Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stumbling Through Stubblefield...Again: Day 1

mending the kitty scratches on my legsSo, I suppose its about time that I do my race report for the 2 day Stubblefield O...you think I would have enough of this place after my first encounter with it the weekend before, but NOOOO! After losing a ton of gear last time I decided to tempt fate and give it another go. This time, I would be doing an orienteering meet put on by the Houston Orienteering Club...and for the first time ever I would be doing a Red course. I knew it would be tough, but man...

Day 1: It started off nicely, getting to Stubblefield early to register. Jackie and Monty were doing the race too--I think this was Jackie's 2nd ever O-meet and this would be Monty's inaugural baptism. Ross would be there too with his girlfriend, just doing a map hike. After waiting in line for a LONG time at the registration table, we finally got registered and received our start times...now this is what I had forgotten--the staggered starts are sometimes tremendously spaced, which was the case for us. We didn't start until over 2 hours after the first runner started! Man, we just decided to go for breakfast since we had so much time. I think this little delay made me lose focus as I would have trouble from the start.

I would be the last of the 3 of us to start--Monty, Jackie, and then me. The usual ROTC groups were there. Frank was there too, but we didn't know he would be racing until we saw him walking down the road to the staging area. My time was coming up, so I stepped my way through the grid, minute by minute. First, cluesheet. Second, plastic bag, third map and stapling. Then I was off! CP1 was on a minor hill and I had first planned to follow a trail close to it, but it seemed to disappear right away, so I decided to just follow the ridge instead. This worked flawlessly and as I approached the control, so did Jackie. She said she got a bit turned around, but no prob. CP2 was southwest and I planned to dead reckon to the control and hit the gully it was in. I ran across a trail which told me it should be coming up really soon. And there was a gully. I did a quick search but didn't find anything. This is where I screwed up and went against my instincts--I reread the clue and it said "middle gully", so I figured this might be the "first" gully. I ran to the next one and that's where I saw Jackie again. We searched and searched and searched! I started to scramble around in panic and then saw an orange glimmer in the corner of my eye...I thought, "got it!" Nope, it was one of Talamini's old CPs. Grrrrr. Then I headed back north then noticed that I was heading more west than north along the gully. That's when I knew I was in the wrong gully and the first one I was in was the right one! Sonofa...and as I was heading that way I saw Jackie leaving the gully, confirming my dreadful conclusion. And there it was. Unbelievable.

So, I really wasn't able to shake that gaff off as I had spent way too much time on it...and it turned out to cost me a podium. But I'm jumping too far ahead. CP3 looked simple enough as there was a trail that pretty much lead straight to it. About 200m away from the control, I ran into Jackie again as she decided to take the road. Punched. Now was the really fun leg--CP4 was 1500m away, through some thick brush and with no real distinct path to it. Jackie jokingly says, "I'll see you there." In the way was a big thick blob of dark green, which means "fight", meaning it would be very slow going. So I decided to be cute and go around it using gullies and trails. I figured even if it was a longer route, it might not be as slow. Unfortunately, that whole area was pretty much overgrown, so even portions I thought should be clear were a tangled mess. After abandoning that plan, I went back to a dead reckon, which was a risky plan since the control was at a rootstock in the middle of nowhere. That's when I heard some crunching behind me...it was Jackie AGAIN! It was like she was stalking me. She then says she didn't really think she would see me again. LOL. So that confirmed that my "clever" terrain navigation was fruitless as she pretty much deadreckoned the whole way and got there at the same time. Nice. This one was a tough one, so both of us slowed to a crawl looking for this rootstock. Jackie spots a CP, but it is CP5 not CP4...which was good anyway since now we had a known point to shoot from. And from there we found it almost instantly. We had walked right past it because it was on the northern side of the rootstock, hidden from our vision! These bastards are cruel!

OK, now, with CPs 4 and 5 punched, it was off to 6, which was right off of a trail. This thankfully for once was no problem at all--I just followed a trail to a reentrant and there it was. But of course I would relapse. CP7 took me a long time yet again. I tried following a trail down to it and then following a gully, but no dice. I was all over that place, wasting time. Finally, I noticed there were two sets of parallel trails! I was on the wrong one! I went back to known point and took the other trail. It ended abruptly, but after some searching I finally found it. Ugh. I hate Red course. CP8, simple--followed trail to gully and followed that gully right to the point. CP9 was another one that was behind a barrier of green stuff, but this time I decided to go and take the fight to the green blob. The green blob won--this time it was true! That stuff poked me in every cranny possible! I finally emerged on the other side, and guess what--there's Jackie! I thought I saw the CP, but Jackie tells me that its not the right one. We follow the gully east and finally come up on it. I really wasn't in a hurry now, as I knew Jackie would just creep up on me again. :) CP10 wasn't too bad as it was in a gully as well.

The last 4 points seem really straightforward, so I figured I would be able to run the rest of the way. And for the first time that day I was right. CP11 was close to a trail intersection. I overshot it but knew a creek would be my catch, so I backtracked and saw it on the way back. CP12, reentrant close to a gully, got it. CP13, depression, shot a bearing from a trail intersection, got it. CP14, south side of building, got it. Finally, it was the taped section to the finish. I sprinted and waited looked around for Monty, then looked back as I figured Jackie would be there right behind me as usual. But no Monty and no Jackie. Mo was there to console me and I decided to call Monty to see if he was already at the car cleaning himself up. Since we didn't see him at all during the course, I figured he had kicked ass, but with the phone call came disturbing news. He was still out there and had apparently got turned around. Just being out there, I knew what he meant. Minutes later, Jackie came in and we waited a few more minutes for Monty. When we did see him coming in, he wasn't running, so we tried to urge him on...then he said, "what's the point?!" LOL. He had to abandon the rest of the course. Good times...good times had by all.

So after that spectacular display of navigational prowess, why did we even consider coming back for day 2? Because Stubblefield had stolen yet something else: our pride! I was determined to come back and rip the Stub off of Stubblefield's smiley face! Stay tuned for a happy ending...


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