Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Bad dream" terrain?


This is my home terrain:

The map is an area called "Woodridge" - typical north east Kansas terrain. The open areas are old farm fields. The forest is thick, but not impossibly thick. There are a few shallow reentrants. If the map was a bit better, you'd see a few small outcrops and (maybe) a little more vegetation detail in the forest areas (some small clearings and small areas of dark green).

Today, the yellow areas were slow because the grass was high (a good 5 feet = 1.5 meters).

I'm not sure how to make orienteering in this sort of terrain interesting. As a course setter, you look for ways to force route choice. In this kind of terrain, a long leg usually gives a couple of options. But the difference between the options is usually so small that the decision isn't very important. The course setter can try to test the orienteer with direction and tempo changes (sort of like sprint O'). Probably the biggest challenge in this type of terrain is keeping a good pace through the slow forest. But, that just isn't much fun.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:38 PM


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dream terrain


Some day I want to orienteer here:

I came across the map while I was browsing Estonian O' blogs yesterday. It is from the blog of Lauri Sild. Sild's blog is full of maps and race descriptions...and it is English.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:48 PM


Friday, September 28, 2007

Pay attention!


I spent a bit of time yesterday poking around various Estonian O' blogs....lots of interesting maps and lots of completely incomprehensible text.

I came across a scanned copy of an article that was a bit interesting (click the image for a larger version).

The article reminded me of the time I lost concentration after meeting Elvis in the forest.

It also reminded me of a fascinating article about concentration and Roger Federer (the article starts out a bit weak, but after about 4 paragraphs it gets interesting).

Iceland snapshot of the day

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:31 PM


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Maps from Saturday's sprint race


The maps below show the finals from Saturday's sprint race. The race was mass start. There were different variations for the first three loops (i.e. everyone ran all three loops, but not necessarily in the same order). At control 16, you picked up a new map and ran the final loop.

The format made for fun racing. You had plenty of head-to-head racing, but at the same time you couldn't just blindly follow (except for the final loop). The final loop had two legs (18 and 19) with route choice options.

Note that the maps are 1:4,000 and the contour interval is 1.5 meters. Joe Brautigam set the course.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:15 PM


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Scarborough's head cam


James Scarborough ran around a sprint course with a camera strapped to his head and wearing a GPS. The resulting video at VeoGeo is worth a look.

Iceland snapshot of the day

Iceland reminds me of Mongolia in that almost anywhere you look the landscape is striking. This view is not far from Snaefellsnes.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:04 PM


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Performance Enhancing....



One of the highlights of the weekend was seeing the legendary Eric W. back in competition. I'm disappointed to say that he not only ran the same leg as me in the relay, but he did so a minute or so faster. But that is really beside the point.

Eric was running wearing reading glasses.

I've become a huge fan of magnification for orienteering. I use a thumb magnifier and I've recently been using sport glasses with reading-glass lens. Without some sort of magnifier, I struggle to deal with detailed maps. But, I've also noticed that even when the map is large scale (like a 1:4000 sprint map) the magnifier helps. Even if a magnifier isn't necessary, it helps.

If I could go back 20 years - back to when my eyesight was fine - I'd like to see if running with a magnifier would have helped (i.e. would have let me get a little bit more out of a short glance at the map). I wonder if reading glasses would have helped, too.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:24 PM


Monday, September 24, 2007

First notes from sprint/relay weekend


I was in Connecticut for the sprint/relays this weekend and had a lot of fun. I'll try to get around to posting some maps (or pointing to the maps that someone else posts).

WCOC did a great job - good maps, good courses, solid organization.

One of the most interesting things they did was squeeze a lot of orienteering into a small area. The sprint map covered less than a square kilometer and was used for three sprint races. The relay map covered just a little more than a square kilometer. I like to see clubs make good use of such small areas.

Iceland snapshot of the day

This was described as the world's best "hummer suppa" (i.e. lobster soup). I had two bowls. It was very good. I had the soup at a little restaurant by the harbor in Reykjavik called Saegreifinn. I recommend it.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:33 PM


Friday, September 21, 2007

To the sprints and relays


I'm leaving in a few minutes to go to the Sprint/Relay weekend.

If I were an Omanager runner, my form would be low (maybe a 12...maybe even lower?).

My next planned update is Monday, October 1.

Iceland snapshot of the day

We visited Jukulsarlon (i.e. glacier lagoon). I spent some time watching the seals swim among the ice.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:59 AM


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some words from Kent Olsson


Some words from Kent Olsson:

What do you do when you are together with another runner during the race? I caught up to another runner early in the race. He was a little bit better road runner than me and on a leg with road and trail running the pace was a bit too fast.

He wanted to increase the pace. I felt like there was a risk that we'd be going too fast when we got back in the forest, which would increase the chance of making a mistake. I told him to either run behind me or pick hos own route. It is very important for me that I am the one deciding both the speed and the route choice I'm going to take.

Iceland snapshot of the day

When we were hiking in Skaftafel we saw this strange "white rainbow." I've never seen something like that before. I don't really understand what it was, but it was nice to look at.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:38 PM


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Old map


Aspleaf posted an late 1960s Swedish O' map.

It is fun to look at these old maps.

The bottom of the map has a note - denna karta far icke forsaljas i allmanna handeln. That'd translate (I think) to something like, "Selling this map is prohibited." I wonder why?

Iceland snapshot of the day

The city hall in Reykjavik features a huge topographic model of Iceland - very cool for someone who loves maps.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:15 PM


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Training advice (?) from the Vikings


Self discipline is useful for an orienteer. Here is what Havamal (sayings of the Vikings, put down on paper a good 1000 years ago) has to say about self discipline:

The glutton does not
guard himself
eats till he's ill.
Wiser men
only mock
a fool's fat belly.

Iceland snapshot of the day

Mary on Svinafellsjokull...in the pouring rain.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:30 PM


Monday, September 17, 2007

4 Orienteering Maps in Iceland


How many orienteering maps does Iceland have? I'm not sure, but I've seen four and spent some time on two of them. I suspect that these are the only O' maps in Iceland, but I could be wrong.

The maps I've seen were all made in 1997 by Swedish O' mappers - Perola Olsson and Morgan Svensson.

Laugardalur is an area of sports fields and camping a bit east of the center of Reykjavik. Laugadalur has swimming pools, the botanical gardens, and the zoo. As you can guess, it is park O' terrain. Mary and I didn't spend any time at Laugardalur.

Ellidadalur is an area of trails, forest, and streams at the edge of Reykjavik. The main orienteering features at Ellidalur are a trail network, patches of forest, and low knolls. Mary and I drove by, but didn't stop, at Ellidalur. Here is some info about Ellidadalur.

Oskjuhlid is a big hill that sits above the domestic airport in Reykjavik (right next to the center of the city). If you've been in Reykjavik, you've seen the big water tanks on the hill. That's the center of the Oskjuhlid O' map. The terrain at Oskjuhlid is a mix of park O' and some interesting forest. The forest is mostly quite thick, but there is a dense network of trails that make for some good route choice possibilities. Mary and I explored the area a bit and the map stands up quite well (despite being 10 years old). The water tanks at Oskjuhlid are worth a visit. One of the tanks has a fascinating (and fairly strange) museum devoted to the Icelandic Sagas. A fancy restaurant sits on top of the tanks and just below the restaurant there is a cafe where you can grab a cup of coffee and look out at the view of the city.

Galgahraun is the most interesting of the four maps and the hardest to find. It sits just outside of Reykjavik, not far from the main road to the Keflavik airport. Galgahraun is lava terrain ("hraun" is an icelandic word that refers to lava fields). The terrain is fantastic. The map is quite small, but because of the intricate lava features it makes for good orienteering. The footing is a bit rough. In particular, running through the low spots was difficult. Mary and I explored Galgahraun and found it really fun. The map has aged very well.

As best I can tell, orienteering isn't established in Iceland. But, if someone wanted to start an O' club in Reykjavik, these four maps would be a give them a good chance to set up some events and training sessions.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:36 PM


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Today's local O' race


Today's local race was a one-hour score event on a little 1:5,000 map. Nice area and nice map. The green wasn't actually too bad and the course setter was nice to us, so we could get around the course on trails for nearly all of the time. Fun stuff.

Iceland Snapshot of the Day

Mary in a little icy cave on Svinafellsjokull in the Skaftafel National Park.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:10 PM


Saturday, September 15, 2007

A little Iceland orienteering


Mary and I took a map hike on an O' map called Galgahraun in Iceland. The map covers a small area of intricate lava flow terrain. The map is at a scale of 1:5000 with 2.5 meter contours. Mary and I hiked through the terrain (in a chilly, wind-blown, but light, rain).

I'll be posting more about Icelandic orienteering (and more photos from the trip) over the next few days.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 10:21 AM


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