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Discussion: HELP! Sprint venue still TBC

in: Senior Team USA Trials (Jun 3–5 - Kent, CT, US)

Apr 9, 2016 3:41 AM # 
Hi everyone! This is an appeal to anyone who may have some weight with people on a venue to give me a hand in trying to find a sprint venue for the team trials.

I've been through two protracted panel processes only to be turned down for a reason that was known at the start, and now time is really pressing and we are still without a venue. I am currently in talks with Yale West Campus, but their requirements are likely to be more than we can commit to - they want police and fire presence from both towns involved, just for starters.

So this a strong appeal to anyone who can pull some strings on a West CT Campus/Outdoor Center/something we can map (we have a mapper ready to go!) to please, please step in and give me a hand. Litchfield/Danbury/ New Haven/Milford over the state line in NY - anywhere in that area really. For the evening of June 3rd.

There is Kent School, but it is their Graduation weekend, so I'm anticipating a no go from them.
Apr 9, 2016 11:23 AM # 
WCOC Bethel Schools Map not an option?
Apr 9, 2016 11:38 AM # 
It's only 40 minutes further from Kent than Yale, but what about UMASS Amherst? Map already in place. And if folks are flying in, BDL is probably the logical hub. Forest Park Springfield also an option, but not quite a campus style sprint.
Apr 9, 2016 11:43 AM # 
Further than Yale, closer than UMass, I could investigate the possibilities of UCONN main campus. It would be a fine venue if permissions could be secured quickly.
Apr 9, 2016 12:59 PM # 
There's an ISOM map of Hampshire College in southern Amherst, Massachusetts. (Smaller than UMass for sure, but maybe less crowded.)
Apr 9, 2016 1:52 PM # 
Thanks for the suggestions so far - Amherst and Fairfield have both been heavily trained on by some members of the team, so I've been trying to avoid them so far.

We suggested flying into NYC so that makes UCONN a much longer trip. However, if people are actually flying BOS or BDL, it makes some sense. Who's booked flights?

Clint, we've mentioned Bethel Schools and that may be another back up option.
Apr 9, 2016 3:17 PM # 
Becks, I just went you an email - contact me if you didn't get it. Campus facilities director from the sprint we just did in Ohio would probably be willing to talk to any of your Univ officials, give us a very good reference, and ease some of their concerns.
Apr 9, 2016 4:37 PM # 
I think that would be very helpful, thanks Mike. I haven't received your e mail, did you send it to becky dot carlyle at gmail dot com?

Apr 9, 2016 5:04 PM # 
SUNY Purchase?

Another random thought... summer camps for kids. Might not be exactly what you're looking for. But it might potentially be a win/win. You stage a race there in early June before their season gets underway, and they get a new activity to do with their campers.

I don't know that area very well except for one that's right near a family camp here.

This might not what you're looking for (although there's more hiding under all those trees) but it's a girls camp that has a CT state park with a beach just around the bend of the lake. On a Friday evening the park could be busy if it's a warm day, or nearly deserted otherwise. But just an idea for another line of thought.

[ooh... and here you could utilize the new sprint+swim format!]
Apr 9, 2016 5:13 PM # 
I can't speak for West Point, but I know who to start asking if Trophy Point might be desired. It's after graduation, so traditionally quiet. hasn't been used in awhile in competition - 2009? Not sure if it needs updates. USMAOC alums would be very familiar with the terrain; not sure how much they've used the map to train, though.
Apr 9, 2016 5:20 PM # 
Western CT SU in danbury- west campus
Apr 9, 2016 5:29 PM # 
SUNY Purchase is now a no go for permits, otherwise that's an excellent idea.

Joe - do you know anyone at Western CT? I can't do another cold approach - it's not working and takes too long to get to an answer.

cmpbllv - Trophy point is an awesome area, do you really think there's any chance of that?
Apr 9, 2016 7:45 PM # 
Purchase a no-go period, or because of the obscene fees they've charged?
Apr 9, 2016 7:57 PM # 
Maybe - a lot Jon and I don't know about the approval process, and there will be plenty of bureaucracy involved. I'll send you an email with initial thoughts and you can tell me if you think it's worth trying to pursue.
Apr 9, 2016 8:13 PM # 
@becks. Tried re-sending the email. Typo in
the address in the fiirst attempt.
Apr 9, 2016 8:45 PM # 
Would Hotchkiss School be of interest? 30 minutes north of Kent. would the race be open to the public?
Apr 9, 2016 9:19 PM # 
Oslug, if you have contacts there, I think we could make it work, although I'm a bit worried about how much of the grass looks like golf course. The date is just after their term finishes. The trials will be mostly pre entry only, but we could certainly make arrangements for that day for the public to get involved.
Apr 9, 2016 9:22 PM # 
OK. I'll email my friend, a faculty member.
Apr 9, 2016 9:28 PM # 
Thank you!
Apr 10, 2016 1:55 AM # 
We had a Jr camp here:
Has a good O map, probably not the best urban type sprint area, but I remember the woods were pretty open. Ed Hicks would be the contact guy.
I have the O map if you would like to see it.
Apr 10, 2016 2:04 AM # 
I remember a O course at Club Getaway in Kent. I think Peter Goodwin set a course there.
Apr 10, 2016 6:46 AM # 
There was also a college (Manhattan?) across the road from purchase. Fees weren't all that obscene at purchase, except on a per orienteer basis.
Apr 10, 2016 5:04 PM # 
What about Cranbury Park in Norwalk? We stopped using the map because they wanted to charge over $100 for a pavilion fee, even if we didn't use a pavilion. But we haven't looked into the park for several years and maybe your budget will allow for it anyway?
Apr 10, 2016 6:35 PM # 
Manhattanville is the school in Purchase.
Apr 10, 2016 7:28 PM # 
Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, is 50 minutes from Kent, slightly closer than Purchase. Their website mentions having a US Orienteering Champion matriculate in 2007.
Apr 10, 2016 8:12 PM # 
Does Marist (also in Poughkeepsie) have any potential? Also some orienteering connection there.
Apr 10, 2016 10:01 PM # 
As an aside, the I-84 interchange to nowhere of my youth came to mind when I first saw this thread, not as a realistic or good but unusual sprint venue. It seems to now be partly in use. The multiple levels probably make a true ISSOM map unfeasible. There's a no trespassing sign on adjacent Tunxis Rd; I recall the interchange always being an off limits area.,-72.772127...
Apr 10, 2016 10:24 PM # 
Yeah, the New Britain interchange got de-mothballed quite a while ago now.
Apr 10, 2016 10:37 PM # 
Given the bad shape it was in decades ago, I hope that they did a lot to bring it up to standards.
Apr 11, 2016 10:55 PM # 
Like cutting down the trees that were growing up through cracks in the pavement?
Apr 12, 2016 1:38 AM # 
Ah, pretty much any New England road has that happen if it isn't driven on for a few years, if I recall correctly.
Apr 12, 2016 5:31 AM # 
No meaningful commentary except to say thanks for working on this, Becks!
Apr 12, 2016 1:38 PM # 
If the current Amherst maps are trying to be avoided due to previous training on them, would new maps in the area be a possibility? There are three other colleges in the area - Mt Holyoke College, Smith College, and Amherst College that could potentially be turned into maps. I could potentially help with contacting if you're interested in Mt Holyoke (I'm an alum and local firefighter/EMT).
Apr 12, 2016 2:14 PM # 
Hi Tracy! We currently have three potential plans up in the air, but if you could maybe just ask how people would feel about using Holyoke, that would be great. If you get the response "great idea!" then perhaps it would work. Time now is of the essence!
Apr 12, 2016 4:45 PM # 
Pink Socks:
I don't have any leads on maps for you, but at the risk of hijacking the thread, I'm wondering what sorts of permitting issues people are running into?

I ask because we just finished (I think) wrangling up the permits for our sprint festival in Seattle. There was one venue I was surprised that we weren't allowed a permit, one venue I was surprised that we *did* get a permit, one venue that's expensive ($500), one venue where we got a permit but we can't go off trail, and one brand new venue that looks promising (I've gotten a verbal agreement, but nothing signed yet).

It might be useful to hear what pain points others are experiencing so that we can try to mitigate those going forward.
Apr 12, 2016 5:23 PM # 
Hotchkiss is a no-go this time because of end-of-year staff overload. However, they are interested in the prospect of on-campus meets in the future, when the students could participate (they'll be gone by June 3). Seems like a prep school would be a great match for exposing young folk to orienteering - with emphasis on brains and fitness and problem-solving. Sorry for the dead end for this event.
Apr 12, 2016 6:52 PM # 
Note that Williams College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are similar distance from Kent as the "Happy Valley" colleges (Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, Hampshire, etc.).
Apr 12, 2016 7:16 PM # 
JimBaker, maybe you are not understanding the issue. It is not a lack of venues or maps. It is a lack of permission. So pointing out nearby campuses doesn't really help the situation if you don't have a lead on permissions at one of the campuses.

Becks, I feel your pain. Good luck with this, you're not in an enviable situation. I totally appreciate all you're doing!
Apr 12, 2016 7:28 PM # 
I understand that it's a permissions issue, but sometimes the way around that is to have more options. Anyway, good luck.
Apr 12, 2016 8:09 PM # 
By the way, for Williams College, one could consider contacting professor and longtime orienteer Heather Williams. She might know how likely you are to get permission, and who best to contact. Perhaps she or her husband Pat Dunlavey have even organized orienteering on campus in the past; they have at a nearby forest owned by the university, and thus may understand the permissions process.
Apr 12, 2016 8:36 PM # 
(Ex-husband, I think. )
Apr 13, 2016 3:40 AM # 
I started making a map of Williams while I was a student there (with Pat's help). At that time, I also taught orienteering PE classes through the outing club, so if Scott is still the director of the Outing Club, I could try to contact him to see if we might be able to get permission. Although I just looked at the academic calendar, and it looks like commencement is June 5, so it's probably not an optimal time.
Apr 13, 2016 4:27 AM # 
At least one (read:me) team trial participant will have spent a bit too much time on the Williams campus to compete in a race there, but it is a lovely venue with a history of supporting orienteering.
Apr 13, 2016 4:34 AM # 
I obviously fall into that category as well, although I'm not planning on competing for the team this year.
Apr 13, 2016 3:16 PM # 
Slightly off topic but I don't know that being a student at Williams would necessarily make you ineligible for the trials. NAOC is at Dartmouth and there are a number of alumni that will be competing there (I hope).....
Apr 13, 2016 3:22 PM # 
It seems to me the nature of an urban event that some people will have seen the terrain, or even lived, studied or worked there. The predecessor to the Sprint format, the Park World Tour, seemed to value the publicity and excitement of the format over traditional notions of unfamiliar terrain. To be honest, I'm not sure how useful familiarity is for the quick decisions required. I think that it would take me longer to remember my university's buildings and the ways around and between them than to just orienteerr as usual using the map.
Apr 13, 2016 3:33 PM # 
How about teaching orienteering as a PE class using a crude map of the campus several times a semester, as I guess that Tori and I were both doing something like that during our college days? Though in general I agree that the best orienteers will triumph even if others have local knowledge.

Also valuable to avoid even the appearance of misconduct in these cases.
Apr 13, 2016 4:10 PM # 
Ah, a venerable university job for orienteers, teaching orienteering as Physical Education. I have fond recollections of my years doing that (entirely in forest terrain, as this was before Park World Tour, and my campus would have been a bit busy to have people running around focusing on their map). I know that mapping and even course setting or teaching makes one more familiar with first maps, I could remember what most boulders looked like. This sounds like something for the selection committee to ponder; if they think that your familiarity affected optimal fairness, they could instead judge you based on previous races. The organizers' choice of venue shouldn't impact you positively, but it also shouldn't affect you negatively. Unless someone seeks familiarity after the announcement of venue, it's the selection committee's responsibility to thread that needle of neither benefit nor penalty due to long prior terrain familiarity. I know of no rule saying that you become ineligible for selection (or racing) based on choice of venue beyond your control. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
Apr 13, 2016 10:56 PM # 
You do realize, I assume, that your alma mater has a sprint map, and has had an A-meet event held on it, right? Training session there tomorrow at 5:30 PM.

Generally speaking, I can't see that anyone could be excluded from an event based on the fact that they went to college on the campus. There's plenty of precedent for use of maps for championship events where the venue had been used before, and some people had extensive experience in the terrain. (If somebody was a current student on the campus, that would be a different story, but also a major failing on the part of the organizers.)
Apr 13, 2016 11:16 PM # 
A couple of years back we had the Australian Sprint Championships at a school in Canberra (my former high school, as it happens, although long enough ago that about half the buildings weren't there when I was a student). There were three current or recently-former students who were considered serious contenders in their age groups. Two of them mispunched....

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