Here is my Oak Mountain Middle WRE '04, M21 Day 1 map.
It was suggested that someone write about their Alabama races, routes and
notes and the like. I'll write about day 1, which was a solid, tho slowish
race. Middle distance -- 42:40 for 4790m, 345m of climb.
S to 1 (2:38)
I considered the trail and a straight route. I went straight because I
prefer to take lines at an angle if possible, the woods were open and
fast, and the differential between my forest and trail running speed
isn't particularly great. The reentrant before the control made
both routes equally safe.
1 to 2 (1:25)
This looked like a risk free leg, and I didn't consider much other than
just running there. I recognized the potential for parallel error, but it
would obviously be hard to drop 3 lines and not notice it. I did manage
to get a line high tho, and obviously lost some time; just proves you need
to concentrate 100% on every leg, no matter how easy looking.
2 to 3 (4:26)
I considered two routes, the route I took and road to valley and up around.
The negative I saw in the latter route was that the running in stream valleys
can either be soft, rocky, or both, and while I knew it would be painful to
take on that first hill, my route offered good running and an easy read
into the bag. I did take the hill at a bit of an angle. I don't have alot
of confidence that my route was the fastest, but I felt it was risk-free.
3 to 4 (2:46)
I'm spooked by flatish areas, and parallel error possibilities, and it
appeared that this leg was risky in both regards. I took this leg a bit
cautiously, and I think the split shows it.
4 to 5 (1:23)
Control in a big, distinct feature (the slash) bounded by the big hill allowed
for aggressive run of the leg, which I took advantage of, picking up the two
reentrants on the right on the way.
5 to 6 (3:03)
Plan was to drop into the big valley and use the excellent visibility to
locate the reentrant, which was both the middle one, and largest one.
Unfortunately, I lost focus, possibly from running too hard to 5, and got
on the wrong side of the intermediate ridge, losing possibly 20 seconds.
This was possibly the worst blunder of the race.
6 to 7 (1:15)
The two thoughts on this leg were to either run the flat area north of the
watercourse, or get over onto the hillside and follow the line into the
reentrant, then the bag. Given the visibility, I was confident I'd see
one or both of those features from the flat area, and thus took advantage
of the faster running, where there was faint old road bed. Alot of thought
for a gain of possibly a few seconds, but that's what its all about.
7 to 8 (2:44)
Again not wanting to take lines straight on, or go too far out of the way,
I sort of sidehilled along the first hill, then slowed down to make sure I
didn't make a parallel error on the reentrants. Part of my technique is to
analyze a leg for parallel error risk, and consciously work to avoid them.
While the risk seems to appear slight, I've made this sort of error on this
sort of leg before.
8 to 9 (7:43)
A best route for this leg didn't leap out at me, which to me means good course
setting. Up to now, the course had seemed both mentally and physically
and I had not had a chance to read ahead (perhaps a trail run on the first leg
was warranted after all ...).
I was able to rule out any rightish routes pretty quickly -- all seemed to
have more ridges in the way than simply going straight. I looked at the road,
but wasn't convinced, given the considerable distance from the road to the
bag, thru terrain where the navigation didn't look trivial. One of my criteria
for road runs that go out of the way is that they also simplify the navigation.
I figured a left of line route that might have less lines than straight, (or
at least less stacked), made the most sense, since the navigation was going
to be less than trivial whichever route I took.
9 to 10 (1:28)
This was another just go there leg. I didn't notice much risk.
10 to 11 (2:51)
I made it a point to glance for #11 on the way to #9. This leg was easy to
simplify by using the valley. I noted the minor risk of parallel error at
11 to 12 (3:17)
This leg also seemed low risk, and seemed more a question of drop into the
valley or go around on the trail. I wasn't happy to give up lines to later
climb, and wasn't happy to run a valley when a trail option existed, but
the trail looked too hilly, windy, and out of the way.
12 to 13 (4:06)
I didn't have a feel for the best way to do this leg either, but I wanted
to keep moving, so I again took the lines at an angle, and ended up with a
bit of an S route. At this stage of the race, I don't feel I could have
taken them straight on, and kept up a decent pace.
13 to 14 (1:33)
Looking this leg over, it looks potentially high risk. This is the kind of leg
where, if you are not careful, you can end up a line or two high, or worse,
low, and not really be sure where you are, with mobility and relocation
along the side of the hill being potentially costly.
I considered going back up to the ridge and down, or straight. Back up to the
ridge would be good if that option offered a way to reduce the risk, but
it didn't; in fact, it looked worse. Not only that, it was not trivial
physically to get back up there.
I didn't have the greatest strategy to force success, except cheat a little
bit high, and hope the visibility would offer a view of the riverbed, the
other dot knolls, and the ripples on the hillside, and I did end up with
enough information to spike the control.
14 to 15 (1:39)
I considered all trails, and thru the green. I was tired. Thru the green
was probably going to be faster, and I think it was.