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Discussion: Course design - Electrophoretic Kitten Long F21

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 9, 2016 12:43 PM # 
Here is Electrophoretic Kitten's design of a Long F21 course at Otter Creek. Comments?

Apr 9, 2016 6:50 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I like the 4-7 combination!

#8 seems superfluous and it even makes the leg to #9 less interesting.

#11 was a nice variation of the "cross the horrible ravine" leg, but isn't that the wrong direction? With the control just after the largest detail on the map this leg becomes a route choice only, and the only choice is to go fairly straight, either a little bit up first to get into the white forest or drop down to the path, then for the end you just have to drop down and go up the reentrant under the line.

#16 looks like a route choice but in reality it is pure path running and attack from the parking lot.

There are a lot of interesting legs on this course but I'm particularly missing a few longer legs!
Apr 9, 2016 7:47 PM # 
Yes, this is another course with only one 1.5km leg, and the rest much shorter legs. I like Middle courses, and a lengthy Middle can be fun, but ideally a Long includes some mega legs. The nice thing about this terrain for a Long course setting challenge is that setting long legs is a challenge. If you can find them in this terrain, they should pop out in many other terrains as well.

I do like the series of control picking and intermediate length legs overall. Some controls, like 2, 15 ad 17, are just before trails, controls 7, 8, 11 and 12 are just after trails, and 4 sort of is. I prefer not having as many controls just before or after trails. It might be worth skipping 2; 1 to 3 is an interesting leg with some minor route choice.

Like Eclectic Phoenix's course, this course focuses on the best parts of the terrain (a good thing), and is an appropriate length. It looks hillier than EP's; it would be good to count climb to see how it is. I like the variety in navigation.
Apr 10, 2016 4:28 AM # 
This course makes me smile because I could have set this one. Which means it probably has too many controls ;-) I personally love courses with lots of controls both because it is fun to "find" the control and also because I feel it requires higher levels of concentration and more problems to solve and decisions to make. But it also means there are probably not enough good long legs and the course perhaps doesn't have a true "long distance" feel to it - as I've ben told many times "that is a really nice long middle distance course" ;-)

I think also the northern part of the map around the "camp" is somewhat overused and other parts of the map could have been brought into play instead.

This planner didn't count the climb - it doesn't look too bad, but counting the climb might influence some of the legs (by reducing the climb required ;-)

Overall layout is good - well though-out start & arena with a beautiful finish chute!

Start: in the corner of the map with lots of good first leg options. Nicely out of the way so won't interfere with any parts of the course.

Leg 1: I like the idea. Some people will take the path, others will go direct
Leg 2: Cute "keep them off balance" leg - not much route choice
Leg 3: Not much route choice - but a nice fast-paced thinking start to the course

However, I wonder if in the spirit of reducing controls it might be good to use control 3 as the first control? There could be some nice route choices there and looks like some great running.

4/5/6/7 - I think everyone would attack #4 from above, so although there is a very sharp angle at 4 I don't think there is likely to be any doglegging. A very physical section with some very difficult navigation. Leg 6 I find a bit weak - with a vague control location and not much route choice. I might suggest considering extending that leg - about as weak a suggestion as you can get because I quite like the current Leg 7 and worry about wrecking that with a change to #6.

Leg 8 - I'm not sure I see the point of this leg and might consider going 7-9

Leg 10 - I feel there could be more route choice if 10 was nudged a bit north. As it is I think everyone runs down to the rocks then contours around. Further north might encourage some attacks from above.

Leg 11 - I agree with TM's analysis and would suggest moving #11 further north.

Leg 13 - I'm not a fan of this type of "brutality". There's no big route choice and the hill is very steep. Perhaps even too steep? (I'd want to take a close look at it for sure). But that is personal preference - perhaps the leg is okay.

Leg 15/16/17 - Like TM I don't care too much for leg 16 and would change that entire part of the course

To the finish ... I feel that the course runs out of steam and the high quality of the first half of the course is not maintained to the end. For example, Leg 21 you could link up trail running / powerline running without too much climb penalty. Or you could run on tracks almost directly on the straight line. There is a bit of route choice there, but both are pretty simple navigation and probably a bit disappointing for the top orienteers to have such long 'easy' legs.

The finish is superb, with great use of the field to make a fabulous arena.

This course planner is clearly very talented and I think could put a bit more work into the second half of the course to make a super-fun, super-challenging world-class quality course
Apr 10, 2016 7:25 AM # 
I'd try making it go from 6 straight to 13 (or somewhere around there) and remove northern loop: instead return with Bog Muck 12-13 style leg (maybe 13 a bit earlier) and fill missing distance for erased northern loop by entering the area Bog Muck's 1-2-16 controls were located. Then it would start looking pretty good to me.
Apr 10, 2016 6:23 PM # 
I find the first few controls nearly good, but not. The second control makes the third boring. Why start off with the trail for 100m? 1 to 3 or 2 to 4 would be better.

And 456 seems like climb down a mountain to climb up a mountain. Is it necessary to go to the river? [Not sure what is vague about the control location, AZ?]

How about moving 4 to the reentrant one contour up. Then 2 to 4 to 6, then move 7 to the WNW of 6? I dunno.

The course name is cool!
Apr 10, 2016 6:41 PM # 
[Not sure what is vague about the control location, AZ?]

Don't want to re-direct the thread, but I'm not in favour of mapping root stocks and would always avoid using them in course planning. What if another tree falls over nearby, for example. There's been at least one other long thread on AP about that ;-)
Apr 10, 2016 7:03 PM # 
In some terrain, like Big Basin south of San Francisco, rootstocks and especially the associated fallen tree are important to map, at least when the tree is a redwood, because a fallen redwood forms a longish relatively impassible barrier. At the other extreme, one meter rootstocks almost always decay into something indistinct from normal deadwood over the life of the map (or maybe other countries can afford to remap more often), becoming eclipsed by new rootstocks. One difficult intermediate case, I find, is rootstocks that are 3+m high. Extremely noticeable, a slight obstacle, but they will decay, and if one formed then another can too. Still better than Scandinavian charcoal burning platforms.
Apr 10, 2016 8:08 PM # 
Giant California trees are in a different category.
Apr 10, 2016 8:30 PM # 
But a cool category.
Apr 11, 2016 9:38 AM # 
Aye, but the location via contour looks rock-solid, so there should be no doubt about where the root stock is. I'm not saying this one ought to have been mapped, but given it has, I think it is fair to use.
Apr 11, 2016 1:20 PM # 
Indeed, this rootstock might be visible, but a few nights before the event could have a big storm knocking many trees down, as happened at the Canadian Championships one year.
Apr 11, 2016 10:41 PM # 
So many trees as to render that part of the map unusable, in fact.
Apr 11, 2016 11:19 PM # 
Yes, one particular microburst left an area of deadfall that one couldn't easily traverse while staying within a safe distance above the ground. Other areas were more traversable, but had the occasional downed tree.

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