Occassional thoughts about orienteering
Monday, September 02, 2013
Orienteering (and looking at animals) in South Africa
Mary and I ran a local orienteering event near Johannesburg, South Africa, a few weeks ago.
I had a clean, but slow, race. The area sits about 1600 meters above sea level. That's enough to make climbing hills difficult for someone who lives much lower. Not being in very good shape doesn't help.
While we planned out trip to include an orienteering event, our main focus was on looking at the animals. We spent most of our time in Kruger National Park.
We weren't really sure what to expect, but we'd rented a car in Johannesburg and booked nights at some of the camps in the park (Skukuza, Satara, Oliphants and Letaba) and also spent two nights at a lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve next to the park.
A typical day in the park would begin with an early morning drive. The drives involved leaving the camps before dawn and driving to some nearby areas to see animals. The vehicles were open trucks with room for about 15 passengers. The morning drives were very nice - you got out to the park before the gates opened and we saw lots of animals.
In the mid or late afternoon we'd return to the camp. On some days we'd do a sunset drive (which is just like the morning drive but at sunset) and on some days we'd go on a guided walk. You can't really get out in the terrain on your own, but you can book a walk with a couple of rangers.
An advantage of the private lodge and of being outside of the national park was that the guided drives could leave the roads. That made it easier to get very close to some of the more spectacular animals...like lions, leopoards and cheetahs. I shot some video with my iphone that will give you a sense of how close that can be.
If you've read this far and you're thinking, "hey, that looks cool, I'd like to go orienteering and traveling in South Africa," then you should check out the Big 5 O' 2013/14.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 3:47 PM
Monday, July 08, 2013
US v Peer Nations WOC rankingsPeer nation standings after the long qualification, sprint qualification and sprint finals races:
USA, Canada, Japan are all tied
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 8:03 PM
Sunday, July 07, 2013
Final JWOC peer nations rankingAfter the JWOC relays, I came up with my final JWOC peer nation rankings.
New Zealand 96
The scores can be interpreted as the chance that a matched runner from the nation will beat the matched runner from the U.S. "Matched runners" are the runners from each nation who are best or 2nd best or 3rd best and so on, in each event. For example, the 3rd best result from New Zealand in the sprint is "matched" against the 3rd best result from the U.S. If you look at all of the matches, you'd find that New Zealand would win about 96 percent of those matches against the U.S.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 11:08 AM
Friday, July 05, 2013
JWOC peer nation rankings...no changes after sprintAfter today's JWOC sprint there are no changes in the overall peer nation rankings:
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 8:29 PM
Thursday, July 04, 2013
Portugal moves up in my JWOC rankingsBased on the middle distance finals at JWOC, Portugal moved up a notch (after being tied with USA going into the middle finals). The key for Portugal was having one A qualifier in the men's race and 2 B qualifiers in the women's race.
The overall rankings haven't changed except for Portugal's move:
While the overall rankings haven't changed, things have gotten just a little bit tighter.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 11:03 AM
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
After 2 days...JWOC peer nation rankingsHere are my "peer nation" rankings after the first two days of the JWOC.
USA and Portugal (tie)
Both Beligium and Portugal suffered from a number of DQs in the long event.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 8:53 PM
Monday, July 01, 2013
First look at JWOC results and peer nationsI took a look at the JWOC results by looking at the U.S. and my list of "peer nations" after the first day's race. You can read a bit of background on the peer nations approach. Keep in mind that I've updated my nations list a bit since 2004. My current groups is: Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and Portugal.
I calculated a U.S. win/loss record for the long distance race and I'll keep track of the results as more races occur (and probably post them eventually).
One of the reasons I like looking at peer nation results is that I notice things I wouldn't otherwise notice. At today's JWOC race, for example, Japan had three runners in the top 100. That seems like a pretty good result.
Though it has never caught on, I think the peer nations approach is a good way to look at overall performance and would be a good way of looking at how the US performance has changed over the years. Personally, I think that it would make a good way of setting and measuring goals...except it hasn't every gotten any traction and it doesn't make sense to set goals that nobody but me pays attention to.
You can see some discussion of the US performance at today's race on Attackpoint where a number of posters are coming up with measures.
It is also worth a look at the goals that were posted before the JWOC began. I'm not a fan of those specific goals, though I like the idea that:
...we want to state overall performance goals for JWOC tonight, then figure out what we need to do to get to those goals, and put them aside and not discuss them until after JWOC. Instead, we'll be focusing on the process goals...
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 8:36 PM
Sunday, May 26, 2013
2013 US WOC Team AgeI took my nearly annual look at the average and median age of the US WOC team.
Here are the results:
Year Avg Median
2013 28.9 29.5
2012 30.2 29.5
2011 ??.? ??.?
2010 33.4 31.0
2009 32.4 30.0
2008 31.4 30.5
2007 ??.? ??.?
2006 ??.? ??.?
2005 30.8 28.0
2004 32.4 31.5
2013 is the lowest average age among the US WOC teams where I've done the math. Part of that is that one junior was named to the team (Ethan Childs). Someone told me that while he was named to the team he might not be going. If that happens, I guess I'll update the math.
2013 is the first time that I've calculated team ages and had the average below the median.
A few years ago I looked at the ages for as many of the entrants as I could at a WOC and a European Champs and came up with categories based on ages:
Very young = under 21 (3 percent of the field)
Young = 21-25 (37 percent of the field)
Prime = 26-30 (39 percent of the field)
Old = 31-36 (13 percent of the field)
Very old = 36 and up (8 percent of the field)
The US WOC Team for 2013 has one "very young" orienteer, two "young" orienteers, three "prime" orienteers, three "old" orienteers and one "very old" orienteer.
You could apply the categories to the team average age. In 2013, the average age is 28.9, which puts the average age in the "prime" category. In prior years (keeping in mind that I've only done the math for 7 WOCs) the average age has always been "old."
*Ages are based on the year of birth that I found on runners.worldofo.com or Attackpoint.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 5:56 PM
37 Year Old Orienteering Map
Orienteering first got started around here back in the mid 1970s. A group called the Johnson County Outdoor Society put on a few events and some of their members eventually started PTOC in Kansas City. One of their main areas was Shawnee Mission Park.
The map above is Shawnee Mission Park, but it isn't the map that PTOC used. Back in the mid 1970s, PTOC used a black and white photocopy of the U.S.G.S. topo.
Since the USGS photocopies weren't so good to use, George M created his own map! Instead of using the map the organizers provided, George (and others who had his map) could copy the course onto their map. I think it was a distinct advantage. Above is the map that George made and the route is the course that Gene drew on it. I think you can see that it is very easy to read and no less detailed than a USGS topo.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 5:18 PM
Saturday, April 06, 2013
First test with OpenOrienteering Mapper
I finally got around to downloading OpenOrienteering Mapper and trying it out. My first test was to create a tiny map of an area I'm familiar with but that is a long way away. You can see the result below.
The map is based on a georeference air photo that I downloaded from the National Map Viewer. I haven't done any fieldchecking, but I might do something the next time I'm in the area.
My general impression of OpenOrienteering Mapper is positive. I was able to make use of it without much frustration. That's a bit unusual for me when I'm first using new software.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 5:01 PM
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
My training tree
And that is, in fact, almost exactly right. My training for today was 45 minutes of biking on my way to and from work.
Here's another example:
One last example:
I think it is an interesting way of looking back at a year of training.
I should play around with the data a bit more. I think it might be good to look at the season (probably the month of the year) as well as the activity and day of the week.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com. posted by Michael | 7:06 PM