July 27, 2012

The Hunt for Orange Gold

Control OA.
Toasty summer weather greeted the orienteers who came up to visit the terrain of our best club map, the infamous Gold Rush Hills.  Some participants might say Fools Gold Rush!  Often some little nook and cranny of the hydromining detail, a parallel error of the roads, or just some of the really fun vertical terrain on sliding pine needles reminded each of them that this is what orienteering in the woods is often about:  finding oneself, then finding a control...any control as the case was for July's meet.  When this technical terrain was combined with a score course on a tight time limit, a wide range of strategies was nicely deployed with an impressive spread of results...

Ken Karcher and Jerry Stewart savor the shade post run.

Melanie Wright on the course.
Several arrivals admitted to never having been on this map before, but were looking forward to orienteering in the woods.  The first arrivals, bright and early, were Ken Karcher and Jerry Stewart, whom Ole invited to come try out the sport.  They had been to McCall once before and were suitably confounded perhaps to delay their next visit until this month.  Combined they had more marathon races under their belts than the entire club I suspect!  They took to the woods early and with cheerful gusto, but returned quite a lot later as they misinterpreted how much the penalty really was.  Nevertheless they had a good time finding four of the 10 pointers (they were in a minority who visited the steep and high KA boulder) and stuck around to chat in the shade with Ole and others who finished.  Ben Brock who had been to several meets in the past year and began racking up an impressive record arrived to take on his first real woods map of the club.  His speed was not visibly diminished given that he collected all the 30 pointers on the far west and north sides of the map, but admitted to bailing on the subtle terrain in the south as his time ran short.  He enjoyed a first place standing for a little while but ultimately shifted to second place.  Ben noted we could definitely expect to see a couple of his students again in the near future.  Melanie Wright was our third newcomer to the map, a recent arrival to Boise from the southeast whose first meet was the Caldwell City Challenge on bike.  She too was interested in trying her hand out in the woods this time.  She didn't waste any time hitting the 30 pointers on the far west side of the map, collecting the nearby 20's, and tagging a few 10's along the way to finish a rather respectable 6th.  I think the map didn't scare her off too much and she even signed up for the mailing list.

So which way did I go?
Some club members who had seen the map in prior meets found their confidence tested and a little less orange gold than they anticipated.  Michael Bading and Merrill Hayden were on the map a year ago but work had hindered his skill work since then.  They lost quite a bit of time around NA, confounded by thinking they were on a different road, and when they discovered their mistake they picked up UA instead and cleaned up on AL on the way home but not without some time penalty.  Doug LaMott, whose furnace company generously donated the first prize for the meet, came back looking a bit discouraged and admitted he had gotten turned around himself but he made it under 2 hours.  Ole was not so favored either but he was diligently stubborn, getting almost all the 30 pointers (XF eluded him), and he endeavored to make the most of his day by getting points at the cost of time.  Russ almost caught him on the finishing victory lap.
Bill Pilcher dives into AL.

And a few of the most experienced members tackled the map with aplomb but had to bail on their idealistic plan of filling their gold pans as the clock ticked down.  Bill Pilcher made a very healthy circuit around the southern side of the map, catching all the possible 20 pointers and two 30's but he too had to beat it back to make the clock and nabbed AL too.  David Murray had a good day compared to last year on this map (he and I both DNF'd on one of the days), handily collecting all the high pointers and most 10's, just skipping some (especially IA high on the hill) on the way home as he eked out slightly overtime.  This ticked him closer to Ben but ultimately taking the win for the day.  His father John was not far behind, cleaning up in third and finding the controls generally straightforward but the time plenty long enough in the heat and the climb.  Russ Pilcher focused his energy on the north side (in contrast to Bill) and grabbed the farthest away but then soon realized his time was more limited than he thought!

Rosie Hill signs in for the beginner course.
We had just one young member on the hilly beginner course, Rosie Hill with dad Andy there to be guided along.  She took advantage of the little cross country opportunity from 4 to 5 (this was definitely more of a yellow course with some climb) and navigated the huge fallen trees that managed to block the rocky motorcycle trail on the way back.  All this after an intense outdoor week at a Bogus camp.  Who knows where the orienteering may lead her yet!

In statistical notes regarding the Score:
  • All controls were visited by someone
  • IA wins the prize for least visited (only by John Murray)
  • JA was only visited twice (by Ben Brock and David Murray)
  • AL was the most visited (all except Doug LaMott)
  • Of the 30 pointers, XF was the least visited, UA the most
  • Of the 20 pointers, LL was the least visited, NA the most
Sergey picked up a copy of the score course after he returned from his trip and has already sketched out his route - which was a little different yet from both Ben's and David's choice but clearly minimized the climb.  He felt confident it could be done in under 2 hours - when he heads up to try his hand at it solo I will post his route choice.

Novice Course  0.97km 25m. climb

Rosie Hill (w/ Andy)0:42

Score Course  (400 points possible)

Orienteer Time Points Collected Penalty Total
David Murray 2:02:00 370 -20 350
Ben Brock 1:58:00 320 0 320
John Murray 1:59:00 290 0 290
Bill Pilcher 1:55:00 230 0 230
Russ Pilcher 1:59:00 180 0 180
Melanie Wright 1:58:00 170 0 170
Ole Bergset 2:17:00 300 -170 230
Michael Bading, Merrill Hayden 2:06:00 150 -60 90
Doug LaMott 2:00:00 70 0 70
Ken Karcher, Jerry Stewart 2:50:00

-500 0

David Murray cooks with 1st place.
I have many to thank for this meet, so it is here I pass out another form of orange gold.  Andy Hill was vitally instrumental in several aspects:  vetting my controls as well as taping a couple I didn't get to myself, providing maps with special same day delivery service for review, bringing Rosie up to do the beginner course (at least someone got to experience the 1:5000 scale that takes extra time!), picking up the same course on a second go round, and finally taking the club meet equipment back to the unit and saving me that drive down Chinden.

My wife Dondi was crucial in keeping me on task this past month given our other races and played a key role as my co-director, highlighting maps, marking starts and finishes, making a record sheet for scoring, printing the rules to remind everyone, and compiling many helpful lists - her specialty.  (She may have picked a few of the score control locations too - she did a draft of ~100 or so on the map and I used many.  Quite possibly her first crack at planning a meet!)

The divide and conquer approach worked perfectly for the score control pickup:  thanks to John Murray, Ole, Russ and Bill Pilcher for going back out on a cookin' hot day to nab many controls.

Ellen, our club photographer aiming one day to get on the cover of Orienteering North America, staked out the AL control and framed some excellent action into that nook as well as many others enjoying their time on the course.

Doug LaMott generously provided the grilling set from the Service Experts for our first place finisher in this meet - which David Murray gets to enjoy this summer.

In August the plan is to visit McCall and Bear Basin, with Karin Didesse directing.  See you there!

Jeff Black
Meet Director
The control collection crew, in uniform.

Score course - from your armchair.
Control descriptions and points.

No comments: