... for such a short distance are highly imprecise since timing is only to the nearest second. IMO, the last controls should have been at least twice as far from the finish both days.
Me and Alex both think a good 50-75 meter finish split is the best
We thought if it was over 100 meters after an entire run would be too much for it to be fun.
The finish was not where it was mapped (due to the mud, according to the organizers), and the chute was very short - probably only 10-20 meters. But the different splits probably were not differences in your speed.
There were two control units at the last control and two at the finish. Each control unit has a clock inside. Sometime before the units are placed in the woods, we use a device that synchronizes the clocks. This should be done immediately before they are put in the woods. Over time, the clocks are not all 100% exactly the same - a drift of 1 second over several days would be normal. Rarely, one drifts more quickly. At a national meet, if multiple start and finish units are used, it is critical to check that they are exactly in sync.
Most likely, the units were programmed more than a couple days early, and the times drifted on at least one of the units. Alex actually had a zero second split the one day, and if the units drift far enough apart, it is even possible to "time travel" and have a negative split.
Usually legs are long enough that nobody notices, and if a single control is a couple seconds off, it is no big deal. But for fairness, the start and finish units must all be perfectly in sync. I hope they were checked! The very short finish chute made the discrepancy very obvious.
The finish was not where it was mapped (due to the mud, according to the organizers)
I suspect it was more likely a case of not being able to put them closer on the map due simply to printing. IMO, the last control was much too close to the finish both days, and could have easily been set farther away.
So the finish control was moved up from the shelter to where it was?
The map showed the finish on the other side of the shelter building. I think that contributed to the many kids who were confused looking for the last control in the woods or on the other side of the road.
The chute originally went down thru the mid past the building, but they shortened it because of the mud. I asked one of the organizers why they didn't simply route the chute around on the paved sidewalk and they expressed some concern about people with spikes slipping on the concrete. Still seems like that would have been the proper thing to do. At the very least, the change needed to be prominently announced. Look at your maps - the finish circle is all the way on the other side (east) of the shelter building!
Also, the park planted some baby trees (north side of the shelter) just before the event, where the chute was originally planned to go. But they still could very easily have routed along the south sidewalk, possibly including a grass strip if slipping was really a concern. After running through many km of woods and rock with road crossings, I find the worry about slipping on the sidewalk to be rather lame.
But, all in all the organizers put on a fine event and I don't want to sound overly critical of this small issue.
The other problem the very short chute caused is that the newest SI cards with the flashing lights won't punch a second control until they stop flashing - about 4-5 seconds. So a couple people with the new cards had to pause before they could punch finish.
I think the more legitimate reason to not use the sidewalk for the run-in was that doing so would prevent anyone else from using it.
I'm also having trouble picturing the chute going past the shelter -- again because it would have precluded use of that area by others. I guess download would have been on the other side.
Finally, I didn't notice any mud in the chute.