It was a sunny, cold day with temperatures in the high 30's and low 40's, slightly cool but good running weather. I suspect that with temperatures in the low 20's the night before that some of the water that had been put out froze. I didn't hear any comments about that; but when I picked up the water at the eastern water stop, I had five gallon-sized ice cubes. Fortunately, relatively few teams ventured near that water stop.
We had had only about a dozen people show up who were not pre-registered and we had four pre-registered teams who didn't show. I had expected as many late registrations as last year; consequently, we had plenty of maps. Nearly everyone finished on time with no one later than 13 minutes and everyone returned with nothing more than scratches and general exhaustion.
A total of 140 people participated in Raccoongaine 2011. About two thirds were there for the 3-hour course (42 teams and individuals), with the rest (25 teams and individuals) participating in the 6-hour course. 50 controls were placed in the forest with values of 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 points (10 controls for each value, a total of 1500 points). Point values were mostly determined by distance from the start and difficulty in getting to them; we did not expect anyone to reach them all. Four controls (mystery controls) were not marked on the competition map; at four other controls (mother controls) that were marked, there were maps showing where one mystery control was. Competitors could choose to go to the mystery control or not; all mystery controls were 20-point controls. The overall winner for the 3-hour was Allegheny Cyclery from with 460 points. The overall winner for the 6-hour was Randy Mitchell with 1000 points. The 3-hour results are shown at 3 Hour Results The 6-hour results are shown at 6 Hour Results
Here are a few interesting facts that can be derived from the pattern of control visitations as indicated on the punch cards. (You can see the visitation numbers at Control Visitations ) Very few people on the 3-hour course crossed route 18 and ventured to the east. None of them went to control 18 or 28 and only one or two teams went to controls 27, 29, 32, 37, 43 or 48. Also, no 3-hour teams ventured to the far north, as none visited control 50. However a surprising number went out to controls 19 and 47, apparently thinking that was a good way to get 70 points. Many made point 46 their choice for getting a 50-pointer; it was the closest one to the start. Also, no surprise that control 5 was the most frequently visited. One surprise was that almost no one (except team JoeSteph) visited mystery control 14. This was probably a good thing because that control flag was about 35 meters from where it should have been. Finally, we should take note of the team that deserves the Independent-Thinker-Marching-to-a-Different-Drummer-and-Doing-It-My-Way Award: this is team Giant Midget & Son. They were the only team on the 3-hour course to visit controls 29, 37 and 43; and they did this without going to either 18 or 27.
On the 6-hour course, the diversity was amazing. I tallied the control visits using the punch cards in bib-number order. By the time I got to the fifth card, every control had at least one visit. The evidence of how much difference three extra hours makes in a team's plan was apparent as control 43 was among the most visited 50-point controls, 37 was among the most visited 40-point controls, and 27 and 29 were among the most visited 30-point controls. Once again, control 14 was visited by the fewest 6-hour teams, only 4; this made control the least visited of all controls - probably because it looked too much like a dead end. In general, more 6-hour teams visited mystery controls this year (except for 14); I think this is probably because they could incorporate the leg to the mystery control into their overall plan. Finally, we should give a special Selectivity Award to Phil Martineau of Team Martin-O; he visited only 10 controls and came away with 430 points.
Randy Mitchell has provided a GPS track of his winning route. You can view this at Randy's Route Randy went clockwise; the color of the route indicates his speed: green fast, yellow slow, red very slow. Allegheny Cyclery has posted their winning route using Google Maps; you can see it at Cyclery Route
Here is a video of the start: Raccoongaine Start
Alexis Rzewski's photos of the Start and Finish: Start and Finish
Kathy Urban's photos of the event: