Monday, November 23, 2009

Course Analysis: Sam Saeger at Bear Hill

Our most recent course analysis is by Samantha Saeger, who analyzes a recent Blue course at Bear Hill. Follow along on the map:

Bear Hill November 8, 2009

Start-1: Ran up the hill on the trail and, actually, got too high and had to come down to the control.

1-2: Down the hill instead of contouring the rocky hillside. Cut in off the trail and could see the control in front of me.

2-3: Around on the trail as I knew the green on this map was thick. I did take a look off the trail as I was running down, but it looked thick enough that going around would be faster. Cut in off the trail and around the bottom of the first cliff to the second cliff and my control.

3-4: I purposefully left the control to the east to avoid extra climb, but I never came back south. Meant to run through the dark green, but as one can see from the track I was slowed down quite a bit by the green. At some point I looked at my compass and the slope down to the swamp and finally turned south. I was then moving nicely along the hillside, but then convinced myself that the control was at the top of a reentrant. So as I came into the reentrant I ran to the bare rock at the top and started looking around. Finally collected my wits and realized that I really needed to be on the nose and ran down to the control. It wasn’t a case of inverting the contours. I think I originally thought to run by the reentrant, but then got the idea of a reentrant stuck in my head.

4-5: Saw Dad coming in as I was leaving. Ran on my compass for most of the leg. Was running up the reentrant at the end of the leg before the last trail crossing. Right at the end I was about to run into the wrong reentrant but saw the control off to my left.

5-6: Ran straight. Saw the reentrant, the fence and then the cliff.

6-7: Made a plan to follow the reentrant up to the large trail, which worked just fine. Looking at it now I should have stayed on the main trail and come in from the back. Instead I thought it was a good idea to go to the top. Misread the rock on top and got on the main top right above the control, even though I meant to cut down sooner. No trouble from there.

7-8: Ran back to the top, thinking then I could run down the nose. Got too far to the right. In retrospect the control is sitting on the side of a small reentrant and that information would have ben helpful. Got too low and checked out a cliff before noticing I was too close to the trail. Had to climb back again.

8-9-10-11-12-13: Dad was again running in as I was leaving 8. These controls were fairly straightforward for me. Run along trails and cut into the control. A little bit of confusion about halfway to 11 with the parking lots, but corrected by looking at my compass to get back on track.

13-14: Disaster strikes. Another similar leg with trail running and then attacking through the woods. I was doing ok, and when I hit the trail north of 18 I turned the correct direction. Unfortunately, at the next intersection I did a 180. The trail stopped making sense, but I figured I would just keep running the correct direction on my compass. I ran all the way around back to where I first started on the small trail between the ponds. The whole time I thought I was running the correct direction on my compass. I knew the trails didn’t make sense so I was just following my compass in the “correct” direction. I was desperately looking for a trail that ran east-west along a pond/swamp, but I was looking too far south for me to see where I was. Frankly, the only thing that saved me was Dad coming out of the woods from 13. I knew he must be on the way to 14, so I turned around and ran behind him as we ran back the way I just came. As soon as we ran around the first corner I realized I was thinking backwards and turned everything around in my head. Ran the trails and cut into the green before the control. Noticed I had to climb 2 contours which led me too far to the right and I climbed the larger hill. Got part of the way along the swamp before realizing there shouldn’t be a big swamp to my left. Turned around and ran back.

14-15: Possibly still shaky from my last control and hesitated a lot going into this control even though I knew I was in the reentrant.

15-16-17-18: Running along trails and relying on contours features as I attack each control. Stopped one hill too early on 17, but immediately figured it out.

18-19: Disaster #2. Again starts off fine, running along trails. When I cut down off the hill to the east-west trail south of the control I somehow thought that I hit it to the west of the junction I was looking for. In retrospect, this doesn’t make much sense, as I would have had to climb down the big cliff. But, I don’t remember crossing the small trail and that contributed to me thinking I was really turning up the trail to the west of the control. I should have also kept my head up and seen the next intersection right in front of me, or noticed the trail was going up a nose instead of a reentrant. Cut off the trail and ran right into 12, but didn’t realize it was 12. Knew it was too soon so kept going, but nothing really made sense. Decided I had gone too far north and I could see the next trail so cut south and came to a large, flat, low area. Couldn’t for the life of me figure out what this was, and so bailed out to the trail and ran it to the intersection. Of course, thinking the whole time I am on the north-south trail to the east of the control. Run back up the trail, pace counting. Then the trail forks and I am momentarily baffled before I mentally kick myself, hard, and go run to, finally, find my control.

19-20: Trail and then good running on my compass down the nose.

20-21-22: Cut off the trail later than I thought which caused me to cut at the wrong angle into 21. Had to pause to relocate. Trail and field to 22.

22-23: Out through the swamp and then very careful to make sure I was cutting off the trail in the correct place. Possibly unnecessarily cautious, but I was done with being lost.

23-24: Trails around the whole way.

24-25: Lots of trouble really figuring out what cliff it was one in the center of the circle. Every time I thought I had it I would go there and then realize I was still one cliff off. Took awhile to get myself to the right spot.

25-26-27-finish: Up the reentrant and following trails into 26. Around the water tower and looked for the nose to find 27. More green at the bottom of the hill and slightly wrong angle led me to take a bad route to the finish.

Planning my exit from the control and my routes.

To work on:

Concentration. I often made mistakes when I saw dad and did something silly. Also I got lazy when running on long trail runs and then made mistakes when I went to attack my control.

Planning the end - Having a firm plan for the entire route and visualizing what it will look like might help me avoid the kinds of mistakes on 12, 19 and 25. I sometimes oversimplified and relied on only one feature for navigation.