Double disappointment   Leave a comment

Yesterday's national event at Keren Hacarmel was drenched by an unusual amount of rain, which made it feel almost like Europe, and I was coming off a week of no training because of a sore throat, but I was disappointed twice:

Disappointment no. 1 – my left shoe
My left shoe (a 2.5 year old VJ Falcon) came apart during the race, forcing me to DNF. With my rival Omer Noiman planning the courses, I expected to win H40 easily, and I was running well until about control no. 10, where the sole started disconnecting from the body and my shoe started behaving more like a flipper. At that point I discovered that concentrating on orienteering while trying to run funnily doesn't work, and I started making mistakes. I quit after control 16, when I had to stop running or risk losing the shoe altogether.
Today I analysed the split times, and had even more reason to be disappointed. At control 16 I was still second on the course (which includes also H21B, H17 and D21A), and way ahead of the others in my category:

Control   Optimal   Course Leader   Myself    H40 Leader
   10.     18:59        23:29       23:12       28:21
   16.     29:54        37:25       41:54       46:25

But there was no way I could have continued running, so that's that.

Disappointment no. 2 – the courses
The courses were well planned and interesting, and all the controls were in place, but technically the orienteering still felt like a local event and not a national ranking event:
1. No water (drinking) controls. Luckily it was raining, because in Israel it's usually sunny and warm even in January. Even with the longest course around 6 km, that's unacceptable.
2. Map scale 1:7500. Why do we have standards at all anyway? This is the second national event in a row at this scale, and there's no reason for it, especially for the longer courses.
3. No climb in the course descriptions. Again, this should be a standard, and in this case it looks like sheer negligence.
4. Control locations and descriptions. Many of the control locations were fishy, and the descriptions were lacking. There were several controls at rocks around the size of my car, without designating which side of the rock. As far as I understand the rules, if you can't see the control from all directions, the description should include the location of the flag relative to the control feature.
Some examples (of both problems):
Control 2: There were several large rocks there, and as far as I could see the control was nowhere near the largest of them. It was just standing there at the edge of the clearing, and there were a few unmarked clearings around as well. I wouldn't have used that feature.
Control 3: It was near the largest rock in the area (again without specifying which side), which was 10-20m outside the clearing. If the features don't fit the map well enough – use a different location.
Control 7: The control was jammed deep into a bush, right in the middle of the clearing. I managed to stand in the clearing and decide that there was no control there, before someone coming from the other direction saw it.
Control 13: The pit is actually a set of 3 pits, with a large bush stuck in between them. I checked the southern one first, then the western one, and then found the flag in the northern one. By the way, last year we had the same control, also without specifiying the direction.

Using controls where the map isn't accurate enough, and not specifying their locations in enough detail, brings too much luck into the race (especially in the rain). Good course planning is not enough – checking the controls and setting them out properly is just as important.

The next two national events are mine. I'll try to practice what I preach…

Posted 01/02/2009 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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