O Log - US Champs '04

[18-Oct-04] 

    Here is my US Champs '04, Cable WI, M21 Day 1 map.

    Here is my US Champs '04, Cable WI, M21 Day 2 map.

    This was a good meet. Fall colors were spectacular, tho it was a bit chilly. Terrain was fantastic to run thru. The mapping was simplified -- in particular a lot of contour detail was left off. This made the simplification process easier (at least for me) as big features in terrain lined up pretty easy with big features on map, and small features could be ignored, so despite the complexity of the terrain, I found the orienteering quite easy at near-max speed, especially given the amount of trail running involved. I think we really didn't have to simplify, the mapper did it for us. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not -- I'm not saying that the map was "dumbed down", but it may be an interesting topic for those more knowledgeable of these matters to explore someday (especially those who where there in '83). I do feel the course setter could have made it tougher, especially on day 1 were the veg could be used to simplify to orange, when a placement 200m away would have been more challenging. Also, trails were much more in play than suits my style -- from what little I know, this also seems to be a trend in classic distance course setting -- again not sure if this is a dumbing down or more weighting of physical vs navigational or not, or just random variation in course setting style. (These thoughts are incomplete and for another day -- I certainly thought the orienteering was fun, especially on day 2).

    Day 1 woods seemed slowish, day 2 seemed faster, perhaps that was because of more of a wet chill snow kinda day on day 1 (wet, fallen leaves). Despite what I felt was easy orienteering, I was not clean, making about 5 minutes of mistakes over the two days. This was regrettable, but it did not cost me a place. There were really three problem controls -- day 1, #5 (poor viz, did not like map (extra depression lead to parallel error), day 2 #7 (parallel error en route, distracted by others), day 2 #9 (parallel error on attack, distracted by others). I guess that all adds up to about 2 to 3 minutes a day. Some of my routes were a bit sloppy, especially at the end of day 1, but nothing serious.

    As to the route choice leg #3 on day 2, I was happy with my route, I feel it was the best given my skills (fast in forest/map reading relative to slow trail running); the course setter thought a trail system right route might be best, while some runners with good times took trail system left. I think I had a good split on this leg, but the point was made that more of the trail running lead to more ability to read ahead and not get burnt out physically. The latter two generally don't affect me too much (at least not in the short US races) so I was ok with the more intense straight route.

    I just barely made my goal (top 10 US citizen/resident), a comedown from last year's 7th, tho last year was a bit odd. I certainly ran better this year, but so did the field. I feel I should have been 9th, but don't feel I could have been as the cards sat; navigation didn't take me out a place, but slow running on day 1 may have. Not sure why I was so slow, probably simply the cold. I tried to run fast, anyway.

    I'll mark my performance as moderately successful -- certainly not an underachievement, but certainly not optimal either -- somewhere between mediocre and good.

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