O Log - Older Archives
[30-Sep-01]  Horseshoe Camp, Rising Sun MD [Red, 6310/305, 61:13, 9.70/6.54, 3/25]

    I was happy with my run today. Decent time, for me, considering the terrain, with excellent concentration. I had excellent contact and was seeing route choice I sometimes would not see.

    Many positive factors -- it was a brand new map, the printing was good, visibility was good, there was tons of climb, and there were no major problems. Only negative was lots of rock. These factors affect me more, I think, than they do other people.

    I forgot to take splits today.


    Then I started streamering controls at FCW for the A meet. The courses could be challenging, especially for those who have never orienteered at French Creek before. The courses will be long (by design, to contrast with the shorter day 1 courses). I think the courses will be fun.

    I've started a draft of course setter's notes. I'll probably cut some of this; I just want to make sure I don't miss anything.

    * Many of the indistinct trails, especially on the western part of the map, are the fingerprints of 1800's logging roads, and leave a more ditch-like or rutted appearance, as opposed to old hiker or deer trails. They are often difficult to recognize at speed, especially with the leaves down.

    * Many of the mapped boulders are small, being less than .5m high, especially in the bland areas.

    * The mapped charcoal terraces vary from barely recognizable to obvious. Those who have orienteered here before know what I'm talking about. I think there are more unobvious ones here than on FCN, for example. For those who haven't orienteered here before, the charcoal terrace is represented on the map with the brown triangle symbol. If you've never seen one in the terrain, an example of one is near the start triangle, [...].


    DVOA had a beginner's event today at a park 10 minutes from my house. I needed a break from the mental gymnastics of course setting for the A meet, so I put running clothes on, cruised over, paid, and took an easy jog around the orange course.

    It was so cool, not dealing with O gear, pre-hydrating, warming up, transcribing control descriptions, etc. It was like my first time. And it was a nice long 5600m orange. Nice fall day, windy, leaves just starting to come down. I've never lost the thrill of just being in the woods with a map with competitive O, but noncompetitive O can be special also. Why aren't more people into this sport, with so much to offer from both a competitive and recreational standpoint?


    Only 10 days 'till the Hudson Highlander. This is probably my favorite race, 26K on some of the most challenging maps in the country, and hopefully the leaves will be in full brilliance. My whole goal in my first 18 months of O was simply to get in shape both mentally and physically to be able to finish this race.

    Last year I had a decent race, and I will get my initials as a control code for the first time in one of these long races, at control #11. I love these sorts of traditions. I've improved since last year, I think, so I'll be disappointed if I do not have a better race this time around.

    The keys will be to concentrate and not get cocky. Try to stay with the lead pack but don't worry about it if I fall a minute behind early. As in the previous 2, don't follow, do my own navigation the whole race. Its so tempting and fun to run with the pack (and so educational to run with these people), but so unsatisfying if I'm not thinking for myself. Don't worry about place in the first half of the race. Force a good race, don't worry about having a bad one. If its hard, remember it is hard for everyone else, also.

    The things I'll be hoping for that I cannot control are -- that the trail run portion to be shortish and in the beginning of the race, and for it to be warm. I hate the cold. I have nothing positive to say about cold weather. I'm also hoping to not to have to compete for a place near the end of the race. Last three goat races where like this, and though I won all three of these micro-competetions, it was not relaxing. I still see O as a relaxing "woodsy" experience. Finally, I hope there are no gimmicks or "surprises". Keep the race pure. Too many gimmicks or organizer error in recent races for my personal taste. Keep it pure O.

[23-Sep-01]  Hibernia, Coatesville PA [Red, 6700/226, 74:02, 11.05/8.26, 3/11]

    This map is almost all medium green and dark green. And it is thornbush green in many places. Visibility and mobility are poor. The ground is rocky. Small ankle-turning stones. It is hilly. The course was very physical, with 3.3% climb on top of it. There are alot of trails and some fields which somewhat compensate, but the trails are rocky, and the fields are weedy. Sometimes the best route choice can be running in the river.

    So I took it easy after over 5 hours in the Hudson Highlands the day before. 10min/k can win here against good runners when the jungle is out. I couldn't hit 10min/k today. A control was mishung costing about a minute, and I made a 4 minute error on a control on a bland hillside in the jungle. I still don't have a strategy for dealing with such controls.

    I predicted a winning time of 67 minutes when I finished. I was impressed by a winning time of around 58 minutes on this course by Sergei, a runner who has never finished ahead of me before. Unfortunately, I could not stick around to talk about his run with him.

[22-Sep-01]  West Point Xtreme O, NY [Expert, ~16K, 309:49, ~19m/K, 4?/20?]

    It was the sort of race where a DNF was a good result. At the time I left, according to the posted results, 7 of first 11 to check in DNF'ed. Good orienteers too. So it looks like I end up in 4th place coming in at about 5 hours, 10 minutes, on a 6 hour time limit race. Not that that means all that much, at least not to me, today. Before today, you could count the number of O races I didn't enjoy on one finger. Much of today, though, was miserable and frustrating, despite the fact that I was happy with my navigation.

    I haven't been O'ing all that long (relatively speaking), but I figured I'd at least seen or heard it all. Today, they did something I never would have expected (or thought of) in my wildest dreams.

    They mishung the start triangle.

    And bad, too, by 1000 meters.

    And that was only the beginning.

    Since its long and a bit tedious, I've written the race details here


    I keep hearing reports of sick news. It was reported today that people are stealing flags from people's lawns and porches. Sadly, this does not surprise me, nor does all the spam and phone calls I get soliciting bogus donations. Its a sick world.

    In other news, CBS News is reporting that some options traders made about 5 million bucks betting that the stocks of American and United Airlines would go down. The trading patterns were highly irregular, according to the article. This is common in insider trading cases, and often the feds use unusual trading like this to track down people who knew about the event beforehand. This brings up some interesting points, though ...

    • According to the article, the United trades took places 4 days before, whilst the American trades took place the day before. It would seem the feds could have used this as a red flag. At least it is something to look for next time, or something I will look at before I next fly. The software to monitor the market for these patterns would not be difficult to write.

    • The operation seems to have not been as intricate as some people have thought. A better plan would have been to wait until the markets were open. The money then could have been made and then cashed out. With the markets obviously to be closed after a strike of this nature, it would seem unlikely that the traders could have profited before investigators discovered the trades. Another explanation is that the traders were not privy to the details of the operation, which leads to speculation about who the traders could have been.


    Harald Wibye, who founded DVOA in 1967 will be coming to the fall A meet, if he can get a reasonable flight from Norway. I don't exactly remember the history, but it is possible this is the person who introduced civilian (or "sport") orienteering to the US. I'll try to look that up sometime. In any case, hopefully I'll get a chance to meet him but I will probably be too busy.

    This weekend is the West Point Xtreme O. I don't really like Xtreme O's as much as regular races, but it should still be fun. They had a similar race in the spring where I did great on everything but the USGS navigation, which I really tanked, and I think I ended up about 11th or so. It will be about 16K. This will be my second crack at USGS navigation at competetion speed, hopefully I learned something the first time. To me, anyway, it really seems different.

    It will be weird driving up past the Manhatten skyline for the first time.

[16-Sep-01]  Hickory Run, PA [Red, 5834/130, 50:27, 8.65/7.08, 3/?]

    I had a pretty good run today. Mihai beat me by 9 seconds and John F. got me by about a minute. 2 minute error on the first control. The woods were still thick and the viz was average to below average. I did not have great contact but my micro-relocation skills were very good today. I was drifting and correcting constantly. I wonder how much time that cost me. All I need is another thing that costs time to worry about. Since the course was so short, my primary focus was running as hard as possible; contact was secondary. Not what I normally want to do, but what I felt I had to do to have a shot at the race. For a technical map, I was happy with the amount of contact I had for the speed I tried to keep. My speed wasn't blazing, but it was probably the best I could do in the vegatation.

    My splits and comments are on AttackPoint.


I've put the Ardchattan map from Scotland on the web, but don't feel much like transcribing my notes.

There is an old Doctor Who episode (I guess they are all old now) where they go back in time with a gun to a warlike culture in the pre-gun era. I forget the plot, but there is a dialog from it that I cannot get out of my mind now, when they are discussing whether or not to leave the gun with the locals --

If we give them breech-loaded weapons now, they'll develop nuclear weapons before they've developed a society that won't use them.

I'm thankful that I have a rigorous training schedule, by day and by time, this has kept me from skipping a run this week. I ran with intense energy Tuesday but may have not pushed so hard the last couple of days. I think it takes mental concentration to run hard, but I'm not sure. I may start timing my runs, I'm not sure.

I think I'll go orienteering on Sunday. Hickory Run, one of my favorite club maps, and the club's only "technical" map, IMO. I've been a bit of a ditz in several races lately -- just as a punter in football can out punt the coverage team, perhaps I've been out running my orienteering skills. My mind will not be sharp on Sunday, so it will be a good test. I've thought about not going, but life has to go on, and it will not make the world a better place whether or not I am running thru the woods or sitting at home. I hope they have a blue course as they have the past two years; I'll be disappointed if I drive 2 hours for a 6K red.


Quoting Stephen Stibler on the HVO net

HVO member Bernard Breton worked around the 38th-40thh floor of the first tower to be hit yesterday. Luckily, Bernard had stopped at the gym on his way to work that morning, and was not in the building at the time of the explosion. I just spoke with his wife Liisa. They are very shook up, but very happy to all be together. Our prayers are with those not so fortunate.

Quoting David Onkst (QOC)

Yes, safe and sound. Thanks for checking with us. We found out Brad Whitmore who was on an American Airlines flight, I believe is OK.

[09-Sep-01]  Boulder Dash, NH [Blue, 8200/240, 110:10, 13.44/10.39, ?/?]
[08-Sep-01]  Boulder Dash, NH [Blue, 8900/210, 113:41, 12.77/10.33, ?/?]

    I was really looking forward to these races. The map was advertised as the most difficult in the country, and I have not been on many "technical maps", so it would be interesting to see what it was like. It was apparently once used in a World Cup race. I expected some things that I usually have trouble with -- thicker vegetation, running in rock, and few big contour features. I decided to take Friday off and drive up for some training as the weather was just beautiful.

    The first thing I noticed about the woods was that the vegetation was thick and visibility not that great, but that there was more relief than expected. At French Creek it would be mapped as light green at least. I figured it would be next to impossible to relocate, but that keeping contact would not be as hard as I anticipated. The strategy of running really hard to the big feature then attacking would not work, most likely, depending on the course setting and the visibility. Things seemed very similar to the US champs, and I walked out of there with a medal. I think I was saved there by stone walls and benign course setting. That is what it would come down to tomorrow, and my confidence was high. Being fairly clueless, I set a goal of running 9 minute K's, being as aggressive as possible, but maintaining constant contact.

    I had two lousy runs, but have mixed feelings about it, after the fact. I orienteered very well, for me, on all but three of the controls, in complex terrain. Having 3 huge errors somehow seemed better than being shaky for a minute on each control. It proved to me that I could orienteer in this stuff, in general. All 3 of my major errors were compounded by relocation difficulties. My few minor errors were mostly related to route choice, which doesn't bother me. That will come in time. I was a little below middle of pack both days, which means others had trouble also. Clean runs, which I felt I could do, would have put me in decent placing, for me, which is encouraging. I guess you have to look for something positive when you have bad runs ... its just a matter of doing it -- concentrating 100 percent. I concentrated 99 percent on day 2, and lost 19 minutes because of that 1 lapse.

    I'm not sure what I learned. The biggest thing has to be related to strategy and when to adjust strategy. Learn to recognise "trouble legs" and adjust accordingly. Learn to better recognise the cost of being wrong. Also keep concentration at 100 percent and learn to recognise when contact has been lost. As odd as it seems, I often don't realise I have lost contact until it is too late. I don't understand how that is possible, really. I think I "feature fit", and get away with it on more forgiving maps and more forgiving course setting. There is wisdom in here somewhere, but I cannot find it tonite. I think I need more experience with hard maps, and, possibly, hard course setting.

    My splits and comments are on AttackPoint and Day 2.