Orienteering race 3:55:25  *** 14.56 km (16:10 / km) +475m 13:54 / km
13c shoes: Integrator
Ultra-Long Red-X at Rattlesnake, writeup delayed while I pushed other things back into order after getting away T-F to the 1000 islands and then spending the weekend orienteering...
Off the bat the 1st control was showing me that things were farther than I was reading... I was distracted a bit with an early re-entrant, but got over that fairly quickly.
2nd control was a long ways off, but I think I held my own. Exited to the road at the wrong field but quickly identified that after I didn't find the pond in the woods behind it - and backtracked to get re-adjusted. Felt good about locating the flag the 300m into that woods.
Thought I was ok on the way to 3, but saw the road to my right and jumped right out - to the first water station. This was a good place to drink and reset for the trip into 3 and right back out.
So I was feeling good on my way to 4 - it was similar to the route from 1 to 2, and I wanted to reach the other side of the stream and flow down...
Unfortunately, this was where the bubble burst... I thought I had traveled most of the way and was looking to hone in - and noticed the dotted line - gads - a vegetation boundary - but crud - I was already in the pine trees! when had they started? I better get back to figure this out... So I backtracked vigorously...
And after a bit met several others coming down the stream just like I had - rather vigorously themselves...
The vegetation was the other side of the pine trees... 'doh...-)
So - I turned around again. I then struggled with where exactly I was in the very long up-from-the-stream section. I believe I was looking for the control in the major re-entrant West of 4 before pressing on saying "I better go till I definitely see non-pine trees. Then when I arrived there, I had trouble again - to the point of not knowing how I could relocate...
So I said - at the very worst, I'll hit the stream and pond to the south, so I headed that way - and dropped down to the control. Splits show this was a good 12+ minute error, and it took some of my energy away.
Think I did well to shake it off on the way to 5 thought - I went around the greeny areas countouting to the right around the hills. Crossed the dry streams and headed up the second to the control. Came right back down the crease to the water stop.
Decided it would be prudent to take the road left a bit and then cut across to the road running under the hill before 6. Set a bearing to cut diagonally up the hill aiming at the space between the greens at the top. Hit that trail there, and then took a good line off the tail end of that green (with a trial bend) right into 6 - that climb settled me right back into things.
My plan had been to return to the road, but as I started back up a bit I realized I ought to be able to walk the forest as easily and cut some distance. - So I went parallel and cut into the clearing .
This took me to the nice trail most of the way to 7 - and I was able to run effectively. I went all the way to the pine line and fallen tree zone to cut along that boundary. Came out into the open re-entrant area and was zeroing in on the control when a small branch wiped across my face - ouch...
Followed by a sting as the sweat entered my right eye... followed by blinking and a cupping motion as I tried to figure out if my contact was now in or out...
a good couple minutes of recover later I confirmed that sure enough, I was now one-eyed...
I was able to continue to 7, and decided that I could stay in.
My left eye has low peripheral vision due to a detached retina, and it was awkward for a while - guess I do rely on the right a lot. My pace slowed to a vigorous walk unless it was a clear trail. I found I was holding the map inches from my right eye to get a good look at it. (which oddly enough was effective...-)
In the immediate time after 7, I thought it best to just try to go north and get to the road. I see now a more NW route would have been better for me. The North way was cluttered and a fight - but I got to the road.
I passed the three fields and headed into the third, angling NW to the green and then sliding down it. The path was clear and a great entry to 8.
9 was relatively easy and another water stop.
Easy decision to avoid the woods on the way to 10 - I took the long uphill road, but didn't have to worry about tripping. Planned all the other legs on the walk. Some were able to jog past me on that leg - good for them;-)
The last 400m to 10 went just about as I had planned, thought I met a horse group and showed them that we were all over. They appreciated the heads-up and their guide seemed to know what we were doing.
After the bad experience on 4, and the very long open walk to 10, I decided to pop West for water - and snacks at the aid station. This let me start again at the very same trail out of the field.
I descended the largish spur structure and instinct said - hey you're too close to the stream at about the right time - I headed inland and found the control.
The one plan I struggled with was 11 to 12 - how to get across that wasteland in the center. I wanted to attack 12 from the trail up the south side of the hill, but I thought right was better through the green.
In the end I decided I could push through if I got to the pond directly on line... unfortunately it wasn't that sort of pond, more of a fade into the muck and brush. When I got there (and I think I did), I saw there was no way through, so I followed the edge of the green looking for an opportunity.
That opportunity came when I reached the pond to the far SW - yikes!-)
Well - at least I knew where I was - and 12 followed without much more issue.
13 would have been fine except I think I let myself get side-tracked by another competitor. I angled to and found "the field" - woo-hoo.... except after crossing too much of it, I realized it was the field next to the field I wanted. And those pine trees separating them were not fun after 3 hours...
When I was working well in the first portion (with both eyes), the one thing I realized was that I was using my compass much more effectively than I might normally. I'll take that away.
The event was a bear, but I'm glad to have completed it.