Here is Glitter Two's design of a Long F21 course at Otter Creek, for your review.
Lots of interesting stuff here!
#1 is relatively obvious, you have to follow the initial paths on a slight left bend, then hit the power line/path crossing as a control attack point.
#2 is the kind of leg I would _hate_ to get! Assuming the forest is relatively runnable there is no way to avoid a straight on scramble across the ravines, then a bit of path running, cut over to the cabins and then more path towards the control. 20 contours of climb?
#3 is a bit too easy for a championship course: Run straight and use the pond and paths.
#4 is pure running.
#5 has no options, you have to run around to the right, but doing it perfectly might be hard.
#6 is mostly transport/setup for the next leg.
#7 is similar to #5, but with even less of a real route choice and since you would attack it from the top of the hill it becomes very easy.
#8 is direction runing with the path as a collection point before the control.
#9 is too easy!
#10, 11 & 12 are all good. :-)
Quick comment that I agree with TM. I don't think this course would be much fun because of the big unavoidable climbs that happen too frequently in this course. There are some really good things here though and I think with an "easier" map for course planning this course planner would probably make good courses.
[EDIT: On review, I feel the last sentence is condescending and I apologize - I was trying to say I think the course planner is very talented and it didn't come out that way. The point of the sentence was to lead into what I consider "hard" about setting courses on this map.]]
I find as a course planner that sometimes maps look really exciting but when you dig a bit deeper you find course planning is constrained to narrower areas, usually because of steep / dangerous areas. This is one of those maps. The river cuts off the east bit, the deep ravines cut through the other sections making smaller areas (and while one or two climbs are okay, it is still limiting), and the major road / trail network makes setting long legs very tough.
I think this map gives a very typical situation and so I think is very instructional. The comments on all courses seem to follow a few major themes:
* too much climb
* target winning time won't be acheived
* not enough route choice
* too easy legs
* some minor logistics issues (arena, start location, crossings, etc)
Looks like just over 300m of climb, or a bit over 3% climb.
3% is generally quite okay. In this course the trouble is how the 3% is dished out - there is a lot of "run down the hill to get a control, then turn around and run up". This is the situation for #1, #5, and #8. It gives the impression that the main point of the leg is to be physical - rather than route choice / navigational skill. Usually quite depressing to encounter as a runner (IMHO)
I quite like this course. Maybe move 7 NE to the top of a gully to make the lower route a little more tempting (but where to cut down to the river?)? 9 could be moved out of the gully a little to make it a bit harder in the circle. And move the start a bit east.
It's perhaps not always the most challenging, but it does lead the runner to take a nice tour of the map, which is also worthwhile.
On 3 -- the path leading to the control is too wiggly to be anything other than a distraction, no?
To me this look like a series of legs with similar length. Like someone has planned it by ad-hoc leg by leg, figuring out next only after previous one is already fixed. There is no long legs, no short legs, no variation. Just the same average kind of legs one after another.
Planner might consider different approach when planing courses. Instead of trying to plan full course right from the start you could try planning single long legs with plenty route choice. Use most of the time to do this. When you have figured out 6..7 nice legs and you are sure there cannot be better legs then these on this map then take a look at them and see if you can hook some of best ones together with reasonably good shorter legs. If there is nice detailed ares between you can set some short legs the to make runner change rhythm/style there for a moment. Then take a look at start and end of your leg series and see can you make it hit one of those finish areas and reasonably good start. Then calculate distance climb and see if it needs some rework. Like this you should not end up having a series of ~500m legs.
I prefer to design courses using Jagge's method (look for the best legs and then join them).
I don't care for leg 1 because it has very solid collecting/attack features in front of the control. Also, I don't see the point of descending into that ravine just to climb back out. I would prefer the leg to end on one of the ditches, pits or cup depressions much higher on the ridge.
3-4-5 could be improved by deleting #4 and moving the control to the area NE of 6. This would create a long leg with several options and the necessity to navigate the final 1/4 of the leg away from tracks and powerlines.
I wonder if the area around 7 is suitable for the end of a long leg. There are paths that would be the preferred route for any long route into the area. Moving the control a bit would just move the traffic to a different path for a long run. Perhaps this area would be better used for a series of shorter legs.
As has been said several times in these discussions, there are several factors working against planning a technical difficulty 5 course on this map. That said, I would follow Jagge's process and: 1) avoid unnecessary climb/descent and try to have more than a single control at the end of a big elevation change, 2) set the controls as far as possible from the linear features, 3) use the detailed areas for change of pace and change of direction, 4) in areas where the path network is dense, set legs across, rather than along the paths.