The Boulder(less) Dash

Danny Riley

Many of the more northeastern-minded Team USA athletes ventured up to the Boulder Dash last weekend, with at least one travelling south to the…Up North Orienteering’s event? If I ever learned how to read a compass maybe that would be less confusing.

The weekend was expeditious, with a pretty easy day 1 at Hollis Town Forest followed by a more interesting day 2 at Beaver Brook. The preview map that we had from 2011 at Hollis was…let’s just say that I prefer the new LiDAR-updated version.

2011 version of the day 1 map
2011 version of the day 1 map

I perused and compiled the logs of Team USA to give you the SparkNotes on their takes of the weekend: Anna, true to form, found even more wildlife, Izzy was apparently pulling some sick drifts out there, Greg started breakdancing on the forest floor and got sick from how sick his moves were, Ali was so emotionally impacted by the finishing leg that she dropped a “holy moly,” and I become emotionally and, more importantly, physically attached to a fallen tree towards the end.

Day 2 came and went very quickly. It was as warm as day 1, and with the full canopy not quite bloomed, we started to feel it by the end. With the amount of logging done across the map, a good chunk of the race was about avoiding joining the rest of the deadfall by dying and falling. We did a pretty good job of avoiding death, but falling was simply unavoidable. I probably fell 8 or 9 times, but Ali sprained her ankle bad enough that she’s out for the Billygoat this upcoming weekend.

Between nearly dislocating Old Man Greg’s hip, claiming Ali’s ankle, and the heat getting to Joe so he mispunches at the water control, maybe we should open an investigation into UNO; is this all a ploy to eliminate Billygoat competition? Was the faintly lemonade-flavored water actually faintly poisoned? Did they invent global warming?

Joe and I, as well as many others on Blue, really struggled with Leg 5-6. It was difficult to decipher when we transitioned from trail to mere clearing, and when we passed all the landmarks along the clearing, like the knolls and reentrants. Personally, I struggled all day with reading the vegetation, namely the clearings/semi open land, leading basically all of my mistakes. It would be nice to revisit this map in the near future to make sense of it all.

Few words were written by Team USA on their logs for Day 2. I think the weekend just came and went so quickly that we all were ready to move on and focus up for the Billygoat, the One True Race.

2023 opened with many East Coast NREs, and UNO’s Boulder Dash temporarily bookends the nearly unbroken chain of NRE weekends stretching back to March. After the floodgates of competition burst in Spring out east, the east will take quite a few months off before competition returns with this level of regularity. The easterners, however, still have a remarkable program ahead: between JWOC, WOC, NAOC, and the Canadian Champs, we somehow have even more orienteering to look forward to this Summer. See you all then!

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