[27-Oct-01] O in the Oaks, CA [Blue, 10275/590, 105:34, 10.27/6.52, 10/29]
[26-Oct-01] O in the Oaks, CA [Blue, 6050/395, 73:07, 12.09/7.31, 12/27]
I don't have time to write too much this week due to all
the work involved with the A meet this weekend.
O in the Oaks was an excellent event, although directions
to the packet pickup would have been nice. In other
observations, I was not permitted to board my flight
with fingernail clippers, of all things, but was permitted
to board with spiked O shoes and a fist.
The terrain was the beautiful "golden hills of California", and
the weather was pleasant. Day 1 had an obscene amount of
climb, including an inexplicable downhill walk to the start.
One leg had 25 contours of climb. It was stated that they
wanted to show off this interesting area of the map, but I
did not find the O particularly special, at least not special
enough to justify almost 7% climb. It was my kind of O though,
lollipop features and excellent mapping.
I boomed the first control, as usual. Three minute error.
Otherwise I was pretty clean. It was hard not to be clean,
given how slowly the physical terrain forced me to run. I
was disappointed in my speed, well off my goal of 65 minutes
for a fairly clean run in my kind of terrain, and well below
people I have beaten before. Though I train on hills, it was not
enough today. I was happier with my place -- middle of the
pack on blue at an A meet is a good race for me, but I feel on
perfect day I could have hit 65 minutes if I really pushed.
I didn't really push. Most importantly, though, I was fairly
happy with my orienteering.
Day 2 was the IOF sanctioned WRE. I don't know much about
how these work, but I liked the idea of early starts, the
woods to myself, running with the best, and a world ranking,
though I'm not hung up on rankings. After I find what my
ranking is, which Vladimir estimates at 626 points, I'll
explore what it means, if anything.
Anyway, back to the woods. The day 2 map was much more
interesting and fun. There was still 5% climb, but it
was much more spread out, except for an obscene hill late
in the race. It was intensely beautiful and open terrain,
meadows, rolling hills, which I enjoy running thru.
My goal was to stay in contact with the map the whole race,
no matter what, and not take chances. I also had a goal
of around 95 minutes. I managed to meet my first goal,
but not my second. I was slow. Same story as day 1,
unhappy with my time, but happy with my place, missing
the upper third by one place and finishing ahead of a
couple of people I've never beaten before. One of those
runners made a 6 minute error, though, according to the
splits, so it doesn't really count.
I was wrong about the course. It was long short O, with
none of the 25 legs greater than 800m. I pay a bit of a
penalty at each control, so I know that slowed me down.
It was an enjoyable and well-set course, though, just
not what I expected. There were also these clusters of
black rock features, with the flag hung on one of them.
I could not read them, except sitting down in my office.
They seemed bingoish at the time, but if you had a magnifier
or laser eyes, all but one or two was not. Number 11
definitely was (and Eric agrees); the clue does not describe
a unique feature.
I found the orienteering much more difficult than on
Day 1, as there was no micro-orienteering on Day 1, but
you had to keep your eye on the ball Day 2, once in
Its worth analyzing my day 2 race, I think. Bags hung
low, technical areas, often eat me up, but they didn't
today. This is a big positive. Usually one control
gets me, but not today. Another positive was that I
really paid attention to the contours when I could not
read the rock. This is a habit I've been dying to add
to my playbook successfully, and it worked well today.
In some cases I said forget the rock, just read the
ripples to get to the center of the circle and look for
something orange. The good news is that it worked.
It helped that the map was excellent.
The other positive was that I handled others well today.
I was running with someone else for a few controls,
and managed to out orienteer them. Usually I let
others bother and fluster me, or I assume they are
better than me, and I follow. But I avoided that today.
On the negative side, I may have had the wrong game
plan. I think I was too cautious, too afraid to make
the big error. I think also, though, the short O style
of the course forced me to adhere more strictly to my
game plan than I wanted too. At least I didn't make
the big error, all minor bobbles in the micro stuff.
I think the pressure of the WRE forced the
conservative game plan. They just put a name on something,
and all the sudden it changes. Why?
So my analysis contradicts itself. In the end, I was
happy to have two solid, though not spectacular, runs.
Certainly happier with the racing than today's writing.
Splits and comments on
Off to one of the meets I've been looking forward to for a while
now, the BAOC meet in Morgan Territory. BAOC puts on great meets,
so I won't have to worry about shoddy mapping or misplaced controls.
I will have to worry about parallel errors and sparse vegetation.
I've noticed my better races occur when the vegetation is well-defined
and well-mapped. The vegetation most likely will not be well-defined
out there -- I'm envisioning lots of "rough open with scattered trees",
so I will have to knuckle down with the contours or actually look at
the compass. I will also have to relate to the terrain before
leaving the start triange, usually not an issue, but it was at
Letchworth. I will also have to worry about unmapped "livestock"
trails -- better yet ignore them -- these trails often give me
Day 1, 6K, 400m of climb, and they are still calling for a winning
time of 75 minutes. My personal goal, just looking at the numbers
and the Sunol map, would be a time of 65 minutes, so I am not sure
what to expect. Day 2 is 10K/600m, but 25 controls. The number
of controls concerns me; I think booms are proportional to the
number of controls, not the length of the course (although I will
have to think about if that assumption makes sense -- it really
should be proportional to the number and difficulty of the features
encountered, but features mean more near the circle so maybe it
does make sense). Anyway, the course setter is from Europe, so they
won't have 25 400m legs, rather, there will be a couple of extensive
sections of short O in technical stuff. I'll have to keep
my eye on the ball. With any luck, the first leg will be a 400m leg in
open get-used-to-the-map terrain.
They've got map samples up now on the
APOC 2000 website. This looks like its going to be a great
event. The map samples, though small, indicate fantastic and challenging
terrain. The following, next to one of the samples, really caught my eye --
Undulating knob and kettle terrain set in open range
land in Central Alberta. Fast running among the
thousands of seemingly identical hills. Travel will be
fast but errors will be expensive.
I've only seen this sort of thing once before (in terms of contours
anyway), at this spring's A event in Michigan. It ate me up.
I guess Lithuania's
terrain was in the same vein as well, and I had better races there.
Both of those maps were forested, though. Perhaps the open moorlands
of the UK are similiar as well, but there are no kettle depressions
there. I think hitting the Yukon championships before APOC would
be wise, to at least get some training on the stuff.
[21-Oct-01] ROC A Meet, NY [Blue, 7450/190, 60:14, 8.07/6.45, 11/?]
[20-Oct-01] ROC A Meet, NY [Blue, 12600/450, 157:28, 12.50/9.21, ?/?]
Lots of extremes this weekend. The weather and the woods were
stunningly beautiful. Sunlight streaming thru the fall colors.
The north part of the day 1 map was especially pretty, perhaps the
prettiest forest I've ever run in. The day 1 course setting, I
thought, was also perhaps one of the best set courses I've run on.
Day 1 was at Letchworth Gorge -- lots of steep slopes, hardwood
forest with moderate to poor visibility, lots of contour detail and
minimal rock; day 2 was Pinewood Girl Scout Camp, which was more of
a pine-hardwood mix, pine plantation, and evergreen thickets. There
was less contour detail, though there were areas of multi-contour
depressions, which are not all that common.
Day 1 was a disaster. Possibly my worst race ever. Some sort of
error on 8 of the first 10 controls. Some of them big. I could not
relate the terrain to the map until halfway to the 11th control.
I'm not sure why. Some were complaining that there was alot of
contour detail left off the early part of the map due to the steepness
of the terrain. Perhaps that is why I couldn't figure it out, I
dunno. The steepness made relocating difficult, at least for me.
10min/K would have been 11th place in an a very strong field. I
could have done that and would have been happy with that result, but
I didn't. I ran the last 11K of the course at 10min/K, so I was happy
with that, I guess.
Day 2 was great. Possibly my best race ever. 11th place in a
strong field. I guess the map was easier. I finished very close
to or ahead of people I never dreamed I could run with. I was
very sharp, and reading the map very well, and making good snap
decisions. One 20 second error, and another minute lost to
confusion about an unhashed out of bounds area. I didn't realise
it was the out of bounds area mentioned in the course setters' notes
until I got there and saw the equipment that was there. It was
not labelled as such on the map. I wasn't sure but played it squeaky
clean and went around. People were saying I could not be DSQed if
I went thru because it was not hashed. But it was described in
the course setters' notes. But what if people don't read the
notes? Can that be presumed? Whatever. Its still about running
thru the woods, though it would have been nice if they either hashed
it, or did not make it a viable route choice. I'm still happy with
Oh well, forget day 1, remember day 2, and start thinking about
the BAOC meet. Day 1 course setters' notes are on the web. The
blue course is 6000m with 395m of climb. Sheesh. I like climb,
but that seems extreme.
One thing they will be doing, which I really like, is handing
out the control descriptions 2 minutes before start, like they
sometimes do at European meets. This is the first time I have
seen this in the 'States. I feel I'm at a disadvantage competing
against the people who try to figure out the courses the night
before. Though it is legal to use all publicly-available information,
I've always declined to do that as it seems out the spirit of
the sport, and less fun.
I have a mild cold. Hopefully it won't affect me too much physically
Concentrate, stay in constant contact, and don't outrun contact.
Easy to say, anyway, and should be a good strategy for day 1. Day
2 will be shorter, which may call for more aggressive running, and
I'm not yet good enough to stay in contact at top speed in all
terrains. Hopefully it will be lollipop terrain and I can be
aggressive on day 2. On the other hand, I hear it is mostly pine, which I
run slow in due to fear of eye injury. Hopefully it won't be trashy
ROC A meet this weekend. I'm having trouble getting a feel
for what the terrain will be like. I've only ever been in near
this part of the country once, and I seem to remember mostly
second growth and transitional forest. The park could be completely
different for all I know. Day 1 will be long 12K/450m,
which is good news, day 2 will be short, 7450m/190m. Rain
likely on day one, and it looks like it will be cold (upper 50s),
which is bad news, but not the arctic zone I feared it would be.
It should be fun, especially if there is fall foliage still on
I was out at FCW at 7 this morning. Course setting for the A meet
is finalized. I hope the vetters don't find anything weird.
Final maps should be back from the printer on Friday. I hope
the printing is good. I feel a little weird about 350 people
running on my courses. They tell me they are good courses, hopefully
people will have fun.
I need O pants. I've been wearing St. John's Bay nylon trekking
pants, which are wonderful, but mine are now getting torn up,
and they are no longer available. Everyone always laughs at my
O pants at meets, but I like then because they are more
protection against thorns than some of the O pants I have seen,
yet they are just as light and dry instantly. The trekking
pants I saw today at the store are so loaded with zippers and
the like that they seem they would be too heavy.
I'm not sure what to do about it -- my current 2 pair will last
a few more meets, but it will be a while before I get back to
Europe to shop for some, and I don't care for any O pants I've
ever seen, really. I think I like the look of Trimtex the
best, but I don't know how they feel to run in, nor how they
are with the thorns, and I dislike ordering clothing from a web
site without trying it on. Fortunately I am set for shoes and
shirts, having stocked up last time in Europe.
I just received the training map of Sunol I ordered for the BAOC WRE
in a couple of weeks. I've never ordered the A meet map before (part
of the fun is turning it over for the first time in the triangle), but
this is not a map of where the actual event is, and I plan to get there
a day early and do a little jogging if I can, and this seems like the
best place to do so.
The first thing I noticed about the map is that it has 7.5m contours, and
they are very close together. I like lots of climb, so if the meet is
on similar terrain, it could be fun. It would be difficult to set courses
on this map without TONS of climb.
The map is almost all yellow, with patches of white and white bands
in some of the valleys and northern slopes. Scattered individually-mapped
trees pepper the yellow. It can sometimes be tough to separate these
things on the fly, but I don't see patches of "rough open with scattered
trees", which would make the problem even harder, like it is sometimes
in Laramie. Few "lollipop" contour features, and few intricate technical
areas, and less rock than I expected, yet not bland either. I guess
there are what I would describe as lollipop features, but they are not
as lollipopish as usual as there are several similar looking ones
next to each other, so it would be very easy to make parallel errors here.
I think the map looks more crowded than the terrain will look because of
all the contours, and the fact that they are printed strongly.
Hard to describe, except its fun looking. Hopefully Morgan will meet
or exceed this map, either way, I'd fly out for an A meet on Sunol.
[14-Oct-01] Elk Neck, North East MD[Blue, 9350/375, 97:23, 10.24/7.43, 4/15]
I seem to be orienteering well again. Today's course was very
physical, and the course setter seemed to be into botany, making
sure we got a healthy dose of laurel, thick broadleaf saplings,
and of course that bane of mid-atlantic orienteering -- greenbriar,
which I think is best described as barbed wire with chlorophyll.
Amazingly, it wasn't too unpleasant, but it just kept coming and
coming; I don't think there was a single 300m stretch of white woods
the whole course. Overall, the course was fun and challenging.
It was just so much fun out there today.
The bags were on features in the green and hung low. The course
was mentally demanding. I am not a good orienteer in thick
vegetation, and it is usually the sort of course good people have
some trouble on, and I look back and say -- if I just could have
run 10/min k, I could have beat these folks. Finally, today was
the day I did it, orienteering well on not my kind of course, and
finishing the best I could in a strong field for a local, and ahead
of some people for the first time.
Only one real error, 5 minutes, spooked by an unmapped trail I
thought was a mapped trail, and did not pay attention to the contour
picture or my compass. I hate repeating mistakes, but I'm so happy
with my run today I'll forgive myself. My win was executing a
tough straight route choice on #8. (Yeah I know 5 minutes is alot,
but it didn't feel that way today ...)
Unfortunately, there was a mishung control, only by 20m but in
the green 20m is alot. Mark Voit spent 25 minutes looking for it,
but we were about equal up to that control on splits. Looking
at the other splits, I don't think it affected anyone else enough
to matter, but that is something I need to remember to check.
Now, if my concentration can remain as strong as it has been lately,
I can work on something else, like route planning or relocating.
It is amazing how may skills there are in this sport. How do you
practice route planning? I don't ever want to be in a position to
practice relocating ...
I've finally got my writeup on the Highlander, along with many others,
Its interesting that many people thought there was a problem with
the trails on the way to 32, but I was the only one that let it
turn into losing contact with the map and a 7 minute error. It
was mental fatigue, a lack of confidence, and more worrying about
placing in the race than other more important things, like contours,
which never change. Although I did pay attention to the contours
and rock detail, my mistake was trying to relate them to the
problematic trails, rather than relate them to the map in an absolute
sense. They were also not obvious features (to me), where I could
say -- ok, that is that. It did not cross my mind that the trails
were mis-mapped, so I assumed I was lost and panicked. There was
also an obvious way to simplify the leg that Greg Balter pointed
out to me after the race, that my fatigued brain did not see at the time.
Enough dwelling on the mistake as I had a good race. I followed
my pre-race goals, but I should extend that to not worry about place
at all during the race, and just worry about the map. I didn't eat
enough at the map exchanges, I know I ate more last year -- for next
year, remember that half a small jug of Gatorade at each break is not
enough. I could have used more energy in the last loop, but for my
brain, oddly enough, which needs carbs and water also.
My min/k was 10.27 vs 9.92 last year, but there was more climb this
year by my count (985 vs 775), and the average time was about .8 min/k
more, so I guess I'm improving. The winning time was 18 minutes
slower this year, (but still impressive at 214 minutes), so I think
the course was harder than last year, at least by the numbers.
Best case was improving my time by about 20 minutes, most of which I lost
on the last loop, due to jogging and errors. Stamina is my long suit,
as it allowed me to finish ahead of better orienteers, so it is
interesting that I can improve on that area, of all things. Eric
Weyman suggests 2 hour runs with the map keeping contact the whole
time to build orienteering stamina. I've never run more than 40
minutes at a time and only a couple of times done O specific training,
so it is worth pursuing, but when will I find that kind of time?
Oh well, next year it will be up against WMOC in Australia, which
I am planning to attend, so unless they move it, I won't make it,
sadly. They are also talking about having it every other year
from now on -- I know its alot of work but I hope they find a way
to have it annually, and work around WMOC, but I'm just too greedy
I guess ...
[07-Oct-01] Hudson Highlander[26310/985, 270:09, 10.27/7.47, 8/69]
All I can say is fantastic! The weather was absolutely stunning,
some of the most beautiful fall sunlit forest I have ever run
in. The race was well organized and run, with no gimmicks and
Ken Walker Jr. was the winner at about 3.5 hours, with Eric Bone
1:42 behind. I hit my goal of finishing in the top 10, finishing
I'll write more and post to Attackpoint when I have the time.
Had a nice long score-O today, 9 and a half hours in the woods
hanging streamers for the A meet. The woods are fast and bland.
Unfortunately, two of the most detailed areas are too overgrown
with thick blackberry brambles and blueberry bushes to be usable.
Hanging streamers is hard. There is so much to think about. Forget
finding the feature in with no flag in bland woods, that is the
easy part. There's vetting against surrounding features, making
sure the map is correct, looking for better features in the area,
getting the number right, getting the description right, looking
for a good place to move to when your primary site is unusable.
Sheesh. And there is no water on the course. That's the biggest
For the Highlander, they are calling for "highs in the mid 50s".
I could go for "Highs in the mid 70s". 50s is too cold, and it
will be even colder at race time in the woods. It was cold last
year also, perhaps even in the 40s. Its been 80s lately, and
I've been loving it. I guess the party is over.
Anyway, it will be sunny, and still be a fun race. The field has
been announced and there are some good runners on the list,
including some first timers like Eric Bone. Unfortunately I
did not see Eddie or Peter Gagarin on the list. Hopefully
everything is ok with them.