November 16, 2009

The Street Challenge Report

The fall November day of the challenge greeted all comers cold and clear, bright and sunny. Eager street chasers came from all directions to claim a map and study up the best route choice that lent itself to scenic value or a maximum score, beneath gold falling leaves in Ann Morrison park.

After what seemed like an all too brief period of studying the map, the bikers, runners, and walkers scattered in all directions. Andy and Elijah, running a little late after removing the extra ski clothing they piled on, hastily scribbled out a tentative route under duress and blasted off towards the clock tower (quite probably the best warm up control for a confidence booster).

Sergey arrived shortly after the masses had left and went out "just for an hour". Apparently he was having enough fun it took him a little longer than that, but he resisted the allure of getting them all. He seemed confident, however, that it was possible! For a runner I think it would be tough - we had more controls than ever this year.

Karin and Bob also enjoyed the northern half of the map, and even returned with a few action shots. As it turns out, Bob won the walking class, a fact I only realized after returning home and doing confirmation tallies here without all the chaos of a mass finish. But I think I saw him sneak the last chocolate bar, so Bill and Dee don't need to feel guilty.

It was around the time Karin returned I first heard of the difficulty at control 38, at Longfellow Elementary - the sidewalk plaque was solidly covered by leaves! Reputedly some orienteers (who shall remain unnamed) covered the plaque back up after their hard won find for the next round to discover. For those who gave up and picked an answer based on other quotes, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and did not penalize with negative points for guessing (as ominously suggested at the start).

The first bikers to return were Greg Davidson and Melanie Schuster, followed shortly by Jay Morgan who solidly won the bike class with all controls and his early arrival. Then orienteers started pouring in, faster than I could keep up with the news. Three of us worked on scoring at once. I could hear in the background a discussion about Mercury vs. Venus at the Discovery Center Bridge...but had to let it go temporarily in the busyness. Suspecting the worst, I returned to the scene Monday evening and found that Mercury was on the north side of the bridge! As I set up this control in the near dark, I missed this entirely and didn't believe Mercury could be so close. So as it turns out, there were two right answers to question #18, and both Brad Lowe and Doug LaMott get full credit for Mercury.

At least as meet director I didn't flub leaving out a question entirely, like I did last year. I did rather enjoy hearing the tales of counting steps (#41 - no way to eyeball it) or trees (#12), which undoubtedly were a little more challenging under pressure. For the record, the most visited controls were #10, 13, 15, 24, 25, and 26, a mix of locations in the vicinity of Ann Morrison and the heart of downtown. The least visited were #19 (a relatively close one), #37 (tough to route well I am sure), and the far SW #42, 43, 44, 45, and 46. You can be sure, however, that Mike Bading and Merrill Hayden were among the few getting those high 40 pointers, even after getting multiple flats along the way!

Bill Leahy handily won the running class this year, although he looked pretty tired for his win. Nevertheless I think he will be back for more, and he can claim a win over Sergey for this month (we aren't ranking in points per minute for this meet).

Bike Class
Jay Morgan 890 2:37
Doug LaMott 880 2:58
Lee Scott 860 2:48
Greg Davidson & Melanie Schuster 820 2:36
Kevin Heglund 800 2:54
Scott and Mary DeWalt 800 3:00
Mike Bading and Merrill Hayden 720 3:02 (-20 for overtime)
Andy and Elijah Hill 600 3:03 (-30 for overtime)
Brad Lowe 460 2:54

Run Class
Bill Leahy 630 2:54
Matthew Score & Ian McQueary 510 2:47
Sergey Velichko 320 1:15
Karin Didesse 300 2:28

Walk Class
Bob Didesse 220 2:21
Bill and Dee Pilcher 200 3:09 (-90 for overtime)

My apologies for the ongoing difficulty with our slightly less than timely and accurate scoring. Although we have improved notably over the past couple of years, the system has yet to be perfected (and devising clear questions can be harder than it looks). If you have any feedback, please let me know. I hope everyone enjoyed it, even if you did have to count steps under oxygen debt while carrying your bike!

It was fantastic to see so many faces, old and new, out there for this meet. Perhaps we may see you at future meets, stretching both legs and minds. We have a December meet scheduled on the 19th, but the meet director and place are yet to be confirmed. Given the context it will be a park meet, probably Veteran's and/or Willow Lane. Stay tuned to this blog for more info, as well as for the 2010 calendar of events.

Your meet directors - Jeff Black and Karin Didesse

November 3, 2009

Boise Street Challenge starts on Sunday, November 15th!

Yes, you heard correctly...we are trying out a new name this year. The event formerly known as the Metrogaine shall be henceforth the Boise Street Challenge for 2009.

On top of that, the date has been slightly reset to Sunday, November 15th, instead of Saturday. This minimizes the traffic hazards out there on our city streets.

Our meet format remains unchanged, however: Given a USGS map of downtown Boise and the surrounding terrain, the challenge is to get as many "points" as possible in the 3 hour time limit. Points are obtained by answering questions at a circle on the map, a question that can (usually) only be answered by being there. Like a traditional orienteering score course, some answers are worth more than others, but can be filled out in any order, so there is some strategy involved.

Although the long distance runners remain big fans of this meet, given the scale of the map, it remains wildly popular with the bikers of the group too. We'll keep them in a separate class. But if you just want to wander the city on a beautiful November fall day and see it through new eyes, here's your chance! Walkers will have their own class too.

Key details:
Date: Sunday, November 15th
Time: Start area set up at 10am. Maps distributed at 10:15am. Mass start at 10:30am!
Time Limit: 3 hours (10 point penalty per minute overtime)
Cost: $5 per map (for club members, it is free)

Recommended items to bring to the meet:
1. Water bottle (or your favorite hydration system) - you'll be out for 3 hours!
2. Clothing appropriate for the weather that day, especially footwear you can walk or run in.
3. Your favorite reliable pen or pencil for circling answers to questions.
4. A completed and signed waiver (essential for non-members).
5. A watch to keep track of time.
6. Cell phone for emergencies, if you have one.

Look forward to seeing you there!
Meet directors Jeff Black and Karin Didesse