Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What makes a great orienteering artist?


I came across a set of characteristics of great artists. I thought it'd be interesting to apply to orienteers. Are there some "great orienteers" who match this list?

They are excellent craftsmen.

They are innovators - they do something that no one has done before.

They are "on trend," as he puts it - their innovations are perceived to be of value; people buy their stuff; they aren't tragic and misunderstood, appreciated for their innovations after they're dead.

They are influential - others begin to do what they started.

The list is from Tim Ryan, president of the CIA (i.e the Culinary Institute of America) and is quoted in a book by Michael Ruhlman.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:01 PM


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nebraska Sand Terrain


How does this sound for good O' terrain?

...90,000 acres of gently rolling sandhills interspersed with 20,000 acres of trees. Ponderosa pine, Eastern redcedar, and jack pine are the three major tree species...

That's a description of the section of the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey.

Check out the Google Map view of the terrain:

View Larger Map

An odd fact about this part of the Nebraska National Forest is that it is entirely hand planted. The natural vegetation would be grasslands. But about 1900 the forest was planted in the middle of Nebraska.

I have often thought about taking a road trip up to Halsey and exploring the terrain to see if it is as interesting as it looks. I've never managed to actually make the trip (it is a good 7 hour drive from my house).

From an orienteering standpoint, the biggest weakness is the location. There just aren't many people out there (the population of Halsey was 59 in 2000). And it isn't especially easy to get to. Once you get there, I think there are good facilities for an O' race. For example. this 4H camp looks like a good spot for hosting an event.

What needs to happen is Swampfox needs to get inspired and take a few trips out to Halsey, map a few square kms, and then work with a couple of "local" clubs to host an A-meet.

Thanks to J-man for his post on an Attackpoint discussion which reminded me to look at some of the Nebraska sand hill terrain again (see a 2002 note about the same terrain...with a link to a topo).


Some photos from the forest...looks nice.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:02 PM


Sunday, October 26, 2008

"what are you going to do for your second training today?"


Yesterday's Kahneman quote reminded me of something Sandy Hott said in Hamilton a couple of years ago. In describing the Kristiansand OK's club culture she said (paraphrasing here):

The question is always, "what are you going to do for your second training today?" It is never, "are you going to train a second time?"

Downtown map update

I spent a bit of time drafting. Here's the current status:

It won't be long before I've finished about half of the planned map.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:32 PM


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Voting and training


Daniel Kahneman talking about a simple way to get people to vote:

You call and ask people ahead of time, "Will you vote?". That's all. "Do you intend to vote?". That increases voting participation substantially, and you can measure it. It's a completely trivial manipulation, but saying 'Yes' to a stranger, "I will vote" ...

Would something similar work if you're trying to motivate an orienteer? Ask "do you plan to do some technique training this weekend?"

The quote is from an Edge article.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:58 PM


Friday, October 24, 2008

Downtown Sprint Map Update


I didn't make much progress fieldchecking this week. I had a lunch meeting and had some other stuff get in the way of my fieldchecking time. The image shows the current status of the mapping project. I've finished fieldchecking the two empty blocks on the south of the image. I should be able to draft them this weekend.
Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:10 PM


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Norwegian relay team?


So the Norwegian national team coaching staff now includes Petter Thoresen, Oystein Kristiansen and Jorgen Rostrup. If those three showed up as a relay team, I wonder how high they'd place in a WOC.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:38 PM


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Downtown map train tracks


This little bit of the downtown map show the intersection of 6th and Mass. The building with the two round bits is City Hall.

Initially I drew the train tracks with the symbol for tram tracks. But, I decided that I liked the train track symbol better.

Friday, a train rolled by my window and followed the tracks across Mass.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 11:21 AM


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A couple of map links


Check out this Norwegian page with a series of maps of the same area from 1942 through 2008.

Another map link worth a look is the City of London Orienteering Race (go to routegadget to see the map).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:26 PM


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quickroute with heart rate curve from today's run


I ran a local event at Blue and Grey Park. Warm (80s and sunny) and rough terrain inspired me to take it a bit easy, looking for routes that would keep me out of the roughest vegetation. Here's the QR track with heart rate.

I decided to warm up on the first few controls. You can see the relatively low h.r. until about the 4th control. After that, I pushed a bit harder the rest of the course. You might notice a relatively low h.r. beginning a bit before the 6th control. That's because I met Paul C. on the trail and he asked to look at my map. It turned out he'd misdrawn his control circle and was looking in the wrong big reentrant. Most of the rest of the lower h.r. readings are areas where I was walking through thick (and thorny) forest.

One thing I should mention about this area is that the map is old. There are a few new trails and some of the older trails have been re-routed a bit. Some of the mapped trails have almost completely disappeared. It makes the orienteering a bit unfair - you can make a good decision but lose time because of problems with the map. Oh, and some of the forest is a bit thicker than mapped as a result of an ice storm a few years ago.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:36 PM


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Some progress on the downtown sprint map


Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:05 PM


Friday, October 10, 2008

Perfection is not an end but rather a direction


He'd gotten here by the relentless pursuit of perfection. He had always sought perfection, but he was careful to clarify for me on that summer evening that perfection is not an end but rather a direction. "Perfection doesn't exist," he'd said, "because once you reach it, it's not perfect anymore. It means something else."

Any guesses about the source of the quote?

Orienteer? Race car driver? Professional golfer?

I'll put the answer as a comment.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:26 PM


Monday, October 06, 2008

Some ideas from Manny


A bit of orienteering conventional wisdom is to analyze you mistakes and learn from them. Basically, that's a sound idea and orienteers, who tend to be analytical types, like looking at their mistakes. But, you can become too focused on what you do wrong. A NY Times story about Manny Ramirez, the baseball player, caught my eye yesterday. Here is some of the article:

While Rodriguez [i.e. A-Rod of the NY Yankees] practiced tirelessly, his preparation often changed depending on how he was hitting. Overthinking tended to make things worse, but that is not a problem with Ramírez.

“The one thing Manny doesn’t do is get in his own way,” Mattingly [former NY Yankee, former A-Rod hitting coach, and currently Ramirez' hitting coach] said. “He’s got confidence off the top. He can get out twice, and he’s not bothered. He’ll come back and say: ‘I got myself out. It’s O.K. He better not miss.’ He’s that confident. He does the same thing all the time, and he doesn’t change.”


“His mentality is perfect for the playoffs,” said Lowe, who also spent four years with Ramírez in Boston. “What I mean by that is, he strikes out two times yesterday, and I tell him, ‘Manny, you feel bad for the guy, you trying to help him out?’ And he says, ‘I’m O.K., Papi, we’ve got a long way to go.’ That’s the way he thinks. He puts no pressure on himself, and he never lets one at-bat affect another.”

Lowe said Ramírez might be the most prepared hitter he has known. But Ramírez does much of his work away from the park, Lowe said, and when he shows up, he acts goofy so people do not take him too seriously.

Some interesting points:

Overthinking tended to make things worse...
He puts no pressure on himself...
He never lets one at-bat affect another...
Ramirez might be the most prepared hitter he has known...

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:58 PM


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Downtown Sprint Map


I started a new mapping project this week - about 8 blocks of downtown Lawrence. Here is a bit of the work in progress.

I started the project because the weather was nice and I decided that spending 30 minutes of my lunch hour working on the map would be fun. It has been.

I don't know what I'll do with the map. I suppose it could be used for some low-key training or to show people what an orienteering map looks like. It probably isn't practical to use it for an event because of the amount of traffic.

The map makes downtown look dreary - nothing but pavement. But, in fact, downtown is full of trees. Trees are planted along the sidewalks on Mass (the street with the angled parking on the east edge of the map bit above) and between the parking stalls in the parking lots. The next photo (lifted from a KU web page) gives you a idea of how the street looks. The photo is taken from a spot on the map.

Fast orienteering

The map is Mats Troeng's quickroute from today's World Cup race in Switzerland. Look how fast he was going in the forest. The shades of green are right around 3:30 to 4:00 minutes per kilometer. The men ran 8.1 km with a winning time around 35 minutes. Fast.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:19 PM


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Future of Okansas


I'm back from a little break and I've been thinking about what will become of this page. I've been updating it most days for several years (by my count I've got a bit over 2,800 posts. I gave some thought to stopping.

Instead I think I'll keep it going, but not on a more-or-less daily basis. With luck that'll mean the quantity goes down, but the quality goes up. It remains to be seen.

It was tempting to just stop writing. But then I realized how much I like looking at other orienteers' pages and felt a bit inspired. Just as an example, check out Team Rockrunners - a bunch of orienteers/adventure racers in Sweden (including my old club mate Peter Juthberg).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:54 PM


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