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Discussion: Course design - Molten Convict Long F21

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 14, 2016 11:13 PM # 
Here is Molten Convict's design of a Long F21 course at Otter Creek, for your review.

Apr 14, 2016 11:15 PM # 
MJChilds wrote these comments on Molten Convict's course in another thread.
Apr 15, 2016 5:06 AM # 
I'm going to go a little harsh in my critique. For sure there are good aspects of this course - but it sticks very much to the outside of the map, missing some nice detail areas and with the bulk of control sites need the edge of the terrain. And there's not as much route choice as there could be. One thing that is very good though is that the course has a definite "long distance" feel to it, with a good number of long legs.

A few posts ago one comment was about how the course looked as though it was set by doing leg 1, then leg 2, and then leg 3 and so on. This has that same sort of feel - where a better appropach is perhaps to look for good long legs, look for good areas of details, and use the best bits of the map for the courses.

Start - location is awkward as it is right in the middle of leg 9 and also requires walking through the course to get to it. That just won't do ;-) Easy enough to move #9 NW to solve those issues

Leg 1 - pretty nice I think. The green will keep people on the line or to the east of the line so is acting more like a handrail than an obstacle. Perhaps moving #1 west so there is an option to run by the buildings would be good

Leg 2 - with existing #1 it is very dog-leggy - should perhaps have a short transport leg here, and this would be a good area of the map to do that as it has some details. The actual leg is way too easy with no route choice other than to run straight to the road then jump on the track and follow to the ridge, then down the ridge and to the far side of the big hill. I don't see any viable option to that. This would need some work.

Leg 3 - not too bad - some nice route choices. My only quibble here would be whether the climb is necessary as there is an up the hill / down the hill feel to it. But that is very minor quibble.

Leg 4 - this is another example of a leg that goes directly up a hill. It is generally better to go at hills at an angle so that the runner is given a climb early / climb late / climb gradually choice. In this leg the runner just has to go straight. Possibly one of the features south would imporve the course.

Leg 5 - again I don't see a ton of route choice, but moving #4 lower down would tempt more people to stay low and make this leg quite cool

Leg 6 - this might be quite good. Personally I would avoid the climb and take the track along the bottom. Not sure if the higher & more direct route would attract stronger, tougher characters than me ;-) I do think that moving #6 further south, slightly west, a little up the slope could make this a great leg. I think the course uses this section 4 to 5 to 6 quite nicely

Leg 7 - I don't see that this is a feasible control location on too steep a slope. At this point I also think there's been two pretty decent legs in a row that have this same type of orienteering problem. So time to mix it up - probably by moving the control a little west?

Leg 8 - this is a good attempt at a long leg. But I'm not sure if there's a ton of choice other than to go more or less right at the control and suffer the climb

Leg 9 - a fairly cool change of pace for this long leg through the roads. Have to work on the location of #9 to avoid conflict with the start (and running through the arena for an attack point).

Finish - It would be very weird to have a marked route through the forest for that long. Probably makes more sense to insert a "traditional" last control at the edge of the clearing. Lovely arena!

Overall, some great ideas for long legs. A bit more route choice would help a lot. And a couple of controls need to move for logistical or safety (#7) reasons. And perhaps a bit more variety in tempo, using some of the nicer areas of the map a bit more.
Apr 15, 2016 5:48 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
There's several good parts of this course, but also opportunities for improvement. :-)

Passing the road both into and out of #1 is probably a bad idea, I'd rather walk a bit further to the starting location.

I agree with AZ about most of the stuff for the early controls, particularly moving #4 down a bit to give route choices for both 4 & 5.

#6 is a good leg, with at least three possible routes. :-)

With a short setup leg ENE along the hillside from #6 the leg to #7 would have more possibilities.

I disagree re. #8, it actually has a fairly nice route choice way left via the road and then along the hillside, this avoids the big climb into the control while allowing the runner to do an 180 and return the exact same way!

#9 is just wrong. :-(

The obvious routes would use either the start point or the final chute as the attack point!
Apr 15, 2016 2:18 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
With regards to transport/dogleg avoidance legs, I am totally on board for champs level courses. Do you relax your minimum acuteness targets any when you are planning lightly attended local meets to keep flag counts manageable?
Apr 15, 2016 3:15 PM # 
I don't.

I don't see much cost in adding a short transport leg.
I can't bring myself to lower my standards - it can become habit-forming ;-)
Apr 15, 2016 6:16 PM # 
I agree with Terje on #8 and its nice, not glaringly obvious left route choice to miss the climb. (But maybe that's because I had designed a few variations of such legs before abandoning them in my course. :)

I find dog legs a sometimes difficult topic, as some legs have a large number of plausible approaches, making avoidance of a dog leg nearly impossible regardless of the direction of the next leg. And these legs with lots of plausible approaches are often among the more interesting. (Similarly, lots of plausible exits from the control can be a sign of a good next leg (or not).) In fact, it's possible for a quite good course to have few legs in which there's only one way in to the control, or only one way out. I wouldn't want to reduce the choices in in order to reduce the potential for competitors to see each other. In my experience, seeing someone mid-leg is often more helpful. Seeing someone come out when I'm fulling concentrating to nail the approach is somewhat of a distraction, possible to cost time almost as much as to save time. (If seeing someone would help the approach significantly, that can sometimes (but not always) be a sign of funkiness of the control location, which could be a problem that needs fixing.) I tend to find that dog legs fall along a spectrum of "that's terrible and likely to make a big difference for those who see someone coming out" to "meh, shrug, some people will come out the way that others will come in, but probably not make much of a difference, and the cure (of restricting choices in and/or out) is worse than the disease", and assess them and deal with them accordingly. Anyway, my possibly contrarian opinion.
Apr 15, 2016 7:09 PM # 
One third is so steep that without dobbs..., and the last leg on tarmac will just injure everyone.

I'm with AZ on the route to 8.

Moving 2 north a little might tempt some to cut down earlier to the river, salvaging something...

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