Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 25 event in South Umstead

Back in Belarus I participated in orienteering events when snow was knee-to-waist deep, marshes were covered with a thin and easily breakable layer of ice, freezing mixture of snow and rain was falling. Yes, I've been through some cold events. Well, today's event took it rightful place on my list. Though it wasn't snowing or raining, 7 hours in near zero (Celsius) temperature with 5 of them mostly standing still made the trick. Brrr...

Apart from that the event was a success. Surprisingly a lot of people came (including a big group of 30 kids and parents who went on Orange). There were a lot of rented sticks and many people attended the class (thanks, Ken!). Many new faces, the club is visibly growing.

Also Mihai brought new and shiny big Umstead Park maps for sale. It is amazing how much work BOK put into it and it was gratifying to see people buying them. We plan to have them on some of the future events as well.

As for the courses, there were only two complains. One was about Red being unusually long and another one about Red having a confusing "cross" between controls 6 and 7. Several runners mistakenly took 7 before 6 and had to visit 7 twice as a result. What can I say... I really wanted to have this 1KM long uninterrupted leg and making the course cross itself was the only way I could achieve it. People who ran it "properly" ended up likening this challenging leg :-)

Finally, I want to thank all the helpers. As usual many people helped and I appreciate it very much.

  • Ken Hanson and Terese Camp - beginners class and controls pick up
  • Michael and Tanya Stemkovski - controls setup, pick up, registration, start and finish
  • Bill Eberstein - controls pickup
  • David Seibert's family - controls pickup (I hope I remembered the name correctly. I apologize if not..)
  • Joseph Huberman and Ruth Bromer - courses review

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Control Numbers

Tanya helped me to put "far away" controls today, so everything is set for tomorrow's event. Even the maps... I printed the maps at Kinko's yesterday and only this morning realized (thanks to Mihai) that we actually don't have 31-40 controls... Instead I should have used 68-77 numbers on the map. Ouch. Ended up spending an hour manually fixing all RGB and Orange maps. So don't be surprised when you see manually fixed control numbers in the map legend.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ribbons and Map refreshes

Spent 5 hours in Umstead today setting ribbons for the Jan 25 event. What a great winter day it was! Below freezing, but sunny and calm. We so rarely get such weather over here.

Anyway, I set almost all ribbons (only 2 orange ones remained). However I faced a new problem. As you probably know, some areas of the Umstead park were mapped quite a few years ago and not current anymore. There were also a few inaccuracies (especially with rocks and cairns) from the very beginning. Every time I was setting courses I would notice these issues and would either ignore them or move controls slightly to avoid inaccurate features. This time I decided to confront the problem and instead of moving the controls fix the map. That's why 5 hours... I ended up fixing the map (only in control areas) in 6 places.

I'll send the new map to Joseph, of course. But I wonder, do we need a new way to maintain maps within the club, so people who make such small refreshes could simply upload new versions somewhere (with comments). And maybe have Joseph simply approve/reject the changes?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

1 km leg

Designed courses for the Jan 25 event. Red will get 1061 meters leg in the middle of the course. Beware!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

January 4 avanced event in Umstead South

Totally disastrous event for me. First time since the last Raven Rock event I got lost on a control. Plus a few additional bad decisions. Plus slippery ground and several falls. Plus my stupid choice of running Red instead of Green, so now my knee hurts. Plus a wrongly placed control. Did I miss anything?..

Well, regardless, here is how I managed through the course.

#1. Simple and easy straight run, noticing rock piles and then a gully before I reached the control.

#2. Walked through the green to the road and then used the road to get close to the control.

#3. Avoided gaining extra elevation by going to the left initially and then cutting down. Control was in its usual place :-) There is always a control at that boulder.

#4. Reached the road as fast as I could, ran till the road's bend and went down using the eastern slope of the re-entrant with an idea to end up right from the control, so it could be an easy find. Ha! The control was in the wrong place, so my plan didn't work. I spent considerable time double-checking my position there and finally came to conclusion that the control was somehow misplaced. By that time there were several runners lurking in the same area looking for the control. Then I noticed Nadya sprinting to the right and correctly guessed that she saw the control. Indeed, it was there (see the red arrow below). Right there I made the biggest mistake of the day: I decided to go Red instead of Green. I guess I was well rested after leisure search for the misplaced control and thought I could do bigger course today... Also since then Nadya, Charles and I formed some kind of a train. We ran separately but always converged at the controls. After my disaster at #10, Charles went ahead and Nadya left me at #12 too, as I wasn't running anymore.

#7. Easy. Straight to the road and used the road and then trail to get to the control.

#8. Back to the road, crossed the bridge. Then made a mistake by going south-east instead of north-east. Quickly corrected it, but had to walk up a steep hill as a result. The rest was easy - up the hill keeping the re-entrant on my left till the control.

#9. Went north counting re-entrants till the correct one.

#10. Reached the road and ran west counting the re-entrants. It looks like I veered to the north too much as well as miscounted re-entrants. Anyway, I ended up on the hill AFTER the control thinking that I was still before the control. Met Nadya there (apparently confused too) and we proceed further west till the next big re-entrant. The re-entrant didn't look like the correct one, so we stayed there for a little while thinking where we are. I was totally lost as that point and decided to go down to the river to restore my bearing. Just a few steps down we reached an earth bank which shown us where we are. Ouch. Walked back up that huge hill and then down to the control.

#11. I was too exhausted to try to go back up that hill again, so went down to the river and reached the control from that side.

#12. Walked through the green to the trail, ran across the river and then walked up the hill to the control. Was barely walking at that time.

#13. No way I was going to cross all those re-entrants, so I went south to the trail and cut across only one of the re-entrants back to the trail. Stayed on the trail and then went down to the control (also avoiding green by doing so).

#14. Back to the trail, then used the trail bend as an attack point. Easy.

#15. Slowly walked by the amphitheater heading for the control. Thought about finishing right there, but decided to complete the course.

#16. Used the road until I passed the depression, then cut across the power line and reached the control from the north.

#17. Just went west, reached the road and ran to the finish.

Time spent on the course: 1 hour 39 minutes

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge. Blue - mostly running, yellow-brown - mostly walking.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mapping in Fred G Bond Metro Park. Part 2

Here is the Part 2 of the mapping report. It covers almost all December activities.

1. December 6
It was the only time Tanya went with me. The weather was great and we had a nice few hours in the park. Along the way I fixed elevation lines around the Community Center a bit, put a flat re-entrant on the very north of that segment and then made the first pass on new elevation around the Seniors Center.

2. December 14
Big step forward. Finalized elevation lines in the Seniors Center segment and did full field check for the north part of this segment. It was the first 100% done part of the new map!

3. December 15
Completed field check for the south part of the Seniors Center segment as well as south west from the Community center. As soon as "elevation" problem was out of the way, the whole process sped up significantly.
Also decided to avoid using "undergrowth" lines (whenever I can) and use different shade of green instead. So far I used 4 different shades: 20% (which is quite runnable), 35% (nasty), 50% (hard to walk) and "poisonous" green (impassable). Yes, there are a few physically impassable areas in this park - beware!

4. December 16
Field check and minor elevation fixes north of the Community Center. Note the "impassable" green there. The whole area is very hard to go through, though small.

5. December 20
Completed field check of the Community Center segment. White area was quick and easy. And as a result the whole north part of the park was done. Compare it with the original map!

The only remaining challenging piece was Boat House area (with new buildings), but more about it later.