I started field checking at Mt. Misery this week. Field checking is
hard. I managed to draw 5 objects on the map in about an hour. Field
checking has the potential to be really fun, though, if I can find the
time. I was hoping to do more today, but got rained out.
[27-Jan-02] Greenbelt, MD [Red, 8340/215, 73:10, 8.77, 5/15]
The weather has been warm lately. Its been great. I've actually enjoyed
training runs, which I usually dread in the winter. I'm in the mood for
a goat race, I mean a really long one.
Now to decide whether to run M21 or M35 at APOC. I could see the APOC
championship M21 classic distance course being in the 14K range or more.
I wonder if the APOC races will count in the US rankings.
The good news is that it was warm, sunny, and I was only behind Mihai by
14 seconds. The bad news is that I had my biggest boom in quite some time,
and it was not the sort of course you could afford any booms on.
Greenbelt is one of those parks with lots of greenbriar and lots of trails.
Even though the course was 8k, it was like a short O, because in some sense
some of the legs had to be set that way, and in other senses the blind trail
running reduced the percentage of the time that was actually advanced level
O. I thought Ted Good, the course setter, did a great job.
Looking at the course, one would be hard pressed to find any control that
could be boomed for 5 or more minutes, but I managed to find one.
I decided to try something different today. I'd noticed that I'd been
races and not feeling tired. I also noticed that I hesitate too much. It
a shame to have excess physical capacity at the end of a race, and to waste
time hesitating, so I decided to just run hard, not hesitate, and try to do
a lot more memory O and generalization. Greenbelt seemed the perfect place
to try this, as it is hard to get hurt too bad.
So I'm cruising along pretty well, and mis-generalise the big contour picture
around control 5, placing it on the wrong side of a ridge. Boom. Confusion,
and then panic as I realise that its a new map and I don't have any idea of
what the scale is. (I guess it speaks volumes that I could orienteer the first
few controls and not know the scale of the map -- perhaps a topic for a
5 minutes down the drain. Sometimes I can make that sort of time up on some
of the competition, but not today. Otherwise I O'd pretty cleanly on the
day, one other route choice mistake and one other map reading mistake for
about 2 min total. Ran the whole race thinking it was a 1:15 map when it
was really a 1:10. As for my experiment, inconclusive, factoring out the
boom; should have run at least 8m/k not trying anything.
Splits and comments on AttackPoint
I've been kicking around the idea of going to the Yukon before APOC 2002.
I've always wanted to go up there, and it looks they'll be having 4 races
around the Whitehorse area. The terrain and maps look interesting, from
what I can gather.
[20-Jan-02] GNC, Elberton, GA [Blue, 9500/270, 78:53, 8.3, 7/22]
My original thought was to then drive the Alaska Highway down towards
Calgary, but from what I can gather, it is not all that interesting.
A better plan would be to stay in the Yukon and do some paddling or
Heli-hiking in Kluane National park for a few days, and then fly
down. I'm scoping these possibilities with outfitters now. Its a shame
there is only 3 or 4 days between events -- there is some fantastic
looking 10 or 12 day trips available.
[19-Jan-02] GNC, Elberton, GA [Blue, 10000/315, 99:26, 9.96, 8/22]
Georgia Navigator Cup. Day one was tough. Its not that I orienteered
badly, just slowly. Lots of hesitations. I was a bit of a wimp; my mind
and body were not 100% into it.
Before the race, I was worried about the weather. I do not have any
foul weather O gear. If its cold, I just wear a cotton undershirt
under my O shirt. I guess I have to work on this problem. The
forcast called for rain, but when I woke up and put on the Weather
Channel, it looked like the storm was going to pass to the north.
It wasn't raining, and it wasn't cold.
I had an early start. It started raining and getting cold by about
the 5th control. Driving rain at times. I have no tolerance of the
cold, and it got to me somewhat. I don't care about rain, in fact I
enjoy orienteering in the rain, but I can't deal with cold, and I
wasn't ready for it. I'm told it was about 35 degrees. I think it was
more like 40, but it felt cold anyway.
I was also worried about injuries. I managed to have a leg go it
a hole I didn't see, and was lucky to avoid injury. I ran into some
unmapped barbed wire, fell flat on my face, but fortunately it didn't
cut my legs up. I slipped on some logs while crossing a deep gully,
and was lucky I didn't break something. I ran neck-first into a vine
of greenbriar. It didn't give. It hurt. I got tangled up in another
strand of greenbriar that it took forever to get out of. I got sweat
in my eye, and for some reason it hurt and blurred my vision. I wonder
if this happens to other people. I was very scared about losing
contact, and getting hypothermia. So I guess all of this lead to being
So I ran 10min/k. Could have been worse. At least my orienteering
wasn't too bad, although there is still plenty of room for fine grain
improvements. For me, it was a good bad race.
Day 2 was much better. Closer to my goal of 8min/k. The course
was faster with more open field running and an easy long leg. I
was sharper, more focuced, and ran harder. It was 40s, but sunny.
I think being used to the map helped. I think familiarity with
the major features on the map helped, as did understanding the mapping
standards. I did not particularily care for the map. It seemed to
lack a certain precision, but I was used to the map by day 2, and dealt
with what I didn't like about the map more effectively. No one else
complained about the map, so I'm sure it was fine. I'm getting better
at dealing with maps that I find are less than what I prefer.
I wish I could find some wisdom in this weekend of racing, but it
escapes me. I use the GNC as sort of a benchmark for how I'm
improving, year over year. This was my best one, statistically, but
just barely. It was disappointing, however, compared to how I've been
running lately. I do think it was more difficult than last year's, and
I think I orienteered better, but not as fast as I planned to. I
was not mentally (or gear wise) prepared for the poor weather. I let
it affect my run.
Day 1 splits on AttackPoint
Day 2 splits on AttackPoint
Eric gave a lesson on how to do field checking yesterday on Mt. Misery.
If I can find some decent colored pencils, I can start learning how to
do some mapping. Mt. Misery, though a small area, is such a beautiful
place. Its like something you'd find in Northern Virginia, lollipop
features, super white woods with unlimited viz, lots of ditches, gullies,
and minimal rock, at least in the south part of it. The deer have cleared
out the greenbriar and other underbrush, and even the mountain laurel
is runnable in most places.
Its a great base map, at least compared to others I've seen, which
admittedly is not that many. Its in color, it has grid lines already
oriented to north, and lots of contour detail that seems pretty
correct, except on the north part. It is missing many of the trails,
Mapping looks like a classic information theory problem. It should be
interesting, and I'm anxious to get started on it. I wonder how long
it will take to get competent at it.
I'm looking over the web pages for WMOC 2002 to be held in Australia
this October. One thing I ran into was this Australia - New Zealand
Challenge event, which looks like it starts this Sunday. I didn't
learn much about it, but it looks like both countries name teams,
and there is some sort of point system to determine the winning
country. Other runners can enter as "open" A meet runners but don't
figure in the scoring.
I think it would be cool if the US/Canada did something like this,
on a much simpler scale. Say 3 days - short course day 1 (~4K),
long "classic" course day 2 (~14K), (borrowing Kenny Walker's
numbers from an o-net post), and relay day 3. A reasonable and
simple scoring system could be thought up.
This would be just for elite classes (ANZ is more complex with the
senior classes involved as well). Each country names a few
runners to compete. Held in conjunction with an A meet, this
could be a simple way to generate excitement in elite-level
racing without having to travel to Europe. The smallness of
the field and simplicity of the event could possibly allow
people the time to both spectate and then run their own course
later. It seems the sort of event, if kept small, simple, but
with high-quality athletes could be packaged for North American
I would go anyway, I think it would be cool.
I booked accommodations for the Calgary portion of APOC 2002 today. I've
been to Calgary before, and accommodations can be tough. I'm worried they
will be even tougher with APOC being at the same time as the Calgary
[06-Jan-02] Broad Creek, MD [Red, 7060/450, 64:26, 9.13, 1/9]
The last time I was in the Calgary area was for the Western Canadian
Champs in 2000. I have fond memories of this event, winning M35-44 by
36 minutes in a field of 18 or so. It was the first (and last) A meet I
ever won. I had only been orienteering for 2 years, and was totally shocked.
I ran 9 min/k but more importantly didn't have any real booms. I had an
absolutely perfect run on day 1, until I psyched myself out and boomed the
GO control and had to relocate off the finish chute (a technique I'd learn
to use intentionally in later races). I didn't even wear O clothes in those
days, except for O shoes.
Other memories from this race was leg 8-9 on day 1, high up across the face
of a clear south-facing ridge with an absolutely stunning view of the rocky
mountains to the west. It was tough to concentrate with this view competing
for attention. This was the most beautiful O leg of all time.
After that, just as I got off the ridge and back into the forest, the skies
opened up with a vicious hail storm. I had to run the final 2K in the hail
storm; it was slick at times, and my control description sheet got destroyed.
Very interesting race.
I believe the first APOC model day will be at this venue (Sandy McNabb).
Its worth going here just for the views, if nothing else. I think I'll
come and jog my day 1 course, unless my family wants to do something else.
I did not feel like I had any energy today. I did not feel
particularily sharp either. I'll blame the former on the climb
and the cold; the latter I don't know. I still managed to eek
out the best time, unless someone started really late.
Ken Walker Sr. was the course setter, and he set decoy controls
on similar features in the circle as a training exercise. You were
supposed to read the map precicely in the circle and read the
control descriptions. I'll admit that I've pretty much trained myself
to, if I see a flag on the feature I'm looking for in the circle, to
go to it. This strategy seems reasonable, or at least it seems to
work. In Europe however, at least at WMOC in Lithuania, you were
toast if you did this. Bags on similar features in the circle was
the norm. I rarely read the "which" feature column (e.g. "south"
boulder) because of the USOF 60m rule, but that is what you had to do today.
I was snookered 3 times on the decoys. I think it cost in total about
a minute, or even less. It sometimes happens that I run in the circle and
find a feature with no flag, and micro-relocate. It seemed about the
same as that, and I was happy that I did it quickly today.
The course was short of like a short O, at least in the beginning. I
only boomed one control, not too bad I guess. Looking forward to
Splits and comments on AttackPoint
Below is an e-mail I sent to Clare Durand regarding the course/class
structure issue. The more I think about this, the harder and harder
this problem seems. I guess I'm just happy running thru the woods on
the course of my choice, which the current rules allow, and with the
exception of preparing juniors and elites for international competetion,
I wonder why this has to be an issue, or a change is needed at all.
I have collected some of my thoughts. These ideas are most likely premature,
but I guess with brainstorming, anything goes. My notes come from a
brainstorming session I did a while back, and I looked at them again and
thought about them more.
These are what I feel are some "problems" or issues -
M35 should perhaps be on blue (but no one seems to be complaining about this)
F18 should perhaps be on green (but no one seems to be complaining about this)
M21 should consider having a longer course (really set towards a WT of 90min)
F21 should consider having a longer course (really set like blue or short blue)
I spent alot of time looking at "L" vs "S", and adding two courses, a "purple"
between green and brown, and a long blue. I really thought this was the way
to go, but it ended up seeming too unwieldy, especially when you have open
courses in there as well.
I then thought about collapsing this structure to 10 year age groups, to
eliminate the unweildiness somewhat. What that looked like was very much
like the day 1 Canadian system (see http://www.orienteering.ca/coursestd.htm),
with "short" courses shifted one course down (e.g. F45-54L runs course 5(green)
and F45-54S runs course 4(brown). The Canadian system appeared to address
many of the problems I thought of in a satisfactory, if not elegant, way.
(Medals could be for top 3 in "L" and top 1 in "S").
My conclusions came out as follows -
Use the Canadian day 1 system, sticking strictly to the recommended winning
times, with the following modifications -
* WT on course 7 (short blue) goes from 70 to 75 minutes.
* elite classes start at age 21, not 20
* create an M19-20 class on course 7 (blue); change M17-19 to M17-18 on
course 6 (red)
* create an F19-20 class on course 6; change F17-19 to F17-18 on course
* the above is for "L" classes; "S" classes are created by subtracting
one from the course they run (e.g. F45-54L runs course 5(green),
and F45-54S runs course 4(brown) (There is no where to go from 4; those
runners wanting a shorter course would have to run 2/yellow open, as is
done now by some people)
(I have not looked closely, but I am hoping/certain this can eliminate the X/Y
Other minor points -
* change "F" in the class names to "W" to keep with IOF norms
* eliminate the colors and use the numbers/names. The Canadians have nice
names to go with their numbers. Michael Eglinski has been a proponent of
this, and I agree with his reasoning.
Oh well, these are my thoughts at least at a structure that can address
the issues. I guess we should really be thinking about a plan of action
on how to tackle this problem, but since I have already (naively) brainstormed
about it, I figured I send these thoughts along.
My brainstorming, which at times is long and at times incoherent, is at
SVO just officially announced the rogaine they were planning for Memorial
Day at Micheaux SF. This is beautiful terrain, and only an hour or so away
from where I live. This is good luck. Memorial Day is a perfect weekend for
a rogaine, with that extra day to recover.
I've been only in one 6 hour rogaine, and one 24 hour event. The 24 hour event
was in driving rain -- I'm probably exaggerating, but I think it rained 20 of
the 24 hours. I came down with mild hypothermia, but survived, our team
in 5th place, with the additional handicap of having to retire early to to
equipment problems. Hopefully the weather will be pleasant for this event.
People often ask "what is the difference between a rogaine and O?". People
often respond with "its like a really long score O". I think that is the wrong
answer, and I've always felt the sports could not be more different. Here is
my answer on the crucial differences, FWIW -
* Rogaine is about strategy and planning, O is about tactics and execution.
The fact that a rogaine map is typically handed out 2 hours before the race
is a huge difference in the character of the sport. It changes the crux of
the sport to strategy from thinking on the fly. This is what makes the
sports so different, in my opinion. I'm not a top rogainer, but I imagine
some rogaines are won before the race starts.
* Rogaine is an equipment sport, or gear planning plays much more of a role
than in O. Planning your gear for a rogaine is a significant part of the
I imagine rogainers spend much more time watching weather forecasts before a
race, nor do O runners worry about what sort of blister repair kit to carry
on a race. For my last rogaine, I spent countless hours planning gear before
the race and watching the weather.
* Rogaines are about endurance, O races are about speed. I think the mental
approach, training, hydration and nutrition needs are too different.
* Once the race starts, physical factors seem much more important in a rogaine.
I think O is about 50% physical, 50% mental (navigation). I think rogaines
are about 80% physcial/gear/food management, and 20% mental (navigation).
The navigation is easier (on lollipop features with trails more of a
factor) and at a slower speed. Rogainers "booming controls" seem less of
a factor. Of course, some "slow" orienteers often do very well in
rogaines. Could be I'm pretty clueless about this, but I think that has
to do with the mental planning before the race, and the "free" mental planning
that can be done while going slow.
* 25-50% of a rogaine, of course, is in the dark. I personally find night
navigation a completely different game.
* Rogaine maps are less detailed and at a different scale. This difference
is sometimes mentioned, but I feel it is one of least relevant differences,
as the navigation aspect itself is different, and appropriate to the change
in map. The one significant difference that emerges here is in regards
to vegetation The rogaine map often does not show the density of
the vegetation, and it can be frustrating to take "shortcut" and wind up,
unknowingly, in an impassable patch of mountain laurel, where white woods
may have been hit with better luck.
* Rogaine, of course, is a team sport. Working with a partner is an
important aspect of the sport.