Archive for the ‘rogaine’ Tag

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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Friday the 13th   Leave a comment

Our annual Rogaine was planned for Saturday, 14th March (today), in the Ramot Menashe area, about 20 minutes from my home. I’ve been working on it for a year – mapping an additional 25 km² of terrain, planning, marking controls, updating the old part of the map, and more.

As the week progressed, most of the discussion was about the weather, with a “storm” predicted to start on Thursday evening and die down on Saturday morning. On Wednesday we made a final decision to go ahead, despite a forecast for some light rain during the day. We had 4 and 8-hour categories, and a 6-hour bike category which was cancelled. We also added some Corona virus precautions.


18:00 – I pick up the maps from Ziv, the ISOA general manager.


8:45 – Ofer and Yoni arrive at my house with the control flags and stands. I brief them regarding their set of controls.

9:00 – Pavel arrives with the SI units. We start dividing up the equipment.

9:10 – Yaniv arrives and sets off with his map and controls.

9:30 – Pavel and I set out (separately). On the way, I drive through a cloudburst.

9:55 – Ofer reports the first control as agreed, with a photo on the Whatsapp group.

10:00 – I place the first of my controls, in steady rain. The rain stops after that.

10:20 – Yaniv can’t find the ribbon at 71, and verifies the location by video.

10:25 – Pavel can’t find the ribbon at 52, I guide him to it using Whatsapp video.

10:50 – Ofer can’t find the ribbon at 93, but there’s no doubt about the location.

12:00 – Pavel can’t find the ribbon at 64, but he’s in the right place for sure.

12:15 – After placing 5 controls, I meet up with Gidi and Roi in the assembly area. They’ve brought an ATV and are going to place some of the less accessible controls. I’ve got one control left for myself.

12:37 – Just as I’m stopping the car to go to the my control, Ofer calls me. There’s a new government directive stopping all sports activities, with immediate effect, because of Corona.

12:39 – Noam (ISOA chairman) calls me. We discuss it, but there’s no way around it. Only training for individual athletes with no physical contact is allowed. No Rogaine tomorrow. We’ve placed 19 out of 30 controls, over an 80 km² area.

12:43 – I call Pavel to tell him to stop. He’s just placed a control, so he picks it up and goes home.

12:45 – I call Gidi, just before he places his first control. We agree to meet off the road nearby. Ofer is on the way as well.

13:00 – We meet. Gidi and Roi haven’t done anything yet, so they’re going to pick up as many controls as they can. We’ll find some volunteers to do the rest tomorrow.

13:30 – Gidi picks up the first control.


15:50 – I pick up the last control (with Alon, my son). There were several volunteers, of course, so this was the only one I did.


To say that I was pissed off yesterday is an understatement. We’ll probably hold the Rogaine in the end (that’s why the map below is without the controls), but it will probably be next year. The terrain was really beautiful, the streams all flowing after unprecedented amounts of rain in the winter, and I don’t think we’ll have such conditions again soon. But it could have been worse:

  • Saturday could have been a beautiful day – it wasn’t. In the end it was quite dreary, with a few mm of rain as well.
  • They could have stopped us an hour later, after all the controls were placed.
  • We could have postponed because of the weather, and been stopped by Corona on Sunday (after the original date).

The country is gradually descending into lockdown, as expected. Currently orienteering can still go on, because we can place controls in the forests and give people maps, and they can orienteer individually. Let’s hope we all get over this and return to normal as soon as possible.



Posted 14/03/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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54.5 km   Leave a comment

This year’s Rogaine was originally planned for March 16th, and as usual Roni and I had booked her parents months in advance to look after the kids, but it was postponed because of rain and I had to find a different partner.

The obvious choice was Itay Manor, whom I’ve been coaching for years, is one of the top orienteers in the country (he ran the WOC Long distance last year), and also coaches the national junior team. He had never run an 8-hour rogaine, but is less than half my age and in top form, so there was no doubt he could finish the distance.

For the first time, I was running with someone fitter and better than me at orienteering. The rogaine was on the map of Ben-Shemen forest, which is moderately hilly, mostly has a dense network of tracks, and is very well orienteered – and Itay lives just off the map. Our plan was that I would set the pace, based on my experience, and we were hoping to run 50-55 km overall, and maintain a straight line pace of 5 km/hour.

Based on the preliminary information (an area of 55 km² with 28 controls) I did some basic maths and had a feeling that 40 km (straight line) would be enough to collect all the controls, so we started our planning under that assumption, which turned out to be correct. The most “expensive control” was no. 52, on the eastern edge, adding a full 3 km to the route, so we decided to arrive there relatively late and make a decision based on our progress, with the additional option of skipping no. 62 on the north side just before we finished.

Basically, everything went as planned. We gained about 15 minutes on the target pace in the first two hours, held on to it until the decision point at the road crossing before 52, decided not to skip it, and fought through to the finish without any real fear of being late. I was a mess at the end, with no specific pains but total exhaustion, and Itay was much better off but definitely feeling the distance. We were the only team to collect all the controls, in 7:51:17, 54.5 km (by far the most I’ve ever run an 8-hour rogaine) and about 1200m climb, and of course we won the event – but obviously any team of two elite orienteers would have beaten us easily. I also recovered faster than usual, with less stiffness on the following day despite the distance, probably due to the fact that I’m doing more strength and core training than in the past.

Our full route and highlights:

Start – 34 (missed the single-track and lost a minute) – 46 – 45 – 72 – 53 – 51 (totally alone)

83 (met the first Bike-O teams arriving from the start) – 55 (short break, 2 hours)

91 (filled up water) – 33 – 42 – 84 – 43 – 82 – 63 – 61 (second short break, 4 hours)

44 – this was a major route choice decision, we went left and heard that the paths on the right weren’t there. Then the path west of 44 was missing, so we lost at least 5 minutes fighting through the bushes.

Road passage (filled up water and I went sliding down the embankment on my right thigh, no real damage) – 52 – 92 – 32 – 73 – third short break, 6 hours – 31 – 81 – 74 – 41 – 62 – 93 – road passage – 71 – stagger to the finish.

I have major issues with the map. It was based on an MTBO map which covers most of the area, with an additional section mapped recently in the south-east. The symbols were inconsistent, with most roads being drawn thinner than regular tracks, and parts of the map were woefully out of date – the path near 44 was correctly not marked on the previous rogaine map from 2009. Paths on the new section were nowhere near as runnable as marked, and I felt sorry for any of the MTBO teams who tried to use them.

Thanks to Roni for allowing me to go it alone, and to Itay for coming along and dragging me over the finish line – I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks to HaSharon O-Club and especially Nir Kalkstein for all the planning and execution. Next year it’s my turn to organise, and I’ve already started mapping…



The last control – you can see how knackered I am (photo by Gidi Zorea)

Posted 12/04/2019 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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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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Home Run   Leave a comment

This year’s Rogaine was right next to home, in the hills between Nazareth and Alonim. The western edge of the map is about 2 km from our house. So our race was a home run, but in more ways than one.

There were 4, 7 and 10 hour options, and we chose 7 hours (only) for two reasons – mainly because we couldn’t leave the children with my parents (average age: 75) for so long, but also because Roni hasn’t been training at all and I’ve been neglecting the long distances in order to focus on other things.

I wasn’t expecting too much. I hadn’t trained properly over the month since the Israeli championship due to a head cold and a niggle in my right knee. Roni had a cold and I didn’t know if she would hold up. We were worried about the children. I always slow down with severe knee pain after 5-6 hours. And so on…

But this was our tenth Rogaine together, and experience helps. Once we got the map (30 minutes before the start) everything clicked into place. The planning was a no-brainer: nearly all the points were on the southern and eastern side of the map, so we planned to start south and circle from south-east to north-east. Points were from 1 to 6 (the first digit of the control number), so we totally ignored the ones. I had the whole route written down within 7 minutes, based on an expected straight line pace of 4 km/hour, slower than our usual, and we then planned some additions in case we had time.

Once we started, Roni was her usual rogaining self and couldn’t be stopped. The first part was the steepest, but included the most points, so after 3 hours we had 42 of our total 72 points, and the rest of the race was a much more moderate long distance jog. We finished with 6 minutes to spare and won the 7-hour race overall with 5 points to spare (note: the very best teams were doing 10 hours, of course), covering 29.2 km in a straight line (just faster than planned) and 41.2 km in the terrain. My knees didn’t act up, and apart from general fatigue and sore muscles we were OK at the end. My parents even brought the kids to meet us at the finish.

The most difficult part was the recovery, because there wasn’t one – just take three small children home and manage them until bedtime!

Thanks to the organisers for the planning and effort, and to nature for a beautiful day and millions of flowers. Next time the children will be slightly older and easier to cope with, we’ll be better prepared, and hopefully we can choose the longest option.

I now have three rogaine maps within a 20 km radius of home, covering about 200 square km of terrain and making for infinite running opportunities, if I have time. And if I have time I’d love to start work on a fourth, but I can’t see it happening very soon.



Nazareth in the background (photo by Dalia Ravid)

Posted 28/03/2017 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Organising the results   Leave a comment

Last weekend I organised a mini-rogaine (only 4 hours) in Birya Forest, which is a very steep and very nice area that contains three separate orienteering maps. My work was divided into two parts:

  1. Mapping a small extension, planning and marking controls, and redrawing parts of the existing MTBO map (which I made ten years ago).
  2. Using my BI (Business Intelligence) skills, which I usually get paid for, to create a dynamic analysis of the results on Tableau Public. Most of the preparation was done in advance, with a sample data set, and after the event I just had to switch the data and add some finishing touches.

The results, of both efforts, were successful. 180 orienteers enjoyed the event, in almost perfect weather conditions, and there were none of our usual mishaps (controls stolen, emptied water controls, not enough maps, etc.). The feedback on the results was good as well, and the nice thing is that I can now reuse the code for future events. Below is a sample screenshot, and clicking on it will link you to the interactive results – all the explanations and headings are in English, but the team names are in Hebrew.


Posted 09/11/2016 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Rogaine. Rain. Pain. Second again…   Leave a comment

This rogaine started a year ago, when it was cancelled due to the heat and air pollution. I immediately informed Itay Manor, who I am coaching and is one of the best orienteers in the country, that he should plan on participating, because Roni and I were already planning another child and I knew we wouldn’t be able to run together.

Then it was decided that the national team would have a training camp with their foreign coach on the date of the rogaine, and a month before, after I finally gave up on my efforts to get the date changed (and we weren’t the only team affected), I was left without a partner. I called up Ronen Shurer from my club, who is probably the closest to me in ability (we’re almost level in the H35 rankings), and he agreed readily. A week later his employer rescheduled a business trip for that date, and I was alone again.

After a few phone calls to potential partners from the orienteering scene, I started thinking “outside the box” and checked up with Veronika Ulychny, who is in our work team for the Mountain to Valley relay (coming up in a couple of months – 8 runners, 24 legs, 200+ km) and theoretically the second fastest on the team after myself. She’s younger than me (30), runs marathons and goes trekking and climbing, and she agreed to participate as my teammate with only two weeks notice.

So there we were on Saturday morning at the crack of dawn, with some light rain just starting on a cloudy day, ready for an 8-hour rogaine. I was as ready as I could be, hoping to hold up better than all the previous times, praying that Veronika could run in terrain as well as I expected. I also knew that we were going to battle Noam and Naomi Ravid, as usual, for first place in the “mixed” category.

Our planning was based on an estimated straight line pace of 4.5 km/hour, or 36 km overall. The route we planned was 34.5 km, so there was margin for error, and we had a plan for extending it if we were really fast.

We could have won. During the race I made three orienteering mistakes that cost us 11 points, and we lost to Noam and Naomi by 9 points. None of the mistakes would have happened if I’d had an experienced orienteer such as Itay or Ronen beside me, but Veronika was orienteering for the first time in her life. She can read a map well, but obviously I had to make all the decisions and I didn’t expect her to have the confidence to second-guess me on any of them, though I consulted with her and explained all the route choices.

First, we missed our first control, number 81 (8 points). It was in thick forest, the map had lots of missing features, and after looking around for a few minutes with a few other teams I decided to cut our losses and continue. The planner has admitted to being partly at fault, and the features on the map are too small for my eyesight, but we didn’t get the control and that’s it.

Secondly, I made a parallel error at 83 (stopped for gel after a steep climb and restarted somewhere else…) and lost around 10 valuable minutes.

Third, I decided to skip control 53 between 93 and 84 (the only actual change to our plan), but didn’t notice that the new route needed only a small detour to collect no. 33 (3 more points) as well.

After about 6 hours my knees started acting up, and my running ability slowly deteriorated to the level where I had severe pain running downhill and a bit less on the flat (we weren’t running uphill anyway). Luckily the last hour was mostly uphill, and Noam and Naomi went past us at the last control (74) so we knew they were in front and I could walk the steep downhill to the finish, where we arrived with two minutes to spare.

We finished 5th overall and 2nd in our category with 122 points. It rained only at the start, we dried out after a couple of hours, and the weather was perfect (cool and cloudy) the rest of the time. My GPS logged 49.1 km and almost 1300m climb, though Veronika’s died out showing 49.5 km about 15 minutes before the end, so maybe we ran over 50. We filled up with water only once (at E), and ate lots of gels and some other stuff.

Veronika was magnificent. Physically she held up much better than me and was skipping around at the end as if she’d just finished the warmup. Her shoes were not suited for terrain, but she didn’t complain even once. She was on my heels wherever I led her into the bush just like an experienced orienteer. In the first hour something got into her eye and she carried on for the rest of the race with one eye mostly shut, despite our best attempts to wash it – afterwards the doctor diagnosed it as a scratch and gave her a few days off work… She also had one bad fall (it looked bad to me) and carried on as if nothing had happened. I’ll be eternally grateful to her for agreeing to come on this adventure at such short notice and enabling me to participate.

Next year Roni will be back, even if it’s just at walking pace, and I’ll be with her. I went further than before this time, despite being a few years older, and I know how to get even better, so maybe I can still run a painless rogaine before I get too old.

Thanks to Pavel Levitsky for the planning, and to Noam Ravid for the mapping. Let’s hope that there are many more rogaines like this one!


Posted 28/03/2016 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Park HaYarkon Mini-Rogaine   Leave a comment

Our first orienteering race of this season was an evening mini-rogaine of 4 hours starting in Park HaYarkon, in the centre of Tel-Aviv, last Friday. Basically it’s a very long and flat stretch of park and some orchards on both sides of the Yarkon river, from the Mediterranean Sea in the west and almost 9 km inland to the east.

Roni and myself are nowhere near competitive fitness, but we saw this as a unique opportunity for some quality time together, and knew we could last the course, even though our last competitive rogaine (12 hours and hilly) was 2.5 years ago. We also assumed that we could get all 29 controls, and planned accordingly without measuring distances. In the end we were 3:20 minutes late, mostly due to a planning error on our part – we misread the X marking the bridge near 93 as blocked, and had to detour to take the control.

It was a long race: 32.4 km, running most of the time, with a couple of strategic spells of walking. The map (rotated – east is up) is below, with some annotations. We had perfectly even splits – at 2:01:40 the distance covered was exactly 16.2 km. Our plan was to minimise river crossings (though there were 15 bridges) by going east on the south side, crossing to the north, back all the way to the west on the north, and then back to the start on the south. We lost very little time on the orienteering, but the last hour or so of running was really tough on Roni, especially as we already knew we’d be late and had decided to take all the controls anyway as long as we could make it without being disqualified (over 15 minutes late). The race against time from the tip of the pier (92) to the finish was murder, and looking for the last control (72) in pitch dark woods was a challenge, but it was worth it. We both ran again yesterday morning (2.5 days after), so there are no ill effects. Thanks to Pavel Levitsky for planning a great course, as usual.

And hopefully there will be some real orienteering stuff soon – it’s getting a bit cooler at last.


Posted 29/09/2015 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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