The fall November day of the challenge greeted all comers cold and clear, bright and sunny. Eager street chasers came from all directions to claim a map and study up the best route choice that lent itself to scenic value or a maximum score, beneath gold falling leaves in Ann Morrison park.
After what seemed like an all too brief period of studying the map, the bikers, runners, and walkers scattered in all directions. Andy and Elijah, running a little late after removing the extra ski clothing they piled on, hastily scribbled out a tentative route under duress and blasted off towards the clock tower (quite probably the best warm up control for a confidence booster).
Sergey arrived shortly after the masses had left and went out "just for an hour". Apparently he was having enough fun it took him a little longer than that, but he resisted the allure of getting them all. He seemed confident, however, that it was possible! For a runner I think it would be tough - we had more controls than ever this year.
Karin and Bob also enjoyed the northern half of the map, and even returned with a few action shots. As it turns out, Bob won the walking class, a fact I only realized after returning home and doing confirmation tallies here without all the chaos of a mass finish. But I think I saw him sneak the last chocolate bar, so Bill and Dee don't need to feel guilty.
It was around the time Karin returned I first heard of the difficulty at control 38, at Longfellow Elementary - the sidewalk plaque was solidly covered by leaves! Reputedly some orienteers (who shall remain unnamed) covered the plaque back up after their hard won find for the next round to discover. For those who gave up and picked an answer based on other quotes, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and did not penalize with negative points for guessing (as ominously suggested at the start).
The first bikers to return were Greg Davidson and Melanie Schuster, followed shortly by Jay Morgan who solidly won the bike class with all controls and his early arrival. Then orienteers started pouring in, faster than I could keep up with the news. Three of us worked on scoring at once. I could hear in the background a discussion about Mercury vs. Venus at the Discovery Center Bridge...but had to let it go temporarily in the busyness. Suspecting the worst, I returned to the scene Monday evening and found that Mercury was on the north side of the bridge! As I set up this control in the near dark, I missed this entirely and didn't believe Mercury could be so close. So as it turns out, there were two right answers to question #18, and both Brad Lowe and Doug LaMott get full credit for Mercury.
At least as meet director I didn't flub leaving out a question entirely, like I did last year. I did rather enjoy hearing the tales of counting steps (#41 - no way to eyeball it) or trees (#12), which undoubtedly were a little more challenging under pressure. For the record, the most visited controls were #10, 13, 15, 24, 25, and 26, a mix of locations in the vicinity of Ann Morrison and the heart of downtown. The least visited were #19 (a relatively close one), #37 (tough to route well I am sure), and the far SW #42, 43, 44, 45, and 46. You can be sure, however, that Mike Bading and Merrill Hayden were among the few getting those high 40 pointers, even after getting multiple flats along the way!
Bill Leahy handily won the running class this year, although he looked pretty tired for his win. Nevertheless I think he will be back for more, and he can claim a win over Sergey for this month (we aren't ranking in points per minute for this meet).