Yesterday’s race at Burma Road was a slog – long (by Israeli standards), physical, and thorny. I enjoyed it. I was almost alone in the forest, because I started very early (so I could finish in time for Roni to run as well), and for the first time in years my physical shape is good enough to enable me to run such a course without suffering too much. The H35 course is the same as our elite (H21A), so I can’t complain that it was too long or steep. If I get lazy I’ll run H40 or H45.
I finished the 8.5 km course in 1:34:38, which was good enough for 2nd place on the day but only 4th place overall. My full route is below – note that most of the zig-zagging through the forest is caused by detours round thick vegetation or newly uprooted trees from the last storm, and not by terrible compass work. Roni, 4 months pregnant and after taking care of Alon all morning, won D21C at a jog…
There were lots of complaints about the toughness of the terrain and quality of the map. I disagree. Yes, the forest is steep and has lots of undergrowth, and orienteering here is hard, but that’s part of our sport and you can’t hold competitions only in areas where the elite can run 5min/km (Pasi Ikonen, on a training camp here, ran just under 8 min/km). And the map, made by professional Czech mappers, is very good. The second day of the Israeli Championship is just across the valley and will be just as tough.
The major controversy was caused by controls 8 and 9 on our course, which were both misplaced (9 was apparently at the position of 8). Nearly everyone lost time there, and other courses were affected as well, but the final decision was not to void the results, though there’s an ongoing appeal regarding the rankings. I got lost there anyway, and then found control 9 without even knowing it was wrong, and backtracked to 8.
Mistakes happen, of course, especially when all involved are volunteers, but they shouldn’t happen on a map of this quality and at an important championship, and this time there will probably be some serious discussion of our standards for controlling major events and for dealing with such problems when they occur. I’m not in a decision-making position, but I’ll probably be involved at some point. Hopefully, something constructive will come out of it.
Today was the first day of the Winter Championship, postponed by two weeks because the original weekend was too… wintry.
I ran H35, and physically I felt very strong and kept pushing till the end (the course was 8km with 370m climb, 1:20:33), but my orienteering was rusty and a big miss at control 2 ruined my result, though there were other small mistakes. We had to rush home to pick up Alon from daycare, so I don’t know what place I finished.
The terrain at Neot Kedumim hasn’t been used for a long time, and a new LIDAR map was produced for this event. In my opinion the area is more suitable for sprint races, and today’s course on a 1:7500 map was a hybrid – not really sprint, and not really terrain orienteering. That has nothing to do with my result, of course.
Obviously part of the problem is that I don’t get to do any training with a map at competitive speed, but that’s how it is when working 5 days a week and dividing the weekends between the children, mapping, organising events, and competition. I’m managing to retain my high level of fitness despite the long days at work, and I’m happy with that.
Tomorrow is at Burma Road – a real forest, at 1:10,000, and I’ll try to do better.
I’m no longer unemployed. This week I started full-time work for Naya Technologies as a BI consultant, so my days of mapping and running around the forests all week are over – I’ll be training with night-time road runs again, as usual. It was a nice vacation while it lasted, but I need a well-paying job and this was a good opportunity with a company that specializes in my field of expertise.
Saturday’s local event was at Elyakim – the forest that I’ve been re-mapping for the past month or so. The course was on the old map (1994), of course, but I’ve already finished 80% of the area (which is 2/3 of the controls) and I recognised every one of the features that were used, so I had little orienteering to do. It was good running training and I ran with my headcam so I can prepare a “trailer” video for the new map.
Omer Noiman, who planned the courses, selected very solid control points that were easy to find using the features that hadn’t changed over the past 19 years. An interesting point is that I heard that lots of orienteers had problems with control no. 2 – by comparing with the new map I can say with confidence that the pit is drawn 20-30m north of it’s actual location. There wasn’t a LIDAR base map back then!