January 26, 2015

Hidden Springs 2015 -- Orienteers in The Slump

This is the story of a group of orienteers who found themselves in a slump and intermittently moving in and out of depressions, at least one of which was very rocky. And it is the story of how they triumphed over fatigue, disorientation and bitter brushes with hidden pits along the way.

The Scarp, The Slump and the Start
The Far-Out Tree Over Hidden Springs
Before you reach to change the channel in order to avoid yet another ad for one of those anti-depressants that sport letters from the tail end of the alphabet (We're thinking of Wellbutin, Xanax, Zoloft and Zyprexa among others. Where's the “Y” drug anyway?), be advised that we're talking physical geography here, not mood disorders. We're talking about a massive slope failure on the mountain north of Hidden Springs, a slope failure that produced a ten meter scarp and 300 meter patch of rippled debris with several large boulder fields.

Bolder Women Among the Boulders
That the boulder fields constituted formidable route choice challenges can only be fully appreciated in the experience. For this report the image of our intrepid women competitors must suffice. Here we see the two Melanies, Schuster and Wright, in pursuit of a control. Natalie's image, just barely visible on the horizon under Ms. Schuster's nose, completes the full complement of our women competitors in one action photo. Our compliments to Jeff Black for capturing this photo revealing both the difficulty of the terrain and the power of these women.
Rowan on the Rocks

We count ourselves lucky that the day dawned cold enough to solidify the mud, but not so cold as to diminish the ardor of our orienteers. A 25-minute walk from the parking area (graciously provided to us by Lance and Robin Teel) allowed us to socialize. Well, most of us socialized. Sergey warmed up. To the more sedate among us it looked like a torrid run in the hills. He has since complained that the day's festivities left him with sore legs. Please extend your sympathies to Sergey the next time you see him. We should all be so debilitated.
A Control Nestled in the Bitterbrush and Sagebrush
The small venue called for a Motala with some unusual characteristics. The scale was 1:2500 with a 2-foot contour interval. In most areas there were too many boulders to map, by our count 987,032. We're going with that number until someone disproves it. In lieu of boulder symbols the map relied almost exclusively on the boulder field symbol. Bitterbrush, the primary vegetation, and sagebrush, its close relative were mapped individually with special symbols. Any knowledgeable orienteer would regard the map as unorthodox. And, indeed it was. In this case unorthodox worked.

Each orienteer received a clear plastic bag with four maps, one for each of the four loops of the Motala. There were six permutations of the first three maps to be run in the order of the maps. All orienteers ran the same course as their fourth and final loop. Everyone lined up, received a map set and prepared for the mass start at 9:00 AM. After a little deliberation orienteers headed for their various first controls. Before long there were bodies moving across the slump with the apparent absence of organization that you might find on an anthill.

Receiving Maps and Instructions (Note: Sergey tries to read his inverted map. We knew you were good, but x-ray vision?)
We suspect that there are some worthy tales of which we are not yet aware. We are aware that Ben Brock turned in an amazing performance. After having run some 50 or 60 meters and before treading on the treacherous footing of The Slump Ben sprained an ankle and returned to the start. The intensity of the pain was apparent to your directors. Ben probably lost five minutes recovering before he gamely set off to tackle far more dangerous terrain than that which administered the temporarily disabling twist. When it was all said and done, Ben finished second with what we regard as an astonishing comeback.

Levi, Natalie, Jack, Zach and Rowan
Natalie Running Uphill
Zach Still Smiling
We saw the Riverstone students come and compete with something that we appreciate more with each passing year: vigor and enthusiasm seldom mustered by those of a more mature persuasion. We thank you for reminding us just how much we love this sport.

Greg Coming Up
We recalled that Ole often reminds us that an orienteer who runs a capable course with the exception of one or two controls demonstrates continuing improvement and often is well on the way to becoming a highly respected competitor. Although we don't have a split for the first loop, we did note Greg's exceptional performance. Your friends are eager to see you put it all together.

Jay humbly accepts the director's praise.
The senior meet director (Read that as the old guy.) wants to acknowledge the special attention Jay Morgan has given to improvement and education of meet directors. Jay offers helpful commentary from his unique insights. He also sold me excellent IceBug shoes at a ridiculous discount. The photograph shows Jay standing alone as he is singled out for special praise. Jay, thank you for all you do to prop up my diminutive ego.

What if? If only...
No meet is complete without the what-ifs and if-onlys of which there were no shortage.

Sergey will direct the next meet at Julia Davis Park/BSU Campus in either February or March. He currently is thinking Saturday, March 21 with some additions to our existing map. Beyond that meet CTOC promises to hold three meets on entirely new maps in addition to old favorites like Rabbit Creek, the Vampire-O and the Boise Street Challenge. New maps, young legs and the opportunity to participate in a national meet here in Boise leave us optimistic about a great year of orienteering in 2015.

Over the years we've learned a lot from Sergey. We are still learning. Sergey kindly sent us his map images with his routes and his commentary. They appear at the bottom of the report for our pleasure and instruction.

David Murray
John Murray
Hidden Springs Meet Directors

Here are my routes with all the mistakes I did attached J
I tried to minimize climb where it was possible. Here are my splits with mistake loss analysis
1:26 (20 sec lost - direction)
2:36 (40 sec lost - direction)
4:51(both #4 and F) Loop 1 10:46
2:30 (30 sec lost – map interpretation)
1:14 (both #4 and F) Loop 2 8:54 Total 19:40
4:01 (40 sec lost – control search in a pit)
1:21 (10 sec lost - direction)
1:26 (30 sec lost - direction)
0:32 Loop 3 11:19 Total 30:59
3:03 Loop 4 12:50 Total 43:49
Without mistakes it was possible to do this 3.6K, 250m climb, 18 controls course under 40 minutes.
Which is about right given estimation formula (DIST(km)*DIFF+CLIMB(m)/100)*SPEED(min/km), where
DIST is course distance in km, DIFF is terrain difficulty factor (1=open flat fast woods to 2=green slow woods),
CLIMB is course climb in m, SPEED is top USA competitor speed (5:30min/km for blue, 6:00min/km for red, etc.)
For example: (3.6km*1.1+250/100km)*6:00min/km=6:46km*6:00min/km=38:46

No comments: