Monday, September 15, 2008

Preparing for the Oct 19 event in South Umstead

I will be out of country from Sep 21 till Oct 11, so this week was the only time I left for the preparation of the Oct 19 event. It will be in Whispering Pines, but the courses will be set in such a way that they won't intersect in any way with Sep 21 event courses. In fact, Red, Green and Brown courses will have a remote start and finish and will touch areas of the park I personally have never been before!

Here is where the advanced courses will reside:

Very physically demanding courses, if I may add. A lot of up and down running, plus long walk to the start. Beware :-)

Anyway, I designed the course on Friday and Joseph and Ruth made several fixes and great suggestions (thank you!), so now the courses are final, pending only the park's approval.

On Sunday I went and hanged ribbons on all advanced controls and a few orange ones. What can I say. A lot of hills are out there.
Saw a few tortoises and a big black snake (a little less than 2 yards). The snake was right under the tree where I was going to hang a ribbon, so we stayed there cautiously watching each other for a few minutes before the snake decided to move away.

The only thing remaining before I go for the trip is to visit all white, yellow and orange controls and write down their legends. I think I'll do it on Tuesday evening, but we'll see.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sprints at the Lake Johnson

The final sprint event. Right from the beginning I want to thank Josef, Ken, Terese and everybody else who participated in organizing these events. This was the best orienteering summer I ever had. Thank you very much!

Now, back to this final sprint event. Ironically, being in September, it was the hottest one. Very hot and humid, but fortunately not many hills and some of them avoidable.

As I wrote before, I like sprints. And this summer only strengthened this feeling. Plus I did well on both courses (first and second places). This time I avoided making big mistakes. Pretty much the only thing that slowed me was my inability to run uphill in such weather. I ended up walking quite a bit during both courses.

Here are the reports.

Sprint A

#1: Right from the beginning I wasn't going to loose an inch of elevation, so I used the road instead of going down to the lake. It also helped me to avoid a nasty green in the control's re-entrant. Now looking at the splits it seems that the route I chose was indeed the best one.
#2: I simply took a compass bearing and went straight to the beginning of the trail that would lead me to the control. I saw Joseph running from #1 to the right (using another route up the re-entrant) and was actually surprised, as my "straight" path was 90 degrees off his route!
#3: I caught up with Joseph at #2 and ran behind him to #3. It was a trail all the way. Apparently we did have the same speed on a trail, so I felt quite comfortable running behind.
#4: For some reason Joseph ran to the right from #3 (which was a wrong direction) and I went to the left, walked uphill and then ran toward the control.
#5: Nothing special, just a few paces away.
#6 and #7: Down to the road, passed the creek and then walked up to #6 and then to #7. I wish I could run up such hills...
#8: I was rather tired after getting up the hill, so I wanted to get to the road as quickly as I could. Thus I ran straight down (it also helped to avoid another green area). Then used the road to get to #8.
#9: Just went straight over the hill (well, actually a little bit to the right, to avoid getting a few extra feet of elevation). Had to walk again on the way up.
#10: Walked up, up and up...
#11: Used the road and then cut through the wood a few yards after the slight road bend.
And then finish (17.24)

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge.

Sprint B

This sprint was tougher. I didn't make big mistakes, but I didn't run as clean as during the Sprint A and I was generally slower.

#1: Down to the trail and then till the control.
#2: Remembering the green re-entrant from the previous course, I consciously made a big curve around it. It also allowed me to stay on the same elevation. However, because if this route, I didn't spot the control right away and lost a few seconds there looking for it.
#3: Used trail until it went down to a small depression, then went south till I saw the pits.
#4: Nothing special, a straight cut. The only delay was at the very control. I got to the bend of the creek, but couldn't see a control there. Instead there was one of the runners looking at his map. I hesitated, but then decided that I couldn't be that wrong and control should be right there. I ran toward the runner and then noticed a control behind him! Virtually hidden by his body...
#5: Walked over the hill and it was there.
#6: I just ran toward the trail while staying on the same elevation. Saw #7, then used the trail to get to #6.
#7: Simply ran back.
#8: Used the trail and then "unmapped" shortcut trail to get to the control area. Saw the dry ditch from the trail and went up to the control.
#9: Used trails to get to the road and then cut through to the control. Felt very tired there and missed the control, then spent 15-20 seconds gathering my thoughts and catching my breath before running toward the control.
#10: Used the road to get around the green area and re-entrant. After the re-entrant went straight north to the control.
#11: Another curve around green re-entrant.
#12: Very tired run... and then finish (18.41).

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge.

P.S. I will be out of country from Sep 20 till Oct 11, so unfortunately I will miss the next two events... Then Tanya and I will be organizing the October 19 event. It looks like the next time I will be competing in an event will be in November...