Back in Raleigh North Carolina next week with work so came out a day early to participate in the Backwoods Orienteering Klub Bubba Goat event. For the unitiated, this involved a mass start, a one control fork (where you decide which fork to take) and the chance to miss out one control of your choosing.
The field consisted of about 40 competitors and I raced off to the first control at the front then promptly turned the wrong way when I hit the stream on which the control was sited. I was lying back in fifth or sixth place by the time I realised what was going on and returned to the control (which fortunately had multiple punches).
Didn’t take me long to work my way back up in to the top three and by the fourth control I was out in front again with no-one else in sight. It was the forked leg next and the choice was pretty straightforward for me with one of the two controls surrounded by a significant amount of windblown trees.
It was at the second drinks control where things went horribly wrong. As the first there I had to stop to open the packet of cups and the water container. I also managed to spill water on my map which then was in danger of disintegrating. It was only when I got to the next control, some 700m away that I realised I no longer had the scrap of paper that passed for a control card. I tried to retrace my steps but somehow knew that I’d left it at the drinks control. As I ran back I passed the second and third runners coming towards me (who at least confirmed that they had seen it at the control).
Didn’t take me long to catch one of them again – a large Czech guy who was finding the running hard going. He had already missed out a control earlier so when I cut across a dam skipping the steep climb to number twenty. It looked as if Brendan Shields, the runner out in front, had done the same as me but a better line in to the control meant I got their first.
Unfortunately I then blew it again by losing track of the re-entrants in another area of fallen trees. With only three more controls to go the race was on. I left it too late though and when it came to the sprint finish, Brendan crossed the line a metre in front of me. A win for the locals!
Stayed for the prize giving which involved three of the massive chocolate cakes that you can see above. Perhaps fortunately, the winners simply had to cut the cake for eveyone else to have a piece. At least I can say, been there, done that, got the Bubba Goat T-Shirt.