O Log - More from Maine

[29-Sep-04] 

    Here is my Maine A Meet '04, M21 Day 1 map.

    Day 1

    This was a high quality meet. Only real complaint is the usual suspect, WT too low on the classic day; well below the low end of the range (the good news is that others are whining for 90 WT classic now, so hopefully we'll get it before I'm relegated to trail O). I mean, we do have WOC and WC people going to these races; why am I one of the few looking for a 90 or more WT classic?

    Anyway, the map was small, and they did fit in a fun course with some route choice possibilities, but also some dead running, which effectively shortened the race further. I really did enjoy the course, I just like to get the usual out of the way early. Note that the contour interval on the map is 3m.

    The terrain was thickish, the vis was poor, as was the footing in alot of places (swamp, moss, and rock). There was hidden deadfall and unpleasant slash and thorny rough open. Despite this, I didn't find the forest unpleasant, just difficult at times. I felt the white was some shade of green, but that the green, especially the darker stuff, wasn't much thicker than the white. The green was visibly worse, but runnability wasn't too much worse (hence being happy with my RC on #19). Veg transitions were obvious and seemed correct. I felt the map was fine in terms of rock, contours, and water, tho I felt the declination was off by about 5 degrees.

    I certainly didn't have a bad race, but I'm not sure I had a good race either. This time last year I would have called it a great race, but this year it seemed like an under achievement. I feel I've improved. With tough vis, mobility, footing, and tricky contours and route choice, I should be fairly happy with the ~9min/k and 4 minutes behind Eddie, but I didn't have my A speed, and I screwed up 3 of the first 4 controls. Fortunately all minor damage, tho. #1 and #4 were out of sync in route execution, #3 was a parallel error despite warning myself 10 ways from Sunday to look for parallel errors on the leg. I made one I did not anticipate, had no idea where I was, but found the feature on the way to safety bailing. One thing that is interesting about the experience on leg 3 is that I had no idea where I was, but when it was over, was able to know exactly where I was and reconstruct the route. Why can't I do that in the forest at the time?

    #11 is a mystery as to how I boomed it, right off the big rock, and the route choice on #17 seems a bit dubious in retrospect, but just pennies lost on these. I guess I'll rate it as a decent race, tho I feel I should have been -2 min on error, and -2 on speed/RC. When an under achievement is better than a year ago, you can be somewhat happy. The perfect, fast race still awaits me.

    Relay Champs

    We were the defending champs, and I felt favored to win this year. I felt we had the best team on paper, but wasn't sure about injuries or fitness of everyone else. I thought and expected to win.

    My game plan was to run hard rather than a conservative race, yet always keep the pack in sight for safety. Unfortunately, it was a sprinter's course, and again I did not have my A speed. I think I would have been able to take a bit of a lead had the race been in the forest or forked, but the sprint/park/trail terrain was a disadvantage to my relative slowness and de-emphasis of navigation. But who knows -- more accurately I'm just over analyzing as usual and don't have a clue.

    I was unable to pass Snorkel and AY on the first part of the first leg, and I felt I should have been able to. AY was the mapper, and his speed is in my range, but I felt faster than Snorkel two years ago in Vermont. Either he has trained more, or I've slowed down, or both. I guess the intervals haven't worked as well as I thought they would.

    I eventually passed them when we got in the forest on the way to #6, but then proceeded to boom #7 by losing track of the trails. On the fast, easy course, the 30 second boom was fatal; I eventually passed Snorkel again, but came in 20 seconds behind AY. (I believe I tagged off in second place, but they listed me a second back. In any case, Snorkel ran me down good in the chute, and I wasn't dogging it; I'm just slow). I ran about 6 min/k. So after the first leg, we were tied for second with OK, about 20 seconds behind HVO. Other teams seemed off the radar.

    Our leg 2 runner, Hunter, had one of the best races of his life (his words), and pulled us into first, 25 seconds ahead of HVO, and about 3.5 minutes ahead of OK, the next eligible team. It looked like it would be between us and HVO. We were a good 8 minutes ahead of CSU.

    Greg B. and Sergei P went basically out together on leg 3, and came back basically together (Sergei came back with HVO 15 seconds in the lead after leg 3). SVO actually came back in third, about 4 minutes back, with OK a couple of seconds behind them in 4th. Boris made up about 3.5 minutes for CSU, leaving them in 6th, still about 4.5 minutes back.

    Leg 4 was short, like all the legs, less than 6K in the park/trail terrain. The race seemed to be between our anchor Sergei Z., and HVO's John F., one of the top juniors; John with a 15 second lead. With such a short course left, it didn't seem like anyone else was in the picture, tho I was a bit worried about Eddie (SVO) and Mook (OK) basically going out together.

    At the halfway radio control, they announced us about 90-120 seconds ahead of HVO. I felt pretty good about things, but it was not to be. Will Hawkins of CSU came into the warning control about 15 seconds ahead of Sergei, and that was the margin of victory. It was an incredible run by Will, making up that sort of time on such a course.

    I guess you had to be there, it was alot easier to spectate than write about. In any case, congrats to CSU. Same order as 2 years ago in Vermont: CSU, DVOA, HVO. Eddie made up ground for SVO, finishing only about 40 seconds from the podium. Oh well, we are dethroned, but there is always next year. Two silvers and a gold in three years isn't too bad. Way to pick your teammates ...

    We lost by 15 seconds, and I blew 30 on my run, but for some reason I don't feel all that bad about it. I think I should feel worse, and perhaps I will later. I really think I should have brought us in at least 30 seconds in the lead, and perhaps it would not have mattered. OTOH, everything would have been different, so who is to say. Disappointing yes, but still fun.

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