September 17, 2013

Reporting "Live" from NOD at Stewart Gulch West

Given the course choices and nice sunny weather (instead of possible thunderstorms and lightning and all that), we had a solid turnout for National Orienteering Day.  It was duly noted, however, by more than one returning orienteer that it was hotter on the other side of the mountain that rises up steeply to the east...
Dondi got everyone going on time.
The Beginner course had two takers:  The Morgan brothers, fresh from the "advanced beginner" course with their dad, gave the short course their best legs and finished strong.  
Nikolai and Aleksi take it home.
Caelin Judd brought the family, and all caught their breath on the copse control.
The Judd family pauses in the shade at control #5.  (Photo: Ellen)

Beginner (1.22k, 5m climb) Time
Nikolai and Aleksi Morgan 0:18
Caelin Judd and family Hike

As it turned out, the special bonus course designed by scout Ethan Meade (awkwardly named by the meet director as "advanced beginner") was by far and away the most popular.  It neatly fit into the perfect niche of those wanting a little more challenge than the classic flat beginner but not too much sun and climb - a hard to find combination at our Stewart venue.  The Morgan family, who has more than a few meets to their name, handily took first and pronounced the course "just right" (which obviously left enough energy for Nikolai and Aleksi to burn up Beginner).
The Morgan brothers at hot control #2.  (Photo: Jay)
Mike B's mom Helga was in town from Seattle and they tackled the course with Oakley to cruise in with a sweet second.  I can only hope I am still briskly booking the peaks at age 86!  She commented "the hills only get steeper and taller every year...and this place is a desert, isn't it?"

Mike and Helga at the finish line.
The complete Johnson family (also with Ethan's troop) arrived to sample his course design and came back looking a little exhilarated.  Just two minutes behind Mike and Helga!
The Johnson's sprint to control #6.
John and Joel Weers made great time and came in just minutes behind to round out 4th place.
John and Joel Weers through the trees to #2.  (Photo: Ellen)
Michael Judd and his family took on this course first, but they lost two members getting up the slippery cheatgrass hill on the way up to control 2.  They reunited to accomplish the beginner course.  The Corlett's and Olson's heard rumors of the merit badge work taking place and came to see how it was all came together - and snag a few maps!

Adv Beginner (2.15k, 125m climb) Time
Jay, Nikolai, and Aleksi Morgan 0:44
Mike Bading and Helga Byhre 1:01
Zach, Amy, Kyle, Eric Johnson 1:03
John and Joel Weers 1:09
The Judd family Hike
Greg and Tyler Corlett Hike
Daren and Lauren Olson Hike

The intermediate proved to be a challenging take given the considerable climb involved.  The meet director made it a notch harder than "normal" (if there is such a thing) given the advanced beginner option, but climb was formidable with the map whittled down in the lower elevations with new road construction.  (#1 turned out to be more visible than anticipated but that meant the telephoto could be leveraged from the start triangle.)  Russ Pilcher, with only minutes remaining in Boise before signing papers to load up and move down to northern Arizona, sprinted like we've never seen him before to take first place.  It's also possible all the Rabbit O hats motivated him.  We wish him well in his new place!
Russ catches his breath at #1 before the next sprint.
Russ leaps into action with control #10.  (Photo:  Ellen)
Ethan Meade took on the intermediate course to capture his third and final meet for the merit badge requirements, despite the ominous climb and heat involved.  It was either then and there or face the vampires next month, in the dark.  Roy managed to keep up with Ethan along the way and reported the race directors' name was rather ill considered after control #5 (shared by advanced), buried deep in a re-entrant perhaps best accessed by climbing harness.  Congrats to both of them for finishing a challenging course - and thanks to Ethan on his easier course design for everyone else!
Ethan Meade finds a higher gear to the last control.  (Photo: Dondi)
More scouts from the other troop also took on the intermediate course as a hiking mode and seemed to get a good sense of what harder was like...hopefully they will be back!

Intermediate (3.28k, 305m climb) Time
Russ Pilcher 1:23
Roy and Ethan Meade 2:14
Cameron Bybee, Jared and Jeffrey Hike
Finally, the advanced course naturally attracted many of the club's usual suspects.  Given that this is Stewart Gulch and the lowlands are being swept away by the flood of houses, the climb was double that of the intermediate.  As expected, Sergey took first, but he actually came in two controls early a little dazed from the blazing afternoon sun.  He duly noted his glitch and promptly headed out to finish his course.  His route choice is included below.  (Control #6, a rather fuzzy part of the map these days, used the old faded ZZ control for security and was on a distinct tree.  Sergey noted he spent 2 minutes+ on the control, far from optimal.)
Sergey's route choice, advanced course.
John Murray, after making some of his usual positive observations about the highly visible first control and ridiculous amount of climb on the course ("This is not an ultramarathon race, you know."), turned in a very respectable second place for being a sprinter type guy.  Probably faster than the race director would have given how slow he has become on these shorter races...
John Murray leaps concrete with a single stride.
Christine Kollar, fresh from a 100 mile victory the weekend before in McCall (speaking of ultrarunning), let Tim do the navigating and big climbs on the course, which he did admirably.  They finished the course little worse for the heat and wondered where everyone was?  Christine knew exactly where Russ was moving to and had some good recommendations to boot.
Tim and Christine cruise down the big hill for the round the school sprint.
Bill Leahy and Jim Byrne also gave the course a solid go but eventually had to bail as the heat and fluid requirements got the better of them.  We were glad to see them relaxed and casual at the finish line waiting for everyone to get in!

Advanced (7.18k, 625m climb) Time
Sergey Velichko 1:17
John Murray 1:49
Tim and Christine 2:10
Bill Leahy DNF
Jim Byrne DNF
Prizes from Shu's running company were distributed among various participants and...age group winners, much to their delight.  Special thanks go to Dondi, my codirector who kept the starts and finishes straight while I ate and took photos.  Many thanks go to those who assisted with control pickup - John Murray, Russ Pilcher, Mike Bading (who picked up the far east controls), and the Meade men (who also set up their course!).  More photos from Ellen can be found on the yahoogroups site too.

Stay tuned to this channel for news on next month's meet, when the air gets chilly, the skies grow dark, and the vampire returns - he wants your completed map!

Jeff Black

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