Orienteering race 1:59:30  *** 14.4 km (8:18 / km) +280m 7:34 / km
Minnegoat on the new MLK map. A little cloudy and wet from the morning rain at the start. The pack blew up as many people (including me, and Steven, the eventual winner) made mistakes going into #2. By the time I left 3 I was alone in the woods and was able to settle down and concentrate, all the better since I starting really "feeling" the map and terrain right around that point. I only ran into a couple other people for the whole rest of the course - Andrei near 5, Kevin near 6-8 and I saw Swampfox coming back from the 7-8 dogleg on the second loop.
So it was two loops, one skip, with a map exchange at the trail center. I saved my skip for the second loop and was happy to find myself in 3rd place at the exchange. I correctly assumed the leaders to be Steven and Mikell. Tom and Andrei had both made mistakes, and those two were my main competitive concern, although there were a couple of other Canadian runners I didn't know. I neglected to pick up my Snickers bar (which nearly turned out to be a Bad Thing), and headed out for the longer 2nd loop. I kind of lost steam heading to #9, but chose #12 for my skip and had an easy trail/road run from 11-13. The climb out of the depression cashed out my legs for good and I had to only trot the rest of the way in, but it didn't matter. I ended up carving out a good space, 15 minutes behind the leaders but 10 minutes in from of 4th place.
Excellent map and excellent course. It's like Ripley with more marshes, but the forests are the same - a birch-aspen mix with large swathes of sugar maple, all very open beneath, with only a little deadfall and saplings in some areas.
It just occurred to me: late spring of this year was officially the 10 year anniversary of my first ever orienteering race (Afton, May? 2001). I was advised to do the yellow course first, which I did. Then I came back and did the brown course. In jeans.
After today's race - and good results on difficult terrain in the last couple years - I think I just might, maybe, finally be starting to "get it".