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Sunday, 24 May 2009

Todays Lessons

A couple of quick thoughts from the Wellington OY today. It used to be that when we visited Waitarere we were treated to superlative sand dune forest, now regrettably it is open box thorned dunelands but our time will come again.

It was a short OY with the course modified at the last minute to avoid an infestation of motorbikes and four wheelers, which looked like damn good fun.

I went hard and fast through the first three controls and was very in control. Faced with the route choice leg to four I considered the three options...right (which the planner thought was best) which I didn't like the angles of, left which was better than that, and straight which I decided to go. I figured if I could go hard through the tight green stripe(appears white in photo), slightly to the right of the red line I could break out to the track in good time then follow the obvious lines to the control...

Unfortunately the green didn't go. It was a jungle in there. I bailed out to the farmland to the left and lost four minutes which I was unable to recoup in what was quite an easy and fast race otherwise. Talking to mapping guru Michael Wood afterwards he informs me (and I should probably and may have sometime known this already that tight stripe can mean anywhere between 20% and 60% runnability. This is worth knowing when facing decisions like this and balancing what is a positive aggressive route choice and what is a wild gamble....what do you stand to gain or lose in the context of the race as a whole?

The more common mistake on the day, catching some very experienced orienteers, including Penny Kane, Todd Oates and a resurgent Jason Markham (watch for this guy at QBday weekend!) was the adjusted course which not only knocked one whole loop off, but also cut out ctrl 11, the above went to or towards the original ctrl 11. If you look at the map now you will think "what a dumb mistake", but you see it time and time again. When something "funny" is going on in a course alarm bells should be rung. The little man on your shoulder should be flicking your ear(to go with the previous granny gear image from a few weeks back it could be your granny if you prefer). Its not just map adjustments, but elements like spectator areas, marked routes, map changes (please no comments about the Oceania Classic) and drink stations stationed in the wrong places. Those purple or red map symbols are especially dangerous!!!!

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