Olog - Scotland, Flyt, and Control Descriptions


    I've been psyched for the Scottish 6 days, well, since the Scottish 6 days 2 years ago. I think my favorite event so far, tho there is still so much of the O world to experience.

    Well before any race, I read as much as possible on the organizer's web site to give myself time to think about it. Some things that caught my eye from the 6 day

  • From day 3 course setter's notes:

    Four trains are due during the time of the competition and competitors affected must adopt the following procedure. There is a control (No.100) just before the crossing point which all runners will have on their course. If there is a train due, an official will close the crossing and runners must wait after punching at this control. The trains are expected to take approximately 1 minute to pass. After the train has gone runners will be asked to punch at an extra control (No.99) held by the official and then proceed. The split time printout at download will include the time lost, but the overall time in the displayed results will be corrected. Competitors unaffected by passing trains should continue in a normal fashion across the level crossing.

    This creates luck. On one hand, it has the potential for free map study time/rest with good luck. OTOH, it has the potential to create a mini mass start, and loss of flyt with the delay and distraction of an unfamiliar procedure. If I hit this, I have to make sure the delay is productive, not annoying and distracting. (I like the word "flyt", by my understanding I would probably translate it with the sports cliché "in a zone", which I often use, which I think loses the mystical connotations. I like it better than using the cliché, I think.

  • Day 2 and Day 5 are the days to be concerned about. Both are on forested sand dune terrain, and have 25 controls over 8500m (340m/leg). All but the GO control on day 2 are on earth features, 45 of the 50 being contour features. The winning time will be 6.5 min/k. 12 controls on day 2 are middle of 3 contour features. This stuff is usually a recipe for disaster for me -- it will be crucial to find strong attack points and then walk it in, basically. That will be an expensive strategy, given the number of controls and shortness of the legs. If I can run 6 per k collect to attack, and move in at 10 per k, I may be able to average 8, which would be fantastic. It will also be tough to execute. Changing speeds is not my long suit. I'll hopefully be able to put in some sub 8s on the other days. It will also be important to have a strong race on day 1, to build up some confidence. If I have 1 of 2 good races on the day 2/5 stuff, I'll be happy. These have to be looked at as get good in technical terrain training times, forget times per k.

  • On of the races has a control description I have never seen: Its not a bridge, but a "narrow passage". A narrow passage thru what? I can see why I've never seen it before -- it seems that since control sites are supposed to be point features, a narrow passage thru anything could be described using the "between" symbol -- the point the two anythings meet. It will be interesting to see what it is.

    In looking this up, I stumbled on the final draft of the IOF Control Descriptions 2003. I guess most people who read this are aware of these changes, but I'm a geek about this sort of stuff, and found some of the changes interesting.

    Most useful is changing the "single tree" symbol to something that looks like a tree, and changing the "copse" symbol to something that looks like a copse. I also like the change of "deciduous" to "broad leafed" and "coniferous" to "needle leafed". That seems to cover the bases better -- I remember the O net discussion of how do you describe saguaro cacti and other exotic plants in the current framework. Yeah, I'm a geek about this stuff. I wonder how do you describe a palm tree?

    They've also added some new features: Boulder cluster, water tank, tunnel, crossing point, paved area, pipeline, sculpture, lamp, bench, building pass thru, and stairs. I guess the latter are for park/sprint/urban O. They've also added new qualifiers "low" and "beneath". Finally we can hide bags beneath boulders ... Fortunately, they have kept charcoal terrace (I remember some debate about that), unfortunately they have kept rootstock and hunter's stand -- two features I'd personally like to disappear from the O landscape. "Rib", "salt lick", and "anthill" followed the dodo into oblivion -- can't say I've ever seen them on a control sheet, tho I know of one map with mapped anthills. Cairn/stone pile, seasonal watercourse,small marsh, felled area, and hedge are also gone. With the exception of cairn, which was replaced by the more common sensible cairn symbol used on maps, no great loss here.

    I'd love to find a use of the new park O symbols on a normal forest map course. I'm aware of a couple of places with staircases in the middle of the woods, that would be cool-- what would really be cool is an old sculpture in the middle of the woods as a control feature. Perhaps a map in Maya country ...

    Finally, if you're a control description geek, you can try this control code quiz. Not too difficult -- I got thru it without any booms.