Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"Were the courses too hard, or just right?"


"Were the courses too hard, or just right?"

That's a topic of discussion on Attackpoint about this weekend's race. I've spent a little time thinking about the question.

First some background. The two days of racing were in the same forest. The areas had a bit different character, but overall they were very similar (my 2 courses were in an area that covered a total of about 10 square kilometers). But, the courses were set by different people and had very different character.

I asked two questions about my courses:

1. What portion of the area in the control circles was green?
2. How many contours lines would you cross going from the lowest point in each circle to the highest point?

On the first day, about 36 percent of the area within controls circles was green and going from low point to high point in each circle would mean crossing 1.5 lines on average.

On the second day, about 20 percent of the area within control circles was green and going from low point to high point in each circle would mean crossing 1.9 lines on average.

I think that bit of information characterizes the major differences in the course setting. Controls on the first day were in flatter and greener areas.

The result was bigger spreads in the results when the controls were in flatter and greener areas. On my course, if you finished ten percent behind the 3rd place runner, you'd have finished 5th on the first day and 10th on the second day. That consistent with what I'd expect when orienteers are having to find controls in relatively flatter and greener locations.

Peter posed the question over at Attackpoint as: "Were the courses too hard, or just right?" It might be worth posing a second question: "Do you prefer controls in flatter, greener areas?"

I'll probably write a bit more about this topic in the next few days. But, now it is time to go back and sit in front of the TV and watch some Kansas Basketball.

A couple of method notes. First, I looked only at my courses (M40 - Red X). Second, I excluded the last control and the river crossing control on each day. Third, I think the method I used to compare the courses might actually make the courses seem more similar than they were. For example, a couple of the control circles with a lot of green on the second day had almost all of the green in the part of the circle behind the approach to the marker.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:53 PM


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