April 25, 2011

Ups and Downs at Stewart

It was a brilliantly sunny spring day in Boise. The breeze was just enough to remind us it wasn't summer quite yet, providing the perfect temperature combination for clambering up and down the mountains and valleys of Stewart Gulch.

The beginner course was designed to be just a notch harder than our usual given the nature of starting on the east side, and that many confident fresh graduates from the winter park meets might be too tempted into trying intermediate here. It worked out well. The Stocks family (from Australia for those who haven't met all our members yet) arrived and split into two teams. As anticipated, Ryan and Matt stormed the lead among them, but in reality David and Chris weren't far behind. They mentioned their enjoyment of trying to discern the best way from 5 to 6, whether to take the trail above or below, or contour the hillside. Dondi and Toby Black took their own turn out there but Toby was a little concerned control 4 was too far off trail and 3 too hidden (behind the car door propped against a rare distinct tree). Fortunately we didn't lose anybody on those! And Jeff Decker happened to close out with the fastest time, but in reality he showed up to help with the extensive control pickup and I thought he would find a warmup on the beginner to be an enjoyable diversion. It was.

By contrast the intermediate was set up to be less of an intimidating distance than usual. In reality it still had plenty of healthy climbing involved up and over the center ridge of the map. The Lokanathan family arrived after a long pause (perhaps a year ago, or maybe two) ready to roll. Since they had done the beginner level the last couple times on this same map, and fully fueled from a high calorie brunch, the four of them launched themselves into the course. They learned the true meaning of contours from 4 to 5, a deceptively short linear distance but involving a hefty drop into a reentrant after crossing the center ridge. They were also wondering how that car was ever put at control 6, but of course none of us really knows that...but it makes for a fine control hanger. They returned victorious but clearly having burned off all the brunch calories. We welcome them back as official club members too!

Advanced, of course, was fully intended to be a stiff physical test with whatever technicals the map could muster. Of course this endears it a certain amount of popularity from a few in the club. Judging from the faces of the participants as they
finished, it was a resounding success. Sergey took first place as we might all expect, but it took him well over an hour and he did look tired, muttering about the climb a bit. John Murray (my co-director) played hop-em with Bill Leahy over much of the course and ultimately held his own to finish second. Bill, looking a little worse for the wear, declared him a near clone of Ole out there which led to a comparison of John's and Ole's time over various distances from the 1500m on up while they slurped on post run goodies. The course was stiff enough for Bill to pay me a special phone call after he left, congratulating me on completely wiping him out. Jeff and Kelly Harvey made their own crack at this course. The contouring proved to be very tough on the ankles, though, and they had to play it safe for much of the distance. Nonetheless they finished and seemed to be ready for the next month! Russ, fresh from his Robie Creek TV interviews as a pirate with a hook only a week old, came fresh to warm
up for Rabbit Creek. By the time he was done I think he was ready to taper for next month. Jay Morgan tackled an even more ambitious task of first arriving at 8 to do his first 20-some miles (preparing for an ultra) and then the advanced course, but realized he was quite done by the time he reached #7 on the west side of the map and having serious fun locating the many depressions on the course. He called it good for this month, but I think he will be ready for the Rabbit...


Beginner - 2.13km, 78m climb, 7 controls
Jeff Decker 27:44
Ryan and Matt Stocks 39:50
Chris and David Stocks 41:14
Dondi and Toby Black 44:20

Intermediate - 4.03km, 250m climb, 11 controls
Lokanathan family 2:41:00

Advanced - 7.93km, 650m climb, 19 controls
Sergey Velichko 1:19:08
John Murray 1:46:20
Bill Leahy 1:49:30
Jeff and Kelly Harvey 2:47:00
Russ Pilcher 2:53:00
Jay Morgan DNF

Many, many thanks go to Sergey, Jeff D., John, Ole, and Russ for helping with control pickup and the takedown. You saved me from some really tired legs that day after all the prep!

Next month: Rabbit Creek! Stay tuned for further details on this blog from Bill and Russ Pilcher. Not only do we return to a rogaine format with a mass start, but Bill Leahy and Brad Lowe are prepping for a post meet spaghetti feast! (And there will be a more "normal" course for those who prefer.)

Jeff Black

April 20, 2011

Up, up, and up to Stewart

I'd like to cordially invite experienced and budding orienteers alike to our first meet of the year with some hefty topography to work your legs and mind. In reviewing the courses last weekend, our map is basically free of mud and eminently runnable without being hot yet. Several new trails have appeared since our last visit here, and some old ones closed, and the map includes a few updates.

For those of you eagerly anticipating the Rabbit Creek mini-Rogaine next month, rest assured this is a perfect warm-up for the hills and dales of that fabled map!

Day: Saturday, April 23rd
Time: Starts from 11am-12:30pm, course closes at 2pm.
Map: Stewart Gulch, EAST side
Courses: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced (8k!) Classic courses
Cost: $5, or free to club members
Bring: compass, water, sun protection, good trail shoes for running or hiking, and a signed waiver.

Shorts or pants are your preference. The cheatgrass hasn't gone to seed yet, but there is plenty of the sagebrush to run around. Keep your eyes out for barbed wire as there is no lack of it in this area; I was entangled myself in preparing this meet.

You can join the club at any time, of course, and your dues are prorated for the remainder of the year. Dues support our club and especially the maintenance and creation of new maps. See the Membership section to the right.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Jeff Black (and John Murray as co-director)