September 14, 2014

NOD 2014: What a day!

National Orienteering Day was almost a day of black comedy, perhaps hearkening back to some of the joys John Murray dealt with in the July meet.

Bad joke #1:  As Dondi and I arrived to set up, we learned the entire north portion of Veteran's Park was reserved for a motorcycle rally.  They would be using all the parking, had a band coming, etc.  But they helpfully noted the south lot was open, so we moved the start and salvaged what could have been a cancelled meet.  Note to self:  call parks and rec every time...

Bad joke #2:  In setting up the course with Greg and Melanie (who will be directing next month), as we hopped a log to beginner #5 (intermediate #9, advanced #12), Greg got two wasp/bee stings and Melanie probably four or five with them still giving chase.  I made a mental note to address this specifically at the start...but this proved hard to remember for every orienteer...

Bad joke #3:  Arriving back at 10:15am, I began hacking maps with manual corrections.  Beginner went in reverse and skipped a control, intermediate did the last 3 and then the rest in order, and the advanced line course underwent a bad makeover in an attempt to salvage as many controls as possible...undoubtedly this made things even more confusing!

Race day photography was nearly forgotten in the chaos with the exception of a few photos below for the last advanced finishers...

But I will say the weather was wonderfully cooperative, and we had a solid turnout thanks in part to Ken Beckner bringing his scout troop to practice their skills.  They all paired off, listened to instructions (including a verbal note about the wasp nest), and cheerfully tackled the long intermediate course which got the largest turnout of the day.  They came back in well spaced out groups of 2, with a few missing the greenbelt connection and finding themselves at Quinn's Pond!  They kept their wits about them however and made their way back to the start no worse for the wear - and apparently still willing to come and try it again!  It was well agreed among those that made it to #10 that it was the hardest control - especially those who tried to reach it from the north side.

Adam Wirth, excited for his first CTOC meet, handily set the bar high and took first place.  The very experienced John Murray took second and had some appreciative words for #6 and #10 in particular.  Michael Judd took the course solo with a very admirable third place and even reset a fallen #4, then had to return to actually punch it.  The Morgan family arrived after a few of the scouts with some equal fun trailblazing to #10.  Jerry Stewart turned in a expedient time and is definitely getting the hang of this.  David Crais thoroughly enjoyed his first time out with our club, while Dave Hayes had to bail early but I expect we'll see him again.

Beginner was set to be just a little harder than normal with a variety of control types.  Dave Hayes did his first O course and found it fun enough he went out on intermediate shortly after...Adam Wirth and his kids pulled off a very admirable and persistent effort despite rediscovering what was now a very active wasp nest (! - I forgot to tell them and then circled the area on all the maps after)...Greg Corlett and his kids finished grinning as they return regularly to our meets...and Y striders team Diane, Lois, Rachel, and Leslie came back from their very first course with rather big smiles on their faces too.  I think they had a better time than they expected...

Adam Wirth still smiling after two full courses and lots of bees.
The advanced course, on the other hand, proved to be so tricky that nobody actually finished with complete success - a record I don't think has ever been done in a park meet before.  Two twists were added to the longer course that covered the same area as intermediate:  it was a line exercise (where the control is somewhere on the line, up to and including the end circle), and I removed all paths and trails from the map to make the navigation a bit harder.  Sergey finished the course no problem, with the line setup slowing him down notably, but he unfortunately punched a different control #9 on the beginner course also within the line.  Codes were on the back, so I will class this as a DQ for consistency in my judgement this year...but unfortunately the "real" control had fallen onto the ground and was not very visible given its faded nature.  Sergey went right by it - and went back to find it after finishing, and rehung it.  Ole unfortunately also couldn't find #9, probably before Sergey corrected it, and he called it good for the day.  His day was not helped by the confusing rework of the starting control either.  Melanie Wright, with her trusty canine companion, gave the advanced course a full go but had to call it at #13 to make it back in time for control pickup.  Jay had the same scenario and was stuck on #12 (fortunately not finding the wasp nest).  He had at least one complete line review for #6 until he found it on the other side of the tree! The advanced had the hardest course but everyone started much later than usual and time proved to be a limiting factor...except for Sergey as expected!

Jay Morgan still has his map AND a very white Rabbit O hat.
Melanie Wright with her control verification companion.
Thanks to everyone for their patience through the various hiccups we had and making the most of the spectacular weather and challenging venue.  Special thanks to the many club members who assisted me today in all the chaos:

Codirector:  Dondi Black (especially keeping starts and finishes on time!)
Newcomer instruction:  John Murray and Bill Leahy (ok, I didn't give you much to do with so much explaining on my part)
Course setup:  Greg Davidson and Melanie Schuster
Course pickup:  John Murray and Sergey Velichko
Adam Wirth and family:  advanced wasp/bee alert detection team
Jay Morgan:  Icebug display shoes with studs (note that Icebug is the official shoe sponsor of OUSA this year)

Next month:  our traditional Vampire O, a night course at Simplot park.  Melanie Schuster and Greg Davidson codirect on Saturday, October 25!

Jeff Black


Daniel Shamblin Foster said...

I'm interested in joining, and I haven't done orienteering since a merit badge in Boy Scouts (2+ decades ago). Is there an option to tag along with someone who know the ropes, to learn on-scene?

Sergey Velichko said...

Absolutely! Just come to any of our meets and you always will find a willing person to help with re-starting your orienteering fun!

Michael Judd said...

Jeff and Dondi, thanks for the hard work. A great time as usual. Are you sure it was only 3.5km? I could swear it was closer to 3.5 miles, or maybe it was just me ...

Daniel Shamblin Foster said...

Thank you Sergey, I'll do that! I see the October event is at Simplot Park. Is that the same thing as Simplot Sports Complex?