Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, January 31, 2006



Some discussion over at Attackpoint inspired me to (a) translate a bit of Mats Troeng's description of his map pointer, and (b) make my own map pointer and try it out at tonight's night O' session.

You can see Troeng's map pointer (i.e. kartpekaren) not quite halfway down on his description of his gear.

Here is a rough translation of a bit of what Troeng wrote:

The compass wouldn't be complete without the map pointer -- an idea I got in the winter of 2000, I think. I felt that I was still looking for perfect map contract, but couldn't put my finger (!) on what was missing. I realized that the thumb was too broad to exactly mark my position on the map. My first run with the mappointer gave me an "aha" experience. Everything came together. In the beginning I used on of those plastic covered bits of wire that you tie around a plastic bag, but I soon changed to a cut up plastic card with a point colored red and a rubber band on the thumb. At the world cup in Dresden in the fall of 2005 I took a fall and broke the point on the pointer during a qualification race. I felt naked and unsure the rest of the race. So, it is important, my map pointer. Skoggsport paid attention and wrote about it in 2001. It has been cool to see people with their own home made pointers on their compasses at races.

I made a little map pointer of my own today. I began with a plastic lid from a coffee can. I cut it and made a little point at one end. I used rubber bands to hold it on my thumb.

I began by running with just the pointer on my thumb. It worked ok. But, I run with a thumb magnifier which I use frequently. So, the real test would be using the pointer and the magnifier.

The pointer didn't work so well with the magnifier. When I race, I put the magnifier on sometimes and take it off sometimes. With my map pointer, pulling the magnifier off my thumb also pulled the pointer off.

So, I changed my pointer. Instead of attaching it to the thumb, I attached it to the magnifier. That worked fine.

I had no trouble adapting to the pointer. But, I didn't have an "aha" experience.

Of course, I was running in simple terrain. The pointer might be much more useful in complex terrain (say Lunsen, for example). I think I'll keep experimenting with the map pointer (or maybe I'll call it "kartpekaren").

posted by Michael | 8:47 PM


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