(note: Portugal maps in preceeding entry)
Too much of all of the above at this weekend's A meet in Texas, tho the good
news is that I think I won, or at least they handed me a gold medal at one
point late in the proceedings. Fortunately, Spike may be putting up the maps,
so that will save me some time.
I'll get some criticisms out of the way first -- well, my only real criticism
besides nasty terrain (and I thought the greenbriar in Maryland was bad), was
that there were too many controls. 26 and 27 over less than 10K each. There
was a long leg day 1, but I think the best route was to basically line-O the
line. Day 2 offered a little leg variety despite the number of controls, but
no real long legs, and a frustrating section near the end of the course. It
is interesting -- I got there, and felt like I just didn't want to do it. The
oddest thing was that many others concurred. Its not like there was anything
really wrong with the orienteering, I just think there was something
psychological about a blandish loop near the end going out and back from the
start area. It felt, at least to me, that the purpose was to simply add bulk,
but of course I could be wrong.
One thing they did (which I disagree with), was to use alot of different
symbols for different vegetation types. There was one symbol that was very
green like, but I think it meant fast but poor viz. There was another that
meant slow, but good viz, I think. And I think some of the rough open,
scattered trees symbol looked kinda the same in the terrain, but was slower
(at least it seemed that way in the model). There may have even been something
else. It was all too much for my small brain, but the bottom line was that
something that looked dark green to the eye may have been fine, whereas lighter
stuff, including some white, and the worst, white with green lines (slash),
was more difficult. But there was nasty stuff everywhere, so it seemed one
big hodgepodge of veg, and I wasn't going to learn to keep it straight at
one model event.
I think I came up with good mental prep for the races, and I think that helped
alot. My mental prep consisted of:
a) the veg will be nasty for everyone, so be tough, and to remind myself that
I tend to have relative success in "grunge" terrain.
b) Ignore the veg types and changes, and don't try to keep it all straight --
only thing that seemed reliable was that white was oak. When you get to a
topologically-bland section of it -- put your head down and carefully compass
c) Note that there is always an easy way to the control. At the model, no
how nasty the veg looked in the field or on the map, there was always sort of a
way to get to the bag without pain (even if unmapped or bingo). I didn't know
if the model setter was the same as the course setter, but I assumed that the
same thing would hold for the race; I just had to be open-minded and observant.
(Basically I assumed that the course setter would not put himself thru pain to
place a bag, even if it looked that way, as this hypothesis was borne out in
Well, all of this worked out pretty well on day 1, until nasty blisters
on both feet (due to a new brand of O shoe; my favorites were unavailable). I
managed to block out the pain pretty well until #24, when I could focus on
but it. This lead to a 4 minute boom which otherwise marred a near clean race.
I still had the fastest time, but only by a minute or two. I 5 minute cushion
would have been sweet.
Day 2 I debated not starting, but since I was in the lead, I taped up my feet
and hoped for the best. There is no doubt that painful feet affected me in
some way, either mentally or physically, or both, but it is hard to quantify
I figured I should have ran an 85 and ran a 102. A jury did find a
control (#2 -- I lost time), and I made mistakes (but not nearly that much), so
that added in also. I was surprised that with a one minute lead, and that sort
of run, that I ended up winning the two day, but there were alot of difficult
factors for everyone, I suppose.
I guess I should write about problem controls a bit. They are starting to
take a real toll on me psychologically (and I'm not ragging on the Texas folks,
their problem seemed minor, at least to me). It seems like I can't get to a
without some sort of mishung control (there were 2 in Alabama, 4 or 5 in
(tho most in training), at least 1 in Brazil, and even before then -- at
I wasn't sure about #2 when I got there, but was pretty sure #16 was mishung.
It wasn't: my thinking/reading was wrong, but all the mishungs in my recent
told my brain it was probably mishung rather than me being wrong, because, not
to sound arrogant, but recent problems have been more times due to mishung than
my mistakes (its simply a probability function -- I look back at big problems,
look back at the percentage of them that are because of a problem control).
I would have never found it had some kids not yelled "bag", because all I
was that it is mishung, what do I do? Convinced that I was running a race on
or two mishung controls, my concentration suffered after that, and I'm sure the
splits will bear that out (not to mention thinking about the stupid blisters).
I guess I need to develop a psychological makeup that deals with mishung
but its not something I feel like doing.
Well, now I'll write about #2 specifically, as I don't feel particularly good
about the whole situation. I boomed #2, but found it by blind luck when after
poking around what I thought was the feature, decided to relocate. I lost a
bit of time, but not a ton. Ted asked me about it, and I told him I thought it
was a problem, and he decided to protest. He apparently lost alot of time.
I felt the right thing to do, if the control was found to be a problem, was to
void the course. Unfortunately, I couldn't really chime in on this, as I had
a big conflict of interest. Voiding the course would give me the win, as I had
the best run day 1, and would throw out what was probably a bad
ranking day (day 2). They ended up giving Ted an SPW, which doesn't work out
too well for me, as I am still saddled with the bad ranking day. I guess since
injury, rather than #2, was the primary cause of this, I have no grounds to
complain. I'm just not personally convinced that Ted wanted an SPW, but that
is what the jury thought. I couldn't really chime in, tho, as Ted was gone,
and it would seem like I was lobbying for what I wanted (the course voided).
(I didn't protest myself because I felt it would be too self-serving, and #2
wasn't the primary cause for me).
So, is this a better result than the course being voided? I dunno. At least
they didn't throw out the split. Those who read my notes know how wrong I
think that is. I wonder if throwing out the split would have affected the
placings? I don't think the jury should consider affect on placing when
deciding a remedy. The thought that I may have won based on an unfair course
sort of bothers me, OTOH, I did win day 1, so maybe not, if we predicate an
unfair day 2 which, by definition of unfair, should be voided. Its all a
big muddle, especially in light of the boardroom discussion on how to handle
this with e-punching the day before. I think the point is that we really
need strong, objective rules, that are followed, so that people don't leave
races muddled (and I'm not saying rules weren't followed -- I think the rules
themselves are a muddle, and you never know what the jury will, or is supposed