February 22, 2021

February 20, 2021 Eagle Island Meet

Sergey's efficient (wet) route from 10 to 11 
extracted from his entire map below. 
Click to enlarge.
I want to begin by offering my deepest apologies to those folks who took on the Advanced and Superhero courses Saturday. I'm thinking especially of Zach, Sergey, and some of the four Morgans. There were others. They crossed the canal in the southwest corner of the park in order to pursue the most efficient route to the control under the big tree. Only a totally clueless course designer or a diabolical one would lure over-zealous competitors into knee deep water on a day that began with ice on the trails. Unable to claim consummate roguishness, I must confess to cluelessness. I mistakenly and naively thought that these hardened competitors would have had enough sense to take a few more steps across a nearby bridge and keep everything below their knees dry. How foolish I was! I now know that I must up my course designs for superheroes who are FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET, MORE POWERFUL THAN A LOCOMOTIVE, ABLE TO LEAP TALL BUILDINGS IN A SINGLE BOUND! Whether that means offering more confrontations with the perils of nature or avoiding them altogether, I'll leave to you, the reader, to ponder. Clearly, there's a difference between a small creek and a large building.

While on the subject of things large and small, a small building reminded that "Golf is a good walk spoiled.” So said Mark Twain according to multiple dubious attributions. Whoever said it surely would not have applied it to orienteering where you can experience the joy of seeing new places visited by few others. Of special appeal on the Advanced and Superhero courses were some small, but exquisite, Eagle Island architectural gems. One orienteer (I don't recall whom.) expressed a high sense of awe with a single word: “Creepy”. I can only believe this excursion to notable architecture more than compensated errors of course design like those noted above.

Before I go any further describing the courses and the events of the day I must praise my two co-directors. Katrina Wright and Melanie Wright administered the start desk. I do not exaggerate when I say that this meet would not have happened without their able assistance, especially with data management on the electronic timing system. My words here do not rise to the level of the gratitude I feel. While I'm praising the Wrights I should add that Melanie placed first of six stalwarts on the Advanced Course, narrowly edging out Ole by a little over a minute. And Katrina turned in a solid performance placing third on the Intermediate Course.

We did not record times for the Beginner's Course. It's only purpose was to introduce newcomers to orienteering procedures and the most basic understanding of orienteering maps. Fifteen participants navigated the Beginner's Course. We offered all Beginner's Course participants a Sport Course map. Thirteen newcomers went on to complete the Sport Course. Kim Colby and Johnny Spud, who did not take the Beginner's Course introduction, placed first and second respectively on the Sport Course. Behind them, Britini Gates and the team of Lucas and Michail Fragkias finished on top of the Sport Course's first-timers.

In other notable performances Kirsten Severud topped the Intermediate field by more than 16 minutes to run her string of consecutive Intermediate Course victories to two. Among six orienteers.  And then there were the eight Superheroes. Because Sergey always wins by a ridiculous margin, nobody cares about him. He really shouldn't bother coming to meets (except as meet director, which thankfully he often does). If I were the god of CTOC, I would award him perpetual first place and be done with it.

The real competition was and always is for second place where we had the pleasure of welcoming Erik Bergset back after a long absence. One of the few benefits of the pandemic (They are very few and minuscule in comparison the lives lost and the global upheaval.) is the permission to work from anywhere. Erik, who earns his living practicing his IT skills in the employ of the University of Washington came back to the Treasure Valley where the rest of the Bergsets reside. Great to see you out with your dad, Erik!

It's pretty clear who finished third if you look at elapsed time. The team of Lee and Sam Scott finished six minutes behind Erik at 1:28:36. That's the official result. I was prepared to accept it without reservation until Zach Clayton breached my paper-thin emotional barriers. It was like resisting a panhandler's sob story in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Actually, I think I do that rather well. But, Zach's story was so much sadder, and although improbable, it fit the facts, some of which are extracted from WinSplits below. So I'm buying it. Zach came running into the finish, but didn't download. He couldn't. While Zach managed the course well, he didn't manage his equipment well, to wit: He lost his SI chip between 17 and 18. As Zach tells it, he finished the remaining four legs to the finish. He then returned from the finish to the problematic leg, searched for the lost chip, and found it where he had crawled under a fence. He then finished the course again, this time punching the remaining control units and finally downloading with a total elapsed time of 1:50:58.

That chip-stripping leg consumed 30:02, unsurprisingly placing Zach last for that leg and dropping him from third place to seventh. Had he run that leg at the second slowest pace of 6:31, he would have finished with a time of 1:27:27 putting him solidly in third place, but still far enough behind Erik that Zach could not have overtaken him, even with the fastest time on that leg. Zach, you shouldn't feel too embarrassed. I'm sure other superheroes have lost their chips. I just can't think of any with such tattered capes.

You can find the complete control-by-control breakdown of the timed results at WinSplits 

In addition to the orienteers who participated in the electronic timing, we had at least a couple including Brad Lowe and Jennifer Smackey, who did the Intermediate Course. Jennifer did report a time of 51:38, which, if she had competed, would have earned her a credible third place.

I'm sure there were other stories and notable performances. If you are inclined to share yours, please feel free to do so in the comments.

Next up, Sergey will host on an expanded Julia Davis/BSU map. Sergey is a top international competitor in his age group. He competes at all distances from urban sprints (approx winning time 15 minutes) to ultra-long (approx elite winning time 150 minutes). His favorite is the urban sprint. And while the Julia Davis/BSU event won't be short enough to qualify as a sprint, we know Sergey will design a course with the quick turns and challenging route choices typical of a sprint. I'm looking forward to it. I hope to see you there.

John Murray

Meet Director


Kirsten said...

Not sure I'd count "two" as a string, more a line and a short one at that. Now I feel the pressure to make sure I come out next month though. ;-)

John Murray said...

Yep, the pressure is on. You have the title and your honor to defend. Good luck!

Bill said...

No disrespect to Zach and in defense of the Scott's 3rd place on the course, if Zach had gone back to do a cursory look for his chip when he got to 18 he would have perhaps lost more time than just the second slowest time on that leg of 6:31. It was a short leg and wouldn't have taken that much time. But let's give him a total unofficial time of 10 minutes on the leg...going to 18 the first time, going back to find his chip, going to 18 the second time. Then after running through the remainder of the course after losing his chip, Zach also knew exactly where the remainder of the controls were located. So that could have been a few seconds of advantage the second time through. So even unofficially I think the Scott's secure 3rd place. The Scott's, especially Sam (no disrespect Lee), have really upped their game for the podium.