It was with no small amount of trepidation and reluctance that I accepted my very first meet directorship at Kinns Road Park in Clifton Park. There were so many things I wasn't sure of, but a list of guidelines outlining 99% of my duties, and many assurances of support provided by Janet and Glen Tryson gave me courage, and I was off and running. I was lucky to find a satellite photo of the park on a New York State web site (http://www.nysgis.state.ny.us/gateway/mg/interactive_main.html), so got to work on the map. Luckily, I work with many computer graphics programs including photoshop, so after I scanned an old map of the park and removed my old markings from it, I added some of the things I noticed had been built or added since the map was last updated.
Pat Haffner at the town Office of Parks and Recreation advised I should post an announcement of the coming meet in the park itself, so I did that on one of my familiarization trips.
I was originally attracted to orienteering 12 years ago, at least partially because I knew it could be enjoyed at whatever pace you chose for yourself, so I had planned on having no time limits to the 3 courses I was planning. Glen suggested that I add another facet to the expert course; an optional 1 hour time limit which would be more competitive for the elite runners who might want to choose that. I agreed.
So, I planned 3 courses of varying degrees of difficulty, then went to the park to scout out the control placements. Everything was going well (oddly enough). The skunk cabbage was sprouting in the swamps, and I got to see a pair of pileated woodpeckers, but the spring thaw was making the wetlands wetter, and I was hoping that April 10th would prove to be dry, otherwise I'm afraid we would have people sliding down muddy and leaf-covered slopes to certain injury.
After a few thousand corrections, alterations, indecisive moments and panic attacks, my 3 maps were completed, with clue sheets appended to them, and all controls pre-printed, ready for the critical, slitted eyes of my peers. Thankfully, everyone expressed approval of the maps and the courses though Glen did find one control which was slightly further down a slope than I had sited it on the map.
The weather co-operated brilliantly, was mostly sunny, and except for the few of us confined to sit still in the shade at the registration and start/finish tables, the temperature of around 48 degrees was ideal.
Second-timers Tuck Lowe and his little brother Tim not only came in second on the green expert course behind Rita Reed, they came in carrying 2 full plastic shopping bags of trash they had collected while doing it! Bravo, Tuck and Tim! my son, Tucker Lange, overconfident as usual, took on the green course as well, and swears he overshot a control so badly he spotted a pizza hut on route 146! Glen Tryson, Phil and Marty Hawkes-Teeter, and Bill Jameson all broke the 50 minute mark for the expert/competitive course. Whew!
The competitor response survey I asked folks to fill out at the end of their courses were very encouraging. We got high marks for just about everything: maps, accuracy, the "fun factor", and helpfulness of our staff. Many expressed high levels of enthusiasm and intent to be at the next event - all good news for the club.
Many thanks go to all who helped with advice or assistance: Janet and Glen Tryson for guiding me through all aspects, as well as putting up the directional signs and manning the registration and start/finish tables with me, Phil Hawkes-Teeter for advice and guidance, Eric Hamilton for registration, and Reid Smalley for beginner instruction. All did marvelous jobs, and I'm deeply indebted. Final control pickup was done by Glen, Phil and me.
- Bob Lange
* a 3-minute penalty was assessed for each control skipped
|Registration||Grant instructs the gang|
|Fast family finish||Medic alert|
|Red hoods into the woods|
last updated: --Thu May 27 2004 07:58:28 PM EDT--