Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Relay Maps

Here are Clare's maps from the relay event to give you an idea of the style of the terrain and the courses.

The first map shows two start/finish areas. The SE one is where competitors started out from quarantine onto the courses. The northern one is where your time actually started and stopped for solving controls 1 through 5. Then you could walk off the clock south to the other section where you once again went on the clock to solve controls 6 through 10.

In each map there is a small area outlined by purple dash which shows the approximate outline of where the competitors had to view from while solving the problems. Each team had three members with different versions of the course (A,B,C). These pictures are course version C. Each version uses the same controls and viewing sites, but has a different circle on the map and a different answer.

You can see the many rock features in the area. Some are very massive cliffs. The relay was different, as we were looking down on them from above. The other competitions have been from below. 

Team USA was 18th out of 19 teams in the open category.

A photo from the second PreO day to give you an idea of the cliffs. Can you find the control flag in this picture?

Monday, July 3, 2023

Meet the 2023 WTOC Team

(O) = Open Class
(P) = Physically Challenged Class
(J) = Open Class - Junior age

Sharon Crawford (O) from the Rocky Mountain Orienteering Club has been a fixture at orienteering championships of all kinds for decades. This will be her 14th WTOC. In addition to orienteering, Sharon is an avid hiker and has been conquering peaks her whole life. She has reached the highest point in every US State and is closing in on completing the same challenge for every country in Europe.

Clare Durand (O) from the Los Angeles Orienteering Club also serves as President of Orienteering USA. She is competing in her 9th WTOC. Clare has been training using virtual TempO games and is always striving for a personal best. When she achieves one, she rewards herself with an extremely large chocolate bar.

Daniel Heimgartner (P) from Capital Region Nordic Alliance will be competing at WTOC for the fourth time. He has been working hard as the course setter for the upcoming Trail-O WRE to be hosted by CRNA in Philadelphia in August.

Jarmo Latva-Kokko (J) from New England Orienteering Club is enjoying his second WTOC. He will be starting his senior year at Andover High School in the fall.

Katja Latva-Kokko (J) from New England Orienteering Club will be competing at WTOC for the first time. She will be a sophomore at Phillips Academy in Andover this coming school year.

Mika Latva-Kokko (O) from New England Orienteering Club has previously competed at five WTOC's and served as a team official and on the jury last year. Mika especially enjoys TempO and has come close to making the finals in the past. He his happy to be back competing this year.

Rhonda Liddell (P) from Capital Region Nordic Alliance has been active in Trail Orienteering for a number of years. She medaled at the 2021 OUSA Trail-O Nationals and is excited to be at her first international Trail Orienteering event. 

Anne Maker (P) from Capital Region Nordic Alliance started Trail Orienteering two years ago. She has been training hard and will be doing her best to represent OUSA at her first WTOC.

David Snypes (P) from Capital Region Nordic Alliance is competing at WTOC for the first time. He has appreciated the time that all of the experienced orienteers have taken to help him prepare for his competitions.

Peter Zielczynski (O) from Hudson Valley Orienteering has done trail orienteering since 2004, but will be representing USA at WTOC for the first time this year. He has attended six previous WTOC's as a member of the Polish team. In 2009 he had a great result landing him in second place - but it didn't last, as he fell to 14th on day 2. He hopes to finish in the top 100 this year.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Model Event

Each country was assigned a start block for the Model event today. Ours was 2:30pm, which gave the new arrivals some time to sleep in to recover from travel. The entire team is now here!

Back row: Daniel Heimgartner(P), David Snypes(P), Anne Maker(P), Mika Latva-Kokko(O), Peter Zielczynski(O), Amy Latva-Kokko(team official), Russ Myer(team official), Sharon Crawford(O)
Front Row: Jarmo Latva-Kokko(O-Jr), Rhonda Liddell(P), Katja Latva-Kokko(O-Jr), Clare Durand(O)

The model was a great little training day. The short course gave us all a chance to practice our rock reading and PreO and TempO strategies. After the finish, we wandered back through the course with the solution sheets. The seasoned Trail-O veterans helped out the newer team members and helped them analyze their mistakes and understand how to improve as the week progresses.

Tomorrow's first day of WTOC PreO competition packs 36 controls into a 500m long course. The map appears to be more bouldery and less cliffy than what we've seen so far with lots of boulder field symbols as well. It may be difficult discerning between individual mapped boulders and rocks that are part of boulder fields. You can find the start list here.

TempO and Trosky

Saturday was the PreWTOC TempO competition. The course had six stations each with five tasks. Seven had been planned, but the grass is so high here that one station across a meadow had to be canceled. The organizers couldn't clear enough of the brush to make everything they needed visible. Similar to Friday, the terrain was steep hillsides filled with large and small cliffs and boulders. Quite technical for a TempO. Clare once again had the top US result with a raw time of 319 seconds and seven misses for a total score of 529. They scored the weekend with a combined scoring system that added up your TempO score, your PreO timed control time, and gave penalty points for missed PreO controls (similar to Trail-O relay scoring). In the final scores, Clare placed 70th, Sharon 98th, and Peter 101st out of 116 Open Elite competitors. 

PreWTOC results and maps

The organizers were kind enough to leave open the previous days PreO course and allowed us to go back to analyze things and even go into the terrain to investigate the sites. It's always nice to be able to visit afterwards and look for how you could have improved. I was able to check out number 18, where I was thrown by the mapping of a single large rock as a cliff with boulder above and a gap between (Not how I would map it!).

The offending rock feature and flag

After the competition, the team enjoyed a trip to the site of Hrad Trosky - ruins of a medieval castle built onto two imposing basalt towers. We then visited more nearby rocks for another fun hike. 

The team at Hrad Trosky

Peter is King of the Rock

Next up: The model event for WTOC. The entire team will finally be together and we will bring you team pics and bios.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Cesky Raj Rocks!

Clare, Peter, and Sharon have arrived early and competed today in the PreO day of the Pre-WTOC Orienteering Adventure. The terrain is full of sandstone cliffs and most of the problems involved figuring out which rock each control was on. Clare had the best score of the day with 23 out of 27 correct. This placed her 75th out of 117 participants in the Open Elite class. You can see the map and all of the results on the PreO results page.

After the competition, they took a trip to the Czech Natural Reserve Prachovske Skaly (Prachov Rocks) and enjoyed an afternoon of hiking through immense boulders with narrow passageways and steep rocky staircases. Although the competition area isn't so dramatic, similar rock formations underlie the large cliffs and boulders in the mapped area.

Tomorrow - TempO at the Pre-WTOC

Monday, June 26, 2023

WTOC 2023

The World Trail Orienteering Championships are only a few days away and the team is readying for their travel. This year's event will be in Czechia and you can find all the details at the event website:

Some of the team members will also be competing in the PreWTOC TrailO Adventure WRE taking place nearby just prior to WTOC. Follow this blog for all the news from the team!

Team Announcement from OUSA

Monday, July 1, 2019

TempO travails

While we entered the TempO day with high hopes, once again Team USA did not make the finals. Mika had the best result of the day placing 31st of 38 in his qualifying heat (top 18 in each heat advance).

How did it go today? Did you have a favorite or worst control?

Mika: It was one of the hardest TempOs that I've done--even in World Championships. It is not the kind of terrain that comes easily and fast to me and maybe I was trying to be too accurate today. I feel like it might have been overall better if I had gone maybe 10 or 15 seconds per station faster. It wasn't my best performance, it wasn't my worst performance in TempO. I think slightly below what I was expecting. 

For the most part, I liked the course and I liked the variety of different types of problems. Station five was really, really hard for me. I think I finally got a good idea of what the map was about after I answered the last question. I missed two on that station, but it was the one where I took the longest time. Station four I thought I was doing solidly, but something went wrong because I got three wrong on that one. I still don't quite understand what happened, maybe I misnamed the flags. It doesn't seem like the way I understood the terrain that I could have made those mistakes. 

Clare: I was disappointed in my performance today. A few years ago I had really improved, but TempO takes more constant practice and I didn't put in the work I should have this year. I was quite a bit slower than I should have been and made more mistakes than I wanted to. I also mispunched one, which always frustrates me. At station one, the Alpha flag was very far away and the first map was Foxtrot. When I looked back to that side of the station, I apparently just ignored Alpha and was misnaming the controls. Luckily, this only affected one of my answers, since the other in that direction was a zero (but I missed it anyway). 

I liked station three the best with a lot of huge boulders. I felt really good there, although it turns out I still missed a few. I did clean the next two stations, so maybe the good feeling from that one just spilled over. 

Sharon: I took it careful and slow, but it was too slow and then I missed some. It was awfully fun to do. I know I cleaned at least one station. There was one toward the end where there was a little pond, and I said "That's the pond, there's no water in it." But I think I missed one of the rocks on that.

I think the one I missed the most were in a saddle, a rock on the left, a rock on the right. It looked really good and I was sure I identified everything. I think that's the one where I said the same thing twice.

Clare: In front of you there was some rocky stuff, some of it was cliffs, but a lot of it was bare rock. That's the one where I also picked the same flag twice and neither one was right. 

Daniel: It was a very long walk back from the last station, it was almost too much for me. Otherwise, no complaint. It was very challenging. My favorite was the third station with all the rocks. I didn't like the fourth one with all of the copses. 

General thoughts about TempO and training for it: 

Mika: I need to locate myself better on more complex maps. That's my take away from today. I have a good way of doing this if I find anchor points. but even that didn't help because there was so much detail on the map that I was constantly worried about picking the feature that's next to the one I wanted.

You have to go fast, and you have to train yourself to go fast. It's always this balancing act on accuracy and speed. If you can't go fast it doesn't matter how accurate you are. On the other hand, if you miss everything, it doesn't matter how fast you are. When I was in Finland, I was training being uncomfortably fast. Today was the first time that I've tried in the World Championships to slow down a little bit from what I normally do, with the idea that if I slow down a tiny bit, I will get more answers right. It didn't quite yet work that way. I think I will stick to being faster and learning to be faster on a more complex map.

Sharon: You do it, you stand up, you go to the next station, you're not sure how you did on the previous, you forget about it, you say focus on this one, you sit down. And I try to say "Where am I on the map?" I worked on that as I walked. If you know where you are you can anchor.

Choose one, be positive, and go on. If you could do this every week you'd be so much better about "When do you focus on where you are on the map? When do you focus on where the flags are? When do you focus on where the circle is? When do you focus on the description?" 

Clare: Now I know just how much the training I had been doing helped. When I slacked off, my performance definitely deteriorated.

(Note: maps to be uploaded when I get home)