Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sep 27 in Birkhead Wilderness

First of all, I want to apologize to everybody for being late with the controls this morning. Tanya and I miscalculated time to drive and left home later than we should have. As a result we came half an hour late and delayed the start... I am sorry.

But, as Joseph noted, it gave everybody a chance to socialize :-) In fact, Birkhead start/finish area is very good for socializing. The table rock virtually forces people to huddle together and talk. I like this place. And, of course, the forest is quite challenging.

This time I believe that two controls were misplaced. I got lucky with the first one, but to balance things out extremely unlucky with the second misplaced one (lost about 20-22 mins there). But at the same time I am quite happy with my performance. With the exception of the misplaced controls I was taking the rest of them cleanly, was running all right and felt quite good at the Red/Green switch point (so I ended up choosing Red), my knee held fine even after 90 mins. And I suspect that I was right among the leaders before my disaster at misplaced #14. All those are good signs for me: it looks like I should be able to come back to running Reds and be competitive there.

Fell down 3 or 4 times today (one time with a roll :-)) and got a few scratches - Birkhead forest is not as white as the map suggests.

All right, here is how I ran:

#1: used the trail, noticed an opening on the left and turned into the forest shortly after; crossed the re-entrant and proceed along the slope. Control wasn't there and I didn't see a knol either. But I did see a lot of people running in circles. I went a bit further and saw the re-entrant - I clearly was too far, so I turned back and checked the slope again - no control. Looked around and saw someone sprinting up the hill, correctly guessed that the person saw the control and followed. Indeed, the control was there, about 50-80 meters from the place it was supposed to be.

#2: continued up the hill and followed it north till the rock piles, then took a compass bearing and went for the control, saw re-entrant forming up on my right, went down there and took the control.

#3: easy, over the hill, crossed the re-entrant and followed the slope.

#4: walked up the hill, then ran to the big rocks and saw re-entrant on my right, crossed it, passed the top part of the gully and then reached the re-entrant with the control.

#5: aimed straight east, walked up the hill and down to the creek, then proceeded north to the control.

#6: used eastern slope for a bit and went up using the first re-entrant, from there crossed south to the creek and went up the re-entrant with the control

#7: tough one. Went east over the hill and then down at the top part of the re-entrant, went down to the creek while going north-east, noticed the creeks crossing, continued along the creek, past the cliff and up the re-entrant with another creek. Up and up, over the hill and to another re-entrant, went east along the creek to the trail, used the trail, then walked up another re-entrant and went east to the control using re-entrant to the south as a catching feature.

#8: west past the rocks and hit another old trail. It was somewhat confusing there, but I simply proceeded further west, knowing that in worst case, I'll hit the big creek. But I was still on the right bearing, saw re-entrant stating to form on my left and followed the slope to the control.

#9: up the hill and down to the creek, up another hill aiming south and watched two re-entrants on my right. Then went down past the knolls to the creek, and went east to the control. I felt really good at that point and decided to finish on Red.

#10: cut over the hill, and followed the slope, noticed dry-ditch, a small gully and cliff before reaching the control.

#11: along the creek and then around the green area, from there followed the slope to the re-entrant with the control

#12: north, over the hill to the re-entrant and further north to the parallel re-entrant, then followed it up to the control.

#13: south-east, crossed the re-entrant and walked up the hill to the top, then went down to the creeks crossing. Had hard time getting through rhododendrons there (should have gone around...), but went through and followed the creek up to the control. I was at 58:32 mark then.

#14: oh well. Just went south crossing everything until I reached the little side trail and than the big trail. Followed the trail until it started to go down and turned to the forest trying to stay on the same elevation contour. Saw rocks on my right and eventually reached the place where the control should have been. No control. OK. Continued further south till I hit the big rocky ridge and the trail. Used the end of the trail as an attack point. Still no control. Went north looking around until I reached the trail, followed the trail to the crossing and went south on another trail until I got to the knolls. From there I walked east very carefully and very straight. Found big double rocky teeth and used them as an attack point. Still no control. At that point I was certain that the control was misplaced (and not just hidden) and started to thing about moving on. It was a pity though, as I lost so much time there after such a good run. Then I saw someone running further north and figured that this person is either going to or from the control and moved north to the line he ran along. Looked both directions and saw Holly running toward me on the same line. Aha. I went up and saw the control. It was about 80-100 meters north from the place it was supposed to be.

#15: went down to the trail and followed it until the re-entrant on my left, then went west, reached the dry ditch and followed it to the control.

And then walked to the finish and more or less straight line. Result time: 97:46.

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

And, of course, thanks to Josef for hosting the event! It was fun.

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