2018 Masters Nationals, Carter Cave Park, KY, Day 1
We flew in late Friday night and stayed near the CVG airport. In the morning, we picked up Cristina from her hotel and drove to the park. It was nice to have her company to discuss visible geography, orienteering states and attracting women to O.
I had promised myself that I would take a very safe route to the first control, so I climbed the hill and headed for the open area. The steep uphill helped keep my pace in check and was very good for tiring me out on the way to the first control! I was scared in the cliffs near 2 (I hate steep narrow places) so I left 2 by going below it. I was a little hesitant going to 3 and checked out a few nearby features, when I should have been confident enough to go straight towards the edge of the cliff.
I was on track to spike 4, but I hit an un-mapped depression right before it and lost my confidence. Fortunately, I did not wander long. I figured out that I was going too far down hill and turned around.
I guess I was thinking every control meant some up hill climb on this course, so I never saw the trail or road route from 6 to 7. I just started climbing right after I punched 6. I think it was decent route. I tried to run once or twice while I was on the road, but legs had no power, so I just kept walking.
I was walking 90% of this course because it was so steep. Also, I was focused on navigation and not my pace. It helped that I saw very few others (I had the last start on the course) so I was not trying to keep up with anyone.
I did see someone coming up the stairs near 7 as I was going down them, so I knew it was a route choice to 8. But also I knew I couldn't run fast on the trail, and that sometimes going straight through the woods is a better option for me. Or maybe I just couldn't handle the psychology of turning around and going back up the steep stairs. So, I contoured to 8. Talking with others after the race, I thought this had probably been a bad choice. But the splits say I had the second fastest split on the course for this leg, so I guess it was a good decision!
I was exhausted going to 9. I hesitated a lot, and wasn't reading the map well, but I finally made it up the hill.
I was a bit cautious and safe heading to 11, and I was also confused by all the contour lines in the circle, but didn't really figure it out until after the race (best guess is that some contour lines were moved around while they were formatting the north lines, according to Mike M). It didn't cause any problems for me, but I know some other folks were impacted on other courses.
Getting to 12 was another "just climb the hill", so that was no fun. Or so I thought. I t was dream compared to leaving 12. The hillside was wet and slippery. And crazy steep. I was with two other people at this time and we all kept stopping for a rest every few steps. No fun at all.
I did well navigating to 13, once I got up the hill. I was worried about the short leg to 15 because I often mess them up, but you could see the flag from 14.
I couldn't understand all the stuff going on in the circle at the Go control, so I just hoped I would figure it out when I got there. I had enough left in the tank to try to get a fast finish-chute split, so I took off sprinting. I had to ask people on the bridge to stand aside for me. I was moving well, but messed up the punch (twice!) and probably lost 2 seconds there. So bummed about that.
I was pleased with my navigation today, and mental focus. I talked to myself (out loud) and that seems to work for me. I tried to keep quiet when I was around other people. I was clean to the first control, and I had a good day 1, both of which have been problems in the past. I was happy.
I was really happy to see that I had a 40 minute lead in F50 (much less pressure for tomorrow!) and super happy to see that I was 7th on the course.
Nice weather and location to hang around socializing after the event. Drove to our hotel in Morehead, and had a lovely dinner with Tom and Lisa.