From the start I ran down to the start triangle and turned right (not left, Dwayne) into the forest. I picked off the features one by one and ran confidently up the hill and around a spur, finding the first control in a re-entrant exactly where it should have been. Likewise, after descending the hill and setting my compass, I was able to navigate directly to Control 2. By now I was confident in my navigation so I picked up the pace a bit on the longer leg to Control 3. I confirmed my location as I passed the track but I wasn't pace counting and for some reason convinced myself that I had gone further than I actually had. I saw a control behind me and returned to check it. It wasn't mine so I continued running but somehow got my angle wrong. When I came across a ridge in the forest that seemed to match the terrain on the map around the control I spent some time searching it. Before long it was obvious that I was badly mistaken so I set a bearing for Coast Rd meaning to relocate off that. On the way I saw the same control where I made my initial error and, as there was no sign of Coast Rd, I deduced that I had been too far inland. I decided to revert to my original bearing for 100m to see if I had stopped too early and sure enough, over the next small hill, there was Control 3.
I scampered down to Coast Rd and crossed it at the track junction, setting a bearing for the control from there. The runnability deteriorated quickly and I became confused as to whether I had entered the green stripe area or not. I was conscious of the large sand dune to the west and, once this started to loom behind me as well, I realised I had gone too far and turned around. I found Control 8 and used that to take a bearing to 4. I found it easily from that.
The leg from 4 to 5 was similar to a leg I ran during the rogaine on this map a couple of months ago. As a result I knew that the green stripe was really ugly and nigh on impossible to run through but that, conversely, the top of the sand dune was hard and runnable. Up the dune I went, following only about three or four sets of footprints and once along the top I could see Control 5 sitting in the forest from about 200m away. A lot of people had trouble finding this control, having approached it from the forest side. I think there was probably two issues here. Firstly, the sand dune appears to have encroached further into the forest since the map was made and secondly, I think the actual placement of the control was not quite perfect. If you look closely at my quick route plot in the map above you will see I made a 90 degree turn from NW to NE at the edge of the circle. This was at the control and while the location may be a quick route artifact it is consistent with the control being placed closer to the sand dune than indicated and helps explain why approaching it from the forest was so confusing. I saw Norm as I was leaving the control, he was on a hill top a little inland looking very confused. He would use my presence in the area to deduce the location of the control.
From 5 to 6 my plan was to cross out of the rubbish and run through the faster forest parallel to the beach until I reached the spur that housed Control 5. This was a good plan but it didn't work too well. Basically my problem was that I didn't go far enough into the forest to guarantee good underfoot conditions and I kept finding myself back in patches of undergrowth and cuttings. The navigation side of the plan was OK and although it took me longer than it should have, I did locate the spur and run along it to the control. The next leg was similar. Looking at the map I could see that if I ran back up the spur, keeping the re-entrant to my right and crossing over the spur once the re-entrant made a right hand turn, I should see the control in a depression in front of me. This worked well until I crested the spur and saw in front of me not the control but rather the spot where the track to my left met up with Coast Rd. Luckily this was an obvious attack point and I was able to find and follow the narrow lineal clearing into Control 7. Norm spotted me again coming into this control and told me later that he was convinced I must be on a different course to him such was the bizarre angle I was approaching the control from.
As it happens, the bearing for leg 8 was in line with the direction the pines had been planted so it was an easy run with no dodging of trees. You will notice from my track on the map above that I was actually running about 15 degrees off line but at the time my compass seemed to be telling me I was running the right bearing. It didn't really matter as I was keeping an eye out for the large sand dune off to my right and when I sensed I was passing the end of it I diverted off my track and, helped by the fact that I had already visited the control on my way to 4, I found it easily.
It is worth having a closer look at what happened in the vicinity of Control 9:
So what did I learn from all this? Well, firstly, I need to be more conscious of terrain features as I run, particularly in an otherwise nondescript part of the forest such as this . There was nothing wrong with going around the hill initially but I should have been aware of what I was doing and how to get back on track on the other side. Secondly, I need to be more confident. I got really close to the control and then bailed out a few seconds too early. Likewise, the relocating off the depression in the open was a good idea and I was well on track to executing it properly when doubt got the better of me and I bailed.
From 9 to 10 it was a matter of following the track. Control 10 was located right on the edge of, but not in, "The Maze", an area of complex vegetation that has amused us on a number of occasions in the past. I figured I would run down the track until I found the side track leading into the control circle. I never did find the track junction but the clearing and Coast Rd just beyond where it should have been made for a great catching feature. I turned back and went hunting for the control on a compass bearing instead. Over the hill and there it was. The track was there as well so I followed it back out of curiosity. It petered out into nothing, explaining why I hadn't found the track junction earlier.
The leg from 10 to 11 was supposed to be a simple affair, following tracks and Coast Rd. All was going well until I got to the clearing at the end of the track through the green. The indistinct track leading east was far too indistinct to pick up and I ran into the forest instead. The shallow depression / re-entrant / lower ground appeared and I set a compass bearing for the control. I passed across the track, no longer indistinct this far into the forest, and found the control easily. A short leg up to Control 12 was achieved on a compass bearing and I then ran down to the track and the water stop, using the break to do a bit of forward planning for the next few legs.
From the water stop I followed a rough bearing until I found the large depression, skirting beyond this up onto the hillside. Climbing but keeping it to my left, I came over the crest of the hill to find Control 13 in front of me. Control 14 was up near the top of the hill once across Inland Rd, again a rough bearing and attention to the terrain saw me nail it easily. From there I descended to the track junction and then ran on a bearing past the depression and up onto the hill to Control 15. Control 16 was unmissable, sitting at the bottom of a very large, very steep hill. The control itself was visible from the top of the hill and although I was slightly too far left, this just made descending easier as I sidled down the hill to the control.
The next part of the map was a first for an OY. Gergo had put six controls in a "Rogaine" section; we had to collect all controls but we could do them in any order we liked. The key was in spotting that the two western-most controls, 80 and 81, sat on top of a high ridge well above the plateau that housed the other four controls. It would be most efficient to collect these two last. You will see from my route that I didn't spot this at the time. From Control 16 I ran towards Mushroom Rd, meeting it just past the track junction and skirting around the edge of the depression. I kept the small hill on my left before running up onto the next hill complex and finding Control 83. I continued to keep Mushroom Rd in sight on my right, counting off the depressions before ascending another hill to Control 87.
From 87 I ran to 81. As I crossed the track and struggled up the steep hillside, the enormity of what Gergo had done hit me. It was too late now but I finally understood the importance of getting the eastern controls first. I found 81 and then 84, using the track junction as an attack point. From here I ran over the hill following a rough bearing but didn't find the control on the next hill where it should have been. Again, hindsight shows I was very close to it, just the width of the control circle away, but I ran on to the next hill and it wasn't there either. I knew that I must have run too far so I turned and ran back, keeping further to the west this time. I found it back on the other side of the original hill.
The last control in the rogaine section was Control 80. I set a bearing and started off back up the steep hill. Again, my compass work wasn't great and I crested the hill too far to the left. As the control wasn't in the re-entrant in front of me it had to be in the next one over and a quick glance at the map showed it was far more likely to be to my right rather than to my left. I headed over the hill and there it was.
From here there were just two more controls left, both downhill. To get to Control 23 I made sure I stayed on the saddle and ran around the hill to it. From here a quick bearing made sure I descended in roughly the right direction and Control 24 was visible in a depression on the far side of the road from some way off. It was a short run from here, following some tape, to the finish.
Links and Results
Points for the race are available from the AOA website here along with a summary of points for the first three OYs. No, I don't quite follow it either.