O Log - Anza Borrego Desert O

[16-Jan-06] 

    Click here for my Anza Borrego CA '06, M21 Day 1 map.

    Click here for my Anza Borrego CA '06, Sprint map.

    Click here for my Anza Borrego CA '06, M21 Day 2 map.

    Click here for my Anza Borrego CA '06, Maze (Badlands) O map.

    This terrain is desert terrain, and there are no trees. "White" means rough open or badlands.

    First race of the season -- first control of first day, and I nearly kill myself, falling into a gully head-first, and my legs flipping all the way over. Head hit the ground right near a big rock. Only lasting injury seems to be a sprained wrist. They told me it wasn't broken, but it hurts like hell sometimes. All I was thinking about was could I have been hurt really bad, and why am I doing this. My concentration wasn't there, and the terrain demanded such. I had a terrible run.

    Compounding my troubles, I got a cholla cactus embedded in my leg, and I couldn't get it out, and I couldn't run without waddling to avoid the pain. It took EMT a couple of tries to pull the thing out with pliers. I don't consider myself a wimp, but I screamed during this process. Fortunately, I think they got it all. Wear gaiters next time.

    Despite my injury problems, I thought the terrain was beautiful, and the course setting decent. The badlands-like terrain (the areas mapped with the impassable cliffs and earth banks) was interesting and unique, and the more subtle contour features out in the flatter desert were also cool. The veg consisted of the aforementioned cholla, and sundry other desert flora scattered about, which, had I been paying more attention to the meet notes, I probably could identify. It was very scattered, and viz was excellent, but there were no trees to help with perspective, and all gullies looked pretty much the same, making relocation difficult.

    One think that was interesting was that the runnability was better on areas mapped with the stony ground symbol. The footing was better than the otherwise sandy soil. The sand (and runnability) was worst of all in the washes. The rocky ground tended to be higher, so the trick was to run ridges and hills or any raised ground where possible.

    The cholla seemed avoidable except when trying to read the map on the run. Dis-incentives to read the map are never good, so this added an interesting dimension to the racing.


    The map was decent (almost all salient information being contour base from Sterling), but boulders were inexplicably unmapped. Jeff W. told me the mapper only mapped boulders that "moved from their original location". Impassable cliffs vs passable were decently accurate -- tho this is subjective -- they are certainly harder to negotiate with a bad hand.

    My pet peeve of the meet was lousy map printing and cheap map cases. The sprint was fine in these regards, so why couldn't the same technology be used for the ranking days? You spend $400 travel dollars, are in a stunning setting with unique, championship terrain, and decent course setting -- why cheap out on the map production? On the margin of effort for producing this meet, it can't be all that much. This came up in sanctioning, and I was assured it would be fine. I have no answer as to what to do about this.

    I would have also recommended an IOF middle in the badlands, cutting the last part of the course, and adding that to day 2, to make an IOF long. I think 6K on the former, and about 15+K on the latter would have been neat.

    Anyway, day 2 went much better, tho I was still sloppy and with day 2 speed. I ran with Vlad from about #3 to #11, tho was trying to make my own routes and navigation. I got ahead on the way to #12, but boomed #13, and Vlad beat me in. Day 2 was less badlands, and more rough navigation, tho you still had to pay attention to the gullies. I thought day 1 was more interesting, but day 2 was more fun as I was not fretting over whether I had a broken arm, and the one cholla I picked up fell off on its own accord.

    The maze O followed on the afternoon of day 2, in a very rugged and intense badlands. It was Western Mass rules score O, with an expected winning distance of about 3K. It took me a little over an hour to do the course, tho I wasn't pushing it, and couldn't climb like I would have been able to un-injured. I did have some troubles with the navigation, tho, having difficulty getting in sync with the mapping. I could write more, but I believe Spike will be posting a video that describes the event much better than I could.

    Cholla photos courtesy desertusa.com

Home