Joe Grant South NRE. Brown 4.3 km, 165m climb (I get 185m optimal; I did more), 16c.
First in M70 by over 4 minutes. 4th of 31 on Brown (top two were much younger M-Browns [Rex W 4121, Andrew Nisbet 4751], third was Dave Enger [6 years younger,4752]), ahead of all the regular BAOC Brown runners: Penny (5333), Gavin (5338), Gary C (5656), Steve Haas (5955).
Suddenly very warm, so I got out early (10:08).
Pretty good run, pushed hard, but not nearly as good as last Sunday at Pacheco. Very physical. Made two annoying errors, about :45 at #3 and 2 minutes at #8, and lost 1:20 going to #11. Very disappointed in myself about those, as last weekend at Pacheco I had no errors of more than :30. Today I pushed the running early, and was pretty tired over the last two-thirds of the course, which may have affected my mental capacity. Might have been better off being more cautious physically at the outset, say, running at a pace about a minute slower through #7, which might have resulted in two or three minutes saving in mistakes plus a minute or two stronger finish, resulting in a final time under 50.
Ground wasn't nearly as wet as last week at Pacheco, but on the other hand, though soft, it was still firm enough that all the cow and pig tracks made running a little difficult (or, at least, tiring) in many places.
1. Was expecting that I'd have to head off down the road, so it took a couple of seconds to accept that I needed to go perpendicular to the road. Through the gate, compass bearing, sighted the three trees, headed for the middle one, a little worried because it seemed further from the trail than mapped, but got there and looked behind the tree and there was the bag. Given that it was a 3 contour climb, surprised I had the second fastest split, just 4 seconds behind Rex, and 4 secs ahead of Gary C in third.
2. Had planned this while going to #1. Swung wide right to save climb, saw the stand of trees from afar, came into the control right on the correct contour. 4th fastest split, but this time 18 secs behind Rex on only a slightly longer leg.
3. The circles for #3 and #6 were overlapping on the map, and both features were reentrants. The two were barely (if at all) over the legal separation for similar features, 60m. It is clear which numeral goes with which circle, but somehow I got fixed on #6 instead of #3 (and was puzzled as to why the clue was shallow
reentrant, because that was clearly not the case at the one, #6, I was looking at. Ran an excellent leg to #6, contouring through the gap in the white patches and arriving in the entrant a bit high over the control. Jennifer Kerr was down there, I scrambled down, was just about to punch, then noticed that the control code was wrong. That's when I realized I was at #6, not #3. Fortunately, it was, pretty flat run back to #3. Lost about :45.
4. Went through the bottom of the circle for #6, contoured to the patch of woods surrounding the stream. Climbed the spur, staying on the left side, into the open area, then spotted the rocks directly to my left and a contour below (with Steve Beuerman just leaving). 8th fastest split. Lost 10-15 secs.
5. Aimed off to the right to make sure I didn't miss the gully, but over did it a bit, so when I reached the top of the spur, had to veer considerably left. 7th fastest, lost maybe ;05.
6. Down along the left side of the gully, scorch under the fence, stay left of the forest patch. On a rough bearing, see the trees surrounding #6, scramble down to the control at the end. Good leg, 4th fastest, only 14 behind Rex.
7. I'd been running pretty hard, and started to feel really tired on this leg with a 6 contour climb. Swung past #3, through the gap in the white patches I'd gone through earlier in the other direction, used the lone tree on the hillside to guide me to getting up to the right height. Could see the bag on the other side of the gully as I approached the gully (and passed Jennifer as I crossed). Execute the leg well, but only 8th fastest as I lost some time to stronger runners (e.g., Gavin, Penny).
#8. Didn't realize I'd made a mistake on this leg until well after the event. Thought I'd crossed the final reentrant on the foot path just below (3 contours) the control, but I actually crossed on the much shorter foot path another 4 contours below, and then was very surprised by what a long uphill climb it was to the control. Apparently, I didn't notice when I crossed the upper path, and I never saw the 3-dash-long lower path on the map (hard to pick out with all the other symbols around it - 1:7,500 might have helped). Leaving #7, knew I had to climb some, but didn't realize I needed to climb 5 contours. Told myself to make sure I was above the top end of the gully halfway through, but when I got there and saw the end was a couple of contours above, I didn't let that bother me and just scrambled across where I was. And I guess the patch of trees just below me on the following spur just didn't register. Rounding the spur, saw the path ahead and a bit below (didn't let that bother me either), and noted that it was surprisingly close to the much larger trail below (and didn't let that bother me). Convinced that I was in the right place because after crossing the reentrant and starting to head up, I came to a small patch of rocks, as expected (and because, as mentioned, I was unaware that there was a lower path). Lost 2:00, mostly because I dropped several contours and then had to do a long climb straight up, but also because I kept hesitating going up, trying to fathom why I wasn't already at the bag. 13th fastest (worse rank of the day), 3 mins behind Dave Enger in 2nd.
#9. Wanted to go fast after that long, uphill trudge. But should have taken a more precise bearing, and should have realized at the end I shouldn't be going down, plus I failed to distinguish tree-in-the-sparse-forest from trees mapped as distinct (a very easy thing to fail to do at J.Grant). So, got quickly to the tree I'd had my eye on, looked behind, no bag. Looked around, and there was the bag only about 25m away, but up a contour. Lost about :15, 10th fastest, 15 behind Dave Enger in 3rd.
10. Knew I had to skirt around the right side of the pond below; the hill going down was so steep that I couldn't even glance at the map, so just got to the other side of the pond before working out the rest of the leg. Was going to go to the second trail to avoid some climb, but when I got near the first one, it didn't look bad, so cut that way. Muddy, though, so I climbed the spur. After seeing a control on a boulder in a copse (verifying where I was), rough bearing to the crescent of trees, then kept them on my left, staying up on the spur, and soon spotted the bag. 6th fastest, only 6 seconds (out of 5 minutes) from 3rd.
11. Leave 10 on a bearing, up the hill, looking for the lone tree on a knoll on the hilltop for confirmation. Indeed, there was a bag on a tree on such a knoll, but it appeared to be in the forest, not in the open as the map showed. I realize now that this was just another case of funny J.Grant mapping of lone trees vs white patches, but at the time, it left me a little uncertain as to whether I was in fact in the right place. Plan was to go across the top of the reentrant and then turn down, but my uncertainty grew as I couldn't determine definitively which set of trees was which.Was still running on the contour when something (maybe pace count, maybe seeing the reentrant below, I forget now) made me realize that I had gone far enough and needed to turn down. But I wasn't sure. I stood there for a long time (I estimated 30 seconds) trying to make sure because I didn't want to descend 4 contours only to find out I needed to climb back. Finally, I determined that there was nowhere else nearby that I could be, so I headed down - and within a few steps, I saw the gully and then the bag. It appears that I lost about 1:20, on this leg (11th fastest split), so perhaps I stood on the hillside longer than I thought, though maybe I also lost proceeding cautiously starting with my initial uncertainty about the flag on the knoll on the top of the hill.
12. Angled down into the big reentrant, hitting the bottom at the right edge of the woods on the other side.Walked determinedly up to the top of the spur; from there could see all the way to the top of the hill across the road. Using the trees and the contours to guide me, ran pretty hard across the top of that hill and wound up between the two white patches straddling the red line 70m before the control. Thought for a second that one of the trees might be the one I wanted, but no bag; quick look at the map, realized I needed to get two contours down from the top, so I must be at those aforementioned white patches. Quick bearing, looked up, identified the trees, proceeded directly to the correct one. 7th fastest; probably lost 5 - 10 seconds stopping at the white patches.
13. Could see a wooden bridge below heading in the right direction, and it was in the right place for the path on the map, but couldn't see a bridge on that path on the map, so stood for maybe 10 seconds convincing myself that there were no other possibilities. Headed down, spotted the advertised fence crossing (two strands covered with insulation), across the bridge, on the path until it joined the dirt road, then headed up. Could see the stand of trees from afar, but getting up that last hill was a killer - had to stop and rest two or three times. At least, I planned out the next leg. 9th, mostly because I was so slow up the hill, but probably lost 10 seconds at the beginning.
14. Contoured towards where the road above goes through the saddle, able to run, but zigzagging around tall Scotch Broom bushes. When I saw that it was now flat to my left, cut left to the road, and followed that down to the junction, then up about 100m, to where it flattened out. Cut diagonally through the bushes, and found myself in the rough open between the two patches of hatched green. According to the map, I should have been able to see the control from there, but I couldn't; I suspected the bushes had grown out some. So, just followed along the edge until I did see the flag ahead. Also, Johanna M was coming into the bag from the right, which made me wonder where she was coming from. Later, I saw people's routes on RouteGadget, and they had gone well to the right around the hatched green, which I guess is what she had done, too. Guess I got rewarded for having read the Course Setters Notes, which indicated that one could get through the hatched green :-). Has the fastest time on this leg, by a pretty wide margin (350 to 425 for Steve Haas).
15. Knew I just needed to follow the edge of the bushes, so blasted past Johanna, spotted the skinny lone tree (which nevertheless hid the bag completely) and nailed it. 4th fastest, with only much younger people ahead of me ;-)
16. Straight to the road, bushes on the right were too thick to cut the corner, so just followed the road all the way. Legs shot now, even the slight uphill was too much, had to walk several times., but still 5th fastest.
F. Struggled in, 7th fastest.