orienteering race 2:35:42  *** 5.9 km (26:23 / km) +285m 21:15 / km
12c shoes: Inov8 O-roc 280 Redux
NAOC 2016 Long - Burnt Mountain - GreenY (F35+)
Not nearly as good a day! It started out well enough. 1 was easy, using the trail and stone wall and knoll as handrails. Then W to the trail, eventually hopping down to the lower trail, and attacking from the junction N of 2. Went straight at 3, hit the small marsh slightly left, but could see the boulder from there.
Now the wheels fell off a bit. I was keeping track of streams and marshes as I crossed them, and came to what I thought was the trail about halfway between 3 and 4. I planned to use the reentrant off the trail bend, then the stream and marshes, to get to 4. Started climbing what I thought was the reentrant. Never saw any stream or marshes. Kept climbing. Eventually encountered some of those parallel lines of cliffs/ridges like the ones to the S of 4 (now believe they were the ones across two trails to the W of 4) so headed North only to bump into a trail.
Now I had no idea where I was at all. There were a lot of boulders and a very straight section of trail. I had to find somewhere else to relocate so I started going downhill and eventually came to another trail junction at a very acute angle. The trail sign there said "Rusty Pathfinder" which I found quite appropriate at the moment. However, I was able to identify this location as being right near the reentrant from my original plan. And so I climbed it again, and found the streambed this time, and then crossed a trail and entered a swamp with a control on the edge of it. I was very happy until I realized this still wasn't my control. I was one swamp too soon. FINALLY crossed one more trail and found number 4.
At one point in that section I felt ready to give up, but there was no such thing as an easy bail-out here, far down in the map with no roads around and not even an easy trail route back to the start/finish.
Went straight at 5, being much more careful, but the area of many cliffs was very visible. Climbed up around the big rock/cliff thing and found it.
6 was a very cool area, although getting down to the bag was a bit awkward and seemed hard for the older people. While I was having a drink several others came through. Quite a few of them were looking for 5, which surprised me, and others didn't realize immediately that this was in fact the place they were looking for. Odd, as I thought it was quite distinct, but then again this map was tough.
Took a N trail route to 7, which was a nice breather. Looked at the looooong leg to 8 and decided there was no way I'd ever relocate if I lost contact in there, plus huge mountains in the way. Also almost no direct trails. So with confidence down I took a VERY right handed trail route. Even this turned out to not be foolproof. I passed back by 5, intending to get through the spaghetti maze of trails on the far edge of the map and find the trail that headed back toward start. Instead the spaghetti trails never materialized and I found myself passing back by 4, then finally looping back E and picking up the trail I wanted. So this part was unnecessarily switchbacky.
Also as I reapproached the start area, I somehow got off on some tangental trail, but I could hear the clock still beeping off the minutes and knew I was close by. Finally I ran into the familiar stone wall. From here I was able to pick my way across more trails which were all where I thought they should be, and attacked 8 from the indistinct trail junction/twin boulders. This leg ended up taking almost an hour, but I imagine an error in the middle of nothingness may have been even more costly.
Used the big trail and attacked off the bend with the pond, following the water features in to 9. Went straight at 10 and 11. At this point there were lots of people around doing the same thing. 11 was easy to spot from the back with the big knoll and two rocks flanking it.
The go control was actually confusing, as I didn't know the finish had been relocated to be very close to it. So I came out on the road, saw all the tents and flags and finish hoopla, and looked left expecting to see the control down there. Instead I realized everyone was running in and punching in the middle of all the stuff, then made out the paved area and realized things were different than mapped.
In all, I was just glad to make it out of there in one piece. Very tired after this, physically and mentally.