orienteering 2:41:19  *** 11.65 km (13:51 / km)
12c weight:35lbs shoes: Inov8 O-roc 280 Red
QOC Bumble - Patapsco - Mint
Distance from Garmin
Often start these thinking that I may add more windows, but 2 windows was definitely enough today! I chose the PQRST and WXYVU windows (and did them in that order) as they appeared to be the least steep and had the most roads and trails within them. They were more spread out than some of the other windows, however.
The rules this year were changed in that there were no controls between windows (just a mandatory control at the beginning and one at the end) and you could also choose windows in any order. This was likely somewhat due to the map setup with two river crossings being at mandatory points and possible railroad track crossings as well. I felt like this took away a lot of the mass start feel early on, though, as after the first control people went off in all directions and I didn't see too many people after that.
Was in a mass start mob to number 1, then headed SE and worked my way out at the powerline. I decided to do P and Q first to get the climbing in the window out of the way and give an easy road/trail option getting into the second window. Actually ended up slightly above P and got a little out of contact on the way to Q, but saw the stone wall at the fence intersection and used that to adjust. Then a nice flattish trail breather and small climb to R, easy cut across the powerline to S, and across road/trails to pop in and out of T.
At this point I really wanted to be done but made myself go on to the second window. Down the road to the stream and up along the smaller stream to W, then across the top and down the other side to X. At this point I could see a train was sitting on the tracks that I needed to cross and there were no underpasses close by. Luckily, it wasn't moving and I could see the end of it. I walked along the side of the second set of tracks and crossed once I was well in front of the engine, even though this still made me a bit nervous. Down into the park on the other side to easy control Y, then across the river on the bridge into the Orange Grove area where I climbed up and down the steep hill to V and then went up the road and up and down the steep hill to U.
At this point only a loooong slog back to the final control remained. And now looking at my map I realize I'm an idiot and probably should have taken the road all the way up this side of the map to the other river crossing and then would have cut a lot of climb, although possibly adding some distance. I was of the impression that the other bridge was all the way at the top of the map and with map folded never even really looked at it. Duh.
Instead I crossed back at the bridge and crossed the railroad track at the grade road crossing. The train was still sitting there. I went back along the other side of the tracks but as I neared where I wanted to enter the woods, I heard the whistle of a second train coming on the set of tracks right where I was walking. So I cut off into the woods early and ended up having to go down and then up, and also got into a sticker bush which covered me in burrs.
I went back up the road by T, back across the trail toward S. Random bush/tree here all decked out in purple Christmas ornaments. Then cut through the woods, along the openish area with a stream in it, reached the corner of the OOB properties and went N to the final control. Then it was just up to the trail and in along the tennis courts to the finish.