2015 SLOC Babler O by Scott Shaw 01/25/15
I thought that TeamBOR was going to race this event together and I almost left my compass at home, but something told me to pack it anyway. Dave C. and I arrived and started debating on whether we would race as a team or race individually. We heard that Kevin and Reanna were racing together and Neil was running late and had to leave early. I then thought a huge team would be fun and we found Mickey, SuperKate, Dave B. and Amanda and I suggested a fun big group adventure but smack talk ensued and it ended being pretty much everyone for themself.
We started about a minute apart and all pretty much had the same plan to get to CP1. I took off out the door and down the road to follow power lines to a dry ditch. Kevin and Reanna and Dave B. were close together going downhill and as I went to pass Kevin tried holding me up. I then zipped Dave B’s pack up so he didn’t lose anything and continued on my way. I hit a swampy area and made my way around it and to the trail under the power lines. I started looking for a ditch and started worrying about passing it but I found it relatively quickly. I then took off towards CP2 but overshot and saw the road in the distance, so I turned around and started back tracking and looking for the fence line. I found the fence and was trying to back track to the break in the fence and turn to find my cut in, but I didn’t see it. I see Dave B. across the reentrant and turn back around back to the fence. I start looking for a ditch or small reentrant and just don’t see it. I see Mickey and SuperKate heading in the same direction. I start heading farther down and see Neil punching the CP. Dave C. is with him and I think how the heck did they get here so fast. I see that they are going to bushwhack and I remember the road and think I am going to the road and run. I turn to head to the road and Kevin and Reanna are there. I think man I lost a lot of time looking for this CP. I start to get that sinking feeling that my navigation is off and try to shake that from my mind and make it to the road. Once on the road I try to hammer down and run the road to a trail and take the trail to another road that is near CP3. I am working hard to get in front of another team that I have notice have accurate navigation skills. I think I am going to hit the road earlier for more speed, but they bushwhacked and still beat me to the CP. So from CP3 to CP4 I decide to bushwhack as it is the most direct route. I now decide to get to a trail and run to the road via the classroom building grove. I take the road up to where it doubled back on itself and cut in and whacked to CP5. I stopped before I cut in to make sure I was in the correct position. I had been shooting bearings at every CP so I didn’t get side tracked and whacked to the road and came out exactly where I wanted. I was amazed. I continued my course to CP6. I whacked to the road and had to make a decision on which way to get to CP7. A nearby racer is making a right and everything is telling me to go left. I even yell to him that I didn’t think that was the short way. He yelled back that he was going to try it. I took down the road and found the nearest asphalt trail. I took this back to the road where there were houses and other structures. At the end of this road was a trail and a structure at which I had planned to cut in on. I kept looking for this trail and just didn’t see it and then realized it was a mark I had made on the map. I bushwhacked up to the CP and up to a trail that I took as far as I could to CP8. Here I was with two other racers and one went on bushwhacking and another went back to the trail. I first started to go to the trail for speed but noticed the trail was going out of the way so I actually turned around and had to sideway bushwhack back to my bearing and took that to CP9. I felt like that was a good decision and continued to whack to CP10. I loved CP10 because I could see it way off in the distance. I bushwhacked to CP11. On the way I started worrying about overshooting it, but stayed on my bearing. I got snapped in the eye by a thorn and I thought it ripped my eye out. I kinda started freaking out a little as I couldn’t see out of that eye. I stopped and gently started clearing my eye. I regretted taking off my glasses again, but the rain made it impossible to see clearly. My eye was extremely sore but I could see so I carried on. I finally found the structure I was looking for and turned in to the CP. I double and triple checked my time here and was out of breath and energy but decided to run to the road. I cut back into the woods to whack to CP12 and see the structure to my right that I was looking for. I headed down the ditch to the CP. I try my best to run to the road and run up the hill to the next road, but I just couldn’t keep up any speed, so I walked to the top and ran to the finish. I cleared the course in 2 hours 13 minutes (I think). I get back and think, “I bet everyone already finished and went to get margaritas without me,” so I snuck a peak through the finishers punch cards and was happy to know margaritas was still in my future. I then realized I had to stand around in wet cold clothes for a while. Neil then called to harass me and tell me he is already home and showered, but he cheated and cut out early.
This race I tried to focus on road and trail running as much as possible. I also focused on my clue sheet, contours, and I relied heavily on shooting bearings. The time it took me to shoot a bearing was well worth the extra time. I noticed my weakness is that I have a difficult time reading contours. I also get flustered easily and start to freak out, so I have to stop and calm myself and remind myself to stay the course and not to follow or worry about what other racers are doing. After the race we had a fun dinner at El Maguey. I can’t wait for another one. – El Capitan Ahab…margaritas!