January 26, 2014

Playing it Straight

Although the inversion hung on during our inaugural 2014 meet, we had a brisk turnout for those willing to savor a little chill in their winter park orienteering practice.

The beginner courses pulled in a healthy range of new and experienced orienteers, shown in order of starting times.  Holly Peters and Mark Holman were completely new to the club but Mark did have his share of navigation in the past.  After noting the lions were hungry at the zoo, they tackled the beginner course comfortably and plan to be back next month for a step up.  The Moore family also arrived new to the sport.  Judging from the sprint of their daughter Emily leading the way to the finish, they look equally enthusiastic and plan to return next month for something a little longer.
The Moore family finishes fast.
Ben Brock, who brought his daughter Winslow for a little tour of the park and is dealing with one of those unexpected running injuries (seems like we all are this time of year?), captured a great shot of his daughter at control 3.  Safe to say she will be back.
Winslow at beginner #3.  Photo: Ben
Then we had another scout arrive to work on his orienteering merit badge - Brett Flerchinger and his dad.  He had set up a basic course for his troop already but needed to get some meets under his belt.  They finished handily and wanted to start on intermediate, but it was time for control pickup - they got a map though for their own reference and they too will be back!

Nikolai, Aleksi, and Emily Morgan seized firm control of the intermediate course and deterred all comers in the zealous blast of speed throughout, taking first place.
The Morgans sweep the intermediate.

The special feature of the advanced course was a revival of "line" orienteering.  Rather than the control being in the control circle, it could be anywhere along the line (including the control circle as a possibility).  This has several perks - every orienteer has to pay far more attention to reading the map as they run (in effect creating many more control points for each segment), the difference between competitors is reduced as the fastest ones need to slow down, and if using a compass bearings can be practiced too.  It turned out to be particularly interesting while circling buildings in the BSU campus...

Alex handily cleaned up the course, pushing hard but making it look easy.  With the new national junior grant given to Riverstone, we can be sure more speed will be coming out of Alex and his fellow students this year!  Sergey did indeed get all the controls, but he gave a bit of a sly smile as Dondi and I confusedly watched him go back to the first line of the course.  He missed it and decided to pick it up at the end, but felt that the control was just a little further from the line than it should be.  By conventional orienteering rules this is a DQ and so he has been marked as such - certainly he would not get away with it if we used e-punch!  The time penalty for a revisit pushed him second behind Alex in net time.
Sergey returns to catch #1 at the end.
A steady string of our club regulars arrived behind them like clockwork:   Greg, Jay, Bill, the Harvey's, Melanie, Dennis, and John rounded out the competition.  A few themes emerged from the recounted experiences.  Control #5, which was tucked between a wall and a juniper proved maddeningly elusive and required very careful line tracking and observation.  A couple got away with circling the new construction fencing that appeared just that week to the north, gambling the control was not too early in the line.  They were lucky.  Control #7 also required a looking back after circling the building to see it.  I think it was the Harvey's who noted they were standing almost with their back touching it and looking forward down the bearing, and had to come back before they found it.  John Murray noted there is an extra corner on that building not shown on the map that didn't make it any easier.  When Melanie was there four police cars were active right next to it (not part of the course design), serving as an extra distraction for sure.  Control #10, tucked way near the end of its line in a boulder field was often only noticed after scouting the entire line on the way there - but sometimes the clear vegetation bought an early glimpse.  Jay got distracted by a beginner/intermediate control in the NE corner of the rose garden and lost a bit of time jumping in and out (the code of course did not match).  Dennis thoroughly enjoyed the new twist on the orienteering and he pledges to attend many more meets this year!
Dennis pedals hard to the finish.

Thank you to Andy, for printing maps at the last moment in a busy week and my wife Dondi for handling starts and finishes and even a bit of tutorial to the beginners.  Bill Leahy and John Murray greatly assisted in picking up controls.

Next month we'll be in Hidden Springs where the Murrays will track the weather closely and gauge how far in the foothills we may roam.  It's a great map of mixed urban and high desert terrain, and I'll see you there!
Ben teaches his daughter how to spot a control.

January 20, 2014

2014: Opening Meet

Come one, come all to the first club orienteering meet for 2014!

The club returns to classic format and speedy feet in the parks for January.  At least, classic for beginner and intermediate.  For the advanced crew there is a special variation in store designed to keep you on your toes every step of the way.

The map of Julia Davis/BSU has been expanded and updated to a recent degree thanks to Sergey, so there may be a few more nooks and crannies for those who think they know it all.

Date:  January 25, 2014 (Saturday)
Location:  Julia Davis/BSU, near the Friendship bridge
Time:  starts from 11-12:30.  Course closes at 2pm.
Cost:  $5 per map; free to CTOC members.

  • a baseplate compass (if you have one, otherwise you may borrow)
  • good shoes for combining pavement and potentially slick grass
  • clothes suited for your pace and weather, plus something warm when you get back
  • your brain preloaded with map reading eyes, adaptability, and optimism, i.e. the orienteering software.  For those of you who never did this, we will be happy to show you the ropes!

Speaking of members...you know what this means.  Yes - it's time to renew club dues!  That includes the updated form this year with the new waiver.  Our fees are unchanged (amazing, we don't index for inflation), and linked on the right here on the blog.  If you don't renew this month it gets prorated if you renew later in the year as well.  It's still an especially good deal for family memberships.  Funds go directly to supporting new map efforts, of which I can assure you are underway once again.  If you need any extra incentive, let it be known that Russ Pilcher has already sent his check even though he lives in Arizona now!
Yes, you too could be as happy as this crew in January! (from 2013)