Smarter is Faster

by Peter Amram
Originally appeared in the NEOC Times, Volume 36, No. 1, Dec/Jan, 2005/2006

The best way to improve time on the O-course is to reduce the frequency and magnitude of mistakes.

If you could have trimmed 10 minutes worth of errors off that last 67-minute run on Orange, that would have been an improvement of 15%, just by running smarter, not faster. (How likely are you to quickly improve your 10k time by 15%? Could you speed up that much ever, at any distance?)

The opportunities to make mistakes while orienteering are virtually limitless, and a standard catalogue of errors looks uncomfortably like a graduate-student reading list. Instead of focusing on a frightening multitude of potential mistakes, let’s work on a few specific techniques to avoid them.

A – Hold the map properly

The map should be held in the “weak” hand: the non-dominant hand, i.e., the hand you do not use to reach for the code card, to hold the punch, to grasp a water cup.

The map should be parallel to the ground. It is hard enough to relate 2-dimensional symbols to 3-dimensional reality without doing it in two planes.

The map should be oriented properly so that objects in the natural world are the same direction from you as their representation on that piece of colored paper.

The thumb of the map-holding hand must at all times be on present location. The thumb moves along the course as you do. This gives your dominant hand something to do on the course: it continually adjusts the map so the weak thumb is always where you are.

thumbing the map

Seeing where you are on the map obviates (ie, solves a potential problem in advance) the common errors of:

  • overrunning the target
  • moving too slowly ever to get there
  • failing to “check off” meaningful features en route
  • not appreciating the proper scale of the map
  • not checking the orientation of linear features with a compass
  • generally losing “contact” between the map and terrain

B – KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid

A favored acronym of football coaches, KISS (the last word is addressed to one’s self) reminds that simplicity is the ultimate virtue, which in orienteering is the use of a linear feature to reach a point feature.

Linear features come in three levels of abstraction.

The most concrete is a trail, stream, or stonewall.

The intermediate, most commonly employed linear feature, is one which an orienteer creates in his/her mind from a string of point features which can be employed as a line in the right direction.

The least reliable linear feature is imaginary: a compass bearing, which should be used as a last resort and even then cautiously.

ida bobach

Try to make each individual leg a Yellow course, the course on which you follow a trail (linear feature) to the control (point feature) nearby. Identify the needed linear features and head for the target. And, having once decided on a route, don’t change it. (In the NFL this wisdom is expressed as “Dance with the girl you brought to the dance.”)

The perfect route never presents itself. The idea is to keep moving in the right direction.

C – MYOB = Mind Your Own Business

A leading British coach has stated: “More than half of competition mistakes involve being put off by other people.”

Accordingly, ignore other runners, particularly those whom you consider the competition. As is true in most races, there is nothing you can do to affect a competitor’s performance. And don’t you have abundant problems of your own? As they say in competitive rowing: “Keep your mind in your own boat.”

Concentrate relentlessly on your map and the surrounding terrain.

Never follow other runners, who may be on different courses or quite lost themselves. And don’t get chatty. A nod of the head will suffice as a greeting. You can socialize after the race. It is astonishingly easy to lose concentration and “contact,” and when contact is lost, so are you.

Manatoc XC / Classic / Saturday September 17, 11:30AM – 1PM + Night-O at 6:30 PM

Event Description

The Manatoc Scout Reservation is located within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Peninsula, Ohio. Comprising nearly 600 acres the reservation consists of lakes, trails, fields, rustic and improved cabins allowing for varied uses during the year.

Enjoy beautiful Camp Manatoc, and run (or walk) the WHITE, YELLOW, ORANGE, GREEN, or RED courses. Camp Manatoc, and Camp Butler, offers a challenging but fun terrain, lakes and water features, and plenty of reentrants and spurs to navigate on. Littered with trails, the location is ideal for beginner as well as seasoned orienteers wanting to improve their skill.

And…

Night O score course with registration at 6:30 PM and a mass start at 7:15 PM – Find as many controls as you can in 45 minutes. Bring a flashlight! Just $3

Date & Time

  • Saturday, September 17, 2016
  • Registration (AM) 11:30 AM, with starts at 12 Noon. Last start at 1 PM.
  • Registration for Night-O at 6:30 PM, with mass start at 7:15 PM (45 min SCORE)

Weather

Location

Manatoc Scout Camp in Cuyahoga Valley
1075 Truxell Rd, Peninsula, OH 44264

Camp Manatoc Parking and Start

Registration Details

  • Registration starts at 11:30ish, with starts at 12 Noon
  • $5 / member
  • $10 / non-member

Courses

5 courses will be available, and have been designed and set by Andreas Johansson, NEOOC Club Member. This time, he’s focused on using fewer controls than he normally prefers (if you ran Kenston in August, you get the idea…), so the key will be to navigate longer legs in between each control, and make both strategic and tactical decisions around the course (especially for GREEN and RED). Water will be provided on the GREEN and RED courses.

Andreas worked with a local Boy Scout, Jack Wilk, to design and set the WHITE course, as part of Jack’s requirements for the Merit Badge for Orienteering. You’ll remember Jack as the most excellent starter from the spring event at Kenston.

  • WHITE – 10 controls – 1.7 km
  • YELLOW – 9 controls – 2.3 km
  • ORANGE – 8 controls – 2.8 km
  • GREEN – 9 controls – 3.7 km
  • RED – 10 controls – 5.0 km

All distances are as measured using our course design software, Purple Pen, and are as “the crow flies”. Typically, it’s wise add an estimated 20-30% depending on your skill / stamina / map skills.

Sample Map

Sample map ONLY – does not show actual courses!

Manatoc Sample Map

Orienteering at Kenston Intermediate School

Recap of Events

As part of an effort to increase awareness of orienteering as a sport, and to incorporate the many educational and problem- based learning aspects of the sport into the curriculum, NEOOC teamed up with 4th graders from Kenston Intermediate School to put on an orienteering event. In what we hope was the First Annual orienteering day, 200+ 4th graders and staff took part in orienteering in and around the building, and most teams completed four courses covering more than 2 miles distance travelled.

Students prepared with pre-orienteering materials in their classrooms, and completed practice problems solving mazes and orienteering inside a room to get aquatinted with relating the map to reality. A few instructional videos were used to enhance their knowledge of the sport itself, and they learned the importance or rotating the map, and orienting to north at all times.

Bob Boltz, map coordinator of NEOOC, had designed the custom Kenston Intermediate School map covering the grounds around the building, and laid out 4 courses each covering 9 controls over about 0.8km (800m) each. Andreas Johansson, NEOOC club member, and Director of Technology Integration at Kenston Schools, assisted with planning, teacher training, and supervision during the event. They had plenty of help from Kenston PTO to manage map exchanges and supervision around the building. A big thanks to Mr. Adam Fender, Principal at Kenston Intermediate School, for making it happen, and helping coordinating the event, and activities leading up to the very successful day.

Furthermore, the 4th grade students orienteering at KIS was part of a larger worldwide effort to set a new world record for World Orienteering Day (on or about May 11th, 2016), and their efforts were registered along with Kenston Middle School’s 8th grade students doing hot spot orienteering during a field trip to Washington, D.C., as well as the 7th graders orienteering while at 7th grade camp. In total, at least 650+ students and staff from Kenston Schools took part in World Orienteering Day activities, and were counted for the world record attempt.

We’re excited for the opportunities to build long-lasting relationships with the Kenston Schools, and look forward to holding many more orienteering events, including full campus sprint, cross country, and score events in the future.

Photos from 4th Grade Orienteering

Photo credits go to Josh Timmons, Tech Integration Specialist, and Andreas Johansson, Director of Technology at Kenston Local Schools.

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Recap / Boston Run Training 14MAY2016

RECAP

Today’s event was a chance to work on skills that can help us improve as orienteers. Bob Boltz set a course targeted at two skills.

First, continuity. Most intermediate orienteers treat each leg as a separate problem to be solved. Then, after punching the control, we turn our attention to the next control, stand still, spread out the map, and consider our options. Bob set out the first portion of the course today with an eye towards improving flow through the course as a whole. During this ‘control picking’ portion there were a series of 16 short legs with frequent changes of direction. The goal was to never stop moving. That meant that we had to, at the least, pay attention to what direction to head out to the next control after this one. This was mildly complicated by the fact that today’s maps were printed without any of the trails.

Second, attention to local features. The next 5 controls were not marked on the map. Instead, a wiggly corridor about 30m wide was indicated. Bob set the controls so that if we stayed within the corridor, we would encounter the controls. This was further complicated by the fact that the map outside the corridor was blank, so the only navigational cues available were within the corridor (see the map here!, or below in photos)

An intrepid crew of ~25 experienced orienteers took up this challenge, and I heard a lot of praise for how much this helped them. The weather was cool and drizzly, and it was pretty sloppy and slippery. Lots of good stories emerged, and I think our club’s average navigational skill ticked up just a little after today.

Many thanks to all our volunteers, including:

  • Director: Randy Mitchell
  • Designer: Bob Boltz
  • Registrar: Kim King
  • Control Pickup: Neil Dollinger

RESULTS (unofficial)

There was no ePunch available, so timing is all self reported, and using the honor system. If you have a time, and course feedback, send it our way.

RouteGadget now available at: Boston Run Training

Download your GPS or draw your route from memory using the program.

PHOTOS

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PS – one Blue Jacket was left behind! We will have it at next week’s Event at Sippo – just ask!

Event Recap & Results / Merit Badge Workshop – Orienteering / 12MAR2016

Recap

We were just getting started with 30 pre-registered scouts, when 12 more showed up to learn about orienteering! A few more tables and chairs later, and we were all learning about the basics of orienteering. Some of the requirements for the Boy Scout Merit Badge for orienteering were covered, and scouts practiced taking compass bearings, recording their pace count, learned about land forms, orienteering map features, and some of the basic techniques an orienteer uses while on a course.

After lunch, we headed outside for actual practice around campus, and scouts navigated one of two courses at the yellow level, with a few controls in the woods, off path. All scouts returned from the first endeavor wanting more, so we sent them back out on the alternative course. Much fun was had, and lots of learning took place, with sessions afterwards discussing the finer details of orienteering and map reading with merit badge counselors and NEOOC club members.

Thank you to all the volunteers who made this event happen (see below) and thank you to KCE (Kenston Community Education office) for helping us organize the event on the Kenston campus.

Staff

Thank you to all the volunteers, club members, and KCE!

  • Event Director, Course Designer, and Lead Instructor – Andreas Johansson
  • Merit Badge Counselor, Scout Guru, and Pizza Champion – Ivan Redinger
  • Scout Wranglers – Sanae Rogers, Dave Dysle
  • Registrar & Greeter – Richard Toth
  • e-Punch Guru & Data Wizard – Fred Mailey
  • All the Troop Leaders that helped manage a fine day of learning for your scouts.
  • All the parents that stayed with your kids, and helped us make it a great day!

Pictures

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Resources

Results

*Results reflect only 9 controls, as one (#55) had an issue with data retention, and we removed it from the results below.

Scout A Course: 9 controls 1.7 km 50 m
  1 Team Storm                     16:57
  2 Andreas Johansson              17:41
  3 Jimmy and Co - T122            17:54
  4 Austin and Co                  17:59
  5 Donald Trump                   21:09
  6 T402                           25:56
  7 David and Co - T236            29:12
  8 Scorepions                     32:11
  9 Scorepions                     32:14
 10 Jimmy and Co - T122            36:20
 11 Jack Wendy Logan               37:28
 12 Mckenzie and Co                45:09
 13 Team Storm                     48:04

Scout B Course: 9 controls 1.7 km 50 m
  1 Phillips and Co                11:46
  2 T402                           15:18
  3 Phillips and Co                18:22
  4 William Liam Robt              20:14
  5 David and Co - T236            22:39
  5 Mckenzie and Co                22:39
  7 Austin and Co                  23:18
  8 Alison and Co                  27:01
  9 Donald Trump                   33:14
 10 Claus and Co                   38:46
 11 Lander Burk John               54:09

Race Result / Kenston Woods & Campus XC / 13MAR2016

Recap

We had a great turnout for the first time using the Kenston Campus & Woods map (mapped by NEOOC’s Bob Boltz). With all courses available, from WHITE 1km to RED 6.9km, we had something to offer for everyone, and were able to find the right level of challenge and distance for all that attended.

Several scouts came back from the day before to complete a longer course, and were successful on the green course (see Troop 102 below). Several teams participated, so the count is a bit off below in the results. About 35 in total ventured out on a rainy, and a little cold, Sunday afternoon.

The campus was wet already from days of rain in the week prior, but most of the routes offered legs either in the woods, across campus, or across paved areas, and all were pleased to participate. All of the first-timers said they’d come back for more!

Course winners for each course (and first / new record for Kenston Campus) include Jennifer Ingram on WHITE with 12:52, Charlotte Chung on YELLOW with 25:53, Howard Montgomery on ORANGE with 44:29, Guy Russ on BROWN with 51:54, Rich Perrenoud on GREEN with 63:09 (a tight race with Gil Even at 63:17), and Todd Pownell on RED with 48:09. Well done to all! Some races were very close, so check out the results below, and for even more, the split data as linked.

A huge THANKS to all the volunteers that make these events possible – see list below for all that helped manage the crowds, pickup controls, and get people out on campus.

Thank you to KCE (Kenston Community Education office) for helping us organize the event on the Kenston campus.

We hope to run Kenston again, maybe even this year.

Resources

  • Map & Cartography for Kenston – Bob Boltz
  • Event Director – Andreas Johansson
  • Course Designer & Setter – Andreas Johansson
  • Registrar – Richard Toth
  • e-Punch Management / Assistant Registrar – Guy Russ
  • Starter / Timer – Jack Wilk & Dad
  • e-Punch Guru / Data Wizard – Fred Mailey
  • Control Pickup – Todd Pownell, Howard Montgomery, Fran ?, Andreas Johansson
  • All around Help, Advice, Feedback & Expertise – Sanae Rogers, Bob Boltz, Randy Mitchell

Photos

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Results

WHITE Course: 7 controls 1 km
  1 Jennifer Ingram                12:52

YELLOW Course: 12 controls 2.4 km
  1 Charlotte Chung                25:53
  2 Jennifer Ingram                45:34
  3 Keziah Burden                  45:50
  4 Gary Burden                    46:15
  5 Jack Wilk                      89:35
  6 Homestar Runner                97:27
    Chuck St. John                 DNF
    Bill Shero                     DNF

ORANGE Course: 15 controls 3.3 km
  1 Howard Montgomery              44:29
  2 Karen Steckner                 78:26
  3 Nick Copley                    137:35

BROWN Course: 12 controls 2.9 km
  1 Guy Russ                       51:54
  2 True North                     147:30

GREEN Course: 20 controls 4.2 km
  1 Rich Perrenoud                 63:09
  2 Gil Even                       63:17
  3 Neil Dolinger                  66:00
  4 Vera Yudovina                  67:10
  5 Troop 102                      90:33

RED Course: 23 controls 6.9 km
  1 Todd Pownell                   48:09
  2 Randy Mitchell             NEO 54:44
  3 Bob Boltz                      55:10
  4 Fred Mailey                NEO 92:10
  5 Sanae Rogers                   148:36

Split Data Route Gadget, Attack Point, etc.

First use of Kenston Campus map!

Registration and instruction at 11 AM.  Starts from noon until 2 PM.

All the details are here.

The Kenston Campus packs a lot into its quarter square mile of area.  In addition to a 26 acre very runnable woods with a mile of trail, there are several smaller wooded areas, ponds lots of oddly shaped buildings & athletic fields, lots of boulders and even a very large windmill.

You will find the full array of cross country courses from a 1 km beginner course to a 7 km advanced course.  Because the venue is so complex, the navigation is challenging and fast with lots of route choices.

Because this is being co-sponsored with Kenston Community Education group, there is a separate form to fill out.  You can Download (easiest) the form to fill out ahead of time and bring it with you.  Despite what the form says, the fee is $10 for all participants (no regular club discount for this event).

This event is being used to introduce the local community to our sport, so be prepared to answer questions from newbies and give them some encouragement.

Spring Forward! Short Courses @ Manatoc / 19 MAR 2016

Event Description

Wake up your body! Come run some short and fun courses at beautiful Manatoc. You can run one, or all three. Each course is quick, fast, and will let you ease in to this year’s orienteering schedule.

Date & Time

  • Saturday, March 19, 2016
  • Registration 11:30, with starts at 12 Noon.

Location

Manatoc Scout Camp in Cuyahoga Valley
1075 Truxell Rd, Peninsula, OH 44264

Camp Manatoc Parking and Start

Registration Details

  • Registration starts at 11:30ish, with starts at 12 Noon
  • $5 / member
  • $10 / non-member
  • Run as many courses as you want!

Courses

3 short, fun, high energy courses are available (1.5km – 1.9km) as well as a 60 minute score course for 635 points. Run one, or run them all!

Course Designer(s): Bob Boltz, Andreas Johansson, Sanae Rogers

Sample Map

Sample map ONLY – does not show actual courses!

Manatoc Sample Map