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)

Friday, June 28, 2019

Relay - Crazy with the Heat

Intense heat characterized the relay day. Because we only had two Paralympic attendees, we were only able to field an Open relay team. Running order was Mika, Sharon, Clare. 

The relay format involves both PreO and TempO. Each team member first solved 10 PreO controls out of a 30 control course and then solved one TempO station with five tasks. The final score combines the TempO score with an additional 60 second penalty for each missed PreO control. 

Team USA performed acceptably, but not stellar in the PreO. Together we missed six controls. then Sharon had one of the best TempO times of the day, cleaning the station in only 31 seconds. Mika was slightly slower and missed one. Together this went a long way and going into Clare's final TempO control, the team was in 16th place of 21 teams. But Clare didn't manage to place herself properly on the map and struggled with the station, having one of the slowest times of the day and missing three answers. The team dropped to 18th place. 

A little later, they announced that they were voiding one of the PreO controls. Sharon had lost a point on this control, and was now vindicated, adding to her TempO triumph. Mika, however, had the best overall score of the day contributing only 139 points to our score.

It was a long and hot, but satisfying day. The team looks forward to the TempO tomorrow. After Sharon's performance today, we feel that anything can happen and we'll all be doing our best. The TempO team will include Mika, Sharon, Clare, and Daniel.

PreO 2 - What's the Score?

A number of different scoring issues made the arena on Day 2 an emotional roller coaster. Beginning with a timing problem due to a non-synced replacement SI unit, through some miscoded answers in the software, and ending with a voided control, scores just kept changing. The good news was they seemed to be mostly going up. The result was that initially everyone thought they had really tanked the course, but as time went on, we learned it wasn't all so dismal.

Control number 11 was voided after the organizers determined that the Alpha flag was only four meters from the circled zero position--inside of the published zero tolerance. This benefited Mika and Clare, who had missed the control, but hurt David and Sharon, who had come up with the correct zero answer.

In the final two day standings, David Irving's 48 points placed him 8th out of 39 in the Para category--one of the best US placings at WTOC in a while. Congratulations, David! Top US scores of the day were Clare with 25 and David with 24 points out of a possible 29. Clare ended up with the top US two-day result, which was 49 points (compared to a winning score of 56) and placing her 41st of 65. While neither day was exceptional, the two solid days gave Clare a personal best in terms of percentage of controls of the winner at her seven WTOCs.

Interview with the open team

How did it go today?
Mika - Not the best time management, got a little dehydrated towards the end. I missed four of the last eight controls.
Clare - I missed two of the last eight. My biggest miss was that I mispunched one where I missed the fact that there was a control, not really part of the cluster, but nearby up above. It was supposed to be counted in the group, but I didn't include it so even though I picked the correct flag, I gave the wrong answer.
Sharon - dismal day. I missed quite a few. Then one that I got they threw out. Toward the end I ran out of time.

What did you like or do well today?
Mika - I loved the course. If I had a little bit more time
Clare - I didn't feel as confident on this course as on Day 1. Today I felt there were more controls were even though I came up with a solution I wasn't really sure if I came up with the best way to solve it.
Sharon - Sounds like me. I enjoyed the course, it was a lot of fun to do. In the end time is running, I've got to choose and go on.
Clare - I like all the rocky hillsides and trying to figure out which boulder is which. At the end today, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked. Quite a few were almost a Hail Mary with only a few seconds.
Sharon - If one had a little more time to figure out all that rock. If you could do that, it all fit together.

How did the problems at the arena affect you?
Clare - It was hard for me to process that I had done better than I originally thought. I got in the mindset of  "I really blew it" because that's how I felt at the end of the course.
Sharon - You dwell on what you missed and then you forget about what you had done well, because it didn't take as long. And you think you didn't do well because you missed one.

Anything else?
Mika - Timed controls all right and they were quick. So a lot more confidence for the TempO. I'll just relax and read the map and answer.

The final eight control cluster that we all wished we had more time for:

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

PreO Day 1 - Hot and Rocky

First day of PreO was on the map Quinto do Valongo. The terrain is semi-open grassland with many rock features.

Pinja Makinen of Finland had the only perfect score of the Day, so is in fine position going into Day 2. Top USA results came from David Irving and Clare Durand, who both scored 24 out of a possible 28 points. This places David 14th of 39 in the Para class and Clare at 42nd of 65 in the Open class.

Daniel punches in
David - I'm suprised I did as well as I did. I think I was guessing a lot of my answers, but getting them right. I mispunched one control and if I hadn't done that I would have ended up 7th instead of 14th. I had solved 18 and 19 together and when I turned around to punch 18, I had the punch I was planning on punching at 19. Just after I punched it, I realized I'd made the mistake. I answered 19 properly.  It got hot out there.

Daniel - I thought I did much better today than I actually did. I didn't like the mapping, particularly the vegetation boundaries. I would have mapped them with the boundary symbol. Maybe it's just me. I didn't like the weather, it was too hot.

Sharon - I started out well, and then in the middle of the course I got a little bit rushed, so I missed a couple in there. It was adequate but not brilliant. Some of them were kind of clever, but others were vague. We had a timed control at the beginning and I thought I had missed one of those, but then you went to the start and got the map for the PreO and I said "Just forget about it, you've got two hours of this other stuff in front of you, you've got to seal that out of your mind." When I did finish and we had the second timed control, that one I did nail. I felt much more confident. Most were quite fun to do.

Clare - I had a pretty good time. In general I've been enjoying the terrain because it's California like. And I've done a lot of rock mapping, so that's something I have a handle on. I'm enjoying the style of the courses because it's a lot of feature identification and not a lot of other tricky stuff. I had a couple of controls where I thought I saw through a trick and I was wrong--there wasn't a trick. I felt good when I solved number 6. Most people did solve it, but it was far away with copses and trying to figure out the edge of the copses. I used a lot of time up early, so late in the course I was going fast. 

Mika rushes while Pinja Makinen
studies her way to first place
Mika - I think it was good and fair today. I'm still having a hard time adjusting to the maps. Today my problems were mostly with reading stuff that I could use to figure out elevations. I really liked the cluster at the end of the course, starting from 20 and on through 27, which were basically all one viewing station you just would move around. You ended up having to read almost everything over there to solve those problems. That was working well for me. Many people say that A controls take them the shortest amount of time. For me, A controls seem to be taking the longest amount of time because I have to read exactly where it is. I can't get a hint from "the flag is probably placed at something" and read from there. The 16/17 combination was not good for me today. Anytime there are pairs of controls fairly close to one another, if I read one wrong there is a good chance that I might get the other wrong as well. I had a mistake at the timed control. I can't count to five it seems.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Meet the 2019 OUSA WTOC Team

SHARON CRAWFORD, from the Rocky Mountain Orienteering Club will be competing in her 12th WTOC. Sharon has represented the US at the elite level in Foot Orienteering, Ski Orienteering, and Trail Orienteering over her long career. She holds numerous US titles along with many international age group awards.
In addition to competing when she can, she trains for trail orienteering by regularly reading over specifications and rules and practicing distance estimation. Sharon says, "Regular foot orienteering is the best training really. Paralympic competitors are at a disadvantage because many have not been off the trail."
Her approach to trail orienteering is do your best--and if you don't win, at least don't be stupid
Sharon loves orienteering and thinks the people in orienteering are some of the best people ever. 

CLARE DURAND of the Los Angeles Orienteering Club is competing in her seventh WTOC. Clare not only competes in TrailO, but also serves as Chair of the team Executive Steering Committee and President of OUSA. Clare would like to have two solid PreO days, as it seems she usually manages to do well on only one of the two days. She trains with competition, mapping, and course setting. Most recently she claimed the Bronze medals in both PreO and TempO at Nationals and set the Trail-O course at Anza-Borrego.

DANIEL HEIMGARTNER of Quantico Orienteering Club is competing in his third WTOC. He recently set the course at 5 Rivers in New York and regularly plays online trail-o games to train (, as well as doing foot orienteering. His goal for the WTOC is to stay healthy. His degenerative condition means that he is now using two canes on the course.

Trail-O is worth it!

DAVID IRVING of San Diego Orienteering will be enjoying his tenth appearance at the World Trail-O Championships, he also attended the Trail-O World Cup in 1999 before Trail-O was a Championship discipline. He hopes to place in the top half of the Para category. His training primarily consists of vetting Trail-O courses in Southern California and attending competitions when possible.

David will be 80 this year, which makes him one of the oldest competitors at the World Championships.

MIKA LATVA-KOKKO from the New England Orienteering Club is competing at the World Trail Orienteering Championships for the fifth time. Mika has set multiple courses on the east coast over the last year, including the recent National Championships. His goal for the World Champs is to correctly answer at least 90% of the control problems, which he states is a "high goal." 

He especially looks forward to the TempO and hopes that competing in a prior weekend TempO has "gotten rid of the rustiness" so he will be at his best for WTOC.

Monday, June 24, 2019

2019 US Trail O Nationals

Happy Trail Orienteers gather after the TempO

The New England Orienteering Club recently hosted the 2019 OUSA Trail Orienteering Nationals. Phillips Academy - Andover Campus provided a mix of campus and park style terrain for the TempO on Saturday. Rock and contour detail were the challenge for the PreO at Houghton's Pond on Sunday. Afterward we enjoyed a get-together with NEOC foot-O members at their annual meeting and picnic.
The wildly different terrains kept the participants thinking.

Controls across the pond

Graham Urquhart (UK) makes his
way between TempO stations
TempO winners:
Gold - Richard Y. Ebright (DVOA)
Silver - Joe Brautigam (WCOC)
Bronze - Clare Durand (LAOC)

PreO winners:
Gold - Joe Brautigam (WCOC)
Silver - Mike Poulsen (CROC)
Bronze - Clare Durand (LAOC)

Many thanks to NEOC and all of the volunteers. Key volunteers are listed:
Meet Director - Bud O'Leary
Course Setter - Mika Latva-Kokko
TempO Vetter - Jim Crawford
PreO Vetter - Richard Y. Ebright

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

OUSA 2019 WTOC Selection Process

Details of the selection process for this year's World Trail Orienteering Champs have been posted on the Trail-O Team page of the OUSA Website.