November 18, 2015

The Streets have Names: Challenge 2015 Report

It was another banner year for the annual Street Challenge, thanks in no small part to the weather since the rain held off and made for a perfect fall day.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Juuust right.

Let's get the map on the table right away, especially for those who missed it.  (JPG here for size).
Start is our usual triangle.  How many controls can you get in 2, 3 or 4 hours?
Control questions.  Most visited:  #13, #27, #28, #32, #33, #34, #36, #43, #53.

Roy and Kirsten plan their route.
Race HQ was back at Municipal Park, but I changed up the form factor to be horizontal rather than vertical, which opened up some new "terrain" to the east.  Variety is good.  As it turned out, the NE corner was very good...

The Challenge Orienteers of 2015.

Controls as usual were worth variable points, with controls numbered under 20 being worth 10 points, 20-29 worth 20 points, and so forth.  A 50 pointer was placed in the center to make it a bit more tactical for anyone going for only the big ones in a large loop.  And it's a cool spot worth seeing.  (It was the most visited 50 point control!)

Blasting off at the start.  Jay and Bill are all out on the right.

Innes and Katrina display the benefits of a tandem ride!  Nav in the back.
Dondi and I made a subtle but important tweak to the rules.  Rather than -10 points for guessing it would be an outright DQ.  In our view the intention was to orienteer and visit controls rather than play poker for guessing points.  While this was printed out in a display stand (after maps were distributed), the map text was not updated and not everyone was up to speed (since I am such a loud vocal announcer while everyone is busy studying the map).  For those who made a guess unknowingly the old rule applied.

As is often the case with this particular meet, there were a couple disputed or confusing controls.  The worst one by far was #41.  Your faithful meet director misplaced it south by 2 blocks, and the map printing also cut off that street (it was really too close to the edge at that point.)  Many figured it out, some did not, but the points were given for those who made the effort while the time losses were variable and not feasible to adjust.  The question for #52 was vague.  It was intended to be meaningful if one was standing on the street in the center of the control circle, but some took it to mean a side of the building - and as it turned out the west side of the building also had a similar feature!  Everyone who was there did get it eventually.  One control nobody missed was #18 - which your meet director forgot to put on the map as translated from a pile of notes and scribbled circles.  Hence only a total of 1370 was possible rather than 1380.

Freak Alley:  #53, with colors on the wall and on the bike.
There were some distinctly positive experiences out there too.  The newly exposed NE corner of the map was visited by a majority of orienteers who spoke fondly of their time there.  The labyrinth street network complemented by big contours proved alluring to the eye and required the best of brain and legs together.  As it turned out Sergey saved it for last and discovered it took longer than he estimated so he could not collect all controls so easily, even on the bike (this is where the meet director smiles knowingly).  Mike Bading by contrast bound over the hills first but soon realized he too had no easy way to finish all controls!  John Murray lived there for some time and knew more shortcuts than most but admitted he flubbed in his fatigue and had to regain elevation back into Ft. Boise park.

Greg and Melanie look up for #24.
Downtown made for a steady draw as expected.  One visitor here from Alaska found the entire day to be a fun and interesting way to see the many dimensions of Boise for the first time.

Every control was visited by at least one orienteer!

Mike Bading and Bill Leahy race away from #45 in Ft. Boise with downtown as backdrop.
Tabulated results follow.  In the foot class John Murray created a category of his own and limited his time to 2 hours and the east half of the map.  Jim Byrne won the official 4 hour class by a wide margin, thanks to collecting a higher number of 40 and 50 pointers.  Notably Roy and Kirsten also targeted the hills in the NE at their hiking pace and were impressed by the number of books on the course!

Sergey eked out a win in the bike class over reigning champion Mike Bading, but it was mighty close and he was the only one to trade overtime penalties for controls.  Their strategy varied too - while Sergey believed he could collect all of them but ran out of time in the high value NE corner, Mike focused on the points and was the only orienteer to collect all the 50's.  Doug LaMott took a brutal head over handlebar spill and lost some enthusiasm for the competition after that.  Luckily he made it back in one piece!

Doug LaMott a little worse for the wear.

Sergey arrives five minutes overtime having reached for all.

Jim Byrne strides into first for the foot class.

Mike Bading rides up into the autumn hills for #46.
More memorable photos on the yahoogroups page here:

Thanks to all who participated!  Thank you to Sergey for arranging map printing.  Special thanks to my wife and co-director Dondi who reviewed all questions and control photos (saving me many other possible problematic controls), handled all the scoring, and brought some snacks to refuel the depleted orienteers.  She even manned the fort while I did an hour loop to catch some photos of the action.

TBD if we have a meet in December.  We may take a month off, or Ben Brock from Riverstone may provide a bonus meet as a holiday surprise!  You better be good.

November 9, 2015

Where the Streets Have No Name

It's November, and that means our annual Street Challenge is afoot and ready to ramble!

Come on outside!

As with past years, this is a Score course format, where you can collect controls in any order within a specified time limit or points (big time) are deducted.  But of course there are few more unique aspects of this event:

  • No conventional orienteering flags.  Instead when you arrive at the control circle, you answer a multiple choice question that can (hopefully) only be determined on site.  Guessing is penalized...unless the question is really mucked up.
  • Very large meet area, roughly 4 miles by 2.5 miles.
  • USGS satellite map is used, with no street names.  Map contact is crucial!
  • Bike and run classes of competition.
Key details:

Date:  Sunday, November 15 (least street traffic)
Time:  Maps distributed at 9:30am for study, with mass start at 10:00am.
Start:  Municipal Park (under the shelter if available)
Classes:  Bike (3 hour limit), Foot (4 hour limit)
Cost:  $10 adult, $5 junior for one day club dues; free to club members.

Bring an apple.

Useful items to bring with you on your walkabout or rideabout:
  • preferred pen to circle your answer and/or sketch your route.  With a map case a sharpie is easiest.  A backup pen tucked away is a very good idea...
  • Cell phone in case of emergency or a few photos of your trip.  This is one meet where it should work everywhere.
  • On the bike, you might rig up a way to hold/view your map while riding.
  • shoes and clothing for a few hours outside in November.  A bike helmet if you're riding.
  • water and/or energy food as you need on the course (or a wallet to buy some along the way).
  • compass to keep your map oriented.
  • Eyes and ears to watch for traffic!
Since we often have a large attendance for this meet and a mass start requires a full complement of maps all at once, please RSVP (jeffwrites AT gmail dot com) to reserve a map.

Get ready and see you soon!

November 1, 2015

October aMAZEing Results

This year’s October meet was an experiment. Difficulties in finding a place to put on a night event prompted us to try something a bit different. Some club veterans were a bit skeptical and thought it might be a bit corny. From the enthusiastic response from those who made it out I think it went amazingly well.  


We ended up with forty eight orienteers tackling the course. Thirteen took on the short course of six controls. One boy scout troop split up into three teams to take on the course. One of their teams came back in just over half an hour finishing in first place; another team came in third place and one team may still be out there. Niko and Ryan with Riverstone School finished just over a minute after the first team to claim second place. Ellie & Kate finished in fourth place with five controls found and some time to spare. It is always a very tough choice to decide if you can go for one more control of it that will put you over the time penalty. 

The long course with twelve controls was the dominate choice of the night. Taking on the long course meant you had to enter two different mazes and find your way out. We were not quite sure how hard it was going to be, would it be way too short or too long? Only one team went over the one hour time limit, but just by little. Everyone did a great job on judging time and strategy. Of the thirty five orienteers who attempted the long course fourteen cleared the course within the time limit. Todd Dinkleman cleared the course in a super-fast thirty two minutes coming in with first place. Ben Brock came in at second place with a time of 42:17. Annika Landis from the Community School finished in third place with plenty of time to spare. Regan Zhang from Riverstone School finished in fourth place. Kiran, Henry and Keene started slightly apart but joined up out on the course to all came in together, placing them at fifth, sixth and eight. John Murray and Jeff Black our CTOC veterans came in seventh and ninth place under a minute apart. The team of Heather, Tavi, Asa, Naia & Carl also cleared the whole course finishing in tenth place, a great feat for a large team.
Michael Badding came in with eleven controls and four minutes to spare, I’m sure he is wondering if he could have sneaked in that one last control without going over. Karin Didisse came in at twelfth place with ten controls and plenty of time to spare, she had a Football game to see, ”typical woman, leaving early just to watch the game”. Katrina & Melanie Wright win the costume contest and looked like they had a great time coming in with nine controls in thirteenth place. Kennedy, Katherine & Addie came in with ten controls finishing in fourteenth place because they went slightly over the time limit. Three teams all came in with eight controls just making the time limit. The Morgan family split into two teams and looked like they had a good time.

If having a good time is what it’s all about I think this event was a big success. Everyone, old and new seemed very enthusiastic about this unique location. I want to thank Linder Farms for having us. I also want to note that this is one more event where our younger orienteers from both Riverstone and Community School are consistently rising higher and higher in the rankings, great job!