Possum Trot V - Loop C comments  
The map for the "C" loop at the 'Trot is at: 
  Since it worked pretty well the first time: I took a cup of Gatorade, a couple 
  swallows of Hammergel, and then another Gatorade before heading back out. I 
  asked about what position I might be in, but they didn't really know. The pack 
  took off SE towards the maintenance yard, I decided that was a mistake and 
  headed NE towards 20. Gene was on my left and Ian, Jeff, and David C. were on 
  my right. I was the first one to 20, and was confused that it said VP and not 
  WP. I watched the others and while I tried to remember if we had been in the 
  area earlier in the race. They eventually joined me and we agreed that this 
  was the proper control. Things happened pretty fast after that. I think we 
  lost Gene on the way to 21. Running the road to 22, it looked like Ian and 
  Jeff were going to drop me, I was getting very tired. Jeff and I lost Ian at 
  23 by taking a gully too far south, but my route choice to 24 was best and by 
  descending the large gully west of the 5 deciduous trees, I was able to beat 
  Ian to 24. We arrived at 25 at the same time and tried to talk the other into 
  going to 26. That wasn't going to happen! I arrived at 27 from the east, Ian 
  took the smarter approach from the north. He crossed the creek right before me 
  and then put it in gear up the hill towards 28. I knew at that moment I would 
  not catch him, I didn't have the legs. Once he rounded the corner it was out 
  of sight, out of mind. I walked the steepest part of the hill after verifying 
  no one was coming up behind me. I was happy to learn I was 6th place, my best 
  finish in 4 tries. So ended my Possum Trot V. 
  -- Eric S. (erics1999@email.msn.com), December 04, 2001. 

  Control 20 was labeled VP, instead of WP, reminiscent of the wrong code the 
  day before at Clinton - but again all the experienced orienteers figured it 
  out and shrugged it off - again. I was really debating of stopping after 2 
  loops. To be in the company of so many others at 20 was , well, encouraging. 
  Or, suckering me in for the Loop 3 death march. When Spike offered me water on 
  the way to 24, I had to ask him to slow down his walk pace so I could catch 
  up. Every control was going to be the last one, but no, just one more. Going 
  to 27 mean going on trails all the way. The uphill to 28 required several 
  stops. Fritz encouraged me with the words, "remember nachos from '87." I 
  forgot what that meant, but I finished... which was, from the start, the real 
  goal for the day. -- Mean, but no so lean, Gene 
  -- mean gene (ngungilson@netscape.com), December 04, 2001. 

  Maybe it's because the line from 25-26 has a break in it when it crosses the 
  field or maybe I was just getting too tired, but when I scanned the last loop 
  I never saw control 26. Therefore, the candidates for skipping were 20, 21, 
  22, or 27. 27 was probably best, but as I followed Dave into the woods towards 
  20 it occurred to me that I could ditch Dave by skipping 20. This choice was 
  also influenced by the fact that I mistook the rockface for a trail, so I 
  thought I had a trail run the whole way. At any rate, given the existence of 
  26, the choice was so bad that dwelling on the details is rather academic. 
  When I realized I was out of trail, I cut up to the field and then dropped 
  down to 21. The road run to 22 went quickly and although I hadn't gained as 
  much as I hoped, I figured I could still beat Dave if he made a mistake. 
  I navigated well to 23, recognizing the features from my route away from 14. 
  Crossing the streambed slowed me down a bit, but it was an OK leg. 
  The leg to 24 was a different story. The fast route is to take the streambed, 
  but for some reason that didn't even occur to me. Probably it's just habit. In 
  St. Louis, the streambeds are almost always the worst place to be - we usually 
  have good running along the banks and very few deep ditches. At any rate, I 
  ran reasonably well until I hit the large north-south ditch (the source of my 
  troubles on 12). After a bumpy slide down into the ditch I noticed that 
  although I had a string around my wrist, there was no compass attached to it. 
  I found the compass and noticed that the plate had cracked where the string 
  attaches. I rethreaded the string hoping it would hold for the rest of the 
  loop. I then ran the stream to the point where it bends north and climbed up 
  the bank. Across the spur I found the control. Time for the 550 meter leg was 
  a painful 8:45. 
  Not as painful as the next leg, however. Although I knew the leg had been 
  slow, I still thought I had a chance (hadn't noticed 26 yet) and was pretty 
  sure that Dave was still behind me. I charged out of the control and then, 
  well, I'm not sure exactly what happened then. I do remember starting to fall 
  and noticing that my head was heading for a root that didn't look very soft. 
  But as I was getting up I realized that I didn’t actually remember hitting the 
  root (although my right temple was sending very clear signals confirming the 
  event). I don't know if I actually passed out or not. At any rate I was back 
  on my way quick enough and was able to run down the road towards 25. Here, I 
  finally noticed 26 and that did nothing to improve my mood. Once off the road 
  and climbing up to the trail my head started to hurt a lot more so I decided 
  to walk for a bit. I jogged easy on the trail and found 25. Despite the 
  difficulties, my leg time of 6:59 for 760 meters wasn't too bad. 
  The route to 26 was easy enough; I crossed the field on the earth bank, which 
  was reasonably fast going. I drifted right climbing the hill and boomed the 
  control, but not too badly, losing about a minute. 
  Crossing the field to 27 I ran over a burr bush and confirmed an old adage: 
  you really do get crabby when you get a burr up your, well, you know how it 
  goes. My approach to 27 was a bit rough, probably losing about a minute 
  because I dropped all the way down into the stream and then had to climb back 
  up the spur. 
  Leaving 27 I knew that I simply was not moving well anymore so I just ran the 
  trail to the road, picked up the last two easy controls and headed in. My time 
  for the 5.1 K leg was a dismal 55 minutes. 
  25-26-27 took me 15 minutes, but some of that was due to the fact that I 
  really couldn't run well from 24 on. Subtracting out the difficulties at the 
  control sites on 26 and 27, 12 minutes is probably a better estimate of the 
  leg times under normal conditions. 25-27 looks like a 5 minute leg to me so 
  the skip of 26 is worth about 7 minutes. By contrast the skip of 20 saved 
  maybe 3. That’s still not good enough to put me in front of Dave, who ran an 
  excellent third loop, but it was disappointing to give the game away when we 
  were so close. 
  An interesting skip was suggested (but not taken) by Sharon Crawford: drop 23. 
  This gives you a road run to 24. It looks to me like you could do 22-24 in 
  under 6 minutes. My time for 22-23-24 was 13:06 although this included a bad 
  route choice and maybe a minute finding and fixing my broken compass. At any 
  rate, 26 is still the one to skip, but I think this idea is interesting just 
  because it’s not at all obvious. 
  So, was it really a bad day? Yes. I gave away about 12 minutes in errors and 
  another 5 in bad choices. My kilometer times after the fall at 24 were over a 
  minute slower than the rest of the run and I hate finishing slow. However, I 
  still had a good time and enjoyed seeing all my friends from KC. I seem to be 
  running much better on even years in the Possum Trot (II and IV were really 
  good for me, I and III were dismal). Hopefully, I’ll be back in form next 
  -- Eric (ejbuckley@earthlink.net), December 05, 2001. 

  For this loop I decided that I would skip 26. To me this appears to be an 
  obvious skip. I know that Spike, at least, will tell you differently. Spike 
  likes a skip at 25. To me, 26 is a much better skip. I can't explain Spike's 
  reasoning, but 24,25, and 27 are right in a nice line. You can run routes 
  between them that stay quite straight, in white woods, trails, clearings, etc. 
  for most the the route. Skipping 26 saves a lot of distance. 
  To 20 I was a bit right of the line, but knew I was that way once I got to the 
  creek that runs nearby the control. The code was not correct here, but Bob 
  Lane was right there and said he'd been all around the area and not seen 
  another control. There weren't other features around like the one I was 
  looking at so I punched in and left on a straight route to 21. 
  On the way to 21, I did another silly thing. There is a creek to cross (one in 
  a deep ditch). Once I'd climbed up the other side I was looking down into a 
  parallel one. I was on the little spur above the ditch junction just left of 
  the line! The worst place to cross. I crossed the second part of the ditch and 
  continued on. 
  Down to the road from 21, leaving it as I got past the large cliff on its 
  north side. I was near the east end of the depression when I got inside the 
  Pretty straight to 23. Orlyn and some others on the B Loop were passing 
  through. I climbed what I thought was the right ditch but found no control at 
  the top. I found the right ditch a short ways to the west. 
  They tell me that the creek bottom was the best route to 24, but I ended up 
  going through the fields. It would be fine except for the now infamous 
  ditches. I went down and back up two of them and on the third I decided to 
  just follow the ditch down to the main stream. 
  South to the road, along the road around the dark green and the fenceline. 
  South again towards the field where I got on the trail. Straight to the 
  control from the trail bend. 
  To 27, I went SW towards the straight N-S running wide ride by way of the 
  patch of 1-way runnable woods. 
  To 28 I skirted around the dark green areas on trails and things, crossing the 
  stream then on the gravel trail, the parking lot, and onto the paved road. I 
  approached 28 a bit too far from the west, but not too badly. To 29 I tried to 
  go straight, but was forced a bit to the left by thickets. Again the press box 
  helped out at that control. By more than a minute, it was the fastest Trot 
  ever run. 
  My theory on Trots is that they are a race of attrition. There are always 
  thorns. There are always iffy areas on the map. Everybody faces the same 
  thing. Everybody loses a bit of time. When you do, you simply have to pick 
  yourself back up and keep going. It isn't a race for people seeking tbe 
  perfect run or trying to go faster than a certain time. Every Trot is 
  different, yet they are all the same. 
  -- Mook (everett@psi.edu), December 05, 2001. 

  I started the loop by drinking two cups of Gatorade and re-filling my water 
  bottle. As I drank Gatorade, I glanced at the map and decided to skip 26. I 
  also noticed, however, that skipping 25 didn't look bad (because it'd give you 
  a chance to run on the road and the edge of fields -- always a good think when 
  you're tired). At this point, I felt pretty confident that I'd be able to 
  finish the Trot. At the end of the prior loop, Mary told me I was in 10th 
  On the way to 20, I heard someone bashing through the woods behind me. I 
  figured it would be Fritz. It was actually Orlyn. Orlyn looked tired, he was 
  falling and stumbling. We reached 20 at the same time. The code was close, but 
  wrong. The control was obviously in the right place and I didn't have any 
  concern about mis-punching. 
  Orlyn was moving faster than me. But, he was clearly tired and looked like he 
  wasn't orienteering as cleanly as me. Maybe I could beat him. It would take 
  Orlyn making a big boom that would allow me to get by. 
  On the way to 21, Orlyn crossed the deep reentrant a bit too far up (meaning 
  he had to cross an extra deep reentrant). Orlyn also stopped a bit too soon. I 
  was able to keep up with him because of that. On the was to 21, Fritz appeared 
  behind us. 
  Orlyn ran up the road toward 22. I couldn't keep up; not a chance. Fritz was 
  still behind us. As I got near 22, I could tell Orlyn was looking too early. 
  Once again, I was able to make up some more ground and we punched at about the 
  same time. Fritz was crashing through the woods behind us. 
  Orlyn, Fritz and I all punched at 23 at about the same time. Fritz was clearly 
  the worst off of us. He was stumbling along complaining about how he felt. He 
  was talking a lot, not thinking about orienteering. I was pretty sure I'd be 
  able to beat Fritz. 
  I took the stream bed to 24. Orlyn went up through the clearings. I don't know 
  what Fritz did. 
  Near 24 I passed Gene. Gene was walking and looked tired. I thought he might 
  have bonked, so I offerred him some Gu. He turned down Gu, but asked for 
  water. I kept walking but took out my water bottle and held it up. I figured 
  Gene would be moving faster than me and would catch me. But, he was actually 
  going slower than me. I slowed down and gave him the bottle. Neither of us 
  realized that 24 was a water stop. 
  Orlyn and I punched just before Gene. Orlyn seemed a bit out of it (maybe he 
  always seems a bit out of it?!). It gave me some hope that I might be able to 
  beat him. He didn't look absolutely exhausted (like Fritz did), but he looked 
  like he might be ready to make a big boom. 
  I decided to skip 26 (though I still think skipping 25 isn't a terrible idea). 
  Orlyn was ahead of me and when we hit the forest on the other side of the 
  road, Orlyn ran away from me. I never saw him again until I finished almost 5 
  minutes behind him. I had a little bobble, but Orlyn must have run the rest of 
  the course cleanly and been able to keep a decent pace. 
  On the way to 25, I allowed myself a bit over a minute of jogging along the 
  I boomed 25. I was a bit too far east of the control. I'd guess I lost 30-45 
  As I was nearing 27, I saw Dave C. Cool! I was catching another person. 
  I left 27 by heading west. Yes, west! I headed out to the ride and followed 
  the ride back to the trail that crossed the stream. I'd been having so much 
  difficulty getting down steep slopes, that I felt going around like that would 
  be the best route for me. I'm glad I took it. 
  As I was leabing 27, I bumped in to Fritz approaching it. I did a bit more 
  jogging between 27 and the stream crossing. 
  On the trail and road toward 28, I took a good look at Dave. Dave was tired. 
  When he walked, I was gaining ground on him. Dave jogged a bit and pulled 
  away. Then he'd start walking again. It gave me some hope that I might beat 
  Dave turned off the road and headed into the forest at 28 too soon. He left 
  about where the little bit of fence is. I went further up the road before I 
  cut in. At this point, I figured I needed to spike the control, leave it as 
  quickly as possible and look as confident and strong as possible (even though 
  I wasn't actually running). I wanted Dave to see that I wasn't tired -- I 
  didn't want him thinking that I was looking tired. I wanted Dave to give up 
  any thought of trying to beat me and just think about finishing. 
  I beat Dave to 28 and left as quickly as possible toward 28. I didn't look 
  back (not wanting Dave to have anything to motivate him). I punched at 29 and 
  kept going. I knew that a straight route (rather than touching the trail) felt 
  faster. I'd also "saved" about 30 seconds of jogging. So, when I got out of 
  the woods I began to shuffle toward the finish line. I figured this would be 
  the nail in the coffin -- If Dave saw me begin to run, he'd give up and just 
  walk it in. 
  I beat Dave and finished 8th overall! I gained almost a minute on Dave in the 
  last 400 meters. 
  Walking the Trot was a very interesting experience. I was surprised that I 
  could get a respectable result without being able to run. I wasn't a threat 
  for the podium. But, I was ahead of a bunch of folks who were running. A clean 
  race (I didn't lose much time) and keeping a steady pace go a long way. I 
  walked at a quick pace. I wore a heart rate monitor and my heart rate averaged 
  just over 150. That's equivalent of a bit harder than a jog, but well below a 
  normal race effort. 
  Because I kept a slow/stead pace, I didn't hit the wall. Instead, I got to see 
  others running out of gas. Orlyn, Fritz, Gene and Dave all looked worn out. 
  I'm sure that being tired was slowing down their orienteering. From just 
  before 27 to just before 28, I didn't really gain anything on Dave. But, I was 
  able to find 28 and 29 and get to the finish almost a minute faster. That has 
  got to be a time gain based on navigating. That's a lot of time in a short 
  Finally, "Thanks" to the organizers for putting on another great event. I'm 
  looking forward to next year's Trot. I plan to be running by then! 
  -- Michael (mike_eglinski@kcmo.org), December 05, 2001.