...only so much you can do with Pt. Defiance, it's been used so often. I love the park, but it's so hard to find any real off-trail running. I hate selecting a light green route only to find it's a lot thicker, which is my strongest memory of Pt. Defiance. We couldn't get motivated enough to make the drive.
I thought some of the legs through the area with the train looked pretty good and potentially passable through the woods, although I don't recall if your course had the best of those options. Any thoughts on that section?
You're right, it is much harder to course-design at many of our areas because the terrain is so limited (as opposed to, say, New England, where the terrain is such that you can basically tack the map on the wall, throw 15 or 20 darts at it, and if you can hit the map most of the time you already have a half-decent course), but it's not impossible. For example, Peteris set a wonderful middle-esque course at Point Defiance 2-3 years ago for the WIOL Champs - minimal road running, lots of runnable off-trail, and took me to parts of the park I hadn't been before.
It just takes a lot more work for the course setter to achieve that in some of our parks, which is why I do hate to complain about course design - I know how much work it is. I calculated that on Saturday about 35% of my on-course time was road running, which is unfortunate, but it happens because to get off-trail you have to investigate every route to gauge whether it's even passable in reality, and physically visit every point feature to see A. if it even still exists, and B. if it's apparent enough for a control. For various reasons we don't get there sometimes.
Re: the train loop - we had one leg that sort of passed through it, but the best route(s) were trail or road around.
Good point about the need to get out there and find the runnable terrain. I don't think we had that this time - new course designer, and a mentor with his hands full. I didn't push them into lots of legs without a trail/road choice because my experience with Pt. Defiance was that things tend to be greener than I think they should be. I did recommend some more challenging control locations on the advanced courses, but I'm not sure there was time to check the terrain to make that happen.
I wonder if we have a club set of notes on each park for course designers/map updates? Probably worth noting the parks that have some real off-trail opportunities that require the course designer to get out in the terrain, as well as areas that require updating. I may suggest that to Jud for the WIOL files, at least. I still remember coming back from a Ft. Steilacoom recon about 4 years ago practically in tears...all of my "great route choice legs" were impossible due to map inaccuracies. Jon took pity on me and spent significant time updating the map...but not everyone is lucky enough to have their own personal mapper.
What else? I'm looking to improve my feedback/get a feel for some things that I have mentioned, but need to push harder on.
Yeah I think this instance was more of a organizational issue than anything else - certainly can't fault a new course designer for us not supporting him properly.
I wonder if we have a club set of notes on each park for course designers/map updates? Probably worth noting the parks that have some real off-trail opportunities that require the course designer to get out in the terrain, as well as areas that require updating.
I think that's a really good idea. There are only a few parks - Fire Mountain, LTF, Fort Ebey, Point Defiance to a lesser extent - which offer the real off-trail stuff, so it would be cool if we could somehow make note of that for course setters who may not have as much firsthand knowledge of a given area.
Dash Point and Putney Woods could support this, too, with smart course design (like the pleasant surprise at Dash Point this season).