August 6, 2019

Learning From our Mistakes: Idaho City Meet Results

Norma at #4
As much as I am happy to accept the value of failing for learning, I am still loath to embrace the title 'failure' for my report today, maybe because at least part of last week's meet was a success, despite a few mistakes on my part.

On Saturday, July 27, I scouted the area and pre-flagged about 16 of the 26 controls.  As I was making my way up the hill that you climb on this trail, toward a planned control at the pit in the NE corner of this photo, I thought, this is some nasty climbing for a sport course, so I chose a control at a lower elevation, in the ditch further east, #3 on the sport course. I left that afternoon with a false sense of confidence in my course planning, navigation, and setting abilities.  Then, carried through the week with my other life priorities, including a busy work week. With my misplaced confidence, I thought I would be fine coming out and scouting/pre-setting the course Saturday 8/3, making any map adjustments that evening, and able to make any minor corrections Sunday morning, ready to roll by 9am.

Well, the next Saturday I was mostly focused on setting advanced controls to the south and east, most of which were planned for the advanced course. There were a couple that challenged my navigation skills and left me in a bit of a race for time.  In my efficiency to prepare for the day, I had lumped everything that needed to be set together in one map, losing any opportunity to "feel" the ease or difficulty of any specific course.  So, when I set this control (#7 on the sport course), I failed to appreciate how hard it would be for sport runners. After my advisers pointed this mis-step out to me, and, even more so when I went to pick it up at the end of the day Sunday, I can now say that I truly understand how tough this was (although probably tougher for me traveling from west to east than for the sport runners traveling from east to west).

On top of that, the map I used as a base map was not at the scale I thought it was, a fact I figured out upon printing, and was able to correct for in printed maps.  What I didn't realize was that this also meant that the course distances were under-estimated, and actually 1.5 times longer than advertised... This is even worse when you consider that many sport runners will stick more to trails, making the course even longer for them. Finally, I misplaced a control - fortunately for most, it was reasonably easy to see from the direction approaching (though not necessarily easy to get to). When you add up the already difficult terrain that is here naturally, my mis-judgment of the overall length, and my failure to appreciate the rough way in to #7, the sport course really was not a sport course (and the advanced courses were longer than advertised as well).  My apologies to Ole, Mike, Norma, Veronica, and Lisa, who may have expected something a little different. I hope this doesn't deter you from coming to our next meet. I promise to make a fun (and easier) sport course next time!  Not surprisingly, no one completely finished the sport course.  One last mistake - my meet data (names and times), which I neatly folded in my pocket to be sure I kept secure for this meet report, made a trip through the laundry, so the final results are by memory and imprecise.

Sport course, about 3.6k, 100m climb (more if you stuck mostly to trails), ordered as best I can recall based on # of controls completed:

  1. Ole Bergset
  2. Mike Olnes
  3. Norma Bailey
  4. Veronica Fletcher
  5. Lisa Corsi

Advanced - shorter course, about 5k, 200m climb

  1. John Murray, completed in about 1 hour 40 minutes
  2. Karin Didesse

 Advanced - insane course, about 6.6k, 300m climb

  1. Sergey Velichko, completed in about 1 hour 10 minutes: "that course was really insane"

Lisa, making her way to #4, one of the many climbs on the course. It was a beautiful morning. Without smoke!
John, headed down to a boulder in among some steep ditches and draws. 
Thanks Katrina, Innes, and Sergey for helping with control pickup and John for map work!


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