O Log - Team Trials

[29-May-03] 

    Here is the Day 2 classic distance with routes.

    I guess I should write something about the team trials. First of all, congrats to the people who made the team!

    I didn't have a chance to make the team, of course, but my goal was to not be a total duffer. I was a total duffer on day 1 on the technical Surebridge map, losing 12 minutes on the 11th control. I'm not a very good technical orienteer, and not particularly good at damage control. But there is no excuse for losing 12 minutes. Should have lost 2 or 3 minutes. Definite panic when I could not find the stream that was the obvious catching feature on the leg. I guess I should look at the positives -- I spiked most of the controls, including 6 of the first 8, and #7 which gave alot of people alot of trouble. I think I was moving sub 11 min/k up to that point, not too bad considering the wet rock and overall physical and technical terrain. I had some trouble with #9, distracted by others. We have to figure a way to get training on technical maps. I think I may have been overconfident, having run the model at about 8.5min/k.

    Day 2 was a bit better. I didn't have a good run, but placed higher than I expected to, beating some people I didn't expect to considering the lousy run.

    I had a really bad plan to get to leg 2, and executed it even worse. I wanted to finess thru the green rather than take the longer, but whiter and more obvious route around. I've never quantified it before, but when J-J caught me at #2, having started 6 minutes behind, I realised it was possible to lose 6 minutes on route choice! That was more than I lost on booms the whole rest of the course. I always figured route choice was about 1-2 minutes at most at stake. Good learning experience. I guess my estimates didn't account for stupidity. I also didn't know how bad the green was.

    I had execution problems on #3, then #4, then boomed #5. But then I pulled it together and had a pretty good race from then on, with only a slight boom on #14. I wish I knew why it all clicked into place. Was the latter part of the course easier?

    There were a couple of interesting things that happened. Eric Bone caught me about 200m from #7. I managed to stay with him almost to #8. But we took different routes at many points and I was definitely playing my own game. But what is weird is that I felt physically I could stay with him, at least for a decent while, more than a minute or two. It was only until we took different routes to attack 8 that I lost him, and it wasn't because he outran me. I lost him because when running with others, you are pushed (or was his route better?). I can't push myself when running alone in the forest. But I felt I could run even faster. Just not and maintain contact.

    On the long sidehill run to #15, I was just behind Syd. We were on the indistinct trail that runs along there. I was counting what I called the terrace-like spur things along the way. Syd hesitated about 200m before the control and looked like he was going to go down the hill. He thought we were there. That would have been a disaster for him. I knew we were short and almost yelled out "you're short -- keep going". But I didn't. He figured it out and nailed the control.

    It brings up an interesting dilemma, though. Syd missed making the team by about 4 seconds. The fact that he was so close caused me to think about something I otherwise would have long forgotten.

    If I helped, could he have saved those 4 seconds in hesitation? I don't think so in this case, but that's not really the point. Are we obliged to keep our mouths shut in a situation like this? I'm sure glad I did -- I possibly should not have even been on the course, so the fact that I could have had an effect on the outcome is scary. OTOH, when you see someone about to make a boom, and you're not really directly competing with them, rooting for the best to do well, part of human nature says you should be nice and not let them get in trouble. It would have made me feel good, and helped him, to save him from the potential boom. But it would have been wrong, unfair to everyone else.

    So I've been thinking about this for the past week. I guess silence is always the best policy, no exceptions (except in a goat or for newbies). But then perhaps people could get angry at me for knowingly letting them get in trouble. Syd would not do that, but some stranger in some race somewhere could. I guess that's tough tomatoes. I guess this is why I suck, I'm always thinking of the wrong things. But for whatever reason, I find this situation not black and white.

    Anyway, it was a fantastic weekend of races, much higher quality than many races that have been "sanctioned" in the past.

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