Monday, February 28, 2011

Feb 27 in North Umstead

It was a tough one... The courses were beautifully designed and non-man-made feature map made them even more challenging. I liked that, but it didn't go very well for me. I lost a lot of time on two controls: one was caused by the map (I can't put it down as my mistake), but the second one was clearly due to my fault and I lost almost 15 mins there! I think there was another leg where I lost 3-4 mins as well. Plus I was soooo tired after control #11 - at times I could barely walk. Clearly I am not ready for 7.3KM red courses at the moment...

Here is how I ran:

#1: used the trail until the fence and then went straight down to the creek, crossed it, saw the cliff on my left and went up diagonally to the control

#2: walked up to the road, crossed it and proceeded along the re-entrant, saw gullies on my right, went over the hill to the re-entrant with the control

#3: went north, crossed the re-entrant, then proceeded north-east on the north slope of the spur to the control

#4: to the re-entrant, passed the gullies and dry-ditches, went up a bit and proceeded along the slope to the control

#5: north up the hill (but not to the top), then stayed on the same elevation until I saw the re-entrant in front of me, turned right along the slope to the control

#6: crossed the re-entrant, walked up the hill, then down, crossed the creek, up the hill again and proceeded on high ground monitoring re-entrant on my left; after I reached the side re-entrant turned right to the control

#7: down to the main re-entrant, ran along it, passed the big side re-entrant on my left and walked north up the hill there; saw a top of a small side re-entrant on my right, kept going north across the hill, reached the other side, saw another small side re-entrant there, proceeded along the slope, saw the hill curving to the right and cut to the control. Reached the huge pile of rocks and stopped in disbelief. There was supposed to be a control - not rocks! In fact there were no rocks on the map. What was going on?!! Well... As it turned out the control was on the other side of the pile, but I didn't know that, because it never occurred to me to look at the legend, while the rock pile wasn't on the map because it was removed from the "no-man-made features" map I used. Apparently it was marked there as a stone wall (which actually wasn't correct, I think).
Anyway,.. I went further north along the slope, then realized that it didn't look right at all, decided to take another bearing, went down to the creek, walked south, found the dry ditch, went up and found the same huge pile of rocks. There I finally decided to check the legend and realized what was going on... Went around the pile and found the control.

One lesson learned for the future is that we should not put controls on "man-made features" when offering "non-man-made features" maps option.

#8: went north-west up the hill, then (when I reached the top) turned west to the control

#9: west down the slope, watched re-entrant on my left, crossed the road and creek, saw the re-entrant, crossed the trail, went up the slope of the re-entrant to the dry-ditch with the control

#10: went north and actually counted small shallow re-entrants while doing so till I reached one with the control

#11: up and across the hill, saw re-entrant on my left, but continued north and reached the creek near the gully, crossed the creek, noticed small re-entrant on the other side and from there cut to the control, saw rocky ground and the re-entrant (or something that looked like one), but no control. I am not sure why. Maybe I was looking at the control from the side (it was hanging flat), or maybe I was indeed a bit off - not sure. I went down a bit and then west trying to find the control, but no luck. I was getting quite confused at that moment and decided that I better start it all over. So I went down to the creek, reached the creek but wasn't exactly sure where, so I proceeded along the creek with an idea that sooner or later I'll position myself on the map correctly. Ended up walking all the way to the very distinct gully on the left side on the creek, went up and then west to the control. Found it. I think I spent 15 extra mins on this one...

#12: I guess I was quite upset then, so I made another mistake right there. Instead of going north west, I went west-west-south and ended up on the hill way south of the control. I wasn't lost, just way off... Went north along the hill, didn't see the control right away, but then saw the big tree and went there

#13: down the slope, crossed the re-entrant, up and proceeded west along the hill until I saw the big pile of rocks, from there saw the control

#14: south around the re-entrant, then south-west along the hill, saw re-entrant on my right, passed it and went down along the other the re-entrant which lead me south to the creek; there I saw those weird earth formations, went to the other side of the creek and to the cliff with the control.

#15: crawled up the cliff and lost all the strength... Felt terrible and for a while could barely walk. South, around the re-entrant, reached and crossed the trail, went around all the gullies, across the hill and down on the other side, ended up too far to the right, so corrected myself and went left to the control

#16: went around all the re-entrants and across the hill, then down to the road, crossed in and went diagonally to the saddle with the control

#17: back to the road, used it and then used the trail to get to the dry-ditch with the control

#18: down to the creek, ran along it for a bit, then crossed it and reached the road right below the intersection, crossed the road and reached the trail, used it for a bit then went up and proceeded along the slope counting gullies to the control

#19: very tired... just walked further along the slope to the re-entrant and gully with the control

finish: again very tired... tried to avoid big hills, so ignored all the trails and simply walked south west through everything till I reached the paved trail, from there ran to the finish.

It took me: 102 mins 39 secs

Here is my route (blue - mostly running, brown - mostly walking). Click on the image to enlarge.

Huge thanks to Ken and Terese for organizing the event!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Night-O at Bond Park

Night-O's are my favorite events, no doubt about it. It's an ultimate orienteering adventure and a lot of fun. Maybe because of this attitude, or maybe for some other reason, but historically, I always do well at Night-Os. Yesterday wasn't an exception. I had a great run (though not 100% clean - what you expect!). Didn't take all controls, but ended up close (26 out of 30). Got disoriented a few times, but fortunately made right decisions in those situations and avoided wasting a lot of time.

Here is how I ran:

Start: I spent about 20 seconds studying the map under the street light. I noticed that west portion of the map was very populated with controls. It was different from the previous Night-O, when majority of the controls were in the south part. I had to choose where to run first. From one side it was safer to pick a lot of controls right away, but from the other side I would prefer to pick far away south controls as soon as possible, so I would be closer to the finish at the end of the hour. I also noticed that it was possible to take all south controls in one big curve, which was nice. Finally, I remembered that last time I had enough time to visit both sides of the map, though I couldn't take the most north-west control. So finally I decided to go south first, watch the clock and possibly skip some 40ies if necessary.

#40: straight down, across the field to the corner of the forest

#57: went to the road, reached the parking lot and ran to it's south-east end. There I saw an unexpected extra paved road. It wasn't there last year! Got confused because of it and missed he control. Stopped, then decided to take the control from the other side, went to the baseball field and took the control from there.

#58: back to the parking lot, to the beginning of the trail, used it to cross the stream and then went along the stream (or ditch) to the control.

#62: scrambled back to the trail, used it until the "sewer thingy" and cut from there to the control

#71: back to the trail, used it until I saw a cutting on the left, went south-west watching the lake shore line in front of me on both sides.

#70: ran along the shore line, then cut straight to the trail, crossed the bridge and went east, staying at the bottom of the hill but pointing up with my flashlight. Proceeded like that until I saw the control.

#64: ran north, crossing everything until I reached the trail. Used the trail to get close to the control and then used the corner of the baseball field as an attack point.

#63: up to the field, ran along it and then down to the re-entrant with the control.

#56: to the parking lot and used a little trail that goes to the playground. Attacked the control from the trail fork.

To the road on my right and stopped there to think about my next steps. I was in a good shape time-wise: only 18 mins spent. Yet I was still worried about getting to the west side of the park in time. So I decided to skip #42 and take it at the very end if time allows (as it turned out it didn't). I was also in doubt about #60, but decided that I better take it and skip one of western 60ies instead.

#41: north, crossed the parking lot, to the picnic shelter, ran along the tables and them down to the creek. Didn't see the control from the top, but was able to spot it from the bottom.

#55: up to the trail, used the trail for a bit, then cut east to the control

#61: to the road, went left a bit to avoid steep hill, then east across the hill to the re-entrant and up to the control

#50: down to the road, to the crossing, then left, passed the trail and went for the control

#60: straight east to the road, crossed it, to the re-entrant and ran on the east slope or it to the control.

#43: straight to the road, north until the trail, then used the trail to get to the control

#44: well... I couldn't find it... I used the trails to get there and I found a lot of root stocks, but no control. After about 2-3 mins there I decided that I couldn't afford lingering no more and went west aiming for #47

Yes, #47.... because I somehow didn't notice #45 on the map... I ended up running right by it without knowing about it.

#47: I guess I was frustrated because of all that wasted time at #44, so I made several bad decisions at this point. First I skipped #45, then I went around the building instead of going straight through them. Then I got lost at #47... I used the road and parking lot, turned down to the re-entrant and proceeded further down, but stopped short of the control and went around some green staff, then around some other greet staff and so on. Somehow I ended up back east, saw the building and got even more confused. Finally I decided to check my compass. That helped :) I was in the re-entrant north of the parking lot. Phew... This time I went right through that green staff and saw the control behind it.

I had 22 mins left at that point, despite my fiascoes at #44 and 47 I still had enough time for the west side.

#54: to the parking lot and used the tool shack as an attack point, but didn't see the control from that side. Reached the creek and an opening at the side of it. Used this opening as an attack point and got the control.

#67: to the creek, reached it by the junction, crossed the creek and went along it to the control.

#66: used the field, then crossed the creek to get to the control

#73: to the trail and used it to get across the creek, overshoot and had to go through the green wall to get to the swamp on the other side, then followed it south to the control

#72: went back to the field through the opening, used the trail to get across the creek and to reach the other field, ran along the fence, after the field corner cut to the swamp and followed the swamp to the control.

#68: south to the field, along the fence till about a half way, then to the forest and proceeded along the field in the forest until I saw the control.

#65: back to the field, went east from the corner aiming for the creek bend, reached the creek right there and proceeded along it to the control.

9 mins left at that point. I decided to skip #51, but I still had hopes for #42.

#52: crossed the creek and went north along it. It was tough - very green...

#53: same thing, even greener....

#46: to the restrooms building, to the road and used it until I saw the fence end on my left. From there cut to the control.

I had 4 mins left that time. Enough time for #42, but I was also tired...
When I reached the parking lot I had only 1:40 left and it was about 30-40 secs short from going after #42, so I just went to the finish.

Huge thanks to Mihai for setting up the event. I loved it!

Here is my route (click on the image to enlarge):