March 16, 2020

Ides of March Meet Report

It was the Ides of March Orienteering Meet. I don't think that Norma intended the name to have the ominous portent it did. The Ides didn't work out so well for Julius Caesar, and it could have gone a lot better for Norma. At least a half dozen people exercised an entirely justified level of caution about the rising tide of Corona Virus infections as they chose to stay away. Among them was Melanie, our computer operator who earlier in the week had been in the proximity of Idaho's first COVID-19 case. And then we came up short on Sport Ident chips as I discovered that I'd left about 40 at home where, it seems, they were of no value to the orienteers waiting to get started on the course. It could have been a longer delay and larger embarrassment if not for a fortuitous string of green lights on the round trip.

Sergey headed for Control 15
With the looming pandemic and mismanagement of the equipment inventory we only needed the weather to complete a triad of orienteering disasters. It was not to be. After a night of rain that threatened to dampen our spirits the rain stopped as if out of respect for our sport. It's not as if all was perfect after that. The printer ran out of ink. We couldn't find the spare cartridge whose location only Sergey knew. And, as you might expect in our series of unfortunate events, Sergey was out running the advanced course. I should add that he was running it at his boringly predictable blazing pace, so we did not have long to wait to be rescued.

Meanwhile in contrast to the crew managing (if that's what you call it) the start desk, orienteers by their own accounting were enjoying the courses. First among the notable performances was Jackson's run on the beginner's course. He has been following along behind Dad and Mom for several meets. I heard that he was eager to take a map in hand and do his own navigating. The opportunity came today and Jackson seized it by navigating a beginner's course (with some intermediate controls thrown in) to a first place finish. Congratulations Jackson! He went on to post a very respectable 4th place on the intermediate course.

If my memory serves me, today's meet was Kirsten's third. She finished first smashing the intermediate competition. We can't help but admire that kind of performance, especially for a new orienteer. But for most of us this sport is not about blazing speed, inspired navigation, and finishing first. It's a chance to learn and polish a skill. It's about seeing new places and seeing old places in new ways. Before he punches the start, Mike knows that Sergey is going to beat him. Anyone who saw his last route choice through a chair
behind the start desk in great haste to punch the finish knows Mike also loves to compete. I get that because Mike and I and a lot of others are members of the Wile E Coyote School of Orienteering. After all, I bought my compass at Acme Orienteering Co.

The Ides of March Orienteering Meet brings our 2019-2020 series of Treasure Valley park meets to a close. April takes us into the out of town season with meets planned from the Owyhees to the Sawtooths to Bear Basin near McCall. But first it looks like we will be in the local hills at Willow Creek on the north end of Eagle Road. If all is well with Melanie Wright, she will direct the meet on April 25 including some training on how to read contours. That's a skill we seldom use in the city parks. It is quite important in mountainous terrain.

John Murray

The split times of the event have been added to the WinSplits Online database. Thank you for your participation!

March 6, 2020

Boise Adventure Running Tournament is being rescheduled for later in the year.

We are planning a regular meet for Saturday April 25.

Hope to see you all at the upcoming Veteran's Park Meet.

February 22, 2020

Veterans Park Meet Sunday, March 15

When: Sunday, March 15 rain or shine starts between 10am and noon. Absolutely new areas mapped.

Location: Meet center at Veterans Park in Boise.

Format: Urban Beginner 1.5K, Intermediate 4.75K, and long Advanced 8.5K courses. Come join us for an outdoor adventure! Please let me know how many beginner, intermediate, and advanced maps you need so I can be sure to have enough maps pre-printed (

We will use SI electronic punching so bring a SI stick if you own one. SI sticks also will be available for rent at a nominal charge.

Light snacks and water will be provided at the center.

Club members will be on hand for instruction/coaching if needed.

Single meet (day) dues: $10 per person/team, free for members
Junior (up to 20 years old): $5 per person/team, free for members
If more than one map is needed for a team, it is $1 per map.
$1 compass rental, $2 SI stick rental.

You may join CTOC for the full year which makes all local meets free! Membership is prorated to the end of this year. We do plan for full roster with monthly meets this year. See member info.

For a schedule of events with event descriptions join our group at

February 17, 2020

Eagle Island Meet Report

For those of you who paid attention during geometry class the idea that two lines in a plane cross at one and only one point is a truth that has been around since Euclid developed his geometry 2300 years ago. For the rest of us it's just intuitive that anything that drops into the big end of a funnel must fall out the small end (assuming no traffic jam or inversion of the funnel). But, when the funnel is on the ground in the form of two converging ditches somehow that knowledge can elude us. So it was on the Intermediate Course at Control 6 where the feature marked by the control bag was at just such an intersection. I have an insight into the course setter's 
mind. He intended it to be just about the easiest, surest navigation on the course. Just position yourself between the ditches and head into the funnel. I heard from some folks that Control 6 was a bit of a problem. It was out of sight in a ditch surrounded by knee-high grass, so you couldn't see it until you were within a couple of meters. I don't know that Pam had any problem at all finding Control 6. She did provide us with photos of the control and her great smile. Thanks for the photos, Pam.

If you are wondering why I write about Control 6 to the exclusion of the 25 other controls on the four courses, it is because it illustrates an important principal of orienteering: Navigate to the feature, not the control. If you have orienteered for a while, you have heard this precept ad nauseam, and you are resigned to hearing it again. If not, prepare yourself because it is unavoidable. In a field of tall grass you could wander for a long time before blundering onto Control 6, but by following two linear features to their intersection you can go directly to it. And, that is what the course setter had in his sometimes inscrutable mind when he placed Control 6. Of course, if you did not know you were between two converging lines, then you had a different problem. You were not in contact with the map. You violated another important principle: Stay in contact with the map. In other words, know where you are before taking each step.

OK, enough of the orienteering object lesson. Your meet director also got a lesson Saturday. Before a meet the control stations should all be synchronized because over time in storage some of the internal clocks will drift forward or backward. When two controls have significantly different times it's possible to record an earlier time at the second than at the first. Well, it wasn't that bad on Saturday, but it appears to have been enough. Have a look at Win Spits for the Intermediate Course  and observe the fastest time from Control 12 to 13 was 8 seconds clocked by Bill Leahy and the team of Jackson, Angela and Torin. That leads me to great sympathy for Andy Olnes, who followed by a mere second. The reason for my sympathy: That's a world record sprint, 250 meters in 9 seconds, and it won't go into the record book because Andy lagged by a second. All of which illustrates the misinformation we get when we neglect to synchronize the control stations.

What is accurate is the total elapsed time. Jackson got a new compass for Christmas. He, his mom, and his dad took first place in the intermediate competition by a margin of more than three minutes. With the exception of the aforementioned Control 6 they performed consistently at or near the top for every control. We had several first time participants and others who only recently joined us.

I advertised this event as orienteering in terrain where, unlike city parks, reading the vegetation was important. Look at Elaine's hat. There on her hat over her right eye is proof that she got into the vegetation. I wish I had a photo of Andy Olnes, who brought home a bushel of burrs and stickers attached to his clothes. I believe they had a good day, but it wasn't a walk in the park, not in the city park anyway.

Next month Norma will direct a meet at Veterans Park extending into Willow Lane and Esther Simplot Parks on a map newly updated by Sergey. Please join us for our last city park classic orienteering event of the spring. Consult our Meetup City of Trees Orienteering group for other upcoming events.

John Murray
Meet Director

February 8, 2020

Eagle Island Orienteering

Perhaps you know orienteering at Eagle Island from one of our October Vampire-O meets held at night. This daytime meet will feature an intermediate course to test your navigation in the more complex parts not visited at night and an advanced course to test your speed and endurance to the far corners of the park. We will also have a beginner course suitable for folks who want to stay on the trails and get an introduction to orienteering.

Make sure you pay the $5 vehicle entry fee on the way into the park at the entrance kiosk. For a bargain the Idaho State Park Passport is only $10 for full year access to all 30 state parks. It' a windshield sticker for Idahoans and is available for purchase at the time you register your motorhome or passenger vehicle, online, or by mail-in renewal or at any county DMV office. The park has generously allowed us use of the park without paying any event or shelter rental fee. In return, please pay the park entry fee if you do not have the Annual State Park pass.
Access to the park is now from State Street.

Saturday, February 15. Starts from 9:00 - 11:00 AM, possibly later depending on the weather. Sometimes during the middle of February an early start on frozen ground is more desirable than a warmer start on muddy ground. I don't expect it will make much difference, but if it does we will be flexible. In any case, the course will remain open for 2 hours after the last orienteer starts.
Course closes at 1:00 PM unless we have late starts due to weather, so if you want more time you should come earlier in the window.

Format: Classic: approximately 6.6 km.

Format: Classic: approximately 3.0 km.

Format: Classic: approximately 1.6 km.

RSVP: To minimize waste, please email me (jnm2870 at cableone dot net) with your count of maps needed and your choice of course(s) (beginner, intermediate, advanced) needed by Thursday, February 13. A request for a beginner map will be regarded as a request for both a beginner and an intermediate map as many beginners try that course and then want to take on the intermediate course--two maps for the price of one. If you show up off the cuff, I will probably have a few blank maps to copy a course by hand, buy don't count on it.


Local meet fees paid at the start desk on the day of the meet:
Single meet (day) membership: $10 per person/team, free for members
Single Junior (up to 20 years old): $5 per person/team, free for annual memberships.
If more than one map is needed for a team, a small additional fee may be needed per the discretion of the meet director depending on printing costs.
You may join CTOC for the full year which makes all local meets free! See member info at Annual memberships are pro-rated based on the number of months remaining in the year. Family memberships in February are $60. Individual memberships are $42.

Compass! Rentals available for $1.00.
SportIdent chip. Rentals available for $2.00.
Waiver, prepared in advance especially if you are not a CTOC member. You can download a waiver from the documents under the Membership and Fees heading. If you are bringing a minor who is not your own child, you MUST bring a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
A suitable pack with essentials and snacks as you usually need to prepare for a day hike in the woods.
Sufficient water for yourself.
Sunscreen and/or hat. This is very exposed terrain.
Gaitors are recommended for the intermediate and advanced courses.
Cell phone.

Important notes:

Please carry out any waste.
There are a few barbed wire fences around. As always be alert to loose strands of wire on the ground, and as always watch where you run and step. Hope to see you out navigating with us!

John Murray

January 20, 2020

January 18 Julia Davis park meet results

We got TV coverage during our January meet in the Julia Davis park! Click here

Results for beginner course are in order of registration. Many tried Intermediate course with electronic punching right after their first beginner one. And, as always, our Advanced course was hotly contested. Top results are very impressive!

Beginner 1.3 km, 6 controls

Kirsten, Barry, Roy, Kim   30:00
Nanami & Christian           33:00
Jill                                       35:40
Katie & Barnie                   30:39
Amber Smith                      37:00
Dan                                    41:50
Martin                                26:00
Patricia                               38:10
Julie & RJ                          14:00
Russel & Jacob                  23:00
Pam & Tabitha                   37:40

Pl  Name      Time  Diff.

Intermediate  3.8 km, 14 controls     

1 Torin, Anglea, J Ford              42:56 0:00
2 Katrina Wright                        43:07 +0:11
3 Dustin, Heidi, Que Thomas    43:39 +0:43
4 Russel Fair                              54:26 +11:30
5 Carrie Magnuson & Cat Luna1:04:51 +21:55
6 Andy Olnes                             1:09:31 +26:35
7 Christian & Nanami Slavin    1:11:33 +28:37
8 Jerry Stewart                          1:21:20 +38:24
9 Not-yet Lost                           1:23:14 +40:18
10 Pam Williford                        1:28:08 +45:12
11 Tabitha Williams                   1:28:09 +45:13
12 Norma Bailey                        1:43:48 +1:00:52
13 Christy Morris                       1:49:59 +1:07:03

Mark, Day, Javon Skudlarek  dnf
Dan & Debbie Tevonce          dnf

Advanced  5.6 km, 23 controls     

1 Mike Bading                           48:32 0:00
2 Melanie Wright                       51:19 +2:47
3 John Murray                        1:00:28 +11:56
4 Ole Bergset                          1:09:46 +21:14

Split times for Intermediate and Advanced courses are available in here
Julia Davis park meet split time

Click and follow the above link, select your course to see how you did for each control in relation to other competitors. Some split times are very short due to all control stations not synchronized with the world clock. We will make sure we do this for our next meets.

Let me know if I may misspelled or missed your name so we may correct. Directly to savelichko at yahoo dot com.

See you at our next meet February 15 at Eagle Island state park! John is preparing challenging courses for us.