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Discussion: US Classic Champs -- feedback?

in: 2016 US Two-Day Classic Championships and Sprint Relay (Sep 17–19, 2016 - Pound Ridge, NY, US)

Sep 19, 2016 12:17 AM # 
Chatting with a few key organizers this afternoon while meet equipment was being sorted out and packed away, there was the usual question of how things had gone. The consensus seemed to be that they thought things had gone pretty well, but who really knew.

So I thought it might be useful to ask the question -- how did it go? -- to a broader audience. Thoughts/comments/suggestions are welcome.


At the same time, I'd like to share something that I'd guess many who were at Pound Ridge this weekend don't know.

Pound Ridge has been used for orienteering since around 1970; the 1972 US Champs were held there. In 1983 it got a major map upgrade thanks to Eric Weyman, and the 1983 Team Trials were there. In more recent years there have been access issues and so permission to the park for orienteering has been difficult to get.

I don't know the details, but I'm pretty sure that a major factor in getting permission to host this event was our extraordinary meet director, Geof Connor. Geof has become, on a voluntary basis, the director of trail maintenance at Pound Ridge, also at Westmoreland, also at Mountain Lakes. He has assembled a crew of workers who regularly show up at these parks and do what the parks don't have the time or staff or funds for.

And so when Geof talks to the directors of these parks about holding orienteering events, he seems to get permission rather easily. Just something to think about as we struggle for access in many places.

And then, of course, there is the work he does getting everything organized for the event, and keeping it organized. Totally first class.

I just thought you ought to know.
Sep 19, 2016 12:30 AM # 
Well, I, for one, thought the whole thing was quite fine.
Sep 19, 2016 12:37 AM # 
I was really happy with it. It was great to see how a relatively small crew was able to put on a good event.
Sep 19, 2016 12:43 AM # 
Wonderful event, every bit of it.
Sep 19, 2016 12:44 AM # 
From my perspective, it was an awesome weekend. Great woods, great courses, great arena vibe. Little issues will always crop up, but as long as there no major disruptive glitches, it's all good.
Sep 19, 2016 12:52 AM # 
Awesome area and courses, thanks to everyone involved!
Sep 19, 2016 1:03 AM # 
Really enjoyed it, excellently done. One piece of I hope constructive criticism, which made more difference on the 1:15 map yesterday, that a little more attention needed to be paid to circle and line cutting, so that detail wasn't obscured.

Minor gripe, which didn't affect my enjoyment. Thanks!
Sep 19, 2016 1:11 AM # 
I'll echo the line and circle cutting comment.

I also really enjoyed the terrain and the whole event.
Sep 19, 2016 1:20 AM # 
Great event!
Sep 19, 2016 1:37 AM # 
Wonderful terrain, really nice courses. Everyone with a smile on their faces. Thank you!
Sep 19, 2016 4:08 AM # 
Fantastic event! The courses and terrain were delightful and very enjoyable. I really appreciated the music in the arena, and the results corner was as professional as usual from Valerie and Ed. The maps were well printed and very legible even in areas of high detail. The French competition was also tremendous.

Some suggestions that could enrich the event further: I think enhancing the arena atmosphere would have improved the experience, perhaps with the vendors in the arena instead of the parking lot. Live commentary and interviews from an announcer would have been sublime. On the first day, making the route to the start go through the arena might also have encouraged more people to stay in the arena. Still, the event was excellent!
Sep 19, 2016 4:48 AM # 
I only went Saturday so far but really liked everything you guys did, seemed great to me! Thank you HVO!!

My only issue is the relay registration was confusing...I indicated relay on online registration, but couldn't pick which course, and then needing to register in person during the weekend but wasnt able to...I'm showing up tomorrow in hopes of being able to participate...but dont know what the cost will be.
Sep 19, 2016 9:35 AM # 
Tom O:
I thought the event was excellent in all aspects. I really appreciated being able to camp at Ward Pound Ridge.

On the model map, it would have been nice to have the scale indicated.
Sep 19, 2016 1:07 PM # 
Loved the event! And I was there in '72.
Regret that injury did not allow me to run as fast as I could navigate.
Running Brown x the first leg on Day 2 started with a slight downhill run through very open woods between almost parallel stone walls about 100 m apart. It was like running down a six lane highway with no other traffic in the way. Heaven!
Agree vendors would have benefitted from being at the arena, so would the potential customers.
Not sure why parking volunteers had some of us parking outside the lines. Saw a park employee obviously annoyed about having to drive on a narrow strip to get around one line. Trying to soften that impression I made sure to give him a wave and the park a compliment when he drove by me,
Sep 19, 2016 2:04 PM # 
I really appreciated the info on WRE vs regular procedures for day 1 and day 2. Jeff kept both competitors and meet staff well informed. If you think how often the starts for "different" classes can throw things off (getting interscholastic and intercollegiate maps right, for example), this is harder than it seems. If you all have any best practices to share, I'm interested in hearing them!
Sep 19, 2016 4:09 PM # 
Great courses in open woods on a wonderful map, supported by excellent attention to organizational details. Frankly, I'm not sure it gets better than this. Thank you, HVO and WCOC - this was two days of awesome!
Sep 20, 2016 11:22 AM # 
A wonderful event and thank-you Peter for enlightening us about the great work Goef Conner does and its impact. While I haven't been out orien as much the last 2 years the terrain and courses got me really inspired. Fantastic job all round. My only minor complaint would be that the north lines on the map were not obvious which was a pain.
I had a good friend over from U.K. Martin Wilson who raved about the terrain and courses and surprised how few people were at the event.
Thanks HVO and all the numerous volunteers. Also to Peter for some magical humor.
Sep 20, 2016 12:46 PM # 
We had a great time. The courses and terrain were exemplary. My son complained that the orange courses were "too easy" but there's an easy fix for that! Not sure why attendance wasn't better but I know some folks had to make a choice between this weekend and next and went with next.

I agreed with most of the comments above. We really enjoyed being able to camp right on site. The one thing I would also mention is water. I thought there could have been more water availability and I heard others also mention this in post-run discussions. Also the cups really need to be bigger, if for no better reason than to aid in discouraging folks from drinking straight from the jug.

Ended up missing the AGM by the time we'd completed re-seeding the museum lawn with seeds relocated from the adjacent field, so instead we joined another family to visit the nearby Wolf Conservation Center where we got the full tour. Very interesting, and recommended if/when you're back in the area.
Sep 20, 2016 2:37 PM # 
There's not much I can add to the laudatory comments already made about the US Champs. It was a wonderful weekend; I enjoyed every minute of it.
Sep 20, 2016 2:40 PM # 
I wasn't there but I like HVO's website and logo. It is a great model.
Sep 20, 2016 7:47 PM # 
I stayed in Holiday Inn in Mt. Mt Kisco, and they did not have a free breakfast there,
not even complimentary coffee in the lobby. But they had a restaurant on-site, full of drunk Russians. NYC area is a special place.

BTW, the event was pretty decent.
Sep 20, 2016 7:49 PM # 
Hear ye HVO! You will never get a more earnest endorsement than that. You must have done something right! :)
Sep 20, 2016 8:00 PM # 
@yurets: the complementary coffee was across from the elevator.
Sep 20, 2016 8:14 PM # 
It was awesome. I had a great time. My only complaint would be the green diagonal crosshatch on the map, which I believe isn't a standard symbol. I can see close up pretty well, and I mistakenly interpreted it as white circles in a medium (?) green area. I assumed it was rough open with scattered trees with the green option, but that would be sort of the inverse color combination: green circles in a rough open field. I cut the corner from the wigwam thing and spend two minutes or so climbing over deadfall (half of which was me not checking my compass and going the wrong direction). I honestly don't know how I messed up cutting the corner---I should have missed the green crosshatch entirely. (I'll download my GPS tonight.)
Sep 20, 2016 8:23 PM # 
I probably would have just mapped it as fight, but I'll point out that the green crosshstch was described in the notes, and I recognized it as such immediately.
Sep 20, 2016 8:30 PM # 
I checked the course notes just now and I don't see any mention of it.
Sep 20, 2016 8:32 PM # 
Bottom of page two of Bulletin 3, from Sept 7.
Sep 20, 2016 8:46 PM # 
Okay. I just (only) read the two-page handout in the packet. A minor complaint.
Sep 20, 2016 9:01 PM # 
Great event. So much fun to be back at Ward Pound Ridge! Thanks to everyone at HVO and WCOC for a great weekend!
Sep 20, 2016 9:12 PM # 
Wonderful event (even though my navigation on day 2 was pathetic). Nice going HVO and WCOC -- I tried to thank all the volunteers I saw.

NOTE for NAOC this weekend -- read Bulletin 2 and the Course Notes! I'm one of those who works hard to assemble and post information for competitors to read to be prepared for their events, only to hear later that "I didn't read all (or any) of the notes." Be prepared for the walks to start for the Middle and Long.
Sep 20, 2016 10:04 PM # 
@DWildfogel: No, it was not
Sep 20, 2016 10:46 PM # 
I did not read the course notes since I didn't think I would go out on a course...but, happily, I did get out both days, and once I passed over one of those day blue areas, I said to myself...the course notes probably said that everything was dry, dry, dry, and I was right. :)
Sep 21, 2016 12:35 AM # 
A wonderful event and thank-you Peter for enlightening us about the great work Goef Conner does and its impact. While I haven't been out orien as much the last 2 years the terrain and courses got me really inspired. Fantastic job all round. My only minor complaint would be that the north lines on the map were not obvious which was a pain.
I had a good friend over from U.K. Martin Wilson who raved about the terrain and courses and surprised how few people were at the event.
Thanks HVO and all the numerous volunteers. Also to Peter for some magical humor.
Sep 21, 2016 12:53 AM # 
I had a great time, and I got to run in the woods more than I would have if I had competed in my age category, (blue on Sunday, trail run and water stop Saturday, visiting the WRE controls a week before).
I do think that two items mentioned above should be worked on in the future.
The circles and lines obscured some important contour features. Despite the fact that the purple was supposed to be transparent, it was impossible to read some detail under it. Best to cut the lines and circles.
Provision must be made to replenish water stops. IOF guidelines recommend monitoring the WRE water stops, and manning them too, all of which can prevent them going dry. There can be serious consequences to someone becoming very dehydrated, so this should be high on the priority list at the meet.
Sep 23, 2016 12:11 AM # 
Nice events!

Minor things to improve upon:
All small blue lakes should be passable swamps on map. That definitely affected my route choice decisions on first day.
Cut lines and circles. Including magnetic lines.

More refreshments.

Center/finish closer to parking.

Thank you for all the work and interesting courses!
Sep 23, 2016 10:23 AM # 
I liked the road direction signs that HVO used at the Classics. They were double sided white lettering on a bright orange background simply saying ORIENTEERING
EVENT with an arrow pointing to the left on one side, right on the other, so easily reversible.
The coloring made the signs stand out well and the coroplast sign material on a metal H stake makes the signs very easy to install, transport and store. (I know as for many years I used the same material in my election signs.
So the question is are these signs available from a supplier somewhere? Is the silk screen around somewhere and can it be reactivated? Suncoast Orienteering could certainly use a dozen or so of these signs but a small order like that would be quite expensive to order on our own. My e-mail address is available through my profile in case anyone would prefer to send me information privately.
Sep 23, 2016 11:24 AM # 
Vistaprint will do single quantity full color signs for reasonable prices. That is where all the NAOC signs are from.
Sep 23, 2016 9:52 PM # 
One observation not yet mentioned: while I appreciated the downhill finish, it was hard to stop in a dime in the middle of a hill to punch the finish control.
Sep 23, 2016 11:34 PM # 
Yes, gordhun, Ed, we used vistaprint for those. We also used them for the start and finish banners and the one at the entrance. Glad you thought they were cool!
Sep 24, 2016 1:44 AM # 
Yes but - almost missed those signs as they were so all orange. A black surround of the letters might help.
Sep 24, 2016 10:53 AM # 
Or larger font that just said "orienteering". I also nearly missed the signs. They looked nice, though, and once I knew what I was looking for they were easy to find the next day.
Sep 25, 2016 3:12 AM # 
The NAOC2016 signs are a little cryptic, too, unless you happen to know the meet logo. But that's probably for another thread.
Sep 25, 2016 8:54 PM # 
One point that made a big impression on me was using a very heavy paper (but not quite card stock) for the control descriptions.
Unlike the low end 20 lb flimsy stock paper that's so often used - that absorbs the slightest bit of moisture and doesn't go into a holder easily - this was terrific!!
Sep 26, 2016 6:20 AM # 
Note from remote spectator. Mappers seem to have been able to resist current over-mapping trend. Quite opposite to the unfortunate way this usually goes. Here we had complete remapping using lidar but still no sign of excessive use of form lines and for example there is less cliffs than in the old (and apparently exceptionally good) map. I think generalization level is nailed dead on. Well done who ever were involved. I believe there is lot one can learn from this map and the way it was made.
Sep 26, 2016 1:56 PM # 
The mappers are older, non-elite, local people who are not professional mappers. Most of the mapping was done by a philosophy professor who has made several maps before, and a doctor who had not done any previous mapping. They did an excellent job. Maybe current mainstream overmappers could take a lesson from them.
Sep 26, 2016 8:32 PM # 
Agree with jima's comment about the control description (clue sheet) paper, I assume it was stock normally used for business cards. Correct?
Also agree with the comments about the excellence of the map.
Sep 27, 2016 3:31 AM # 
What jagge said.
Sep 27, 2016 5:39 PM # 
JJ- Is there a reason not to state the mapper's names?
Sep 27, 2016 6:53 PM # 

Rick DeWitt and Craig Weber
Sep 27, 2016 8:39 PM # 
And with Geof Connor doing a bit as well, as I understand. Rick is the prof, Craig is the doctor.
Sep 27, 2016 9:00 PM # 
I thought Balter did a lot of it too?
Sep 27, 2016 10:36 PM # 
I will confirm that Greg Balter made a very good base map.
(also ref j-man's link)
Sep 28, 2016 4:46 PM # 
The principle mappers were Rick and Craig and they said that Greg's base map was one of the best they had seen. I was only (rightly) allowed to map the bits that no-one would ever dream of going through - except maybe the Hash!
Sep 28, 2016 7:48 PM # 
I really loved the map.

This discussion thread is closed.