orienteering race (Gumble Pinnacles) 1:37:58  5.7 km (17:11 / km) +245m 14:09 / km
shoes: Inov8 ORoc 280
Last time I ran on the southern part of Gumble was the 2007 Christmas 5-Days, when the international juniors all came out to Aust to compete 6 months before JWOC in Dubbo, and while Susanne & Lachlan & I all have slightly different recollections of that week spent in The House With The Bouncy Carpet, we'd none of us recalled the terrain being *quite* this tough. As Blair said, even Kangaroo Crossing is more runnable! The organisers had mentioned in the Easter event info that courses were planned under drought conditions and there is now more vegetation - but runnability is now about 20% slower than in 2007 I'd say, and these courses were set on the long side already...
Was glad to have an early start before it got warm but at 9am there seemed to be almost nobody apart from me and the spiders out in the forest; don't know how much time I spent pulling the webs off my face and apologising to the occupants! Took the first few controls veeerrry carefully because there's not much to relocate off in low-vis native pines which grow so thickly together that you can hardly get between them. Was a little low on my 4th control but saw Mace leaving it (and yes, this is one which could probably have had water placed at it without too much difficulty) and then we started off on a looonng leg to the SW in roughly similar directions although she was a bit to my right when we crossed the creek and I didn't see her after that (she was on W35 course).
My plan, such as it was, involved heading SW up to a comparatively open ridgeline and then S down a spur running off it, but I was so focused on going up - which seemed to take forever - that I didn't take the time to make the features I passed fit properly and so hit the ridgeline rather further north than I'd intended to do. Worked it out ok but that meant I had to go around in a semicircle to get on to the spur I then needed and this was a waste of time - took 3 min longer than Susanne on that leg and Tracy & Belinda did 15-16 compared to my 26 min! Wonder if they actually took the creek or even farmland around to the SE.
Next leg to 6 I somehow ended up deciding to do the massive slog up & over the hill because the approach to the control from going around either end just looked too risky. This meant a very slow descent into the control where Marina (on W40 course) passed me like I was standing still. I have absolutely no mountain-goat genetics, but at least my knees are holding up ok this weekend. Anyway, there were a couple of shorter legs up next which I felt like I did ok - Emily Walter caught up to me here (10 min, as it turned out) but I got away again on the next uphill leg, then it was another slog up to the ridgeline and again I came out too far north and had to bash through bonus extra green before beginning the danger downhill diagonal section which I executed perfectly apart from having difficulty getting down the cliff at the end, and giving Emily a very clear view of exactly where the control was. She must have had trouble on the next couple though because I actually managed to finish before her despite the uphill finish chute. I commented to Susanne who ended up a couple min slower than me - her navigation is cleaner though - that Tracy wouldn't get under 80 for this course, and in fact she did 82, which is a very similar time differential between us, also very similar overall times for both of us, when compared to Wattle Ridge.
Warmdown was taking Heidi around the Mini-Knat string course, which was in itself a bit epic and took her 45 min. Because she's so used to alligator punches in Darwin, the SI stick almost holds secondary interest, but she kept up a great running commentary "First we do the boopa* then we do the punch". Still think I got a better deal than Susanne shadowing Eleanor around the easy course which took E 70 min in the thick stuff. Sus & I were very grateful today, to have retired from elites!