Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Looking at some QuickRoute tracks


Here are bits of two QuickRoute tracks from a night training race in Sweden:

These two runners started at the same time on courses that have some forking. The two runners finished 30 seconds apart after about an hour of racing. You can see some interesting differences in their QuickRoute tracks.

Note that the color scales are the same. The darkest green is at 3:30/km and the darkest red is at 7:00/km.

Start by looking at the first leg. Both runners start fast. But if you look carefully, one of the runners slows down a little be sooner. I'm guessing that he's taking an extra look at the map.

That little bit of difference might explain why the first runner hits the control cleanly while the other guy - the one who slowed just a bit later - missed his first control.

Look at the speed of the runner as he makes a small mistake at the first control. He's not moving very fast. That's one of the problems with making a mistake. You have to slow down to correct. As he leaves the control and picks up the pace (the line goes from mostly red to mostly yellow) and gets to the top of the hill northeast of the first control.

At this point, the first runner had the short fork and took the first leg cleanly. He's ahead in the forest. If I had the QuickRoute files, instead of images of the map, I could see how far ahead the first runner was. I'm guessing his lead is a bit over 100 meters. At the pace these guys are running that lead is probably around 30 or 40 seconds. Depending on the density of the forest, that's probably not quite enough of a lead to get out of sight (remember - this is night O' and they are probably running with good headlamps).

Take a look at the pace between controls 2 and 3.

The first runner is moving a bit slower. It is subtle, but it also looks like the first runner's route is a little less straight. My guess is that the second runner has definitely caught sight of the first runner and the lead is shrinking.

Leaving the 3rd control, the second runner makes another mistake. He should be heading almost straight south to his control. Instead, he's heading a bit to the west. He's not moving very fast. My guess is he left control 3 going the same direction as the guy ahead of him, but looking carefully at his map and quickly realizing that he's probably got a different fork. This is the sort of mistake that doesn't cost all that much time, especially because his speed in the 4th control circle is fast (i.e. yellow).

At this point in the race, it looks like the first runner is still in the lead. His approach has been steady and cautious and it has paid off to this point. He's also benefited from the short forks. The second runner is a bit ragged. He's made some small misses and he's probably been thinking about catching the first runner. Thinking about catching the other guy could lead to concentration lapses. On the other hand, he's had the long fork (twice!) and he's not far behind.

It turned out that the second guy finished the entire course 30 seconds ahead (though there is enough forking that it is difficult to really compare results). For the record, the first runner is Mattias Millinger and the second is Mats Troeng.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:13 PM



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I know it's wrong to make statements based on only two people, but I will anyway. This example seems to suggest that the risk taker may loss something in the short term, but in thelong term the risk taker is the winner. Is there a way to work this out better?
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