Orienteering race 1:40:59  **** 7.87 km (12:50 / km) +290m 10:50 / km
spiked:13/18c shoes: VJ Falcons #1
Surebridge Mountain, Blue. Since I had to get back to Worcester for a ballet performance, I arranged for an early start, which had the fine side effect of getting me out while it was still cool. Did pretty well for the first half of the course, then started making errors in the latter half, none of them huge, but a couple of minutes here, a couple of minutes there, and it adds up. Might have just been getting tired. I heard that Ted Good, who had the same time as me yesterday, was 15 minutes ahead today, so it could well be that although my per km times were essentially the same both days, that today's course was faster, and everybody else will have done much better as well. But I left long before results were posted, so I'll have to wait and see.
This was really a fine meet, on the first nice weekend of the year, and on the north part of Surebridge, which is a truly sweet area that has been underutilized. And for once I managed to mostly keep my act together and turn in decent performances here. I was a bit worried coming into this, because I really haven't been orienteering very much lately, compared to what I used to do, and I felt like I might be really rusty, but it turned out okay.
AOWN report: Approaching the 4th control, I got hawked! I've heard stories about this happening to people over the years, but had never had it happen to me before. I don't know birds well enough to know what kind it was (the stories typically involve goshawks), but it was a reasonably good-sized bird. It was making a repeated squawking noise, and on the first pass it came at me from the front, probably passing about a meter or so over my head. Then it made another pass, coming at me from behind. Never got close enough that I felt like it was threatening to actually hit me, and I was just thinking that it was totally cool. I also had a moment of insight and respect. It's a fairly common experience for hang gliders to circle in the same thermal with hawks, in close proximity, and I'm looking forward to being able to do that someday. But it's one thing to be circling out in the wide open. This bird was in a hemlock forest, maneuvering around trunks and branches, which is way, way cooler than I can ever hope to be.
Yep, looks like the Blue course today was faster. Per km times were on average almost 10% faster, and only three people had slower per km times, while mine was dead even with yesterday, thanks to getting sloppy at the end. Still, I wound up (barely) in the top half of the two-day finishers on Blue, and I think it's been a while since that happened.