February 21, 2017

Micro maze plus one-man (or more) relay at Riverstone with tech!

Come out for our inaugural electronic punch meet! We're using ALL the capabilities of the new system, with every one one of our card readers in play and nearly maxing out the number of controls our sticks can hold. We've planned a course that would be nearly impossible to check manually.

If you don't know what an orienteering maze looks like, check it out here. (Ours will be a little smaller).

We have a longish and short course. The long course will be a trip through the maze plus a (mostly) urban loop, repeated 3 times with 3 different maze courses and 3 different short loops. The loops are 1.2, 1.1, and 1.3K long with 4-5 controls on each. You can run it doing all 3 loops yourself or as a team, doing handoffs at the maze entrance.

If you prefer a shorter or easier course and don't have a relay team, we also have 2 mini loops, which use 2 of the maze courses and 2 3-control loops. It's yellow (advanced beginner) difficulty, but also should be a fun sprint for more advanced navigators.

Even though it is urban terrain with lots of features to assist your navigation, the shear number of punches and distractions is going to mean that you have to maintain your focus to avoid a mispunch! The art will be balancing speed on this fast course with the need for attention to detail.

Date: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Start times: 11am-Noon, individual starts
Format: One (or more) man-relay plus maze (3 loops)
Time limit: All in by 2pm
Start Location: Riverstone gym, turn right on Lysted Ave, just before the main school building. The gym is the last building on the left, next to the tennis courts.
Bring: compass and SI sticks/cards; we have sticks available for those who don't have any
Cost:  $10 adult, $5 junior for one day club dues.  You can also buy a club membership pro-rated for February ($42 individual/$60 family). $2 for SI stick rental. 

We will declare winners for the full course in the individual and team categories. We will also add up the maze performances to declare a maze winner separate from the full course, so all you quick turning, quick witted sprinters, bring your game.

February 5, 2017

Dashing through the Ice and Snow at Willow


Katrina Wright slogged through the snow to find the one "post" control.
It was winter.  It was icy.  And it was wet.  That pretty much sums up the glorious orienteering conditions we had for the first orienteering meet of 2017.  A number of hungry, intrepid orienteers took up the gauntlet and slid their cars across the parking lot in order to find some of those orange squares and exercise their brains and bodies.  Which everyone did to great effect after the Boise Snowmaggedon that will go down in the history books.
Doug LaMott checks his Greenbelt footing finishing up.
There was just one score course to rule them all.  I adjusted the time limit slightly to 45 minutes after setting controls and seeing how slow it was going to be.  The finish times definitely reflected the challenge, and we only had a single orienteer just barely manage to eke them all (but ideally, I might have set the number just out of reach!)  Half the controls were 10 points, the other half were 20.  5 points per full minute deduced if overtime.
Ben Brock uses his minute to plan the route.


What route would you make?
In a good sign of the control placement, strategies varied far and wide, indicating no obvious ideal route to maximize the points.  In many cases it was a tough choice between the icy greenbelt or the surprisingly deep snow that greatly limited speed.  Those with studded shoes could make quick work of the ice, but nobody was saved from high stepping in the soft snow.
Innes Wright picks up his feet for the direct route home.
A number of orienteers immediately headed to the Veteran's side of the map, where a few more of the higher 20 pointers provided promise.  This included Bill, John, Ben, Todd, Jay, and Innes, and generally that strategy paid off as long as they could make good on some speed.  As it turned out, Jay was the most aggressive in leveraging every possible shortcut provided by the map and weather - he used the log in the high water to jump to the peninsula with #19 and #24 (avoiding the out/back), he gambled crossing the ice surrounding #33 and found it solid to a submerged log, and he used the drainage tunnel underneath Veteran's to save even more time.  Ben and Todd also played a couple of these cards to acquire their impressive totals.
Todd Dinkleman doesn't look that tired!
In a shared twist of fate, the far west side of the map around #20 proved to be a kind of Bermuda triangle for orienteers.  Both Melanie and Doug got confused around this corner, and went beyond the map boundaries before correcting their error, losing some time.  Jay intentionally saved this for the very last knowing his past navigational errors there, and then skipped it entirely to make the time limit.  Todd noted his attempt to take the indistinct trail back towards #21 instead of the Greenbelt cost him a precious minute or so before he realized how green it was, and he bailed off to the icy pavement instead.
Jerry and John review maps and a bit of running life for good measure.
All told it proved to be quite an adventurous day of orienteering out there in the winter wilds of Willow Lane.  I suspect most headed off to a few Super Bowl parties feeling a little more content for having oiled the rusty winter orienteering hinges in preparation for the future events on our calendar.

Many thanks to my infinitely patient co-director Dondi who got things set up as I scrambled in from course setting and started several off.  Special thanks to Ben and Todd who picked up a large number of controls for me right after they finished their rounds.

See you in a few weeks when Ben and Melanie make use of our new epunch system!

Jeff Black



February 3, 2017

Winter Willow Wandering Widely

Given the slightly extreme winter we had this year but sustaining interest in getting out and stretching the legs, we will hold a park Score O at Willow Lane.  This is actually the first time we have fully exercised the revised Willow Lane map that Sergey updated for the last national sprint meet in June 2015.

A score course will test your quick thinking skills a bit further and give you a mental refresh after the long holiday hiatus from orienteering.  Controls are scattered across the map, and you select your own route to pick points within a fixed time limit.  For this meet points will either be 10 or 20 points.  There is a 5 point penalty for each minute overtime.

Date:  Sunday, February 5
Starts:  11-12pm, individual starts (not mass)
Format:  Score O (one map for all)
Time limit:  approx. 40 minutes
Start:  Willow Lane Complex.  From State street turn west onto Willow Lane (there is a Flying Pie pizza and Burger and Brew in sight of this corner) and enter the park.  Pass through all the parking areas to the primitive parking close to the river at the back.
Bring:  your compass, shoes to traverse semi-frozen but likely wet terrain, clothes to keep you warm during and after.
Dues/waiver:  It's the first meet of the year, that wonderful opportunity when you get to prepurchase the full year of monthly meets (except for Gold Rush, our US champs meet in June) at a big discount.  Your dues go to support club efforts in map development and equipment.  Otherwise...it's the usual $10/person (free for members), or $5/juniors (up to 20 years old).
Don't forget to bring a waiver or a membership form along with check or cash for the meet(s).

Conditions as of Saturday afternoon:  Greenbelt on map area is mostly packed ice covered in water.  Grassy areas are snow covered, varying depths up to 1 foot.  It is very slick in areas, shoes with excellent traction (studs) or traction devices recommended.

This will be a lean meet given the briefest of planning intervals and likely inducements to attend Super Bowl parties, so I'll just be there with the car, maybe a table, the usual rental compasses, and the clock!

Meet Director Jeff Black

November 25, 2016

Challenging Dead-Ends…


Dead-ends, canal crossings, and neighborhood layouts presented interesting navigation challenges to racers participating in the 2016 Boise Street Challenge. Because of last-minute meet director conflicts, we had to scramble to put together a course in short-order with myself and Jeff Black as stand-in meet directors. We decided to use the 2014 controls, but to place the start at the northeast corner of the map, in contrast to the 2014 start toward the southwest. We renumbered the check-points and checked the clues to create a whole new course for those who had participated previously. Even after checking all the clues, I managed to forget to make a change I recorded for #47, a dead-end with a yellow shed that was no longer there! It was an embarrassing mistake especially considering every biker hit that control.

The toughest control proved to be #22, with at least two competitors wondering if I had also made a mistake on that clue.  Although I did not return to the scene to photograph it, I am fairly confident that I had that one correct, as it was also one that I struggled with when bike-checking a few controls as the sun was setting on Friday.  When I got home Friday night, I pulled the map up on my computer and "zoomed in" and did the same with Google Earth, to be sure I had it right.  The details are shown below Mike's route (one who also struggled with it) below.  

The day was beautiful, with the sun surprising us and staying out for the duration.  We had 6 bikers and 4 runners taking on the course, with a 2 ½-hr time limit for the bike and a 3-hr time limit for the run. We knocked off 10 points for every minute late on the bike and 5 for every minute late on the run, so most of the competitors kept themselves within the limit.

And they are off!

John Murray was the sole competitor in a 1-hr foot course category, which he created for himself, to support any who, understandably, might find a 3-hr foot event a bit "over the top".  In deference to John's compelling argument that there be race categories appropriate for all racers and his inability to simply participate for the "fun of it", I have created race groupings for our scores appropriate to the classes of athletes that showed up for the race.

Starting with the runners, John took first place in the 1-hour time limit category, after a time penalty of 7 minutes cut his score in half.

John Murray at the finish

One–hour run
Collected
Penalty
Total
Place
John Murray
70
35
35
1

Jerry Stewart stretched out his planned 90-minute route long enough to call it the full course and took first place in the Super-Masters category.
Jerry Stewart and John Murray

Super-masters run  
Collected
Penalty
Total
Place
Jerry Stewart
90
0
90
1

Andy Olnes, who some may know through his relationship with Robin Olnes, CTOC's fearless orienteering volunteer and Riverstone supporter, took first place in our "first-time" Street Challenge runner category.

Andy Olnes planning his course

First-time run  
Collected
Penalty
Total
Place
Andy  Olnes
150
0
150
1
Finally, in the category of substitute meet director who knows too much about the course, but started an hour later than everyone else, Jeff Black managed to hit an amazing 12 controls, including several 40 pointers.

Meet Director starting late
Collected
Penalty
Total
Place
Jeff Black
350
0
350
1

Our biking group results starts off with the category of tandem riders with a junior navigator for which veterans Innes and Katrina Wright claimed the prize.

Innes and Katrina Wright on the tandem, pre-race.

Tandem with junior navigator
Collected
Penalty
Total
Place
Innes and Katrina Wright
310
0
310
1

Our lone woman competitor (except for Katrina representing the juniors) was Carrie Magnuson. And boy did she prove that she didn't need her own category.  Also a first-timer in the street challenge, Carrie snagged an incredible 22 controls and a 3rd place among all bikers, just behind Mike Bading and Doug LaMott who have several years of experience in the street challenge, including time on many of the very same controls in 2014. 


Women, bike
Collected
Penalty
Total
Place
Carrie Magnuson
680
0
680
1

Finally, avoiding the risk of classing the ages of the remaining competitors incorrectly, I grouped all of the "younger than super-masters" men into a single category for the Men's bike competition. This proved to be the most competitive category, with 4 participants. I may owe an apology to Don and Jay, who perhaps deserve special call-out as first-timers.  Mike collected an inspiring 29 controls, and managed to squeeze in with only about 30 seconds to spare. Mike's route is shown below. Doug was right behind him with 26 controls. Doug was our only biker who missed the time limit and suffered a penalty. 

Mike finishing. Bikers were forced to dismount and run the last 100 yards because of park rules. With just 30 seconds to spare, Mike had to work hard all the way to the finish.

Jay and Don finishing.

Don, Doug, and Mike post-race.

Men, bike
Collected
Penalty
Total
Place
Michael Bading
850
0
850
1
Doug LaMott
810
60
750
2
Don Reiman
650
0
650
3
Jay Morgan
440
0
440
4

Mike Bading's route.

The elusive control #22, on the map, and on Google Earth, with street names shown.  Correct me if I am wrong!

Special thanks to Jeff and Dondi Black for their work preparing and printing the maps. There were lots of winners for the day, even if it was just because everyone was fortunate to be out chasing down points on a map on a beautiful Sunday.  I was happy to be there to witness it!
 

November 13, 2016

Not so aMAZEing Results

Not so aMAZEing Results

Chaotic at the start


It just goes to prove when you come up with an idiot proof idea, you bring a better Idiot than you thought... and things don't work out as planned. We only have partial results due to Greg recording some finish times on the wrong line, oops. From close analysis of what went wrong we are pretty sure about certain scores, but not all of them. If your finish time is blank we were not sure of your finish time. We were able to pretty much rank the Middle Course participants. On the long course there were too many with the same score and unknown times so we could not rank participants. We also ended up with two groups who didn't leave their map so we couldn't calculate their scores. 
An obstacle course to the start of the maze

However things turned out, it still looks like everyone had a fun time. We loved that Melanie and Katrina got into the Halloween spirit and wore costumes.We did learn how not to score future meets. 
Melanie & Katrina looking good



November 10, 2016

Join us for the Boise Street Challenge, Sunday Nov. 13, 2016

The Boise Street Challenge is back in East Boise.  Format of the event follows conventions of a score course, where controls may be acquired in any order, and there is a time limit to meet or points are deducted.  In the Street Challenge, there are a few more twists:

- the area is much larger than a normal club meet, the map barely fits into 11”x17” page at 1:20000 scale, covering almost 25 square kilometers.
- there are no traditional orienteering controls, but rather multiple choice questions (ex. A, B, C) to be answered at the control circle location, points are added if answer is correct, points are deducted if answer is incorrect to discourage guessing.
- there are 40 controls, each worth 10 , 20, 30, or 40 points depending on the difficulty reaching the location.
- there is both a bike and run class of competition, bikers will have less time vs. runners, to make the mass finish easier and level the competition a little bit, for runners 3 hour time limit, for bikers 2:30 time limit, for runners 10 points deducted for each 5 minutes above the limit, for bikers 20 points deducted for each 5 minutes above the limit.
- you will traverse city streets, potentially with traffic, your upmost caution, attention, and execution are required.
- canals and Boise river “squeeze” traffic to few crossable points, these are shown with a passage signs on the map, use them wisely while designing your routes.
- it may be impossible to collect all controls in defined limit time so plan accordingly.

Map for the event was created from google Boise imagery, aligned to magnetic north, and scaled to 1:20,000. With additional highlights of canals bisecting the area, safe passages (shown with double purple lines), impassable cliffs, and Boise River – the area creates plenty of navigational challenges matching the name.

Date:  Sunday Nov. 13
Time:  Registration (each is required to fill out a form) opens 9am, maps passed out at 9:30am for study, competitor last instructions and group photo 9:50am, mass start at 10:00am sharp.
Start/Finish Location: Marianne Williams Park  
If you are arriving by bike be careful not to ride only on the bike path (in pink on this map)
Classes:  Foot (3 hour limit), Bike (2:30 limit),
Cost:  $10 adult, $5 junior for one day club dues.  For club members we are charging $1 to help cover the large 11x17 map printing requirements that needs to be done.
RSVP: to jeffwrites AT gmail.com by Friday night 11/11

What to bring:  a couple pens or sharpies to circle your answers and plan your route, dress accordingly to the weather for a few hours outside, water as you need while on the course, cell phone for emergencies, compass to keep your map oriented (we have some for rental at nominal $1 fee).

We look forward to seeing you!
Your conspicuously absent meet director Sergey Velichko and die hard pinch hitters Jeff Black & Melanie Wright