Archive for the ‘orienteering’ Tag

A Long Weekend   Leave a comment

Last week was the Israeli Championship, and this time I didn’t participate because I was planning the first day, so I had a longer weekend than usual.

Our winter is especially rainy this year, and orienteering events are being cancelled or postponed all the time, but for the championship we had beautiful weather. I was in the terrain at Kfar Hahoresh all Thursday afternoon, and of course on Friday throughout the race and until the last control was collected. Then on Saturday we went to Hasolelim with all the children, and after the race I returned there with Roni’s map and ran her course (without controls, of course) for fun.

IOC 2019 Roni

Roni finished second in D21A, which is both a reflection on the state of women’s elite orienteering in Israel, and on her toughness and experience – she’s 38, with three small children, doesn’t train at all (and was sick the week before), quit the team 10 years ago, but has won 4 Israeli championships and represented us in two WOCs. The children are growing – I think she can still win another championship in D21A!

Alon, nearly 8 years old, is now orienteering regularly, and loves it. He finished the children’s course on Friday (Instead of school! Yippeeee!) with Roni and on Saturday with me. He’s really started to understand the map, notice various features, and orientate himself correctly, and we’re enjoying it very much.

Planning the courses was a rush job – I received the first version of the map, without a few sections, only 6 weeks before the race, and the final section 3 weeks before, so I didn’t have much time. I’m sure I could have done a better job given more time, but the feedback was very good (very tough – as promised – but fair).

After the race I published an overview of the courses on Tableau Public, exporting the xml data from Ocad – so now I can create a similar analysis for any event within minutes. I’ll probably improve the visualization over time as well.

20190222 All Courses

Posted 02/03/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Fun   1 comment

Unlike last year, I ran the long course at this year’s Billygoat, because it’s probably the longest course we’ll have in Israel this season, and “the more the merrier”. After several weeks of rain and mud, we had perfect weather on great terrain at Beit Anaba, so everything came together and this was probably the race that I have most enjoyed for several years.

The course was 12.2 km, with three controls to skip. I finished 14th in 1:30:51, which was more or less what I aimed for, and I had no problem coping with the distance – I’d love to see more long courses. I skipped controls 4, 14 and 26 – probably 8 was better than 4 for those in the leading pack, but I opted to skip a tricky control and also gained some planning time on the path from 3 to 5.

Despite the mass start, most of the time I was orienteering almost alone. For the first half of the race one of the juniors was running in front of me, and in the second half I was being followed quite obviously by a much faster runner, who showed little ability to find the controls by himself and usually appeared just after I had punched, then ran forward and lost contact again. I managed to run away from him at 24, then he caught me at the last control and outsprinted me to the finish. The truth is that I couldn’t care less – I was orienteering for fun and not for the competition.

Many thanks to my protégé Itay Manor for the mapping and planning of the course. I’m proud to be his coach, but he’s learnt most of this stuff without my help. And he’s still less than half my age!


Posted 22/01/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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A Bad Day at the Races   3 comments

This weekend was the Winter Cup, and for a change it was actually in winter – unbelievably, it even rained on both days. That’s not an excuse for my orienteering, just a fact of life.

Day 1, Menahamiya – totally new terrain, very steep and muddy. Roni’s VJ Falcon fell apart and she quit, barefoot, around the middle of the course. I was running H35 because, I quote my whatsapp to a friend: “I’m fed up with these shorty courses and to hell with the medals”. Even this was only 6 km, but with 310m climb it felt like more. I had no problem coping with the distance, but the mud was terrible and some of the contouring was like walking a tightrope. My orienteering was actually quite solid, and I finished in 71:09, 6th place in the category and more or less as expected.


Day 2, Ein Tzur – a new map of well-known terrain that had never been mapped in such detail. Roni stayed at home with the two toddlers and I took Alon (7.5) with me. He waited around with an O-friend while I ran, and then I took them around the children’s course, which they enjoyed very much.

My run was simply “a bad day at the races”. As usual, my performance was on par with the amount of pressure: no pressure, so no performance. I felt as if my compass was messing with my head, and had difficulty reading the details around some of the controls (that’s partly due to my eyesight and wet glasses). By control 18 I was fed up with myself and couldn’t be bothered to try and attack it properly, with predictable results. I finished the 5.8 km course in 76:50 and dropped to 8th overall, but I should have run 10 minutes less. The course, by the way, planned by Shachar Hershman, was very good, except for the start which was an invitation to skip the start triangle.

Note 1: Ages of top 8 in H35: 50, 40, 38, 46, 46, 39, 44, 50 (in that order). Our courses are too short, and the H40, 45 and 50 categories are getting it easy. I’d love to hold a special “Real Age Championship” in which you have to run your real age group.

Note 2: I need to work on my technique. The eyesight issue is affecting my orienteering style and I need to adapt and train this new style, otherwise I’ll mess up again. Day 1 suited this style so I performed well, day 2 was different. I have time – there’s no important race coming up, as I’m the planner for day 1 of the Israeli Championships.


Posted 30/12/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Preparing a Rogaine   Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I organised a rogaine in Beit Keshet forest, not far from home. Israel is a small country, so we don’t have many areas suitable for our full length (8 hour) rogaines, but there are some smaller ones that can be used for mini-rogaines, and this was the first time in this area.

Panorama BK

An overview of the terrain from the south

I was preparing the event in my spare time, and had been thinking about the area for more than a year. The map includes 5 existing orienteering maps, which I combined and standardised on the computer, and then over the summer I went on four headcam mapping runs to cover the unmapped areas. I made two more runs later on to map a few small patches and mark the controls in the southern part of the map – overall 90 km of running in the terrain, mostly on paths, of course. The map below shows all six of my routes in varying colours, and the borders of the existing maps (labelled A to E).

For the organisation itself I had lots of help from our club, and 76 teams of orienteers participated in the 4-hour race. There were 23 controls, and no team manged to collect all of them. As usual, I prepared a visual analysis of their results. Overall it was very successful and I think most of the participants had great fun. I was especially pleased with the spread of the control visits, which showed that the planning was good enough to send the teams out across the whole area.

I’ll probably be planning a full rogaine next – my last was in 2014.

BK Rogaine Blog

Posted 27/11/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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An Exercise in Concentration   Leave a comment

Today I ran a half-marathon race.

Usually I’m not into road races and such stuff, but this year I got an itch in my legs and wanted to prove something to myself. In addition, it’s not bad as training for long distance orienteering. I’ve raced the distance twice before, 10 years ago – but the first time was with Roni and the second time I started too fast, “hit the wall” after 15 km, and finished very slowly (in just over 1:40).

My goal was to beat 1:40, and I added a few tempo runs in training over the last few months in order to prepare. My last session, a week before, was 14 km at just under target pace, and after that I knew I could reach my goal. I chose a race – the Agur (Crane) Run – which is in a nice scenic area around a well-known bird migration site: not far from home, and much more fun than running in a city.

The race itself was mainly an exercise in concentration – keeping up a hard level of effort over 100 minutes is far from easy. I started too fast, as expected, but I knew that would happen and I was prepared. Towards the end my legs were really hurting, but I pushed through and managed to finish in 1:38:05 (12th in the 50-59 age group). I’m very pleased with my performance and level of fitness, and I’ll be concentrating on the orienteering from now on.

The course is here:

Posted 23/11/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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There’s always a first time   Leave a comment

In nearly 30 years of orienteering I’ve never, ever, skipped a control by mistake and punched the next one, then had to return. Until today.

Our official orienteering season kicked off with a league sprint race at Sarid, about 10 minutes from home. This year the league includes 12 races, 4 of them sprints, with the 8 best counting for your final ranking. I don’t really care for the ranking, or for sprints, but three of those are very near home so I’m going in order to contribute points to my club.

I ran H50A for the first time – in the forest I’d go for a longer course in H40 or H35, but the difference in a sprint race is negligible, and 1st place in H50A gives the club more points. I had a good race and won with a time of 19:05, more than a minute ahead of second place, but… I managed to skip control 13, running straight from 12 to 14. After punching 14 I looked at the map, almost “continued” to 13, then realised what I’d done and ran (very fast) to 13 and back. It cost me well over a minute.

I also had an issue with the colours on the map – as usual, due to my colour blindness, I had a real problem differentiating between out of bounds (olive green) and open (100% yellow), especially when they bordered each other. This caused me to hesitate several times, and to take a couple of safer routes when I wasn’t sure of the colour (for example: 16-17). The IOF mapping committee has been talking for years about addressing the colour-blindness problem, but still hasn’t done anything (here is the latest discussion).

It was still fun, though I would question the wisdom of travelling more than an hour for under twenty minutes of orienteering. Living nearby has it’s advantages: I started at 9:20, finished, took my bag, walked to the car park (500m), drove home, showered, then took charge of the kids, and Roni still managed to arrive in time for her start at 10:32.


Posted 13/10/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Watch this   Leave a comment

If you’ve never watched an orienteering headcam video from start to finish before, now is the time to start. This is probably the best sprint orienteering terrain I’ve ever seen, captured by Daniel Griff:

The route is in part of the Old City of Jerusalem – the Jewish Quarter. Unfortunately I couldn’t participate, but hopefully I’ll be able to go next time. Having seen some of the areas used for major international events over the past few years (and last week’s EOC sprint areas weren’t too bad), this would definitely be an upgrade. Much of the adjacent area outside the city walls is also mapped, and has been used before. I think the mapper, Alex Lipovich, deserves enormous credit for several years of work.

By coincidence, the first stage of the Giro d’Italia was held in Jerusalem a week before, proving that it is possible to stage a major international sporting event here, including television, security, closing roads, and all the other stuff.

So what next? Sprint WOC 2028 in the Holy City?



Posted 15/05/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Rogaine 2018   Leave a comment

This year’s Rogaine was in the Jerusalem hills, not far west of Jerusalem. All credit to Noam Ravid for mapping and planning the event, on a very large and tough area. I know how much effort is involved and this was the most challenging we have had.

The terrain is hilly, mostly very steep, and quite rough. Some parts have lots of paths, some have very few and are also nature reserves, so cutting through the terrain is prohibited. There were 8, 5 and 3-hour options – we participated in the longest, of course, but there was a record low number of only 20 teams on this course (overall there were 133, including a 6-hour bike course). Compare this to our first rogaine in 2005, when 68 teams finished 8 hours because there were no other options.

We did well. Roni is totally out of shape – I think that since the last mini-rogaine in November she’s run less than the distance we covered, and that includes orienteering events. There was an hour for planning, which is plenty of time: our initial plan was to go east and north, but after 5 minutes we looked again at the route choices and the climbs and decided to make a plan for the southern part only, without crossing the steep valley (Nahal Sorek) in the middle.

It was a beautiful, relatively cool day, with great visibility as well. The race was fun, but hard, and this time Roni slowed us down considerably, but she’s my wife and I’m not doing this with anyone else as long as she agrees to join in. Some of the controls were magnificent caves and ruins, as were some of the paths, and a couple of climbs (85, then 82 to 52 to 56). We finished with 17 minutes to spare and 111 points – first place was a Lithuanian team with 127, then Israeli teams on 114, 113 and 112, so we were 5th. If Roni had been slightly fitter we could easily have picked up another 6 points (control 61 or 67) and beaten all our local competitors. We ran 42.1 km and climbed 1270m.

The analysis of the results is here, and our route is below. There’s also a great photo of us at control 56.


Posted 21/03/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Maximum Effort   Leave a comment

Last weekend was the Israeli Championship. I don’t have many opportunities to race this season, so this was my main goal and most of my training was geared towards this event. I had decided early on to compete in H45 for the first time, mainly because it’s my last opportunity at this age group (next year I have to do H50), so I prepared for the shorter courses, after 14 years in H35/40, by focusing a bit more than usual on my running speed.

Theoretically I was the favourite to win, at least amongst the Israelis. There are two orienteers in this age group who can definitely beat me, Nir Yasur and Noam Ravid, but both are still sticking to H35. Nevertheless, I had no intention of taking it easy, and there were also a couple of foreign orienteers of unknown ability to contend with.

The first day was a middle distance at Sataf, a very steep and detailed area near Jerusalem that I had last visited 15 years ago and was newly mapped this year. The stone terraces are so close to each other that they were marked with grey lines, as the regular symbol with the black dots wouldn’t fit. On a chilly day, the warmup map was nice, and so was the long start run on a path in order to get oriented. The course was tough, and so was the terrain, but I managed to avoid any serious mistakes and get through the 3.5 km distance in 34:01 and first place, but just 4 seconds ahead of Estonian Margus Klementsov, with the others spread out from about 2 minutes behind us. My route is below, and so is the headcam video. You can see in the video that one of my problems is sweat on my spectacles, and I’m trying to wipe them down several times.20180223_Sataf_route

Day two was at Beit Anaba, another well-used map that had been re-made last year (I wasn’t at the event) and enlarged again this year. This time it was a “long” distance, though not very long for old people like me, on classic Israeli semi-open and pine forest.

I was supposed to start two minutes after Margus, but luckily I missed my start time because we were delayed by the children. Why luckily? Lucky for him, because he made a big mistake at the first control and I would have caught him. Lucky for me, because it made for a fair race and that’s what I prefer.

I put in the maximum effort – all 110% of it, as I usually do in a championship. I made a few mistakes: got thrown off course to control 3 by a flock of goats and a wall of nettles, lost time at 5 and 8 because of blurred spectacles, and because of the same goats at 7. At 9 I took off the spectacles and continued without them (the map was 1:7500, so still readable), and at the end I was absolutely flying. I couldn’t go any faster, and finished the 6.4 km course in 57:09, but Margus still beat me by a couple of minutes, and we were both miles ahead of all the rest of the category. So I was second, but first of the Israelis, as expected. My course is below.


I put in so much effort that I got a severe head cold and still haven’t recovered, but it was worth it. The statistics show that I had the lowest mistake ratio on the course on both days, and I could hardly have performed better – well done to Margus for running fast and beating me. The courses and maps were fantastic on both days, and it was great fun. Next season… H50? Or maybe back to H35 or H40, because I still fancy a longer run. We’ll see. There’s still some stuff to do before then.

Posted 28/02/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Tactics   1 comment

On Saturday I ran the Israeli Billygoat event, in which I last participated a couple of years ago. This time I qualified for the 50 and over age group, I was in a hurry (to save Roni from the kids), and I’m trying to work on my speed, so I opted for the Medium course. We had a mass start 8.6 km course in Ben-Shemen forest and could skip 3 controls.

Unlike on the Long course, I was expecting to be in one of the top places and to have some good competition, so I had all my tactics ready: don’t make mistakes at the beginning, read the map before you start running with the pack, choose the right controls to skip, prefer to skip towards the end of the course. All that went down the drain after 10 seconds… There were around 100 starters and I wanted to look at the map before I started, so as everyone pushed forward towards the starting line I kept back and a bit to the side. Then I opened the map, looked at it for 5 seconds, did a 180 degree turn and took off towards control 2.


my GPS wasn’t working 😦

A minute later I looked back and I was alone. From that moment onward I was orienteering by myself, though I was overtaken temporarily at controls 4-5 by some of the juniors who had skipped control 3 (and are much faster than me) and a couple of others who had skipped both 1 and 3. The eventual winner, 14 year old Peleg Metzafon, went past me between 11 and 13, and I finished half a minute behind him, with all the others a long way back. So much for tactics.

My analysis of the results and control skips is on Tableau Public. I skipped controls 1, 6 and 12, and maybe 3 was better than 1, but then I would have been stuck with the pack for the start and I probably ran better while alone. It didn’t feel like running a mass start event, but the course was still fun, fast (as it should be – I ran 7.5 min/km), and with enough skipping options to make it interesting. Thanks to Itay Manor for the planning.


Posted 25/01/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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