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Discussion: Course design - Awesome Dozen Long F21 - test thread - big PDF

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 4, 2016 12:46 PM # 
Apr 4, 2016 12:47 PM # 
Feel free to comment on the above Long F21 course...likes, dislikes, etc.
Apr 4, 2016 12:48 PM # 
And feel free to comment on this form of course comment thread. (Getting very meta here.)
Apr 4, 2016 2:50 PM # 
I think it's a fine course. With that said, I personally don't enjoy finding controls in the green and the course does seem to have it's share of of those. If the green isn't too bad though, maybe its okay.
Apr 4, 2016 4:42 PM # 
I like the course embedded in this thread in that viewer.
Apr 4, 2016 4:59 PM # 
A few initial reactions:
* Climb - seems high. Often seem to have route choices that involve figuring out least climb, and least never seems to be very low. I notice that the course planner didn't count the climb (or at least didn't insert it). My suspicion is that it is too much.
* Finish location - one of my pet peeves is to have a finish chute that ends where it should begin ;-) We should strive for visible finish chutes that are the centre piece of the arena to increase the fun and joy and excitement of events. The finish chute in this case should be in the middle of the field somewhere with a nice 200m-ish run in - to allow the announcer to build excitement and the throngs to yell out their encouragement
* Leg 1-2 and 7-8: These two give pretty much the same route choice problem I think. Also it creates a strange cross-over which could lead runners to go to the wrong control. I would encourage changing the courses to leave only one of these two legs
* Leg 1-2: One of the main route choices would be to attack control #2 from the re-entrant that leads to it from the SW. This is also the way many people will leave #2. So I fear a bit of a dog-leg at control #2. I would recommend thinking about moving control #3 so the exit from #2 is in a NW direction. See next comment...
* Short legs 3/4/5/6 - a nice change of pace with these short legs. But I think they could be more technically challenging. For example, #3 is right after a catching feature (the road) and could perhaps be better just north of the small lake?
* Long leg #8 - #9 - this is a nice attempt at a long leg, but because the leg must stay west of the river (is that true? the bend in the straight line implies it is true to me) then the amount of route choice is severely limited. I would try to work on a variation that has more route choice options
* Control #9 - climb again. This seems like an unnecessarily brutal location for the control. Seems like a "climb to the top of the hill and then run down it" situation, and I think there are enough control locations lower on the hill to serve.

Overall the course looks quite good - nice shape, nice variety in terrain/technique/tempo. I would work on reducing the cross overs and watching out for the accute angles and cutting down on the climb
Apr 4, 2016 5:01 PM # 
Meta: This is much easier for me to make comments on by scrolling the window up & down. I like it! Would be nice if the image wasn't so big - but the concept I think is great.
Apr 4, 2016 5:57 PM # 
I like the idea of having a separate discussion for each map. The previous method works slightly better for me on my laptop because I can toggle back and forth with one click and have no need to scroll through the thread to my text. The fact that more comments have come forth is encouraging. My intent is to look at each course, leg by leg. The previous two were not my favorites--I just started in the middle of the list and planned to work my way through it. The new plan works for me, too, so I'll begin Awesome Dozen momentarily.

AZ's link to How to Critique is very helpful, especially in distinguishing between an opinion and a critique. Lots of good ideas there for this discussion and for life. Thanks.
Apr 4, 2016 7:22 PM # 
Awesome Dozen F21A
Start works for all levels and is convenient to assembly area.
S-1: Nice first leg requiring instant immersion into map. Having the road to cross enroute is a gift as it allow the runner to relocate should they have dashed off too quickly. My personal preference is for a course to start out going in a northerly (rather than southerly) direction--my quirk, but when I flip the map over and orient it to north, it feels more natural to head in a northerly direction rather than flipping the map "upside down". Fine map reading required in approach to control.
1-2: Lots of smaller choices here. The control location up above quickly eliminates going around to the right. Leaving #1, any way the runner goes is likely to end up funneling the runner to the power line junction just W of the large reentrant. The powerline lures the runner into the camp where the amount of detail can help or hinder and where there is a choice of trails leading to the control. I like the opportunity for parallel errors around the control where fine map reading is necessary.
2-3:Fairly easy leg with pond, reentrant, and depression leading into control. Green adds a little challenge.
3-4: Easy leg with fence corners and stream handrail available. It appears that you used this to set up a more interesting leg from 4-5.
4-5: Nice leg. Compass will help across the bland early section and hopefully, get the runner on an accurate line into the control which is one of several shallow reentrants. The slightly larger reentrants just before the control are roughly parallel, so this opens the chance for an error here. Requires great observation skill in the approach. Good that control is before the road and not after it.
5-6: Nice short leg. Requires compass and fine map reading, especially if the green is a hindrance. If the green is bad, I like the option of popping out to the road and back in just beyond the yellow.
6-7: Good leg. Two basic choices, though going around to the right is probably not a good one. Going straight looks preferable and getting into the camp area requires close attention to detail and direction in what could be a confusing area. I like that if one takes the small trail out of the campground as far as the "T", some careful map reading is required to follow the spur or reentrant to the control.
Opportunities for parallel errors here warrants careful navigation.
7-8: I would not have expected anyone to go straight on this, but Ethan said he would go straight on a similar leg on another course. So, I see 3 options here which gives the runner pause to evaluate the options. Both have drawbacks of going out of the way and encountering extra climb. It would be fun, as the course setter, to see which way people go on this one and how long it takes.
8-9: Nice leg. Three choices and opportunities to change your mind enroute. The straightest route requires more map reading to get to the upper trail, then a decision about when to leave the trail heading E down the spur to the flat where the small hill with the control is. The easterly route makes for easier running and some decision early on about when to leave the trail and head down the steep bank to the riverside trail. Once on the lower trail the runner must decide when to leave it and head across the flat, but with the control near the top, it should be pretty easy to find. Traversing the green might be an issue which would complicate things.
9-10: Easy leg.
10-11: Slight challenge here to find the end point of the ditch. Compass is useful here as would be a slight aiming off to enable hitting the ditch from the side. This control location appears to be setting up a better leg for 12.
11-12:Good compass leg, especially if the green is an issue. Aiming off to the north and following along the shallow reentrants would simplify this leg: just follow along until the last one bordered by the stream bend. It might be slightly more difficult if you chose one of the other small reentrants just north of this one so that you could miss it on either side if you're not careful.
12-13:Choices of straight compass route with lots of catching features or using trails and the road here make the leg a little more interesting. Control should be easy to find.
13-14: I like the near-perpendicular-to-the-road leg which makes going straight the best option. Good compass leg then fine map reading near the control.
14-15: Again, compass and fine map reading are key here. The option of using the vegetation boundary as a handrail is another possibility.
15-16: Compass and fine map reading again which adds interest to the course. Finding the dry ditch end-on adds to the challenge and having a parallel ditch nearby requires caution.
16-17: On compass and reading your way in should work well. I like that the runner must keep their mind in the game until the last control.
17-Finish: Nice trail run is a welcome relief after such a long course. I think that moving the finish 100 m into the field would allow spectators to see runners finishing and would add a little drama and excitement to the event.
Finish: Great that it is at the assembly area. See above.

Good course. Some well-thought out control placements leading to good route choices. Good use of detailed terrain. Nice mix of long route choice legs, short technical legs and legs which favor compass use.
Apr 5, 2016 6:34 PM # 
I like the idea of having a separate discussion for each map. The previous method works slightly better for me on my laptop because I can toggle back and forth with one click and have no need to scroll through the thread to my text.

By the way, notice the Download button in the upper right of the image, allowing download of the PDF for viewing in a separate app and window, in case that helps anyone who prefers that method.

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