One of the ways orienteers can approach a course is to think of it as
a series of separate challenges. The most obvious sports parallel is
golf, where each hole is its own entity, which when added together
make up the whole course. To become a top flight orienteer (or
golfer), one needs to develop consistency and do well on each "leg"
(or hole) of the course. But just as in golf, where certain holes
stand out from their course as memorable, so too do certain legs on an
orienteering course. They may be memorable because of a challenging
mental puzzle surmounted, or because of physical misery produced;
because of an amazingly fast time, or an agonizingly slow one; because
you ended up covered in mud or burrs; or because you were overwhelmed
by the beauty of the place in which you found yourself. But those
memories are a big part of what we carry away with us after an "O"
meet, and a bigger part of what brings us back to the next one. From
EMPO's Club Championship meet, three of our Club Champions have
written up a series of legs from their respective courses. They each
have their own reasons for embedding these in their memories, and they
each have something to say to us as we try to improve our own
skills. The map shows the relevant parts of their courses and how they
the map (147K GIF)
2 >3 There were several legs that were especially interesting and/or difficult for me. The first one of these was my third control, which turned out to have a lot of unmarked trails strewn about within the control circle. I started running along the large trail by the stream, and from where it crossed the clearing from the water plant, I cut north into the woods, and saw another trail heading straight toward where the control was. At first, I thought, "Where am I?", and then realized that it wasn't on the map. I decided to follow it and, sure enough, it led me to the control.
7 >8 This leg shouldn't have been that interesting, but the way I did it made it seem that way. I was trying to run using the land forms and contours, and not relying on my compass. Coming out of my seventh, I crossed a smaller stream (to the southeast), but thought that it was the big stream that runs through the center of the map; then I thought I had to cross the big stream again to get back to the correct side. So now I really crossed the big stream (northeast) which, unfortunately, left me on the wrong side of it, and I climbed up the very steep bank before I realized it. Then, I had to climb down and cross the same stream once again to get back on the real correct side (southwest), and climb up the opposite steep bank to the control. It was all very frustrating.
1 >2 The contours of the map seem to correlate with what I am seeing as I look in the general direction of #2. Nevertheless, I take a compass bearing with the intent of heading in a reasonably straight line to the next control. With leaves off a good portion of vegetation, even what should have been somewhat thick growth is not particularly difficult to navigate. Once on top of the elongated hill, I proceed northwest and soon, with a check and a click, #2 is mine.
2 >3 En route to the next control I perceive that the map and the lay of the land seem to jibe. With compass bearing in place, I walk in the general direction of #3. Everything looks right (except the presence of a few unmapped trails), but as I round the hill to the southeast of #3 control, I am insistent that I want to check out the west side of this hill and the spur to the south. Of course, I know I am off, but perhaps just want to take the scenic route! At any rate, the map tells me that I need to return north past this hill to investigate the spur to the north. I locate the control, and bingo, off and going again. This would be the most costly of my navigation errors on the course, losing probably 3 minutes.
start >1: Since I was pretty familiar with the map (having set courses once and run two or three times on it), I knew that the "clear trail" from the treatment plant to the bike path was more medium to dark green and probably not a good route. Instead, I turned off the bike path at the first major trail and ran the trail along the stream (saving climb versus the more westerly trail over the hill). Once I got past the "clear" area I turned right and went up over the hill to the reentrant on the far side. (Time: 7:14 including ~ 2:00 map copying).
17 >18: I followed the obvious linear feature, the stream, literally. Since the stream banks are very steep in here and vegetation covered, the best running was in the streambed. The stream bottom is down to the bedrock so the footing was pretty good, just wet. Since it was near the end of the course I didn't think wet feet would be a problem. Taking the stream avoided climb, but as I discovered when picking up controls, across the stream from 17 there is now a trail which leads up to the top of the ridge and then down the power line right to 18. I think the routes are probably equivalent in time. (Time: 3:06)
The only other places where I lost time were at number 3 where I drifted off the map to the north and lost 2 - 3 minutes (time: 5:02) and at 13 where I didn't go far enough and maybe lost 15 or 20 seconds (time: 2:15).
Bill did a nice job with the courses. I especially liked the second loop with several quick controls with enough navigational challenge to keep you thinking while in oxygen debt.
last updated: --Thu May 27 2004 07:58:28 PM EDT--