June 13, 2021

Control #5 Mystery Code
 "Castle Rock is an American psychological horror..." begins the Wikipedia article on the streaming television series inspired by Stephen King. As I don't favor that genre, I've never read Stephen King. Little did I know the irony that would jump out from Int and Adv Control #5 when I employed the accompanying image as a mystery control code. The psychological horror, as it were, lay in wait at Control #2 where the early Int and Adv orienteers were unable to locate the control bag and number. Lest you think I exaggerate, check with Jerry Stewart, who in his stalwart search climbed all the way to the forest on the ridge above in a vain quest. I heard other tales of 30 to 45 minutes wasted in a similarly futile effort. 

I placed that control on Tuesday afternoon. Possible explanations for its displacement range from angry cows (of which there was none on the site) to (heaven forbid!) the preposterous insinuation that the course setter misplaced the control. I know him well; I can assure the jury that in the highly unlikely scenario that he misplaced the control, he wouldn't have soaked to ensured that the maximum quantity of mud and dust would adhere when he dragged it along the ground. Occam's razor cuts the explanations down to one: The storm that blew through and deposited a lot of rain on Thursday tore the control loose from its moorings and propelled it to the dirty place where it was eventually came to rest.

Control #2 Filthy, but Restored
As it turned out the control bag's bent frame and filthy fabric was found some short distance away in the dirt. Sergey promptly returned the control bag to its proper place, thus sparing subsequent orienteers the "psychological horror". I understand that some folks who view orienteering as nothing more than a walk in the woods guided by a map might regard casting this situation as a "psychological horror" to be rank hyperbole. However, for the serious competitor the loss of seconds can provoke hours of remorse and navel gazing.

Navel Gazing
Speaking of serious competitors our club was once blessed with one of the best. I'm sad to say that Sergey has fallen from his throne. It's not just that he shared the frustration with the aforementioned Jerry and several other seekers of Control #2. Sergey, who prizes the every second he can gain by choosing the right path around boulder (International meets are won or lost by mere seconds.) lost an unheard of five minutes on the first control. And that's not all. The meet director had no choice but to disqualify Sergey when he failed to identify the mystery control code at Advanced #16 to top off his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And all of this happened as Sergey was trying to prepare for the North American Orienteering Championships to be held in early August in the Lake Tahoe-Truckee area. 

If the sad story of  Sergey Velichko's dethronement moves you, then you should know that there is something you can do about it. The best way to prepare for an orienteering meet is by orienteering often. We had originally planned to conduct a meet on the site of our 2015 national championship meet. However, her job and other commitments have caused Kirsten Severud to withdraw as meet director. We have a map. We have high quality course designs. We just need you to volunteer to direct the meet. As meet director you can choose your date and time. And I can guarantee full support from experienced meet directors as you take on this most essential role in our club.



By all accounts the Castle Rock Map is set in beautiful country with great orienteering terrain. In my pre-meet memo I said, "This is a wild and challenging venue." Even acknowledging the significant number of beginners, I was surprised by the number of DNFs (did not finish) we had. In our club treasurer's (Andy Hill) case he sustained a painful calf strain that prevented him from taking on the Advanced Course as planned. In spite of his injury Andy has to be admired and thanked for helping with pick-up. Jerry Stewart didn't suffer an injury. He did spend a lot of time and energy seeking the infamous #2 and still hung around to help with pick-up. DNF or not, it was great to see so many new faces out there giving orienteering a try. From the many comments I think it's fair to say a lot of the newcomers will be back. So, although we had some minor disasters, the meet seems to have been a success.

Mike Bading at Adv
#17
It was great to have many new orienteers in attendance and to see some old faces. Michael Bading, who has directed several meets, has been busy with family matters and nursing a gimpy knee. Good to see you out again. Mike's wife Merrill teamed up with him on the Advanced Course. Brad Lowe, another member we see often brought his wife Dawn. You can recognize Brad by the company he keeps, a big, friendly, fluffy white dog. 

The team of Heather Steele and Matt Kohn ended a long streak of Kirsten Severud's Intermediate Course victories. Unlike Sergey, she has nothing to be disappointed about; she took top honors in the Advanced division.

I've thanked Andy and Jerry for their help with pick-up. Kirsten also helped. Both Kirsten and Andy contributed photos.

An entirely new map at Edna Creek/Whoop'em Up is next on our calendar. However, if someone is gracious enough to step forward to direct a Gold Rush meet (Idaho City) we might scramble the calendar. Stay in touch on Meetup. com.

John Murray
Meet Director







5 comments:

Kirsten said...

I'm glad Sergey is a good sport and restored control #2 to its proper place before I got more lost trying to find it.

rp1020 said...

John, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post-race report over these last two days. I can only imagine the disappointment on Sergey’s face as the tally board listed him as ‘DQ’. It’s likely he hasn’t been this distraught since a few years back when we shared a camp site in Truckee and I offered him some hot tea. I had twelve types of tea but NOT “English Breakfast Tea” which is what he wanted. To this day, I now always travel with a bag of English Breakfast Tea in my truck. No one likes to see Sergey disappointed.

rp1020 said...

John, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post-race report over these last two days. I can only imagine the disappointment on Sergey’s face as the tally board listed him as ‘DQ’. It’s likely he hasn’t been this distraught since a few years back when we shared a camp site in Truckee and I offered him some hot tea. I had twelve types of tea but NOT “English Breakfast Tea” which is what he wanted. To this day, I now always travel with a bag of English Breakfast Tea in my truck. No one likes to see Sergey disappointed.

Andy Hill said...

I've often said that nothing good comes of getting up early, and Saturday was no exception. As first out on Advanced (by a couple of hours), I had plenty of time to field-check all boulders within a couple of hundred meters of #2 while cursing my obviously atrophied orienteering skills. It hadn't been made clear at the start that "digging for buried treasure" was a required skill for the course.

Christy M said...

Finally my geocaching skills came in handy at an O event with a "found it" at #2. Glad I was able to recover the control and have Sergy's help in ensuring it was at the proper spot for the people that followed. I love this course despite my failure to write down my out time (I was busy trying to convince my newbie friend I knew what I was doing!) and despite my poor navigation around #7 we still made it back in good time and made quick work of the last 3. Thanks again John for all the effort in putting this course together and to all the volunteers who helped take it down. See you all next month!