Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Tio Mila terrain


I spent a few minutes today looking at old maps of the area where Tio Mila takes place.

The organizers have a couple of old maps here.

I found another scanned map with a course on it. This map is scanned at a higher quality and has a course on it. Take a look here.

The start/finish area is at Lockmora (in the north east part of the map). The start triangle on the map with the course is where the Tio Mila start triangle will be (or at least very close). Finishers will come in from the south, near the large power line a bit south of Lockmora.

It looks like there are a number of trails and forestry roads. That will help the night orienteers who aren't as strong. An orienteer who isn't in top shape and isn't the best at night O' will be able to make use of the trails, especially on longish legs, to get around the course without huge time losses. The better night orienteers probably won't spend as much time on the trails.

I can't quite explain why, but this looks like the kind of terrain where elephant tracks can build quickly. That might help runners on the later legs. Or it might just confuse runners who have trouble figuring out which elephant track to follow.

At first glance, this is the sort of terrain where courses will (or at least could) have a lot of variety in leg length. You could have a longish leg with some trail options, followed by a couple of short legs with some detailed fine map reading and direction changes.

Because of the shape and size of the area, I'd bet that an orienteer who spent a few hours designing legs would be able to do a decent job of forecasting the course. If I've got time, I might print out a couple of the old maps and spend some time in the next few days designing courses.

A writer for Alternativet ran around in the forest about a month ago. He wrote about a green area about one kilometer from Lockmora that would be a place where orienteers would boom. That kind of boom -- losing time in the green within a Km of the start/finish -- can be especially stressful. You're either missing at the beginning of your leg (making the rest of the race tough), or you're missing within sight of the finish. Alternativet's writer said that most of the terrain was very open and the orienteering problem would be to avoid running too fast.

Tio Mila's organizers released a couple of bits of the actual competition map. Take a look here. In places those map bits look a bit over drawn. What I mean by that is it looks like some small features -- knolls and form line contours -- are shown. Sometimes that is necessary, but sometimes it goes overboard and just makes the map harder to read and use. All of the women's legs and seven of the men's legs are using maps at a scale of 1:10,000. That too suggests a lot of fine details are shown on the map. If I was running Tio Mila, I'd have my magnifying glass.

posted by Michael | 9:12 PM


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