Looking Forward   Leave a comment

The 2020-2021 orienteering season has just started. After the “training” events of December we had another month of total lockdown, and another month of training, but now competitions are allowed and they’re trying to cram the whole season in before the summer. So in the next couple of months we have 6 national events (including the Israeli championship), 2 rogaines, and lots of other interesting events.

I’ve run some training courses, the best being one of the five set out by our club as “permanent” courses for the past month, in Zippori (map below) – makeshift controls, register online and pick up your map from someone’s front garden whenever you want. I also prepared one of the courses, recycling a pile of medal ribbons as the controls. The weather has been fantastic over the winter, not too cold, and quite wet but almost always in the middle of the week, so it’s a real shame we couldn’t hold any events.

I probably won’t be running too many races – one of the problems is that you can’t yet have an “assembly area” at events, so coming as a family and mixing up with all the other kids is not a good idea. Add some mapping work and organising, and I’ll probably run 5-6 races this season. But now is the time to look forward, start planning for the end of the Corona era, and enjoy the forests.

Posted 03/03/2021 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Forest Time   1 comment

Despite COVID-19, we’re allowed to hold “training” events – which are basically the same as regular events, except that there’s no registration on the day (so no contact), no official assembly area, no drinks controls, and no results (but you can still use SI and get your split times). As far as I know, competitive events are planned to start in January, unless there is a third lockdown. The season is going to be compressed into a few months, and hopefully we’ll be having a lot of forest time over the winter and spring.

Today we went to a training event at Ma’anit, on a partially new map (of an old area). There were 280+ orienteers registered, the assembly area was full, and the forest was busy. Alon (aged 9.5) successfully finished his second solo forest course, and I ran the long course at cruising pace. It was fun – peak orienteering season, beautiful countryside, nice weather, and good terrain. Apart from my headless chicken routine at control 21 (where I don’t agree with the map, but I was still off course) I was more or less OK, but a bit rusty.

Last week I also started mapping in the forest again. I had planned to expand my small map of Naura (https://dchissick.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/naura/) back in the summer of 2019, but then I discovered that the vegetation in the new section was awful, and that half of the existing map had just suffered a serious forest fire. After that I was busy with Rogaine mapping, then COVID-19 came along, and now I’m back. The vegetation is nicer at this time of year, and much of the forest has recovered from the fire, so we can think of planning an event on the expanded map. Below are aerial photos of almost the entire map for 2018, 2019, and 2020, where you can see the effect of the fire.

Posted 12/12/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Restart #2   1 comment

Lockdown no. 2 came just after the first few events of the season, and lasted until a week ago. We actually managed to hold a club training camp just before, which was great fun despite the (still) hot conditions, and then all activities closed down: not a 100 meter limit like in April, but 500 meters (increased at some point to 1 km), and any individual athletic activity provided you start from your home.

So I ran around home quite a lot, getting acquainted with new routes, but the conditions were still hot throughout and I managed to orienteer only on the last weekend, when it cooled down a bit – running 5 km to the nearby map of Alonim, doing a 6 km training course (without controls, of course), and then back.

Now lockdown has been lifted, but we still can’t hold official events, so there are lots of informal trainings – register, come and take a map, go out into the forest and find the controls. On Friday I went to a Window-O training (some call it “Swiss cheese”) at Hosh’aya, which was tricky but better than nothing. The forest is quite open, the fact that the map is from 2007 doesn’t matter too much when most of it is erased, and the main problem was the very rocky terrain, which made running in a straight line and pace-counting very difficult. I managed to find all the controls except no. 7/11 – apparently there is an unmarked rocky knoll slightly to the west of the correct one, and that’s the one that I arrived at twice.

There’s lots more training coming up, and hopefully the season will be able to restart within a few weeks, just when we have the best orienteering weather and vegetation conditions.

Posted 24/10/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Back in the Forest   Leave a comment

After a summer of early morning sprints, we’re back in the forest at last. I was out and about last weekend as well, marking controls for a club training camp, but yesterday was the first real event of the season – in the midst of an unprecedented heatwave.

My club was organizing, but I wasn’t involved this time. Despite the heat and humidity, the decision to go ahead – with shortened courses and very early start times – was made, and the event was successful. It was really humid: Strava says 83%, but it felt like 200%, and I was soaked in sweat after the first few controls, despite being acclimatized from training throughout the summer. My strategy was to choose the least physically demanding route, which is usually close to the fastest anyway, and I had an almost perfect run, mostly enjoying the lack of undergrowth.

Thanks to Gil Rinat and the other members of Galilee O-Club for planning and organizing. I think we’re going to have a great season, and this is just the start!

Posted 06/09/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Orienteering in the Jewish Olympics?   Leave a comment

Let’s be realistic – orienteering won’t be in the Olympic Games in the near future.

But the Maccabiah (https://www.maccabi.org/sport/maccabiah), the Jewish version of the Olympics, is a different matter. The 21st edition of these games will be held in July 2022 (after a COVID-19 postponement), as always in Israel, and the absolute minimum for including a sport is 25 athletes from 4 countries (excluding Israel, of course).

We’re in contact with some Jewish orienteers around the world, but there may be many more that we don’t know about. So if you (or someone you know) are Jewish, in any age group, and interested in participating, please contact Doron Keynar at doronknr@gmail.com. Don’t worry about the bureaucracy and logistics yet, there’s still a long way to go – let’s get orienteering included, and then take care of the details.

Posted 29/08/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Night Rogaine   Leave a comment

Orienteering is almost back to normal here, but because of the summer heat there are only a few early morning sprints. The exception was a night mini-rogaine – 3 or 4 hours, only on tracks, in Ben-Shemen forest. This happened to be the location of the last rogaine more than a year ago, with two events having been cancelled since then due to the weather and lockdown.

It was also an opportunity to run with Roni again, for the first time in over two years. As usual, we had great fun together, and without the agony of 8 hours. There were 25 controls with points values of 1 to 5 (the second digit), and after calculating that collecting everything was beyond us, though not by much, we based our plan on all the 3-5 point controls, with the others as bonuses depending on the pace.

In the end we skipped only two controls, and finished with 7 minutes to spare and 4th overall (1st in two of the categories, meaning we won a prize), behind three teams that collected all the controls. The next forest orienteering is in September…


Posted 03/08/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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The Return of Catching Features   Leave a comment

When Lockdown started, I wrote that I would try to participate in all the stages of the Catching Features World Cup. Having fulfilled that commitment, I have come to a few conclusions:

  • Catching Features is probably vastly underrated. It is fantastic software that simulates orienteering very well, despite having a few drawbacks.
  • The CFWC was very, very tough, and after some of the races I was sweating in my chair. The maps were fantastic (some of them are below) and the courses very challenging. Thanks to the course creators for a great job.
  • My orienteering is OK, but my gaming skills are lousy. My results were consistently just over twice the winner’s time, usually without any big mistakes (I finished with 872 points, the winner had 1777).
  • I’d really like to upload one of my maps (Odem Forest) and set a course online. I hope to have some time for it soon.

I also concluded that Catching Features has returned, and in order to confirm this I received permission to collect all the historical data from the website and analyse participation over time. The results are published here (screenshot below of the first page):

I’ll try to add some more analysis in the future, such as the most active users, the most prolific course setters, and so on.


Screenshots from the Catching Features World Cup races:

CF 9 newCF 7 newCF 5 newCF 6 newCF 10 newCF 8 new

Posted 10/07/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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30 Years of Orienteering   Leave a comment

My orienteering career started 30 years ago today, June 9th 1990, when I first went to an orienteering event of my own free will.

I had been sent to a few races by my army unit, but I didn’t know that civilian or sport orienteering existed. Then I saw an ad in the newspaper, several months in advance, for a race at Birya Forest, not far from home, and I noted the details.

On the appointed day I turned up with my girlfriend Galit, registered for the “medium” course, and set off. I finished third in H21B, asked if there were any prizes (no), and went home. But, as we were leaving, Galit picked up a registration form for the Israel Sport Orienteering Association, and the rest is history.

I could write a book about what I’ve done in orienteering since then. Oops! Done that already. Now I remember that when I wrote about it in the blog I promised to publish some of the charts, but I haven’t done that yet. Meanwhile, I’ve published my training log for the last 23 years (since it became digital), including GPS tracks – here’s the link, and I’ll keep it updated every month or so:




Posted 09/06/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Restart   1 comment

Orienteering (and other sports) events are now officially allowed again, and the first actual race was in Odem Forest, probably the most suitable for this time of season – there won’t be much orienteering here in the heat of summer, as usual.

My endurance is more than OK, but I have no competitive speed and I’m not worrying about it until September, so I ran this at a brisk jog. It’s my map, so I had no problems reading it, but the terrain is tough in any case and it seems that every year it gets stonier. Apart from a lapse in concentration at control 7, I had a relatively smooth run and I really enjoyed getting out on a proper course at last. I finished the 7.1 km course in 68:27, meaning that Roni, who ran her 5.6 km course in 53:49, was slightly faster than me: mainly because of my mistake, but they all count, and it shows how much her fitness has improved over the Corona period. I think it’s given her some motivation to try and keep it up next season, despite the stresses of kids and teaching.

My next race might be in… September. It’s starting to get hot, and there’s not much of a program yet for the summer. One thing, unfortunately, is for sure – I won’t be travelling abroad.


Posted 02/06/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Independence day   Leave a comment

Wednesday was our (72nd) Independence day. So was Thursday – because lockdown restrictions on sports activities were lifted, having been limited to a 500m radius from home for a couple of weeks (and 100m before that).

I celebrated first by running a sprint course in the permitted radius, and then by trying to create a GPS Star of David in the terrain, which was not easy. I had the course planned out and an excellent map of Zippori, but the undergrowth at this time of year is terrible. It came out quite well, though it’s not very obvious from the view on Strava that each straight line is 1 km.

Independence day

It is now possible to train outside individually, so I can run freely again. Races are still not allowed, but orienteering training events are being held, with various restrictions. The main problem is that it’s starting to get hot and the effectively the season will end in a month or so, with no permission for urban events yet. By the start of next season we’ll be living in a different world, but I’m sure we’ll be orienteering properly again.

Posted 02/05/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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