What a fantastic thing it is to race through beautiful open woods on a well designed course with stiff competition. I had a great time today.
I raced well and even orienteered decently. Started out on the trail and settled in at a pretty fast pace with Jordan in the lead. I took the opportunity to scan the whole course and decide on a skip. For me, the criteria for a good skip control were 1) late in the course 2) saves distance. I settled on 33 and then refolded my map to fully concentrate on control #1. We left the trail and headed into the woods and I thought Jordan was heading a bit too much left so I stuck to my compass and climbed my hill punching just ahead... turning on my first control of the day.
Things were good for most of the race and it will be a whole book to recap the entire 100 minutes but I managed to keep the lead, apart from when Boris and Robert skipped 8 and I chased them down at 13 and where Sergei got ahead at 18 and 19 and finally until 29, then Jordan was out in front for most of a control before I snuck ahead again. Despite running most of the course with Jordan and some of the other guys it had the vibe of running my own course.
I did pop out onto the trail on the way to 3, very confused and thinking that I was falling behind, and then ran to overtake Becky, Alex and Hannah where I overheard them say that at least they had been in the lead for 10 seconds :) Then at #9 I had the surprise that the unit had already been woken up, and I thought that maybe Jordan had gotten ahead of me, but I soon saw the culprits, Boris and Robert, as they were leaving 12. They dragged me a bit off course on 13 and then Boris took a better route to 14 but Robert followed me sidehilling through thick green to the flag. I had finally gotten a little gap leaving 15 but promptly got way too far left and had to climb back up and recover, joining the pack again of Boris, Robert, and Jordan.. sounds like Sam wasn't too far behind either, since she saw us leaving.
I made a really boneheaded move on the way to 18, but at least I managed to pull Jordan off line with me, we got way too far right, trying to wend my way through the cliffs. I figured out where we had managed to go and didn't lose too much time, but expended a bunch of extra energy. I took 2/3rds of my gel at the water stop and then cruised down towards 19 where Sergei, Robert, Jordan and I all met up again to do the butterfly loop in a pack. This section of the woods is my absolute favorite, I would build a house there it's so nice. I got a little bit of a lead back up the hill to 23 and then lost that little gap again as I really messed up 27 because I saw a bunch of people leaving the control and I got pulled downhill thinking they were running to the cliff not from it. Jordan took a straighter line to 28 but lost some time descending the cliff on the way so we were back together again at 28. On 29 I thought the flag would be in the little quarry and didn't unpeel my sodden descriptions to read that it was actually trail junction in time to recover. Jordan took point heading off to 30 and then overshot and I circled back to the control first. I again got almost to 31 but was too far right and Peggy came through noticing I was lost and she asked if I was looking for "TO" before saying that I probably didn't want help. I was surprised that she would know the code of the control I was looking for and then realized that she probably had just passed it, so I turned and saw it and punched right with Jordan again. Jordan was also skipping 33 so with not much course left it became a trail race to 34. I pushed hard and ran the last part clean, enough for a 20 second victory.
On the disappointment side, in a shameless bid for style points, CSU was attempting to bring a pair of cute goats to the meet for photos and team pride. However at the last minute, Leroy and Lily backed out because Leroy was sick and had to go to the vet. At next year's billygoat I would suggest contacting Lisa at Goatboy Soap
to see if she might be interested in providing some prizes or something. Here's hoping that Leroy has a swift recovery.
I wore Ed's FR305 for the course and until I can load my GPX file I will post my drawn in course on my DOMA site. here