O Log - US Champs '05

[29-Aug-05] 

    Click here for my US Champs, Bend Oregon, M21 Day 1 map.

    Click here for my US Champs, Bend Oregon, M21 Day 2 map.

    Excellent venue, excellent courses and organization, decent map, tho always some quibbles. Some of the forest and some of the views were absolutely spectacular. The rave reviews which no doubt will be coming over the next few days are well-deserved. Only technical quibble would be perhaps both the mapping on the read in and the hang on #15, day 1, was a tad off.

    Altitude was about 2000m, which, fortunately, I didn't feel, except that I felt constantly dehydrated all weekend. I don't think it affected my racing.

    Terrain was fast but viz was cluttered enough to keep it from being trivial. Certainly could be described as a "runners venue", tho there was plenty of pockets of technical interest and route choice problems.

    My races could be described as mediocre to decent, tho certainly overall we left with a feeling of disappointment. Overall placing was 12th, so I am off 2 notches (I guess I can't count on beating Eddie anymore at the US Champs:-)). Lost 1 place due to a pair of large navigational mistakes (about 5 minutes each day), tho core speed puts me in 11th, which was below what I had, perhaps over-ambitiously, hoped for. Core speed was mid 7s - mid 8s, which seems a tad slow for the venue for me.

    I was actually happy with my route choices, and I'm not much of a route choice guy. Only thing I might have done differently was run left on #15, day 2, but I don't feel comfortable running off the map or that close to the edge of it. Given that, I was actually happy with what, on paper, looks like an awkward route. (The slash is actually poor viz pines, but did not compromise runnability). Given the choice of right, I did not want to suck down extra lines.

    As to the errors, #17 day 1 is a tough leg on paper, and worse in the forest. I had been making money reading the white to green changes, so I planned a simplification based on picking up the green, but the change was too vague, the relief too vague, and I got in trouble. Contributing to the problem was that I was with a very good orienteer, so I let up concentration for speed to take advantage of pack running, and got burned. Only consolation is that I lost less time on the control than he did. This was an inexcusable error, especially at the end of an otherwise near clean race.

    #7 day 2 was an inexplicable disaster, again on the order of about 5 minutes. I felt I had a strong attackpoint and read of the land into the bag, until there was no bag. I'm not actually sure where I was, tho I know I ended up several lines low, bouncing off those rocks. Otherwise, I was pretty much satisfied with my orienteering over the two days, tho perhaps not the speed.

    Looking for positives about otherwise disappointing races, a back of the envelope calculation based on time per k would have put me at about 2:21 on the red course, which would have been second best time only behind Ted de St Croix, ceteris paribus. Of course, this doesn't account for proportional expansion of the booms, but this is about thinking positive. Even accounting for that, tho, I think I would have safely won M35 or M40, but the real problem is that alot of my competition also eligible to run those categories also ran M21. Oh well, so much for thinking positive. The real positive is that by running M21, I got about 40% more orienteering in awesome terrain.

    Now for a cool story. #13 day 1 I was looking for a specific boulder en route to verify my contact. And sure enough, the boulder comes into view, and I'm happy. But as I run by it, I notice it is actually a cairn piled to look like a rounded boulder. So I stop to look for a cairn on the map, and, not finding one, press on, trying to remember if ISOM 2000 did away with the cairn symbol or not, or it was just mapper's choice.

    I mention this curiosity to Jeff (the course setter), who tells me Andy (the vetter), could not find the boulder on the map and constructed it the day before. That's pretty good vetting, as the boulder is a good 500m from the bag, and not likely to be part of everyone's flight plan. I just think it is really cool that they did that. (And as an aside, I was looking thru one of those magazines on the airplane where they sell really expensive yuppie stuff, and one of the items for sale is a fake plastic landscaping boulder. Now we know where to get one if we ever need one ...).

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