Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PreO Relay Demonstration Event

Well, I'm home now, but never got around to blogging on the Demo event we did on Saturday. This was a tryout of a new format -- a relay event for PreO. Each team had three members and a three hour time limit to solve 24 control problems total. Each member of the team was required to solve between 7 and 9 problems of their choice. The last member gets the leftovers. The map is below.

For Team USA, Steve went first. He headed Southeast to controls 11-16, which were in a picnic area. Then he moved to the west, where he chose to skip number 10 and solved 7 and 9 before coming back in for a handoff to Sharon.

The handoff was interesting. Each team had four control cards stapled to each other, so that you punched through them all. Steve tore off the top control card with his punches on it and passed the rest to Sharon along with the map. Then he went to complete the single timed control.

Sharon went north to controls 17 through 24 and then I completed numbers 1-6 and 8 and 10.

Since this was a demo event it was not up to typical Championship standards. The map was slightly out-of-date and the setting was not perfect, but it was fun. I think it would have been more exciting with a shorter time limit. The Finnish team was done very quickly and I don't think that the three hour limit really put anyone under time pressure.

Each of us missed two problems for a total score of 18. Top score was 23 by a combined Estonia/Spain team. Our place was 22nd of 33 teams taking part.

Thanks for following us! I hope to keep this blog going through the year with training ideas, news from US competitions and more sample controls to keep you thinking.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day 2 Disappointment

Prior to Day 2 of the PreO we had a team discussion about strategy. The model event and the previous events tended to be fairly straight forward. In particular it seemed that the course setters were not setting very many Z problems where the flag was slightly off in some way. We discussed being careful about choosing Z and favoring choosing a flag. Well, it turned out that this day was definitely different. The three most missed controls were all very tricky Z answers. It seems many competitors were lulled into a sense of security by the model event.

Team USA had a very poor showing. Steve redeemed himself with the best US score of the day (15 out of 20). Sharon had 14 and Clare had 13. The median score, however, was 17. We dropped quite a bit in the overall standings. Once again some soul searching and thinking about how to train better for next year.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Very Tight Trail-O

Day 1 was shortened due to poor trail conditions from yesterday's rain. 19 controls turned into 12. The result was very close results. More than half of the field was within two controls of the leaders. Sharon Crawford had a phenomenal showing with a perfect score except for a slow time due to missing one timed control. Clare missed only two and had a decent timed control time. This still put her about halfway down the results list. Apparently there was a control thrown out due to a protest, so we are waiting to see how that affects Sharon's placing. She was in 4th with that control correct.

Control of the day: a pair of Zs

Control 5 was pretty tricky. Flag B was on a nice looking spur between the forested areas, but a detailed look at the map showed the small reentrant between two spurs there, so you could determine that the further spur must be correct.

Control 6 was fun. Sharon was all the way over at the fence, thinking it was the far wall, when she realized she had gone too far. The green was very low hanging coniferous branches. A single control was visible under the low canopy and clearly on a wall. But some careful identification of the knoll and deep look under those branches from the right vantage point revealed the shorter wall -- without the control.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Rainy Model day

Today was the first model day for PreO. If you've been watching the foot races you know how wet the sprint relay was yesterday. At least they get to run and stay warm. It's a little colder when you're just standing there getting wet. The terrain was very open fields with many depressions -- remnants of bombing from WWI. Trying to determine which ones were the mapped depressions was the order of the day. There was also a huge wall from a WWI fort. It was a really cool, historic spot.

Sharon and I both had excellent results with me getting everything correct and Sharon missing only one. Sharon said the terrain was excellent Alpine terrain and would be great for some X-country skiing. Oh well, wrong season.

Control of the day -- 4, 8, 9 cluster

Number 4 was an A control, meaning you just had to determine if that one control was correct or not. Controls 8 and 9 show how complicated the terrain could be, with some depressions mapped as such, while others showed up on the map as minor reentrants.

Photos of Fort Verle

Monday, July 7, 2014

That was hard!

TempO Qualification - Albere de Tenna

An extremely technical TempO today. The terrain was full of ditches, knolls, and other detailed contour features. Almost every problem was based in these types of features. USA results were pretty poor. Clare had the top US result, with a score of 779, but that was 51st place out of 57. For comparison, the top qualifying result was 231.5. There were six stations, each with four problems to solve. The maximum time at each station is two minutes. Your score is the total time you take at the stations plus a 30 second penalty for each control you get wrong.

Control of the day: station 5

This station was the bane of the US Team today. Between the three of us only one correct answer was given. You could see the hill to the right, but trying to identify each separate knoll in those ditches and determine how far down the hill things were was very difficult.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

TempO Model Day

After a fun day in Venice, running the spectator race and cheering on Samantha, the team has settled into our hotel and spent today at the TempO model event. TempO is a timed discipline with multiple maps to solve at each timed station. For Steve this was his first time doing TempO. He tried out both the bound and unbound map sets, and practiced giving answers both verbally -- with the phonetic alphabet -- and by pointing at the provided answer board.  Steve says, "It's a lot like standard timed controls."

Then on to the opening ceremony where we met up with the rest of Team USA for a grand parade through Asiago. We actually did parade down the main drag and into the square. The street was lined with cheering crowds who cheered even louder as we passed, mostly because the Italian team was right behind us. But you could definitely feel some USA love as well.

Time to get to bed and rest up for that first big competition tomorrow. Wish us well!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Meet the 2014 USA Trail Orienteering Team

The 2014 World Trail Orienteering Championships are being held from July 6th to July 11th in Italy. The United States will be sending a team of three competitors in the Open Class.

Name: Steve Beuerman
Birthyear: 1959
Occupation: System Engineering
Club: Bay Area Orienteering Club
How long have you been orienteering? Since 1986
How long have you been doing Trail-O? Since 2000
What are your biggest Trail-O accomplishments? 2nd place at the USOF convention in 2000, and at the 2010 US Champs
What are your goals for WTOC this year?  Not embarrassing myself.  Making the TempO final.  Finishing in the top third
Describe the most interesting trail-O control you've seen? There was one control at Vasquez Rocks that was late in the course, but the best way to solve it was to look at it from a different angle when you passed by earlier in the course, and then remember what you saw an hour or so later.  I also like the controls where there is only one bag, and you have to decide A or Z. 
If you weren't an orienteer, what sport would you do? Not a sport, but I'd probably be outside just hiking and photographing.

Name: Sharon Crawford
Birthyear: 1944
Occupation: Retired Software Engineer
Club: Rocky Mountain Orienteering Club 
How long have you been orienteering? Since December 1973
How long have you been doing Trail-O? Maybe 10 years.
What is your international experience in Trail-O? Six times US Team WTOC.
What are your biggest orienteering accomplishments? USA - many times open and age group champ; WMOC - 11 medals (6 gold); WRC - 7 medals.
What are your biggest Trail-O accomplishments? Great second day at WTOC 2013 - only missed two, and none of the timed controls.
What has been your biggest Trail-O disappointment? Missing controls I should have had, especially timed controls.
How do you train for Trail-O? Read all the documents available, think about it, and review past controls.
What are your goals for WTOC this year? Win! Or at least improve on top 30 of last year.
Describe the most interesting Trail-O control you've seen? There was one at WTOC in Scotland, in a reentrant on the backside of a little ridge above the ocean. The top of a flag appeared right where the reentrant was. But, in reality, if the flag was down in the reentrant, it would not have been visible. I missed it.
I also loved that second control at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, set by David and Karen. Just after the first control near the start, you walked down the trail and encountered on your left, practically touching the trail, a set of intricate little ditches with all kinds of junctions and five flags. Which was at the correct junction? In reality, further down the trail on your left were a second set of intricate little ditches and junctions, and no flags, but that was where the circle on the map was centered.
Fun fact about you? Have been to more than half the US State highpoints in connection with an orienteering meet. Have orienteered in 28 countries (and visited 45).

Name: Clare Durand
Birthyear: 1962
Occupation: Math Teacher
Club: Los Angeles Orienteering Club
How long have you been orienteering? Since 1985
How long have you been doing Trail-O? Since sometime early this century
What is your international experience in Trail-O? Twice previously competed at WTOC and once attended as an official
What are your biggest Trail-O accomplishments? I had a great result first day at WTOC in 2008.
What has been your biggest Trail-O disappointment? Didn't keep it up the second day.
How do you train for Trail-O? There aren't a lot of events to practice at. This year I've been doing a lot of online TempO and visualizing potential control sites on runs, including sketch mapping a site quickly. In addition, putting out occasional Trail-O controls at local meets keeps my head in the game. 
What are your goals for WTOC this year? Improve on last year's dismal TempO performance
Describe the most interesting trail-O control you've seen? At my first WTOC in Czech Republic, there was a control with three trees. One was toward the trail and the other two were right next to each other further away. The clue was between the trees and one control was in between the close tree and the two further trees. But if you lined them up, you discovered that the control lined up with the tree on the right and the circle was centered between the near tree and the left. So even though the control was only inches away from the correct spot, you could clearly call it a Z.