Sunday, November 15, 2009

Advanced event in the South Umstead (Nov 15)

Before I talk about today's event, just a few words about the Raven Rock one. Main reason I didn't post about it is that I didn't have Raven Rock's map, so I couldn't post a picture. I probably could easily obtain it, but I was also not happy about the event and just let it go. Raven Rock events are all the same to me: I always make at least one big mistake, there are always misplaced controls, I always struggle with the extremely dense forest and outdated map. And as a result I always spend much more time on the course than I would had liked and come back exhausted and frustrated. This time wasn't an exception:
-- I made a mistake of #4 (43) by stopping 50 yards before the control and spending 10 mins looking there.
-- #12 (57) and #13 (48) were misplaced. I reached supposed location of #12 cleanly, but control wasn't there. Unfortunately, second dry ditch almost disappeared, so I had some doubts about the spot and went around re-checking it from two directions. After I was certain that the spot was correct I thought that the control could be misplaced into a parallel dry ditch in the dark green area near by. So I went there and indeed the control was there. Spent a lot of extra time there. Then I went for #13. Again reached the spur without problems, but control wasn't there. Checked it from two directions - no control, but the spur was correct. I know that many people found this control, maybe it was just laying on the ground (I probably was the last one to be there)? Anyway, I didn't find it and moved on. That's why I got into Brown results. I should have been placed into Red results, because that's what I completed.
-- the map was even more outdated (surprise :-)) and even more dense (and I am not even talking about the trap I got into while picking up one of blue controls - I spent 45 mins going through 300 meters of presumably "white" area, trying not to stuck in thorny vines forever there...). #7 and #11 on Red were also brutal.

So as you can see I wasn't happy. At least it didn't rain :-)

Now, today's event was great! Perfect weather, interesting controls. Hills killed me, of course, so I ended up walking a lot, but after Raven Rock I didn't mind. Controls were not particularly hard, but not easy either and the whole course was very physically demanding. I ended up doing green because of it - Red would have been too much with all those hills.

I also had a pleasure to run/walk along Josef almost all the way. He caught up with me on #4 (which I didn't take optimally) and after that it was back and forth. We were still running independently but were meeting almost on every control. I finished first, but he spent two less minutes on the course.

Here is how I ran:

#1: through the parking lot and used the trail until I passed the graveyard and it started to bend; went into the forest, but soon realized that I am weering too far south; made a correction and soon reached top part of the gully; proceed down and soon found the control.

#2: to the road; then used it till the crossing with power line; from there went east east north and soon saw re-entrant on my left; went along it, crossed big side re-entrant, went over the hill and took the control.

#3: went along the slope gradually going down; then went around the hill till I saw the gully; went up to the control.

#4: I didn't want to cross the creek after so many rainy days, so I went for the bridge. As appeared it wasn't the best choice - the creek wasn't bad at all. Anyway I went up and down through a few hill to the Whispering Pines parking lot; from there I ran south down the flat hill weering to my right so I would hit the bridge. Reached the creek right by the bridge. Went over the bridge and used trail to get close to the control. Caught up with Josef there (he by passed me going straight across the creek). After the saddle went south east, crossed the creek and went a bit up the slope. Proceeded along the slope to the control.

#5: Over the hill, crossed the creek and reached the trail. Instead of going straight, decided to use the trail and then run on the flat white hill. So I did. I think it was a right decision as I again caught up with Josef, who went straight.

#6: We looked at each other and both said "Green" :-) Down the hill to the trail, used trail a little bit, then crossed two creeks while they were still small and went up the hill. Over the hill, down to the creek and up to the control.

#7: To the road and used it until the first bend. From there went through the green to re-entrant and up the hill; reached top part of the dry ditch and went a bit down to the control.

#8: I decided not to go around any of the big re-entrants and just cross them. So I went down to the re-entrant and up the hill; walked to the next re-entrant, crossed it too and went up. Noticed a small side re-entrant on the slope, so I knew exactly where I was. Proceeded to the control from there.

#9: followed the hill to south west until the re-entrant. I wanted to take the control cleanly, so I wanted a good attack point. I decided to use small re-entrant north from the control as one. So I crossed the big re-entrant and moved west west north until I saw my small re-entrant on my right. From there I took compass bearing and went straight to the control.

#10: down to the re-entrant and up the hill, crossed the road and soon reached trails crossing. From there aimed for the control.

#11: Up to the trail and used trail to go around the green area; when the green area ended, went down the hill to the control.

#12: down the re-entrant, up the hill (recurring, isn't it?), over the hill and there I saw benches along the trail; crossed the creek and went up watching side re-entrant on my left. Took the control and went pretty much straight to the finish (avoiding green though).

It took me 72:01 - not bad taking in account how much I walked during the course.

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge. Blue - mostly running, yellow-brown - mostly walking.

Thanks to Nadya and Charles for the great event!

Mapping at Lake Johnson

This Saturday I finally was able to start mapping at Lake Johnson. Joseph told me to start from the northern tip of the map, so there I went. After 3 hours I came out with this piece.

And this is how it looked like with base map turned on :-)

Speaking about the base map. I am glad I have it (again thanks to Joseph for aligning it to our current Lake Johnson map!). Even with the base map, I found it difficult to draw realistic elevation contours - and that's where a lot of my time went. I am slow...

Maybe it'll go faster from now on, but I doubt it. I definitely not going to have everything around the lake done by spring time. But I'll keep going around the lake and increase our map, so we'll have some new areas to go next time we have an event there.