Thank you to Lupine Lights, Hammer Nutrition, Suunto, Zeal and Salomon!
The Python ROGAINE, put on by the North East Ohio Orienteering Club (NEOOC) took place in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. They offered up 3 different race options: 3, 6, or 12 hours. I opted for the 12 hr version, which ran from 8 am until 8 pm. At 7 am racers received 3 overlapping maps of the course and a small map of a corn maze. This left only an hour to survey the maps and plan a route.
The course consisted of 68 regular controls with 1 additional mystery control. The mystery control was found by using a clue that was on one of the regular controls, but it was unknown which control that would be. You would only know it once you arrived at that control.All the controls were weighted, so the winner would be determined by the racer who collected the most points (not the number of controls) in the least amount of time.Looking at the maps, with so many controls to visit. I was unsure if the course was clearable, but my course of action was to try to clear; leaving no control unvisited.
The race started promptly at 8 am, and racers scattered in all direction towards their first control. Interestingly enough, no one opted to go to same first control as me.My initial goal was to head towards the corn maze control, and pick up all the controls in that direction along the way. I wanted to get to the corn maze early before it got too crowded with the general public.I made it to the corn maze by about 9 am. I was the first one there. I made several attempts to locate the control but struggled to find it. After about 20 mins I realized my mistake. Thereafter, I promptly found the control and exited the maze.I knew I had lost some time, so I picked up the pass trying to gain back some of the time I had lost. I continued collecting controls in a clockwise manner around the map.I made a minor navigational error on control 21. I attempted to reshoot the control a couple times but came up empty. I thought it might have been stolen, because i knew I was in the right area. I decided to come back for the control and attack it from another direction. After collecting 5 other controls, I made another attempt at control 21 and found it. I think I just hadn't gone far enough earlier on.I continued on collecting control after control, making small mistakes here and there but nothing too costly. My goal was to walk the up hills and run everything else, and I came close to accomplishing that. From a performance standpoint I was pretty solid throughout. Staying fueled and hydrated with HAMMER performance supplements was key.About 3 checkpoints from the finish, I looked over my passport and noticed I had 4 un punched squares. I missed checkpoint 3 at some point during the race. It was not on my immediate map, so I finished collecting the last few points before figuring out what I done wrong. I opened up my map case and found control 3 about 5 miles out and back from where I was at. I realized I had folded the map where the control was out of view. It should have been an easy point less than 500m from a control I picked up early on. Dang it!I made it to the finish line at 6:30 pm and was faced with a decision, finish and leave 1 control on the course or run the 5 miles and collect the point. With an hour and a half left I knew I only had one choice- go get the point.I took off in the same direction as I did when I started the race. The plan was to bushwhack between roads to get to a more direct route. However, I got on a trail that never connected to another trail running parallel to it, which is the one I needed to be on. At the time I hadn't realized what I had done. All I knew is that I needed to get to the road. I finally bushwhacked my way to a road, only to realize I was on the wrong road. I was back on the road I previously crossed. I lost valuable time. I started to wonder if I should have just finished instead of attempting to clear. I still had time so I continued on. I gave myself a cut off time of 7:15. I made it to the area of control 3 a little after 7. I oriented my map wrong and made a navigation error. Time was just about out and it was getting dark. Realizing my mistake, I blazed on my LUPINE headlamp and found CP 3 right away, but past my cutoff time. It was 7:20. I took off running back towards the finish, keeping my time in check. I made it to the entrance of the camp and I knew I was going to make it. I walked up the steep road and ran to the finish once it leveled off. My finish time was 7:47 pm. I came in second overall, just 5 mins behind the winner. Only 2 people cleared the course, I being one of them. Had I not collected the last control I would have still had second, but I would have fell short of my own goal of clearing the course.It was an absolutely beautiful fall day to be in the woods. Despite some of my blunders, I was happy to clear the course. The distance traveled was close to 40 miles. Thanks to HAMMER for keeping me fueled throughout the race.
Every race you learn something. My 2 big takeaways were never to fold my maps to precise to an overlapping map, leave extra showing, especially if there is room in your map case. The second was to verify that I had all the controls numbers accounted for in my intended route. Get out and play!
|And no the picture is not blurry it was just that crappy out...|
|Bone marrow aspiration from the hip bone.|