|Should I be worried about driving with this guy?|
|Day 1 Red course map.|
The first few meters of the route to CP1 go well, but once I turn into the woods I just assume I will see the flag from the large reentrant I'm descending. It doesn't appear, and I have to backtrack a little uphill to finally spot it. OK, maybe a minute lost, no big deal, onwards! CPs 2, 3, and 4 are back on track and I'm feeling comfortable with the map.
The route to CP5 is pretty direct and the fields no longer freak me out like they did at Possum Trot last year. My initial route to CP6 is kind of wonky, but I recover on a power cut south of the out-of-bounds area, and stay on a cleared trail into CP6, avoiding a lot of crappy boulder piles. I remember this area from Possum Trot and remember that it was difficult for me to stay connected to the map, so after punching CP6 I just try to get out of there as fast as I can. I'm relieved when I hit the field and can cruise into CP7. CP8 is a little tricky since I interpret the map as it being close to the stream, when really it's on the vegetation boundary. There are also a ton of people in this area, all on different courses, which distracts me. I spot a nearby control, but after checking the code, I know it's not mine, so reattack CP8 from the east and finally spot it. Then it's time to play route choice!
The leg to CP9 could be taken directly over the hilltop, or around on the rock berm + trail. I decide to go direct because, well, I'm feeling confident. Turns out I drift a little too far east and hit my attackpoint trail about 50m too fa leftr. Luckily, there is a big junction there, so I can relocate easily and backtrack to the control. I get back on the trail to avoid the rock faces en route to CP10, and then contour up the subtle reentrant to find the control in a shallow ditch. CPs 11 and 12 are very manageable, and my route to CP13 is flawless (to me). This makes me a little over-confident (a classic Emily error) and I decide to include a little contouring in my route to CP14. However, I don't pay enough attention to my compass and get sucked into an early reentrant. It takes me a little bit to figure things out, but eventually I'm back on the trail to CP14 and punch it. CP15 goes well and then it's a horse race to CPs 16 and 17 (the go control). I finish up pleased with my run, not overjoyed but not crestfallen, and start to check out the results.
After hanging out at the HQ for a while and hearing stories from my friends' days in the woods, it's time to head back to the hotel to clean up. To kill some time between now and the SLOC dinner, David and I decided to talk through our respective route choices because we ran the same course. I can't even tell you how helpful this session was to me. I was struck by how many times David said "here I just took the safe route" and "I just went redline to that control". It's a huge revelation to me that one of the fastest orienteers isn't taking fancy routes. He's just executing without any mistakes, and then using his exceptional running fitness and agility in the woods to gain time on his competitors. In the past I've been focused on finding "clever" routes to controls and then trying to run really fast when I'm on a trail or road. This usually leads me to outrunning my navigational competence, which leads to mistakes. What if I tried to just take the safe route every time, and didn't make any mistakes? Would that be faster? Lucky for me, I'll be running another red course tomorrow (Sunday) so I'll have a chance to test out this strategy. Stay tuned for the results!! Pin It