A tough course   Leave a comment

Today I ran my course, which won the course planning competition. I took no part in the actual setting of the controls, as I live too far away, and many thanks to ASA Tel-Aviv orienteering club for making my plan into a real course, with very few changes.
The course was planned to be as technically difficult as possible, and that's how it felt to me. The terrain is not super-fast, but mostly runnable, so I was moving all the time and there was no breathing space for losing concentration. I don't know the winning times yet (there was a problem with the Emit download), but my time of 1:21:40 was close to the best, and included a number of unnecessary mistakes.
My full route is here, and below is a detailed analysis, including some planner's notes (for my Israeli readers):
1. (3:13) The start was moved from my original plan, which was in the parking lot 150m to the west. I ran down to the valley, caught the path, and headed for the top of the hill.
2. (6:03) My route was good, saving a couple of contour lines by running to the left, and then along the stone walls. I stopped too early, about 10m before the control flag, and lost 2 minutes searching before I returned to the same spot and took a few more steps forward.
3. (1:08) Easy, if you set off in the right direction.
4. (1:51) I headed to the right of the line, and used the building to the east as a reference.
5. (3:01) I used the path to attack the control.
6. (2:47) The map is inaccurate here, and nearly everyone I talked to lost time looking for the control. I should have taken a bearing from 5, but I tried to use the vegetation, which was totally different from the map.
7. (2:47) I ran along the saddle and tried (successfully) to approach the control at the correct height, with the green line (cactus bushes) below me.
8. (1:25) A short leg to set up the long one. All the controls up to this one were nothing special, but demanded concentration and allowed almost no running on paths, so planning the long leg would be difficult.
9. (18:00) I had the luxury of planning my route for this leg at home, because I wanted to run the "planner's route" and see how good it was. The main issue was the high ridge before control 9 – any long leg had to cross it, and the challenge in planning was to make it difficult for the orienteers to decide whether to go over the top or around. I also tried to discourage running along the roads. In my opinion taking the road to the east (just beyond controls 18-19) was not a good choice, but quite a few top runners used it. The western route, around the ridge on the left, was certainly too long, so the middle route, which was difficult to execute, remained. I ran as planned, except for crossing the valley below 17 too late.
10. (4:19) There was some route choice here as well, and it was important to leave control 9 in the right direction – north-east, or you got stuck in the rocks. I lost about 30 seconds trying to understand the map near the control.
11. (2:53) I stopped much too early at an unmapped thicket, and lost about a minute. My route choice, looping round to the left, was obviously worse than just running straight.
12. (4:21) This leg was planned to create a choice between running through the terrain (which is quite fast here) and using the path to the north. Finding the control should not have been a problem in either case.
13. (4:15) Here I messed up again, stopping too early and searching for the control too low. I actually mapped this area (controls 9, 12 and 13), so I have no excuses.
14. (3:03) I used the path bend to enter the control area, passed below the large rocks, and climbed up to the clearing after seeing the cliff with the green above it. The map here wasn't very good.
15. (2:27) After climbing back down from 14 it was easy to lose contact, but I saw the shape of the valley just before the control and tried to cross it at the correct height, so I managed to hit it spot on.
16. (1:20) An easy control, setting up the next leg.
17. (5:02) There was some route choice here, and I opted to save myself some climb and contour round from the south.
18. (2:32) I got bogged down in some bushes on the way, but attacked the control on a bearing from the path junction and found it easily. (Note for those who weren't there – the rough open areas here were more like half-open, so visibility was limited).
19. (3:17) I ran down fast and used the parking area to regain contact, then ran around under the cliff. The control was placed a bit too deeply between the cliffs, and was difficult to reach.
20. (2:25) I ran along the stone walls all the way to the control, but I probably should have used the path.
21. (3:14) I didn't want to use the path and drop too low, but I also forgot to keep an eye on my compass and strayed too far to the right.
22. (1:57) This leg was totally different from the original plan, because the finish was moved, but it still needed concentration, and many orienteers arrived at the finish before finding the last control.

Posted 13/12/2008 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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