Orienteering (Foot) 1:25:49  9.0 km (9:32 / km) +330m 8:03 / km
spiked:12/13c slept:6.5 weight:198.5lbs
QOC at Pine Grove, Prince William Forest, VA. Being a bit tired from being out long on Friday, and undertrained otherwise, I picked Mark Hicks Red course today--I was hoping to see him but missed him. It was fun, on a warm (mid 50's F), overcast, and humid day. The controls weren't technically hard but knowing the right route to take took some thinking.
S-1 - There were lots of ways to go but I didn't think about it much. I ran past the Visitor Center and on the road. I left the road at the ride, and got around the first spur. Crossing ridges after that, I got up to the trail where it bends, west of the control. Others including Kim Jepsen were coming in and out of the area, helping me hone-in, but I was confident anyway, having been to the same location in a Summer Short Series training event last summer.
1-2 - Once again there were some good routes to take but I didn't think about it. My familiarity with mapping the area and updating the map in the fall of 2017, coupled with not wanting to climb a lot, made going back past the start appear to be faster. It also gave me more time to settle-in navigating and gauging my speed/strength. At the bridge, I hesitated by again decided taking the trail to the left was best for saving me strength for later. I'd added the little bit of stony ground the control was on, to the map, in the fall of 2017. I hit it well. Others were approaching from the east before I'd gotten there.
2-3 - I'd already seen that I just needed to run along the stream, but I didn't drop down. I stayed high until the ditch past the pits in the scattered open area. It still was a bit farther than I'd have guessed, and I was not swift gaining elevation.
3-4 - My first thought was to cross the creek and go up ridge. Seeing the fallen trees and the green on the map convinced me to stay on the east side of the creek. I noted the forking of the streams and then green on the ridge SW of the control so I climbed there. A nice corridor took me to the scattered open area with the ruin and I attacked successfully from there.
4-5 - I'd updated the map along this leg in 2017, so it all looked pretty straightforward. I had a healthy amount of trepidation not being able to see the control as I came down straight, rather than in the reentrant.
5-6 - I ran almost straight and hit the reentrant well. I'm not sure if the map showed the little bit of reentrant forking at the top where the control was.
6-7 - I ran down the reentrant and crossed the stream. I almost forgot to use the road bridge. Once across the South Fork Creek, I cut back into the woods. I could see off trail and footprints. It was nice seeing a family hiking the trail with a little boy--it reminded me of times when Peggy and I were out with Max (who had a recent 14th birthday!). I climbed crossing the spur to get on the edge of the reentrant system. I was walking most of this, too weak to do otherwise. Going slowly, I spiked the control.
7-8 - I knew that crossing the ridge came with risk. I was not concerned coming up the spur, but I made sure to get to the end of the reentrant on the left before crossing into the next reentrant, of which there were several. Once in the reentrant, the running was nice and fast. At the bottom, I walked the climb, but it was slippery at the very bottom near the stream. I had a good line, but got worried that I might miss the reentrant on the left. I cut left which made climbing easier but after getting near the top, I could see Kim Jepsen leaving the area. I was at the control not long after.
8-9 - I decided Kim's route down the reentrant was good and followed it similarly. After crossing the stream, Kim climbed, keeping straight. I climbed too but contoured to the right a bit more. He slowed to read, so I gained ground. We eventually crossed the stream again. Near the stream junction, we crossed the stream again and climbed. Alexis Merka cut right there, taking the safer route in the large reentrants. Kim slowed after we passed the yellow ride and neared the buildings. I got to the dirt road first, but Kim passed me again. He said he'd try to keep up but it was I who would need to work harder to do that. We passed another guy and plunged down the hillside toward the paved road. I descended more quickly (my fatty advantage?) and was first to cross. However, with the control circle covering a part of the stream, for 2-3 seconds I mistook the stream reentrant for the reentrant that the control was in. That's all it took for Kim to pass me again. He climbed the small ridge more directly than I did and I got to the control behind him.
9-10 - Kim led up the hill, but hesitated as we got close to the earthbanks. It looked like he was going to drop down. I wasn't sure that I could get through along the stream without having to climb again, so I went on. In the process Kim did too. Crossing the next stream, I must have drifted left. I hit the road much further north than I thought I was. Reading while running, it was unclear to me if there was a fork in the road or not. Expecting one but not seeing it was disconcerting, especially since I felt I was running along the road too much. Kim was still ahead, having taken a more southerly route to the road. He cut over just before a road intersection and though I did too, Kim had disappeared. I went on into a cluster of cabins and realized I was NW of the control. I corrected, and saw Kim as I was approaching, but he was leaving.
10-11 - I used the road and cut across equally. I got some glimpses of Kim with the last one as I was approaching and Kim was leaving.
11-12 - I started up the vehicle track, but cut over into the reentrant. There I could see Kim ahead again. Reaching the trail, I partly hadn't expected it since it blends into the mapped deadfall and is so much thinner than the vehicle track. I did run on the trail a bit hoping to make up time on Kim before cutting back into the forest. This did make it easy to realize the I had one ridge left to cross. I passed another guy along the way--the other guy had been walking. Crossing the last ridge I spiked the control. The other guy had picked-up the pace and was not far behind.
12-F - I jogged up the hill until I couldn't. I wasn't sure if I was gaining on Kim in time or not--he was getting closer and was visible but had already started walking. Kim disappeared over the top and I walked straight up. As I walked, the other guy behind me at #12 was gaining on me on my right and on the intermittent trail. I pushed in over the top to stay ahead of the other guy and this was probably enough motivation for me to both beat the other guy in, and to win the overall course by 2 seconds over one of the Juniors who are getting faster and more accurate every day.