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Discussion: Course design - Bog Muck Long F21

in: Orienteering; General;

Apr 5, 2016 2:31 PM # 
Apr 5, 2016 2:42 PM # 
Here's the second in the daily threads for discussion of submitted courses. Take a look and comment. I'll continue this series of threads in the public forum for the rest of the submissions for Long F21 at Otter Creek, and switch to an AttackPoint Group for the next non-competition, if there's interest in such. (I decided that it would be too confusing to switch mid-stream to a Group, and have some Long F21 discussion threads in the Group and others in the public forum with references back and forth, likely with discussions occurring in both, etc.)

So, Bog Muck's Long F21 course at Otter Creek Park. What do you think?
Apr 5, 2016 2:45 PM # 
Course looks great. Doesn't look like it would hit the winning time though.
Apr 5, 2016 3:45 PM # 
Another fine course. I too think it is a bit long since it's rare to have F21 longs over 10K here in the US. Another thing is that there seemed to be a lot of relatively short legs.
Apr 5, 2016 3:57 PM # 
I would have thought that a major concern on this area would be to avoid excessive climb. So its curious that the designer doesn't include it (also true of other courses). Is this really 6 mins/km terrain for W21s?
Apr 5, 2016 4:05 PM # 
By the way, maprunner posted a comment liking leg 12 to 13.
Apr 5, 2016 8:57 PM # 
Agreed. The climb would probably lead it to be an especially long course.
Apr 5, 2016 9:28 PM # 
Is that meant to be a marked route to follow from 22 to the Finish?
Apr 5, 2016 10:15 PM # 
Overall looks pretty fun - a good mix of terrain, tempo, technique. The climb looks better than the last, but still I think it is a very important consideration to count it when submitting these courses.

Leg 1 - An interesting first leg, though I think the route choice isn't as good as it could be. I think most people would take a westerly route, and always have the safety net of the trail if necessary. I think a lot of people would come into #1 the way they would leave it on the way to #2, so there's a dog-leg issue
Leg 2 - I find this a bit too easy. It is kind of a pit on the high point. Better technical challenge comes from having controls on the side of the hills so that elevation judgement is also challenged (here I think a top runner would jump onto the ridge and follow that up to the high point). Perhaps moving the control further NW would give a more left/right option around that hill (or over it)
Leg 3 - I don't like this leg much - the control is too easy, being right after a major catching feature. It doesn't require much technical skill. I'd suggest a shorter leg to set up the best possible Leg 4...
Leg 4 - from the current #3 location it is a straight run to the hill then down it to the path (you can maintain your height staying close to the direct route). Better to shift #3 south to create a route choice involving the big reentrant. Also would be better to move the control away from the path, probably up the hill to create a technically challenge.
Leg 5 - I like those kind of legs ;-) In this case, perhaps the trail is too inviting to give much route choice. But if #4 if moved up the hill that would change things a bit. A nice idea - but tweak the control locations to make more route choices
Leg 6 - I like it. Hard to decide which way to go and control is technically interesting on the middle of the hill
Leg 7 - I hate it ;-) This is an example of running straight up the hill - one of the easiest and most hated things in orienteering (IMHO). Better to drop #7 entirely and create a cool leg to #8.
Leg 8 (from #6) - a neat leg. I would suggest moving #8 SE to create a stronger option to the east. Also moving it up the hill away from the trail
Leg 9 - this is a tough one. Generally I like this kind of leg, and it creates a nice leg 10. However in this case the control is probably too easy and those cliffs look a little scary being on the edge of a pretty steep hill. I would avoid the area. Perhaps move control 9 slightly SE to the rock features higher up the hill to maintain a good leg 10, reduce the climb, and increase the safety.
Leg 10 - nice idea, but I think that feature is pretty vague looking. I think everyone will be better off if you don't use features like that - there's plenty of solid features on the map, I wouldn't use vegetation unless it was marked with the black-dots around it
Leg 11 - I like the idea of using the deep reentrants. But (I hope I'm not being too negative?) I think there are two problems - first the control has too easy a bail-out, and second it leads to a weak leg 12. What about stopping the leg about half way and putting the control in the first of the two small reentrants high up, close to a path. The leg itself won't be particularly great, but sets up a stronger leg 12 with more route choice.
Leg 12 - as it stands there is very little route choice. Moving control 11 north bring the green into play in the route choice and makes for more complex navigation

Okay - I have to stop here, time has run out for me.

I think this course has a lot of promise and tweaking the location of some of the controls will make it more challenging while maintaining the fun rhythm and terrain that is already there. I'd enjoy this one a lot.
Apr 6, 2016 6:01 AM # 
Some more comments, about the end of the course...

Leg 14 - I really like the idea, but there really isn't much route choice (runners will go to the road and attack off the bend. I suggest moving the control to before the road (note: if you are careless here you could create a situation where people are running through the start area. That is why it is important to keep this control.)
Leg 15 - really like this one - tricky control on the side of a slope. Not much route choice, but that's okay - it serves to keep runners out of the start area.

The end...

Leg 16 is way too easy, and 17 is a bit boring (run to the road for the first 2/3 of the leg). Then 18 is right next to a path... And I don't like the complex cross overs and the strange long run to the finish. So ... what about looking at running the last legs in reverse...

15 - 22 could be cool
22 - 21 - drop 21 because it is brutal and not particularly tough. Instead go ...
22 - 20 - a number of route choices and an awesome control site!
20 - 19 - a little dull, but the main point is to turn people around
19 - 18 - not much route choice. Move #18 east to top of ditch to give left/right/over options
18 - 17 - hm, a little boring with the control on the far side of a big road. I'd be inclined to look a little west of the northern tip of the clearing to get max route choice
17 - 16 - from close to the clearing this is a nice leg to test concentration of the tiring runner.
16 - finish - a lovely run into the arena. Perhaps add a "go control" at the edge of the clearing, followed by a wonderful 250m+ finish chute.

I must say that I really like this course - it has a solid foundation. I may sound ubber critical, and I apologize for that - it is that I am focusing on the weaknesses I see in the course. Overall I think this is close to a top-notch WRE-worthy course and needs just a bit of work to iron out some of the weaknesses. Also, as I said before, I think this is a really fun course to run.
Apr 6, 2016 6:08 AM # 
I'm quite concerned that I am sounding far too negative. Let me explain a little by saying that this is typical of the comments I provide course planners when I'm controlling. I expect that about half my comments are going to shed a new light on a control. THe other half I have probably missed something important, and the course planner will point that out to me. Then we'll have a few more discussions and the course planner will make a new course - and we'll do this again ;-) Eventually we'll have a strong course with lots of route choice, loads of variation of tempo/terrain/technique, good logistics (start/arena/walk to start/parking/etc), and a fun course for the participants that is the correct length to give proper winning times).

I hope that explains why my comments sound so 'nasty'. They're not intended to be mean, just to be part of the discussion that takes a course from draft concept to final layout - and I'm well aware that I'm wrong at least half the time!
Apr 6, 2016 6:23 AM # 
Pink Socks:
AZ, as someone who has utilized your expertise in course consulting in the past, I don't think you're coming across as too negative here! I think it's all very constructive.
Apr 6, 2016 10:13 AM # 
@AZ, you are being slightly negative, as you didn't comment on the standout leg 12-13. I think for an course design exercise like this its helpful to say what you think is good, whereas when controlling one tends to concentrate on the negatives.

So, what to like about 12-13

1/ The campground "obstacle" forces you to make a left/right decision early, giving two sets of routes to look at.
2/ The road route is tempting, you have to use time to look at it carefully, but ultimately its probably not best unless the terrain is really horrid (in which case the course would be heading into 2hour territory...)
3/ you have to switch from primarily compass navigation early on to mainly mapreading in teh spur/gully later
4/ the approach is tricky, with no nailed-on attack point, and a possibility of going round the hill or (better) over.
5/ The control site requires judging your height on the hill.
6/ At every point on the leg, there's a danger of drifting off line.
Apr 6, 2016 12:15 PM # 
Leg 7 - I hate it ;-) This is an example of running straight up the hill - one of the easiest and

Less fit runners like me may find this leg trickier than that. For climb it may be difficult to estimate distance correctly, visibility may be worse for green and those may make me hesitate or look for it way too early. And for making route choice decision for the next leg I may loose map contact for a moment and make parallel error with those two spurs. And look for control too much at right by the same spur #6 is located.

But this leg shouldn't be used without fixing the map. Full control just suddenly ends by the control. And the form line behind the control has tag pointing wrong direction. Easy to get all wrong impression of the land forms and end up blaming map for any mistakes here.
Apr 6, 2016 12:43 PM # 
AZ - I thought 6 was trivial, navigation-wise. What to do apart from straight line? Climb, drop, climb (the re-entrant just east of the line), two spurs, control is at the top of the steep bit. I would remove 6 and 7 (7 isn't to my taste either) and do something like 5 to 8 directly, again, possibly pulling 8 SE a smidge.

Physically, otoh...!
Apr 6, 2016 2:19 PM # 
@ndobbs - yes, you are probably right. No matter what you do you are faced with a huge climb, so then you may as well just go straight and "get it over with"

@jagge - for 6-7 I imagine most people will follow the reentrant all the way (staying in the white) until they hit that funny tag line on the form line (which I think indicates a small 'valley'). at that point they would climb the remaining two contours to the flattish bit, the turn left to the foot of the spur made by the contour line that ends in the middle of nowhere ;-) So I agree that the map is wonky there ;-), but I don't think you need to go in green or worry too much about distance judgement (or even losing direction as you'll be in the re-entrant almost the entire way).

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