December 8, 2010

Orienteering for beginners

Winter Orienteering Series '12: Fire Mountain from Rebecca Jensen on Vimeo.
This video is from Rebecca Jensen a member of Cascade Orienteering Club who has a series of videos for beginner to advance orieneering. She has also has a blog site which has some usefully information for beginners.

This is good introduction to orienteering for beginners. Alexander Lines who is age 11 has made a short introduction to orienteering. It features his brother Edward. From Sussex UK.

Another quick introduction to orienteering from a British Orienteering club.

This is a good example of an orienteering "A" meet which was held at Mose Lake, Wa June 2010. Several CTOC members competed at this event at different competive levels.

December 5, 2010

Crossing Lines in the Snow

The weather "held", so to speak, and snowed steadily during the last meet of 2010. Footing was tricky across the crunchy snow base that told us all winter was definitely here.

For those of you who didn't make it, I'll shatter the suspense: the upper level course was what we call "Line O". Controls are punched in order in the classic sense, but the control could be anywhere along the straight line to the control, or even at the end. Much practice could be had taking a bearing from each control to the next and holding it, as well as reading the map at the same time with care to ensure the path was along the way. All while looking for the control flag, too. And since there was also a classic beginner course out there (no takers, however), the codes were important to verify (although I made my best effort to not have any beginner control too close to any of the actual bearings).

This proved to be a memorable event for all the hardy souls who participated. I knew I had done it right as meet director when Bill Leahy passed the midway point and cursed me as he passed. He found that holding a bearing was hard to do reliably at many points in the course, and expects he could use some more practice on this - especially in the woods. Sergey bypassed two controls himself during the run and had to go back to find them, commenting it took about 10 minutes longer than a classic version of the course might. Ole had to admit he literally forgot he already punched #5 when finally reaching the end of the line for a new bearing, and perhaps for the first time in his O career he found he had *already* punched it when he went back! This meant his time was just a little longer than that of Jay Morgan. Lee Scott, however, blazed the course like superman with x-ray vision (I suspect he did not take many bearings but followed the map like a hawk), and nicely upset our often typical finish order among the experienced.

As it turned out, control 10 proved to be the most elusive for many participants. Both John Murray and Renee Kline reported back that it was missing (although others had found it), and they went out again with Ole (who did find it after some trail hunting) and Dave Bergset to investigate. They found Russ and Bill Pilcher there at the same time. #10 was indeed there but the bearing from 9 to 10 led them all notably to the left, and since the control was very nearly at the end it was easily missed. As meet director I placed it in line with the distinct tree and path, so it's possible the map is a little off - or possibly the meet director was too. Fresh off a long workout, Doug LaMott had his own fun with the course, pegging a couple of beginner controls nearby, but he had a blast cruising the course anyway and I don't think I quite discouraged him from future meets yet. Karin was short on time, and so just completed the first 8 before heading out.

It is increasingly hard to imagine a complete meet now without the Pilcher brothers. They came straight from their own 5k race, winning their age groups (they are so young after all), and were eager to get some land navigation in their day. They tackled it independently but Bill's red hat kept him visible from across the park and provided a mighty fine lure for Russ to chase - and win.

Line O (intermediate/advanced)
Lee Scott - 28:06
Sergey Velichko - 35:45
Jay Morgan - 44:56
Ole Bergset - 45:30
Bill Leahy - 1:01:16
Russ Pilcher - 1:03:00
Bill Pilcher - 1:07:15
Karin Didesse - 14:47 (first 8 controls only)
Doug LaMott - 38:38 (MP on two controls)
John Murray - 1:01:00 (missed #10)
Renne Kline - 1:13:08 (missed #10)

Beginner - no takers.

Many thanks to Jeff Decker, who served as co-director on this snowy day while a BSU game began in the background. He assisted with setup, brought some cookies to refuel the orienteers, picked up the beginner course, and helped fill in the gaps while I took a few pictures. My wife Dondi was instrumental in helping load and unload gear. Thanks go also to those who helped pick up: Russ and Bill Pilcher, and Ole Bergset. All of you made this go a lot faster and smoother than any one person can do alone.

This may have been the last meet of 2010, but that doesn't mean there isn't more to come! We have a preliminary calendar up now on the website, and the first 5 events scheduled. Mark your calendars - next year we have some park map extensions forthcoming, more woods meets in the summer (if we get our directors lined up!), and quite probably a return of the Rabbit O mini-rogaine for those who just can't be out there long enough. Along with our usual favorites in the Vampire O and the Street Challenge. See you all in the new year!

Jeff Black