O Log - French Creek Mini-Rogaine

[23-Jun-03] 

    Eddie and I won the 8 hour French Creek Mini-Rogaine on Saturday. I need to write some notes for future reference. This was my first rogaine-like race were I thought our team should win, and only my third in any case. I don't have alot of experience, so I need to capture some details.

    • We found all the controls in 7:29. No other team found all the controls. TGFQ would have but for a large error. I think they estimate 25 min of error, so it would have been a close race.

    • I carried a camelbak with 1.5L. Drank about .75L. Temp about 60 and wet/rainy. Never wore a camelbak before and was worried about it. Did a trial trail run before the race with it full, with no probs, but in the race, it kept loosening and there was no way to keep it tight. Eddie brought pins along, so I was able to use those to fasten the straps, and the problem went away. But it cost us time in the beginning as I had to keep tightening it. In the future, need to solve this problem effectively before the race. Also, right strap rubbed against my neck/shoulder for the whole race leaving a nasty injury. No in-race solution presented itself, so I sucked it down and lived with it. Need a solution to this pre-race next time as well.

    • Biggest pre-race decision was O-shoes vs trail running shoes. Went with the O shoes and was happy with it. Planned on using the trail shoes, but it had been raining straight for a month, and I thought the studded O shoes would play better on the rocky, wet terrain. Also, realised the course would not lend itself to alot of road running (and was right). Socks -- went with cotton over neoprene, despite the wet weather. I like neoprene in the cold, but they slosh too much in the wet. Perhaps the ones I have are too big. The cotton socks I used are very thick -- I had a nice tight fit, and no probs despite the soaking conditions.

    • Carried 5 Gu and 1 Clif bar. Carrying the Clif bar was stupid. The Gu worked great, but when I was hungry with 3 controls to go, and nothing but the Clif bar, I said forget it, and paid a bit for this decision. Next time, 6 Gu for 8 hours seems reasonable.

    • I planned the route the night before. I planned a route of 38K, which worked out to a 12min/k pace to get them all. I mean, there are only so many ways you can put 52 controls in FC. I planned doing North first as I think it is the most physical and most technical. I planned doing West last as that map is the newest and I set an A meet there, so I knew its nooks and crannies pretty well. I figured leaving the easiest mental map to last made sense. But when the maps were handed out, it was obvious to leave North last, as there were no valuable controls there, in case we could not get them all. But thinking about it beforehand helped anyway. We measured a rough 35K after the maps were handed out. We did West first as it would be easier to bail off of North or East if we had a time problem. This was a good decision, as West was set more physically than I remembered it being, and it felt good to get this out of the way.

    • We only roughly measured the K on each map, and did not write it down. But I remembered that the west section was 1/2.3 of our total. In the future, it would be better to have explicit, more exact measures and time budgets for each section of the course. When we finished West, I knew we were ahead of schedule based on this memory, so it allowed a risk-free route alteration to get #14 on the North map on the way, which gave us a road run and less K than leaving that control for the end as a possible drop. But it would have been better to have explicit time budgets so we weren't trying to do this math in our heads, and could make the decision with more confidence.

    • I worried a bit about the pace in the beginning. I thought we were going to slow. I set the pace for a while, but preferred Eddie to set it, as he has more experience. I let him set it later. I kept asking if we were going too slow, and he said we were fine. I don't feel we really kicked it in until halfway thru the race. I think the realization that we were ahead of schedule, were going to get them all, and it would be a time race helped my morale. I never felt tired until the very end, because I did not have that 6th GU. We ran all but off-trail uphills and rocks, and one steeper uphill trail that Eddie did not want to run.

    • Navigationally we were pretty strong. I'd say 3 booms for a total of 10 minutes, with one "did not like map" boom, where a control was on a trail, and we never found the trail, even when we were at the bag. I use a fairly liberal definition of boom, meaning seeing the control 10m to the right is not a boom.

      The first was on West in that nasty green area on the edge. We knew it was going to be tough. Eddie argued for a safe choice, I argued for aggressive, I won the argument, and we boomed it. My fault. We relocated fairly well, but still lucked into the control. 2 min lost.

      The second was a shortish leg on East, were I could not see the whole leg due to a map fold. Folding the map was expensive time wise -- out of the waterproof bag -- get it flat, back in keep it dry, tape it up, smooth it out, etc., I didn't want to pay this cost for one leg. I said I wasn't reading this leg and Eddie said he had it, but he boomed. I should have taken the time to fold the map. I knew we were long, and I recovered, 1 min lost. Team fault.

      The last was about 6 minutes on North, a very tough side hilling leg with not much to read. We contoured, and I thought we were dropping too much. The plan was to attack off the trail, using one of the ditches by the side -- there were one ditch systems, and three ditch systems, and distinguishing green. We found a 2 ditch system in the green. It was not on the map. I argued to go for it, we'll find some of the distinct boulders. Eddie wanted to play safe, climb some lines and find the trail bend. My stupidity cost us 6 minutes. In an O race, I still might be aggressive and take the chance, in this race, late, figuring to have it won, it was stupid not to pay a minute to get the solid attack point. Eddie was very gracious about it, which was nice. I think part of it was that all the bags were hung so high, and were so visible, for so far, I thought we were being penalized for precise navigation thru the whole race over teams which just ran in there and looked for the bag (I had one team in mind in particular who I thought might adopt this style, and who I thought was a risk to challenge us -- so it was one pre race strategy thought vs another. Perhaps it should have dawned on me that our precise navigation thru the whole race was making those bags always be there, plump and visible).

    • The key to winning a rogaine is getting the right partner. I could not imagine a more competent, better prepared, and talented partner than Eddie. I think we worked pretty well. We agreed pretty much on everything, from strategy, route planning, to the navigational strategy on each leg, with a few exceptions. But no grumbling.

    • Total straight line measure: 35.6K; Total time: 449min; T/K: 12.61. I regret not taking splits on each loop, for future reference of the effect of losing speed later in the race. Eddie has e-punch splits, but I don't know how good they are as Eddie didn't clear is card before the race. Amazingly, the software dealt with this fact and was very close on our score.

    • As I write, two days later -- quads sore, and oddly, triceps sore. Everything else seems fine. Would do light run today but don't have time. Feel the need to, tho. Don't know about the triceps being sore, that seems odd and indication of energy waste in biomechanics. The maps weren't that heavy.

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