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Discussion: 50 controls in competition, but only 46 on the map

in: Raccoongaine (Mar 20, 2016 - Georgetown, PA, US)

Mar 23, 2016 7:09 PM # 
For Raccoongaine, we have continued a very popular variation in which 4 ("mystery") of the 50 controls in the competition, their circle is not printed on the map. Their location is revealed by a "mother" control, which had a hanging map image showing both the "mother" and the "mystery" (or "child") control. The mystery control would be nearby, basically a teaser or temptation to the competitor to improvise and possibly go for it, and change a bit his/her planned route. From the participants comments throughout the various years, this concept is very popular and appreciated. Some returnees have expressed the wishful desire of hoping to find them yet again. (Something to think about human psychology, what brings pleasure to humans, and the games of chance...)

Mar 23, 2016 7:31 PM # 
As you can imagine, it is entirely possible for a "mystery" control to be accidentally discovered without knowing about its existence or whereabouts. This is exactly what happened to control 117 for at least 5 teams, as they were all coming from NW on the powerline, to get to 116. In addition, because both 117 and 116 where positioned on identical features (evergreen vegetation boundary corner), two of the 5 teams actually believed they found 116 instead, and continued on elsewhere.
Mar 24, 2016 10:13 AM # 
It is an interesting concept. 116 and 117 looked an interesting challenge? Was the vegetation boundary obvious?
Mar 24, 2016 10:50 AM # 
This sort of control surprise was used in November 2015 at Wangigaine NSW Australia. While some teams loved it some failed to "see" the hints/directions to the bonus controls. Too focussed - even for a socialgaine.
Mar 24, 2016 12:16 PM # 
... "socialgaine"...

interesting word. Can the Aussies give more info on what that is ?
Mar 24, 2016 3:36 PM # 
I stumbled upon a "mystery" CP in Frigid 2016, but wasn't given credit since I hadn't visited the "mother". Wonder if this is a common practice... and if so would the order that you punch the points electronically matter?

Then in POCAR 2016 we were given the location of an "optional" CP in the words of the person manning the station at the time. Which we found and continued on... it turns out not only was this CP not optional, but hanging from the flag were the UTM coordinates of another "mystery" CP... which in turn led to two more CP's. Since these points were manditory, our team had to back track for an extra 10 miles (round trip) after we found this out and before we were permitted to move on to the next section in this 48-hr Rogaine. The race organizers should have mentioned more specific details in the pre-race meeting! Teams were only told that something "special" would happen when you got to the North Fire-Water Station. Not a time to be "cute" with pre-race instructions.
Mar 24, 2016 10:20 PM # 
Two years ago at the Raccoongaine, we happened to be lucky in picking a route that ran across all 4 of the "mother" controls, and even were lucky enough to go in an order where two of them were in an OK direction to visit without much time loss, and a third was very near the start and we could visit it in our last couple of minutes of remaining time on our return, so three of the mystery controls were useful to us.

Last year, we only picked one of the "mother" controls on our route, and it would have been very convenient had we arbitrarily done our route in the opposite direction. The way that we actually went, it would have added several hundred meters of backtracking, with a time and distance to the finish such that it was indeed a very good decision to ignore the temptation.

This year, we visited (probably) two of the "mother" controls, and didn't notice either of them. Seeing Sherpes picture of #116, I can guess how this likely happened. In the picture it is shown hanging prominently in front of the control flag, in front of the SI punch box. When we visited it, I would bet a lot that it was between the tree and the flag, and all we noticed was the control and flag, since the map segment was about the same height and smaller than a face of the control flag. If #118 was another "mother" control similarly mounted, it was likely the same situation of our having approached another flag hung against a tree, with at the time a map segment pinned between tree and flag. I think it might be better if the map segment were hung at a level/location so that it was less likely to disappear out of sight after a competitor picks it up and looks at the location of the "easter egg" control (perhaps hanging below the SI-box on a separate branch from the flag).

Looked at from a competitive point of view, I'm not too fond of throwing in this basically random component into the race. However, if it is a key piece to attracting the sell-out crowds to the event every year, WPOC may be on to a good thing!
Mar 24, 2016 10:28 PM # 
To southerncross, the edge of the conifers for 116 could be seen from quite a distance at this time of year--most of the way from the trail to the north. Maybe just as well, as the mess of brambles between trail and control might otherwise have been enough to discourage proceeding more than about 20 meters from the trail while wondering if the control site would be distinguishable amidst the nasty undergrowth, and whether maintaining a straight line would in fact be practical.
Mar 25, 2016 12:40 AM # 
* sherpes
In NSW (my State) we typically have (and somewhat chronological starting in Feb and roughly 4-6 weeks apart) starting in February

Metrogaine (6 hr) - metropolitan terrain, mix of street, park, gentle bush
Minigaine (3 hr) - metropolitan terrain - as above - (team or individual) - AGM
Autumn Rogaine (6 or 12 hr) - bush
Paddy Pallin -bush - 6 hr
Lake Macquarie - bush 6 or 12 hr
NSW Champs - 12/15/24 hr
Socialgaine - 6 hr held in November in mix of park, metropolitan and streets and is much lower key. "usual" team combinations mix'n'match - eg bringing whole family including children in strollers (prams), often there will be options for an icecream stop, more scenic locations, not 'hardcore'.
For all intents and purposes it is our Christmas Party and also a way to introduce newcomers setting them up for the following year.
Some but not a lot also travel to ACT (our capital territory and wholly within our state) where they have a similar number of events annually.
Mar 25, 2016 2:23 AM # 
Socialgaine seems like a fun concept. It reminds me of the tales of the early Japanese events in which whole families would participate for the day, starting at one train station, finishing at another, with picnic stops or such along the way. How big an area?
Mar 25, 2016 4:13 AM # 
Socialgaine, as I was on the committee for the NSWRA at the time I can provide some insight. It started as a shorter rogaine to end the season with possibly Annual General Meeting or such. Opportunity to meet with people and recruit some volunteers.

The first one had a HH with access to a pool. And it had a gambit involving delaying your start and gaining a time bonus of points, as a I recall the points bonus was slightly too generous to the advantage of the strongest teams. Another fun idea though.

It did not take long for it to evolve into something a little more challenging, competitive? It's a rogaine, like orienteering and all the other navigation, and outdoor wild sports an opportunity to get out into the outdoors and enjoy your self therefore more is more!

It amuses me most times that I see the label.
Mar 25, 2016 4:42 AM # 
On a competitive note I am not a fan of these controls either. Especially in a ROGAINE where most or all racers are not visiting every control. Noting which controls are mother controls would go a long way in eliminating the luck/chance factor without eliminating the entire "mystery."

I would also be very disappointed if the reason eldersmith missed 117 was the same reason I missed it. Not telling a racer about a CP is maybe worse than a misplaced CP.

If being competitive is not the goal of the event then all of this is negligible.
Mar 25, 2016 6:26 AM # 
Hawk 3Peat:
What happens if someone just takes the map from the mother control
Mar 25, 2016 12:10 PM # 
That's about the same as someone taking or moving a control. I think we're still at a point where we can trust people to not do that, though I heard about it happening once in Sweden.
Mar 25, 2016 8:13 PM # 
All good points. For 2017, we will decor the electronic control punch box in a way to clearly identify that control to be the "mother".
Mar 25, 2016 8:29 PM # 

This discussion thread is closed.