June 18, 2010

The Gold in Idaho City: O Meet Report

It was a gorgeous day for orienteering - or for simply being outside. No more need be said!

The beginner course attracted a remarkably diverse cross section of participants. A few who never orienteered before included Jesse Chan, Ryan Hendrick & Mike Shosted, and Bill Parks - and after watching them get acclimated to the details of the map - the first control was in sight of the start - soon came back with big grins on their faces. Jesse, Ryan, and
Mike had time to stay longer and tackle intermediate too, which they completed like pros and still grinning. I expect they may get a chance to ply their new skills in some adventure racing. Dondi and Toby, my codirectors, burned off a little steam early in the meet by giving the course a round themselves (and confirming the controls were still there despite all the ATV traffic!) Masha Velichko, a top orienteering champ in her class, took on beginner herself given recent injury recovery and enjoyed the time in the woods.
Two of the Meade family came up into the woods for the first time, and made the rounds enjoyably and easily - enough that they tackled the first two controls on intermediate after a lunch eyed by Toby (those sardines looked pretty good I think). Ethan was the one who suggested their route choice and compass bearing on intermediate - and they hit it the first time out! And much thanks goes to Jeff Decker, who ran the course as a cooldown and picked up half the controls after everyone was done. (Sergey also ran to cooldown but this proved a bit more tricky with missing controls.) I think I can safely say nobody got lost or disappointed on the beginning loop.

Plenty of healthy interest was available on intermediate too, including the beginner participants mentioned above - Jesse, Ryan, and Mike, who I think even snagged a few mushrooms for eating later. Jeff Decker found opportunities to exercise some lightly used compass skills on the direct line rather than giving in to the trail of temptation routes - and certainly fared well by it, judging by his winning time. Perhaps we'll see his route overlaid on Google earth via the Garmin watch upload. Karin took intermediate so she wouldn't have to savor the generous climb on advanced, and came back looking warmed up, ready for the regional meet in a couple weeks. Bob went out too, on his own, and had no problem finding things out there. John Murray hedged for some time, trying to decide which course his knee could tolerate, and ultimately put his money on intermediate. He was seen as a real jackrabbit out there by Jesse and others, which he noted was an effort to make up for some lost time on the first control or two! (I think we have all been there.) Joe and Jenita cheerfully tackled the course with gusto and strode in together like they'd been doing it forever. And we can't forget Rosie Hill, who brought Andy and Elijah along so they could merge brainpower and fly over the still swampy finish line, complete with pictures of the action.

For the advanced we had a full range of familiar faces ready to take on the distance and climb. Sergey took first handily, but not without sweat, and really savored the long legs in the middle of the controls, inspired to put comparable versions in any future long O champs held in Idaho City (so I didn't do too bad in my course layout, at least!) On the other end of the field, Brad Lowe left plenty early to hike the course in full, and found several other wooly "orienteers" out there by control 10 - the sheep had moved in and surrounded the boulder it sat by! Nonetheless he managed to punch it. Russ Pilcher had a similar report on the sheep - even noting they all looked like boulders out there, so he yelled and shook them apart, and headed for the boulder than didn't move. It was the right one!
That day he easily hammered his brother Bill's time (despite Dazzle's nose), and I fear to hear of what bet may have been at stake for the win. Nonetheless I think they both enjoyed the Idaho woods as a change from Murphy that day. Jay Morgan actually was the very first to arrive that day (not by bike this time), and turned in a very respectable time for his first time on this map.

Special thanks for control pickup go to a LOT of people that day: Jeff Decker, Andy Hill, Joe and Jenita Gumansky, Karin and Bob Didisse, Brad Lowe, the Pilchers, and my wife Dondi. That day we proved that divide and conquer on control pickup means we are finished in no time flat!

Beginner (2.1k, 65m climb):
Ryan Hendrick & Mike Shosted 17:38
Jeff Decker 18:10
Masha Velichko 25:20
Bill Parks 26:37
Jesse Chan 27:48
Dondi & Toby Black 28:00
Roy & Ethan Meade 42:00

Intermediate (4k, 250m climb):
Jeff Decker 58:03
Ryan Hendrick & Mike Shosted 1:01:55
Karin Didisse 1:05
Jesse Chan 1:10
John Murray 1:32
Bob Didisse 1:34
Andy, Elijah & Rosie Hill 1:55:16
Joe & Jenita Gumansky 2:13

Advanced (8k, 500m climb):
Sergey Velichko 1:05:30
Russ Pilcher 2:01:03
Jay Morgan 2:18
Bill Pilcher & Dazzle 2:33:15
Brad Lowe 3:17

Elijah has actually volunteered to design a fun course for July, and rumor has it Andy will keep him in line. Lee Scott will co. Come join us in the July heat for a cool park meet. In August we'll revisit the woods in McCall. If you can't wait until then, take note there are plenty of big meets around the area this summer hosted by other clubs that will be sure to challenge you in full!

June 12, 2010

Gold Rush conditions update

An update on conditions and preparation:

1. The roads and terrain have dried out nicely in the past week, making everything quite drivable and the area quite beautiful. The weather was ideal today for orienteering.
2. ATV and motorcycle traffic has picked up with the weather, so be careful driving in. I still expect our start area to be as stated; there are a couple of RV's camped out nearby but it's relatively quiet. When running on the courses be aware of similar traffic on the roads and motorcycle trails that cross the woods.
3. Given the wet spring, it is probably best to be prepared for mosquitos and such. Although I haven't noticed any myself, I have been constantly moving for setup, so they aren't obvious. Dondi noted that when seated in one area for a period of time they are there.
4. We will have a few snacks at the start/finish table too, along with water. I have not planned any water on the course right now, but if it looks like it will be hot I may drop a jug off in the middle of intermediate and advanced. Bringing your own hydration will let you be best prepared for what you need.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


June 7, 2010

Take to the Woods!

Greetings fellow Orienteers,

This Sunday, June 13th, we will have our first orienteering meet in the woods this year. Come on back to our Gold Rush map in Idaho City (our big A meet was here last June), or work on your skills in the green for the first time. This, as they say, is what it's all about! Courses will be available in beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Give yourself a good hour or so to get to the meet start from downtown Boise. Head up 21 towards Idaho City, and when you get there:
1. Turn left on Main street, just before the visitor center.
2. Go 1/3 of a mile and turn right on Bear Run Road. (A building with a very large collection of signs is at this junction on the left.) This road is quite passable but has many potholes currently, some probably with water. Take your time, especially as some ATV's and motorcycles use this road.
3. Continue north, more or less, on Bear Run road. About a mile down the main road will veer left, but continue straight (or right) on Bear Run, following the signs indicating Pilot Peak and Lowman.
4. Another mile later continue straight at another junction, still heading towards Lowman.
5. Continue for one more mile, passing a large parking area on your right (this is called Lycow Flat) and continuing a little bit further to where a slightly rougher road goes right and the main road goes left. Turn right which should put you right in the start area. Signs, controls, and our club shelter should be easy to spot. If parking is cramped you can also park just up on the left fork.

If by some unfortunate circumstance another party has occupied this area, I'll make the new start area as obvious as I can along the same road at or before that point. I'm expecting that Sunday should be pretty clear, especially given how wet it has been up there this year.

The course will be open at 10:30am, and you can start until about 12. The course will close around 2pm. If you plan on tackling the advanced course an early start would be much easier for control pickup and such.
If time and logistics permit we can meet up at Trudy's afterward in Idaho City to discuss route choices and exchange stories of the day.

This is a beautiful area, on our best club map, in great orienteering terrain. Come on out and brush up your skills - it's worth the trip!

Jeff Black