Course Designer: Jonathan Linforth
Course Vetter: Ray Bruneau
Length 6.7 KM
Time: 73 minutes or so.
Jonathan was trying his best to smile as we arrived that morning, even though he was suffering from a huge cold and left to go home to take care of himself as soon as starters were off into the woods. He did manage to assure us that he'd given us a break by keeping the advanced courses fairly easy, with only a few challenges. I was secretly relieved to hear it, having run only four times in the previous 2 months, babying a sore hip back to health.
The weather did not pan out as mild and cloudy as promised. By my 11am start it was mid 80's and the sun was out and pushing 90 by noon I think. Rain would have been nice.
Preprinted courses with the control descriptions printed right on the map are nice, but then I can't tape a clue sheet to my wrist as usual, so right away I'm worried about losing seconds to Artur Inston whose smiling face showed up just as I was about to start.
Start to Control 1
Jerry started about 3 minutes ahead of me so I noted his departure direction and lost no seconds at all on the first leg. Pleased to see best route to #1 was right up the big dirt road #538 to within 100m of control. On the way up the road I looked over the whole course and decided Jonathan had indeed given us a break with lots of trail running this warm May day. Noted the form line hill left of road and spotted the flag as soon as I stepped into the woods.
Control 1 to Control 2
The yellow field on the beeline to #2 is growing up with cactus and greenbrier but I followed it anyway, as did Jerry I learned. He nailed the trail junction but I missed to the left a little. Then it was just down the big trail and into the woods at the correct bend-with-thicket-on-your-right. On my way I passed Jerry taking his departure bearing from the trail toward #3. What we call a 'dog-leg'; when the route out of the control is the same as the route in.
Control 2 to Control 3
I was planning to do what Jerry did but left the trail earlier and accidentally passed between the two green thickets, dictating the southern route around the light green blob into the control. Worked well, but more because the control was clearly visible than because of unerring navigation. I noticed about here I was getting really tired, but didn't stop running yet. This was one of the great legs on the course, requiring careful attention.
Control 3 to Control 4
This is also a great leg.I thought I would clear the dark green, head south to where the little trail touches the dark green and shoot in from that attack point. When I hit the little trail there was no dark green in sight, but behind me a distinctive open area. Oops again, but still a good attack point and I nailed 4 although I almost walked by it, having taken the wrong side of adjacent bushes. Must be careful.
Control 4 to Control 5
Route choice decision immediately. I remember the hillside above the big open depression has rabbit trails that can be nice so I head down rather than due west - as Jerry has done. Then its trail all the way. This is where I first lose steam. Cannot keep up a run on the trail, even. Spot the flag just as I leave trail at bend.
Control 5 to Control 6
Looks so easy only an idiot could blow it. I blow it. Took trail over the hump then 45 degree right - spotted my vegetation boundary attack point and even the hill on which control was to be. Nothing. Hit the backup trail. Back across the hill to NW point again. Nothing. Start to wander for 5-10 seconds and there it is. How could I have missed it?
Control 6 to Control 7
Another easy trail run to an attack point at little jog in trail from which I should go due east through a gap in the greens. But I really like the use of this intricate green vegetation as a control location. Even though I never see one of the green dot thickets, my approach works perfectly. Still can't run much, though.
Control 7 to Control 8
Another excellent use of vegetation boundary for control placement - this time the south tip of a Big-Green-Thumb. I think I have it doped out and zig-zag along trails to an attack point on a trail from where I merely go due east. Evidently I am not capable of going due east, because I go directly to the wrong Big-Green-Thumb.
Control 8 to 9
This looks really easy. It's a pretty run (barely a jog by now) eastward over a low ridge, down across a broad valley to the trails. The east trending trail itself is the attack point because it 'points' directly to the control. Leave trail, pace 50 meters, see appropriate thicket now crushed by fallen tree. No control. Hmm. I spend about 3 minutes ranging here and there in no particular pattern looking behind every little palmetto bush, trying to read the hillside contours to keep track of where I am. Finally look at one such thicket for the second time and discover the very faded control peeking out at me. Mention something under my breath about Jonathan being tricky.
Control 9 to Finish
I'm so tired I'd have gone out to the road for the run-in even if it wasn't a toss up on route choice. As a measure of fatigue, on the run-in 100 feet from finish I'm too tired to even duck for a branch and break my brand new reading glasses. No loss - the Dollar Store has more.
Much discussion afterward with others about #9 being misplaced by 30-40 meters or so to the NNE. But now after I've had a chance to look at aerial photos of the area I think it may have been exactly correct and the problem was a mis-mapping of the trail bend we all wanted to use as our attack point. The map shows the trail oriented exactly E-W, but aerials reveal it is canted somewhat ESE, so we were all a little further south than we thought and were headed not quite east. Mostly #9 was just faded and tucked nicely behind the thicket.
Good Course. Fun Day. Thanks to Jonathan for design and to Ray as Co-Event Coordinator, and to all of our helpers.