Four weeks to this year's visit to Mike's Maze. Seems like time to pass on a little bit of info:
-- There is a maze, meaning the corn has grown nice and tall despite the meager rainfall, and a bunch of paths have been cut in it.
-- Rumor is that there is also a map, though I haven't seen it yet. I have every expectation that there will be one available to us as some point.
-- I walked around in part of the maze. It seems a little less complicated than prior versions, but still ought to be fine. For some of our regulars, a little less complicated might be a good thing.
-- We are set for the late afternoon and evening on September 3. That's Saturday of Labor Day weekend, same as last year.
-- The schedule will be a little different, basically starting later in the afternoon. The maze is open to the public that weekend, until 5 in the afternoon. So the first orienteering start will be about 5:30, with the Night event starting about 8:30.
-- Last year we had 5 events: Classic, Sprint, Party, Trail, and Night. This year we'll probably have something similar. But not exactly similar, always have to change something.
-- Entries will be first-come, first served, limit of 50, pre-registration only. But we're not open for entries yet. (I'd like to see the map first to make sure it will work. Ran into Mike at the Post Office today and he said he'll get after his daughter-in-law, the designer, to send me a copy. We'll see.)
I'll keep you posted here
For reference, here are maps/courses from prior years at Mike's Maze:
2010: classic, part 1
, classic, part 2
2011: classic, part 1
, classic, part 2
, relay, night
, trail answers
, trail answers
Two and a half weeks to go and we have a map! As I thought -- it seems a little less complicated than prior versions, but still ought to be fine.
Entries are now open, the limit is 50. Entry fee is $20, pay when you arrive. To enter, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
SI number (if you don't have an SI e-punch stick, you can borrow one)
e-mail (if you are entering more than one person and have different e-mails)
1. Classic. First start 5:30 pm, 30-second intervals.
2. Sprint. First start 6:15 pm, 15-second intervals.
3. Party after the sprint at Bub's BBQ, with an alternative version at the Bridge Street Grille (another local spot).
4. Trail-O. Anytime before it gets dark. Once again, open and Luddite versions.
5. Night. Mellow mass start 8:30 pm. New rules (once again). In fact, the rules for each event may be different than before. :-)
How will scoring work for the Trail-O with respect to open and luddite categories?
You think I have that figured out? Last year the non-Luddites (JJ with his balloons and Ben with his drone) were both such failures. Is there any reason to expect otherwise this year? Should there even be an Open division?
More important, what will the trail-O be like? Anyone who assumes it will be just like last year might be surprised.
Of course, that goes for all the events... :-)
Changes being contemplated --
1. The Classic will be a true Classic, not virtually a Long as has been the case in the past.
2. The Sprint will be a Shuffle.
3. As a supplement to the Party, some adult beverages will be available at the event site. I have Mike's OK.
4. The Trail O will be a team event.
5. The Night will be a handicap event.
Unchanged will be the calculation of the overall winner, based on placings in events 1, 2, 4, and 5.
(All of the above subject to change, of course.)
Oh, and one other change -- 6. There will be a model map! Access to it closes 5 minutes before the first start in the Classic.
Entries are coming in. The limit is 50. To enter, send an e-mail to email@example.com with the following:
SI number (if you don't have an SI e-punch stick, you can borrow one)
e-mail (if you are entering more than one person and have different e-mails)
Full disclosure: the 2016 maze has been posted at http://mikesmaze.com/
…including a drone flyover at about 1 minute and 7 seconds into this video
Three days to go --
Still have a few slots open for last-minute entries (by tomorrow night, please).
Entries received so far are here
The courses are all figured out, barring any "Canadian" changes. While there is quite a collection of wild animals in the maze (see about the 2-minute mark of the video
), the authorities are still OK with us going in there. Bear spray is optional, not required.
Map -- more or less 1:1,000. No contours. The animals and other man-made objects in the maze are not mapped, just the corn.
Updates on the courses. Note that teams of any size are fine at all events, but going solo is always permitted (except for the Party).
1. Classic. 17 controls. Distance (optimum route) is about 2 km. Expected winning time: 10-12 minutes.
2. Sprint Shuffle. 12 controls. Distance unknown but less than the classic, maybe 1 km? The first control must be taken first, the last one last. For the rest you can go in any order.
3. Trail. 4 controls, all marked by balloons, mark the location on your map. All are at dead ends. Just one class (to save the high-tech folks from embarrassment). Bring whatever gadgets you want.
5. Night. 29 controls. Handicap -- you may skip anywhere from 1 to 10 controls, depending on how good you are (or, one could say, how bad you are).
All the above subject to change, of course. Though the one thing not subject to change is the one rule of corn-maze O' -- no cutting through the corn.
Weather forecast looks good.
And I see you've been practicing. About time someone did some proper training. :-)
We're up to 42 (out of 50 max), one more day, window is about to close.
Any chance someone's going to be hanging out at the race during the night-O but not competing and would be willing to watch a two year old? She's a bit too young to run herself.
And I see you've been practicing. About time someone did some proper training. :-)
Not easy to find a suitable training facility that opens early enough.
Entries are closed. List of entries is here
I'll post start lists tomorrow.
Start lists for the Classic and Sprint and handicaps for the Night are posted here
Requests for a different handicap (higher or lower) for yourself or for someone else can always be submitted. :-)
So wait, I get a penalty loop, but the *defending co-champions* (bgallup, Joe) don't? This hardly seems fair to me.
no whining Ian. Brush up on your trail O.
I might dip out on the night event, since the arthritis will be shouting at me by then. Does anybody object if I try for long exposure night photography of the Night-O?
As a result of some suggestions
, the handicap list has been updated
More suggestions are always welcome.
I think I deserve a "Running wapack the next day" bonus.
Corm Maze O’ event notes –
Let’s get rid of the “bad stuff” first:
-- No cutting through the corn. Just because you can get through the corn without damaging any, this doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes the corn is only one row wide. But it’s still very clear where the trails go, and where they don’t go.
-- You’re running along, reading the map, and wham, you hit the bison (or one of the other animals). Even if you don’t knock it over or bust it, please, just don’t.
--The maze is open to the public until 5 pm. It is not permitted to show up before then, buy a ticket, and case out the maze.
-- Going up to the viewing platform is fine, but please stay away from the other tower a little further south (which is the top of the water slide).
-- In general, no climbing up on buildings or vehicles or other farm stuff.
We’re there as guests of Mike and his family. We’ve really liked being there and they’ve liked having us. If any of them wander by, please take a moment to express your thanks.
5 pm - ? Arrival, check in with Gail (or me if I’m back from hanging controls), which means paying the $20 fee.
5:15: Model map available (your Trail map). The model map is a map of the whole maze, but your access to it is limited to what you can see from the viewing platform, or from either one of the 2 entrances/exits. You are allowed to go in to the maze just to the extent of the entrances/exits, no farther.
5:25: Model closes, at least the access to the entrances/exits. The viewing platform is always open.
5:30: First start Classic. Note: If you are late, we’ll adjust your start time, so don’t panic, or get in an accident, or get a speeding ticket.
Classic has 17 controls, must be taken in order. Controls are numbered 31 to 47, in order. Controls are marked on the map “1-31”, “2-32”, … “17-47”. Length of the optimum route is about 2 km. Climb is 1 meter. Map scale is about 1:1,000. There is a single north arrow on the map.
6:15: First start Sprint Shuffle. 12 controls. The first one is “1-49” and the last one is “12-60” and they must be the first and last ones, respectively, that you do. The other 10, just labeled “50”, “51”, … “59” on the map can be done in any order. Length of the optimum route is about 1 km.
After the Sprint Shuffle, the controls (balloons) for the Trail will go up ASAP.
The Trail has 4 controls. All are at dead-ends. Mark on your map where you think they are. No going in the maze for this. 10 points for a correct answer, 5 points for within 1 centimeter of being right, 2 points for within 2 centimeters. Put your name on your map before you turn it in.
The Party (dinner) – traditionally at Bub’s BBQ, with an alternative site at the White Salmon Grille. Head over on your own schedule.
8:15: Meet up for the mellow mass start for the Night. MMS means everyone has to punch the start box, with the fastest runners going first so they don’t trample the slower ones and walkers.
The Night has 29 controls. Must be taken in order. Controls are marked on the map “1-XX” to 29-XX” (XX is the control code). Note that it is a very busy map! Handicaps – your handicap is the number of controls you can skip. You can skip wherever you want, including more than 1 in a row. Just that the controls you do go to must be in order.
The maps will be given out a little in advance to allow some planning.
Penalty loops – so far only Ian has one, but others may be awarded – may be done at any point in the course (beginning, end, sometime in the middle). Once around the outside of the whole maze. The direction is your choice.
Time limit is one hour.
Note: For many the night event seems to be the most fun. If you want to forget about skipping controls and just do the whole thing, that’s fine. Or, if you want to get all the controls but in a more efficient order, or just get some of the controls, that’s fine too. But if you want bragging rights…
Post-Night: A little help retrieving controls is appreciated. Should be able to get it done in 10-15 minutes.
Directions – (1) to the maze, take exit 24 off I-91, then 116 east towards Sunderland and Amherst. Cross the Connecticut River. Turn right at the light in the center of Sunderland onto 47 south. The maze is 0.4 miles on the right, across from the Millstone Market. (2) To Bub’s BBQ, go back to the light, turn right onto 116 towards Amherst. Bub’s is 3.2 miles on the left. (3) To the White Salmon Grille, go back to the light, turn right onto 116 towards Amherst, WSG is about 100 yards on the right.
Weather – supposed to be fine, might get a little chilly before/after the Night.
And another Corn Maze Champs is in the books, the 7th. Overall winner, using the never before invoked special tie-breaker, was Ian Smith, the King of the Maze, with Ethan Child second, J-J Cote third, and Izzy Bryant 4th (subject to verification as I sort through all the numbers).
Classic results and splits are posted here
No splits for the sprint as folks were allowed to take 10 of the 12 controls in any order they wished. The results are here
Night results are here
. Note that Patrick McNeal's time should be 27:41 (not 33:09), putting him 9th, but I can't seem to make the software do that.
Trail and overall results coming....
, trail answers
For the sprint, you had to go to #49 first and #60 last, but you could go to all the controls in the 50's in any order.
Wow. Diabolical course design, as always. Very nice.
Trail results are here
Overall results are here
Some notes from the afternoon/evening --
1. There were two entrants in what last year was called the "Open" division for the Trail event, meaning high tech gadgets could be used to try to locate where the balloons were. There were two entries last year, Ben and J-J, both total failures.
Just one division this year since high tech seemed not to help. Certainly didn't help Ben, as his drone never got airborne. J-J, on the other hand, had been practicing on the sly for months, and it showed in his results, 4 for 4 exactly right and a perfect score.
2. It's possible the video of his efforts, and an earlier video of a few minutes of action during the Classic, will show up online. We'll see.
3. For all his brilliance, J-J also gets the award for the doofus of the event. Here is a photo of part of the fence between the parking area and the arena --
Needless to say, the fence was not busted and the duct tape was not there when the event started. How J-J, hurtling the fence, managed to break the bottom rail but not the top is beyond me. :-)
4. Despite that, the vibes were still good when I dropped by the maze this morning for a post-mortem (and to settle up). David (Mike's son) had noticed the duct tape and was pretty sure it hadn't been there before. I told him the story and we had a good laugh, about that and other things. Mike showed up, lots of good cheer. Jess (David's wife and the maze designer) was there too; she'd chatted with several of us, very much enjoyed chatting with people who really enjoyed the maze. I believe she used the term "map nerds." :-)
5. No bad collisions that I know of, though Joe did a face plant at the bike-O event near Boston and had to have his jaw stitched, so he and Pavlina didn't make it.
6. As I have done a couple of times before, cash awards to the winners. A variety of marks, schillings, pesos, and other denominations. Both priceless and worthless, I believe.
7. Overall, seemed like a lot of good cheer and no bitching. That is a good combination.
I took some pictures at the event, since I'm so slow that I take pictures to pass the time. There are some 'in the corn' during the classic and sprint. Since I didn't take part in the Night-O, I've taken pictures from the viewing platform of the lights traveling between the stalks.
The pictures are in my orienteering album at https://flic.kr/s/aHsk3nLdwg
.For later use as more pictures get added in the next few months, the last picture of the Corn Maze is at https://flic.kr/p/LT7hpP
I've not managed to make it to this event before, I'm glad I made the effort this time. Both a good vibe and great navigation - thanks for putting it on, Pete.
Enjoy the pictures
Tim, great pictures, especially of the lights. Thank you for posting. Valerie
I have a bucket list of events to visit when I eventually next get across the Pacific. I think this has to be one of them.
^ This. If I ever go to the US I'm scheduling it for the CMO weekend.
Peter--thanks again for organizing another terrific corn maze championship. And Tim, nice pictures.
OK, so the story on the fence is that I was stepping over it and bumped the lower rail, and it broke. It had a big knot in the middle with almost no wood connecting through, and it's a minor miracle that they got it in place without snapping it in the first place. Still, it was me who broke it, and I offer my sincerest apologies.
Now, a bit of drone video
from the Classic event. I waited until there were about 15 people in the maze, and you can see a few of them moving through the maze (they're surprisingly tiny!). Although it didn't feel particularly windy on the ground, there was a decent breeze from the NE (the right) up at 50-100 feet, and for this whole flight, I had the joystick pegged to the right and the drone was still drifting downwind, otherwise this video would have been a bit longer. (Turn off the sound -- I don't know why they bothered to put a microphone on this thing.)
JJ, your drone video is private; we can't see it.
When there are perfectly good interfaces, why do providers keep breaking them? I guess I can't complain too much, since I'm not actually paying YouTube. In any case, it should be fixed now, and my admiration for the usability of Attackpoint continues.
To hijack the thread slightly, I've wondered whether a drone could help people learn contours, via a training exercise in which people place brightly colored markers along a level around a ridge or such, and then see the scene from above by use of a drone or such. Maybe also see what other people thought was a level. Nice seeing a drone in use over an orienteering area. It sounds loud on the video (dunno what it sounded like from the ground).
A few thoughts and explanations about last weekend’s Corn Maze Champs before I forget –
1. First, since transparent finances are generally a good thing, here’s the numbers. Charged a flat $20 per person, had 47 people show up (of 50 entries), so income of $920, one of the Jacksons stuffed in my back pocket seems to have gone missing…
Expenses. I pay Mike $10 a person, so that was $470. Except I gave him $500 because (a) we’d touched one of his old fence rails, not realizing it would self-destruct, and (b) why not, most important expense by far is to keep the owners happy.
Also, map production (color copies) $140.42, balloons $16,96, water $7.98, ice (possible first aid) $3.98. At this point we’re $250.66 to the good!
Then there’s the OUSA fee. Although the event is organized by CMOUSA, it’s co-sponsored by Western Connecticut OC because I use their equipment. So there’s the head tax of $1.50 per start. I asked Mike at one point if he needed anything for insurance and he scoffed, “Insurance?” But I suppose I was quite negligent, no one signed any waivers. So maybe we were covered, or maybe we weren’t. Anyway, $232.50 will be owed to OUSA.
We’re still $18.16 to the plus side, and I think that’s where we’ll end up, a minimal profit for WCOC. But that seems just fine.
2. Schedule. Last year we had the Champs a week before the maze opened to the public, and that was really nice, had the place to ourselves, even if the surroundings were not yet totally spiffed up. So I scheduled the same date for this year, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Sometime this summer Mike and family decided to open a week earlier, ie. the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. I already had an unbreakable commitment for a week earlier, and others had made plans, so I figured we would just make it work.
The maze was open to the public until 5:00 pm and so there was a time crunch on everything. After last year’s event I sent out a questionnaire about a few things, one question had to do with the schedule, and folks seemed happy starting a little earlier so things were more relaxed. We had been starting at 3:30 and I was figuring on moving it to 2:30 or 3:00. Instead, we were now starting at 5:30.
In the questionnaire I’d also asked about start intervals. I’d been using a minute for the Classic and 30 seconds for the Sprint. The general feeling was shorter would be fine. So this time we went with 30 seconds for the Classic and 15 for the Sprint. And moved the start of the Night back to 8:30, well after it got dark.
It was still a very tight schedule. That impacted things. The Classic was a true classic course though purposely a bit shorter than usual. The Sprint – with 15 seconds intervals it seemed a Shuffle might work better (all controls other than the first and last could be taken in any order), so I tried that. Don’t know if it helped, but I didn’t hear any grumbling. And it’s good to keep trying new things. For the Trail, one less balloon than last year, also 3 of the 4 balloons closer, partly because last year seemed a little too hard, and partly so I could get them out faster. And then for the Night, no time to put out more controls or move existing ones, so use the 29 already used, just in a different order.
We seemed to squeeze it all in, but would have loved to have another hour (or two). Then we could have had fences…
3. Course setting. It’s a pretty small maze. Each year I wonder if it will be possible to make acceptable courses. When we started orienteering at Mike’s in 2010, I set two events, Classic and Sprint. A more accurate name for the Sprint might have been “Redemption” – most finished the Classic thinking they could do a lot better, and the Sprint gave them a second chance.
The Night got added 2013 and seemed a hit. Each year the rules have changed. This year I added skips, the number based on age and gender as for the US Relay Champs, then adjusted for whatever reason seemed appropriate. That’s the really great thing about CMOUSA – other than the rule that you can’t cut through the corn, there are no fixed rules. There are standards, there are precedents, for sure, and you don’t want to mess with people too much, but it also seems accepted that fairness is much less important than fun.
And so this year, when it seemed at least a quarter of the field were losing count of how many they had skipped, and actually skipped one more control than allowed, what the hell, a quick decision and everyone got one extra skip retroactively.
And the Trail, two drones, one worthless and one superb. Sure J-J won with a drone, but it was pretty cool. And coolness should be rewarded.
4. Help. Gail checked people in while I was hanging controls. Ian, Ethan, J-J, and one or two others (Izzy, Ben?) picked up the controls, George, Lyn, Rick, Susie, and others packed everything away, perhaps enjoying an adult beverage in the process, and in about 30-40 minutes we were all cleaned up and out of there. Thank you all.
5. Future. There might be a renegade event Monday Sept. 19, late afternoon/evening. Or the next afternoon/evening. Or there might not. Ali is visiting her old haunts between the US Champs and the NA Champs, and that’s enough reason right there to hang a few controls out in the corn. Need to think about it, time is getting short.
But then we organized the first Corn Maze Champs (and formed CMOUSA, and procured a logo!) in less than a week, so perhaps it’s not too late.
Could we get TGIF to come?
Can I second a motion to have a renegade re-run on the 19th? please please please please please?
And next year, any chance we could use the weekend before labor day? please please please please?
Some (perhaps the WCOC treasurer) would say that this was 1 race per person, not 5.
Are you really counting the Trail-O as a "start"? Though at some level, it doesn't matter, unless it means more money going to the insurance company (I forget how that works).
I checked last year and am doing it as instructed. The fee is per start.
Trail-O? That's obviously the most dangerous, folks climbing up in high towers, drones flying around (or not). :-)
If the money is just going into OUSA's coffers, I'm cool with that, I've gotten more than enough benefit over the years from having an orienteering federation.
And, while it depletes WCOC's treasury, it pumps up the club's participation numbers. Bragging rights??
On the other hand, if the aggregate annual starts in the federation is the number that directly determines what we pay for the insurance (so X% more starts means an X% bigger insurance bill), then ...
What's the saying, pick your battles. This is one I don't need to get into.
On the accounting, I think you neglected to list the lavish cash prizes as an expense.
Don't know if anyone noticed that there was an extra corn island out there, but not on the map?
Protest! Thats why I was lost on the other side of the map.
I think I actually did get confused running through those islands a few times, though the presence of that island wasn't ever enough to convince me I was on the wrong line.
Not the Sunday evening of NAOC? Or if it is to be on the 19th, could it be transplanted to Mexico? Congrats on another fantastic edition.
[I have no idea of spatio-temporal geography]
The font used for "SEE AMERICA" is slightly different on the ground than on the map, and there's also a discrepancy in the interface between John Muir's foot and cane.
Had a great time! Thanks Peter and Gail! Just wish I could have done the sprint and night O, but walking the classic was enough of a workout for me this year. Glad I finally made it to this special event. Matt, Jake and Zack enjoyed themselves too!
Wooo fun! Totally up for 19th re-run of whatever might work!
> PG: There might be a renegade event Monday Sept. 19, late afternoon/evening. Or the next afternoon/evening. Or there might not.
> PG: Could we get TGIF to come?
According to cmpbllv on the Midweek event?
thread, TGIF will be leading some training in Harriman on Tuesday and/or Wed of that week. So maybe the odds of him stopping in Sunderland would be better on, say, Sept. 21? Not that I am suggesting building the whole thing around an off chance.
Steve, I think designed by and led by are two different things, and TGIF was designing the exercise.
Leg lengths added for the Classic, shortest legal route was 2.17 km. Shortest route measurements for the Sprint and Night events are impractical, due to the complexity of the shuffle and the unevenness of the skipping. And the distance of the Trail-O is, of course, meaningless.
Not quite a finally decision yet about Mike's Maze, volume 2, but it is looking more likely.
We have permission for Monday late afternoon and evening, Sept. 19. Seems we can round up sufficient equipment. Bub's is closed on Mondays, but there are alternatives.
I'd imagine the schedule would be something like:
5:00 pm Classic
6:00 pm Redemption Handicap Sprint
8:15 pm Night of the (almost) Full Moon
All courses will be quite different than those offered last Saturday. Still the same maze.
(Very) limited field, headlined (so far) by USA Team stars Ali Crocker and Alex Jospe, returning to their former haunts.
Will decide in a day or two.
At 5 PM, there should be enough light for me to get more race video with the drone. Not sure about the Night-O, though. Maybe.
All courses will be quite different than those offered last Saturday.
Sounds like unnecessary extra work, since many of the Sep 19 people will not have been there on Sep 3. And others might enjoy a sort-of mulligan for their Sat performances. ;-)
CMOUSA BOD prerogative, of course... ;-D
Sounds like there's a chance I can get some CMO under my belt finally. Is international participation possible even if we don't have a Swedish equivalent?
He didn't say the controls would be different, Guy. (Although he does need to put them out again anyway, so...)
Now the world will see how much cooler corn is than medieval cities.
The West would like to challenge the East and this so called "the King of the Maze"
"King", here are some facts to ponder upon your future:
(Sure win too, prevented by me absent mindedly running past the last checkpoint on the way out, already envisioning myself with the Corn Maze Trophy)
I am always amenable to a corn maze challenge! I wouldn't go so far as to call myself the King of the Maze - it's dangerous to do that when Thierry is coming to town, e.g. However, before this year, I won all 11 individual corn maze races I had entered. To lose to Ethan twice was quite disappointing.
But yeah, competition is always fun. Perhaps we could make a wager that whoever loses has to post pictures on the internet wearing their rival club's jersey (COC, CSU)? I'd love to add to my collection
Nikolay, I think your links prove who Queen of the Maze should be! (she has two wins over Eric Bone and one over Will Enger!)
Patrick, believe me, I start every year the corn maze race with fear of the queen. It is a good motivator not to mess up :)
Oh the blasphemy, I pledge to avenge the fallen comrades.
Of course, I will do my best to attend whatever the day, even if 21st might work best for me. Seems like the best O-event of the year by far...
Peter I am excited about the reprise as I had to miss the event this year to attend a wedding. Love your corn maze Os!!!!
I wonder how many penalty laps TG will be assigned for the handicap race...
Definitely on for Monday rhe 19th. Whether we will need "Mike's Maze, volume 3" on rhe 21st to accommodate TGIF remains to be seen.
Entries will open in a couple of days.
One year... One year I will make it to this. (kinda need a car though.)
Started a new thread for Mike's Maze, volume 2
and a new event page
. Further info will be on them.
of the event!
Any PR is better than no PR? :-)
I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as...
why rogaine when you can GAR-gaine
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