Orienteering race 17:35:47  48.54 mi (21:45 / mi) +1119m 20:18 / mi
70c shoes: Speedcross 4 - Black
Dogman 18h Rogaine – Solo (Topo the Mountain)
Finished 1st OA! :)
Kevin and I were planning to race this together, but a few days before the race he came down with a stomach bug. He was feeling mostly better by Friday afternoon, but we decided it was better for him to drop to the 8 h and I would do the 18 h solo. It would be my longest solo race to date, and my first solo overnight race, so I was a little nervous going in.
We drove up to Michigan Friday afternoon and arrived at Camp Munhacke around 7 p.m. I checked in, ate dinner and got my gear together. Maps were handed out at 8:30 p.m. We received 3 maps that would take us from the start to the TA. At the TA we would receive the final 2 maps that would connect the TA to the finish. I planned a route to clear the first 3 maps on the chance the entire course was clearable. We hopped on a bus at 11:00 p.m. that transported us to the start location. I tried to close my eyes on the ride, but I was too excited. Once we arrived at a dirt parking lot everyone hiked up a short hill to start at an observation deck. Angel played some music and at midnight we took off!
At the first control (CP 38) each person picked up a small map that showed the location of 3 nearby controls that were not printed on the master map. It was an attempt to break up the field, but I just had a train of people following me to each control location. I don’t really like being followed, so at that point I decided to pick up the pace for an hour or so to lose people. It worked. My navigation was solid and by the time I reached the middle of map 1 Greg was the only person still tagging along with me. Map 1 went smoothly and I reached the end around 2 a.m., which was right on my time estimate.
Map 2 was significantly farther to clear. I decided to keep the pace conservative as I had a long ways to go and I really didn’t want to be lost alone in the woods at night. My first mistake was on 75. I checked off the small gully on the way in, but I think I drifted too far E and missed the gully I wanted. Saw Tony and Richard both wandering around in here. I wandered for a bit and then headed back to the first gully to reattack. Found it no problem. I was worried about 80, but I took a bearing from the N trail bend and hit it right on. Stopped at 40 to flip maps and check my water – it was still pretty full so I didn’t refill. At this point I realized my math was way off on my time estimates. I had thought to be at the end of map 2 at 6 a.m., but it was 5:50 a.m. and I was only at 40. At this point I could either drop 3 CPs (59, 83, 51) and finish map 2 close to my estimate, or stick to the plan. I decided to just go for it. I was feeling good, so I started doing a little more running. I ran into Tony on the trail to 83 and we were together for a few CPs. I had some trouble with 57. The fields didn’t really match, I had a hunch that maybe I was too far E and stumbled on the control as I was wandering W. It started to get light around here and I finished up map 2 around 8 a.m.
Map 3 looked like some tricky navigation to start and then a lot of trail running. Mistake on the first control. Tony and I were together heading in to 70. I cut in from the depressions near the trail, but stumbled across a couple of cairns in the woods and thought that maybe I had gone too far. So I stopped and backtracked. Wandered for a while before convincing myself I had been in the right place. Went back and if I had just walked 10 feet farther the first time I would have seen the flag. Ugh. Lost Tony during the course of relocating and headed off on my own for a while. The rest of the S section went smoothly. My new time goal for hitting the TA was 10:30 a.m. and to do that I needed to move through the rest of map 3. I was feeling great so decided to start trotting all the trails/roads through the TA. Cruised through the NW portion of the map. I saw Tony heading in as I was heading back out, so I knew I had a decent lead over him. Also saw Brenda on the road. I stopped at 61 to refill my water. Ran into Richard at 50 and then 47. It looked like an easy shot from 47 S to a trail to the TA, but it nearly turned into a disaster. The trail didn’t really exist, but I was following some faint trail that seemed fine so I wasn’t really paying attention to my compass. And by the time I realized that the trail was not doing what it should I didn’t really have any idea where I was. I took off in a SE direction and just hoped I would hit the trail I wanted. It seemed like it took forever, but I finally hit the correct trail. Whew. It sounds like a lot of people had trouble in here. Grabbed 42 and made it to the TA at 10:45 a.m.
I was the first person to reach the TA that had cleared the first 3 maps, so that was a good boost. Stopped to change, eat and restock on food. I got the last 2 maps and quickly planned a route that hit all the CPs. It did not look like I would clear at this point, but I was feeling great so figured I would keep running for as long as I could and see what happened.
The S section of map 4 went smoothly. I met Rick Waldo around 165 and we were together for a few controls. After 141 the trail crossed a swamp and I didn’t see a bridge anywhere. So I waded across the swamp, thigh deep in muck that wanted to keep my shoes. And doesn’t Rick come trotting around on the trail without a drop of mud on him and tell me that there was a bridge right over there. Ha. We split ways at 179 since he was only doing the 8 h and had already gotten all of the CPs I had left on map 4. I had just cut into the woods to head to 173 when I heard the wind kick up. I looked out W across a field and could see a wall of rain/snow coming at me. :( I huddled behind a tree and put on all the warm clothes that I had with me. A minute later it started pouring and hailing/snowing. Lovely. My motivation definitely dropped at that point. I was still moving pretty well, but I was starting to run out of energy and my trot was reduced to more of a shuffle. I had some trouble with 149. The trails didn’t really make sense and I had to bash through some terrible green, but then I popped out on a trail and the CP was right there. I could barely move fast enough to keep warm so at this point I decided to head back to the finish and see if I could access my TA bag. If I could then I would bundle up and head back out, but if not I would just call it a day. I left 143 to grab at the end if I had the time/motivation. It was around 2:30 p.m. when I made it back to Camp Munhacke.
Steve and Angel were nice enough to allow me to access my bag. I stopped to warm up and then put on all the warm clothes I had (a long sleeve, 2 jackets, a buff, a hat and waterproof gloves). I headed back out to do some of map 5. There was no way I was going to clear the course at this point so my plan was to head E and see how far I got. I was moving pretty slowly by now. I could still shuffle on trails, but in the woods I was so slow. My mind was also really foggy and making any sense of the map was extremely difficult. I made it out to 164 and decided it was time to head back. I went for 162 on the return trip and had some major struggles. I was perfectly on track when I suddenly decided that I had gone too far and needed to turn around. I don’t know what I was thinking. Wandered around for a while and then decided I had indeed been heading the right way. Found the control shortly after. I had the time, so I grabbed 143 and headed to the finish.
Really happy with this race. Physically, I felt great for ~15 h. I was able to trot on trails/roads for a majority of the race. My feet held up really well, I only had 1 blister and they never hurt as bad as they did at CNYO. The cold weather at the end was tough, I’m very happy I was able to access my bag and add more layers – otherwise I probably would have been wearing my emergency blanket. The course was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the navigation. A big thank you to Lost Arrow Sports!