December 4, 2022

November Course - New Map!


 

I must admit, when I woke up event morning and looked at the weather and it said “17 but feels like 11” I wanted to crawl back under the covers. But instead, I headed out to lay controls for event.  Arriving on site it was very quiet, even the geese were still asleep huddled together to keep warm. We took this time to move around campus and enjoy the morning as the sun welcomed us with a sea of frosted sparkly grass. 

Despite the chilly morning several brave souls (most waited for more sun) came out and participated.

I was a little overzealous this month and created 3 standard courses (Beg, Int & Adv) and one Urban course.

The advanced course consisted of 20 controls and when placing them this morning I had to call a last minute audible and move one due to an unforeseen water feature.  I didn’t figure anyone was up for some wading on a 17-degree morning.  We had 4 runners who were up for the challenge, and all gave impressive times, all finishing with 10 min of each other.

Name

Course

Out Time

In Time

Duration

Jason Russel

ADV

11:17:00 AM

12:07:00 PM

0:50

David Bergset

ADV

10:38:00 AM

11:31:00 AM

0:53

Melanie Wright

ADV

11:06:00 AM

12:03:00 PM

0:57

Dustin Thomas

ADV

11:23:00 AM

12:23:00 PM

1:00

Bill L

ADV

DNS

 

DNS

 

The Intermediate course consisted of 14 controls.  While many of them overlapped the Advanced course I tossed in a few different ones and had runners going in different directions. However, that didn’t stop participants from making quick work of this course.

Name

Course

Out Time

In Time

Duration

Innes

INT

11:05:00 AM

11:37:00 AM

0:32

Marcella

INT

11:00:00 AM

11:54:00 AM

0:54

Michail

INT

11:13:00 AM

12:16:00 PM

1:03

David B

INT

DNS

 

DNS

Johnny S

INT

DNS

 

DNS

Janice McEnroe

INT

DNS

 

DNS

 

We had 11 teams participate in the urban course with 5 getting all the answers.  While this year was a little tamer than last year there were still some “tricky” questions.  These questions just show how different people think (I focused on the words while others on the images/pictures)

Name

Course

Out Time

In Time

Duration

Points

Fords

Urban

10:13:00 AM

11:06:00 AM

0:53

34

Ashley

Urban

10:11:00 AM

11:18:00 AM

1:07

34

Chaitanya

Urban

10:33:00 AM

11:59:00 AM

1:26

34

Cat S

Urban

10:42:00 AM

12:13:00 PM

1:31

34

Pete P

Urban

10:20:00 AM

12:12:00 PM

1:52

34

Karin D

Urban

10:47:00 AM

11:46:00 AM

0:59

33

John S

Urban

10:55:00 AM

12:19:00 PM

1:24

32

Leslie

Urban

10:55:00 AM

12:19:00 PM

1:24

32

Donna P

Urban

10:10:00 AM

11:57:00 AM

1:47

32

Kim/Roy

Urban

10:10:00 AM

12:15:00 PM

2:05

30

Darla

Urban

10:10:00 AM

12:15:00 PM

2:05

29

Lynette

Urban

DNS

 

DNS

DNS

 

Last but not least the Thank You list:

·        A big thank you to April Rice and the Department of Admin leadership team for allowing us to host this event on their campus.  We are hoping to use it again in future years.

·        John Murray:  This was a new area for us which meant a lot of map work needed to be done but as always John stepped up to the plate and got us a workable map in a very short amount of time.  He also took many phone calls from me and had a side by side tutorial on using the mapping software.  His knowledge was extremely valuable in understanding what may make some good control locations to force some route choices.  We will see how much I retain come Nov next year!

·        David Bergset: After finishing the ADV course in a great time he hung around the start/finish and kept me company while waiting for everyone else to finish.  It was good to catch up with him since we no longer work together.  Then he offered to help pick up controls while he drank his still warm coffee, which was appreciated!

·        Karin Dedisse:  She arrived at the parking area before I had and graciously helped set the CTOC sandwich boards and carried some of the equipment to the starting area while I frantically finished putting out the last controls.  Also, a thank you for taking the lead on ordering new CTOC jerseys (the first in 10 years I’m told).

·        Scott Cockerham: As his daughter I have gotten him into some weird adventures and Orienteering is no exception.  He helped scout campus with me several times over the last few weeks with no complaints – even when we went out the afternoon it was snowing like mad!  I appreciate all the hours he spent walking and suggestions while putting this course together – now you don’t need to worry about it for another year!

November 1, 2022

Halloween at Grayback Gulch

 

The orienteering spirit was alive and well, but the Halloween spirit a bit less so. One bright exception was Christy Morris who took the prize of best costume as a bubble gum machine. Sadly, Christy's competition was meager with Bob Didesse stealing second place with his tye-die shirt, claiming to be a 'hippie'. We were fortunate to have a beautiful warm, dry fall day at Grayback Gulch. 

In national orienteering meets, or A-meets, course categories are color coded with white and yellow being advanced beginner courses and assigned to young age groups. Orange is a course category that is intermediate in navigation, but physically more challenging (eg, for older kids), while Brown is navigationally advanced but physically less difficult than orange (eg, for older adults). At CTOC, I believe John Murray developed the Sport course category cater to our large number of members wanting the best of those two worlds - slightly easier than advanced navigation and slightly easier than advanced physical challenges. Short of time and thinking that the venue didn't suit a long Advanced course, I elected to offer only three courses -- Begineer, Sport, and Advanced. The end result was that the Sport category failed in both of those goals -- falling on the advanced side for navigation as well as the advanced side of physicality. Fortunately, the large contingent of Sport competitors mostly consisted of people with the experience and physical toughness to persevere. And, also fortunate, our one newcomer Chaitanya was a quick study. 

The Beginner controls all included treat bags for some of our younger participants. Some of those were shared by the Sport and Advanced courses. I learned at pickup time that it's not just our younger participants who like treats since all of those shared controls had no treats remaining (in contrast to the beginner only controls).  


The beginner competition was close with the first two teams coming in just a minute apart and third place just a few minutes behind. In the Sport category, times were spread across the board as some participants took the competition to heart and others took a little more leisurely wander to enjoy the day. It was great fun for me seeing some very large teams hammering their way in at breakneck speed. 

 
In the Advanced course, I am calling Kirsten's 2:12 and Karin's 2:15 "too close to call" (a tie). I intended to award them both a little time reduction for my mistakes (explained below), but having already known their times did not believe I could do so without bias. I suspect John also deserves some extra credit for some way that I led him astray (though I was out picking up controls when he finished, so was spared any complaints). I might suggest that if he chooses to take on an Advanced course, that a "warm up" of hour and a half could be problematic. 

Not being familiar with some of the terrain I was planning for the Advanced course and being out of town in the time preceding the event, I chose to be relatively conservative in control placement, choosing locations I believed would be robust against control misplacement. This was to the dismay of at Karin who wasn't happy about a few hilltops in sequence. However, I am also always looking for things that are interesting or new to me in the terrain. I identified this feature on the map (#16). It was a relatively unique pattern of contour lines with a clearing. We are all used to seeing reantrants (usually v-shaped. pointing uphill), spurs (usually u-shaped, pointing downhill), hilltops (circles), ridges (ovals), and valleys (few/wide contours), but this appeared as a large flat area on what otherwise appeared as a spur (or a shallow spur transitioning to a shallow re-entrant, which I called a terrace, which may or may not be correct). A bit unsure, I asked my weekend companion (Katrina, who is better at these things than me) to confirm my interpretation and affirm my confidence that I would be able to distinguish the location and setting the control.


Fast forward to Saturday setting controls. I am traveling opposite the direction of the course (from control #17 to control #16). After already setting most of the controls (and cautiously approaching each from a direction of confidence) and beginning to suffer from a bit of hunger and thirst, I opt to 'follow the contours' to my elusive 'terrace' so I do not have to expend energy going up and down. After traveling what I perceived to be very far and running into a bit of dense overgrowth, I am certain that I must have traveled far enough, but still am not seeing my obvious feature. I finally come across a bit of a clearing and a bit of a flat area (see below) and being, tired, hungry, and thirsty, convince myself it is correct and continue on my way. 


Come Sunday morning, I am feeling less confident and add to my course notes to tell all Advanced competitors (who can handle a little uncertainty) that I am not confident of the control placement. Unfortunately, Karin heads off without me being able to provide this nugget (and thus my desire to award her a time reduction bonus). Kirsten's time reduction bonus was because I accidentally picked up her last control out from under her while she was still on the course. 

On picking up the controls (and traveling in the same direction as the course route this time), I decided to find my elusive terrace. Here it is (perhaps not of interest to those who ran the advanced course, but I thought some Sport competitors might be interested in comparing the photo to the map):


It is a bit more obvious in person, but you can see in these pictures (both taken facing up the hill or NE) that the correct location is more clearly flat (and a larger flat area, matching the map). So, now I know what this pattern of contour lines looks like 'in the real world' and I also know that I am quite bad at estimating my distance following contour lines. And reminded that following contour lines often means traveling a much longer distance than pointing oneself straight toward the next control.

I hope everyone had fun. I know I enjoyed the zen of setting (with my hardy companion Penny) and retrieving course controls. Thanks to Innes for helping me carry heavy things! And for supporting my need for some quiet lonely zen in the woods time. Hope to see you all again next time!

Melanie