I ate 2 gu, 1 waffle, 1 jerky strip. I had 1 or 2 ecap on the half hours. I wore tights, DT socks, long sleeve, bike jacket, and thin gloves. The hat didn't last long. I felt great (training/long runs + freeletics have made a huge difference) and my navigation was spot on. Somehow this glacial goodness/contour catastrophe makes crystal clear sense to me now, like it never did while living here.
Another great race by Steve and Angel at Lost Arrow sports. Some more cool swag, lots of great competitive people, and a really fun course.