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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Training center

in: Gswede; Gswede > 2017-04-06

Apr 9, 2017 6:34 AM # 
Are there any good maps still in northern New Jersey or the Poconos, which would add to the number of maps 60-90 minutes from Delaware Water Gap?


I'd suggest my area, except that most maps are 25 years old, and trails and vegetation have changed a bit.
Apr 9, 2017 8:05 AM # 
I wonder if isolation is really a problem. It would be great to be able to have a house on the edge of a huge mapped area and also within walking distance to the village stores or some such, but consider that right now there's nothing. A house dedicated to orienteering training with a lot of stuff in the area, even if you have to drive to it, is a big improvement. And it means a place to be focused on orienteering, if there's nothing else to do there. :-)
Apr 9, 2017 3:22 PM # 
Thanks for the feedback!

There are still a few good maps in North Jersey and the Poconos. Counting it up there are about 23-25 maps within 80 minutes of the potential location, about 17-18 of which are reasonably up-to-date, large, and technical.

I considered Laramie also, but the reason I'm leaning toward eastern US forests is because, most of the year, the forests have reduced visibility similar to the locations where international elite races are held. I'm not denying that Colorado and Wyoming can have technical terrain, I'm only saying that eastern US forests are more similar to what we can encounter in elite-level races.

That's a really good point, Cristina. What I keep coming back to is that it may not be the best location in terms of accessibility, but it is the best in terms of implementability. Like you said, even a somewhat isolated center (the DWG isn't that isolated in the big picture) is better than no center at all.
Apr 9, 2017 3:28 PM # 
Two potential locations:
One kilometer from the start of the Egypt Mills map. A little more expensive than other options, but still a great deal.

On the Egypt Mills map. Solid price, smaller, but possible third room and a great option.
Apr 10, 2017 5:27 PM # 
I was going to say, since when is Peekskill expensive?

But yeah, not in the 50k range for a house.

I know you Americans hate public transport, but you get bonus points if it's on a train/bus line, extra ones if getting to an airport isn't too tricky.
Apr 10, 2017 6:08 PM # 
I hear ya, Neil. Public transport is a big plus, unfortunately being right on a line seems to carry a big price tag in the States. I've found a bus that runs three times a day from Port Authority and drops you off a 15-minute drive from this area. Certainly not ideal, but trying to work with the resources as they stand.

Rumor has it that there's a project underway to rebuild the line running to Hackettstown, NJ up to Scranton, which would provide another option. They currently own the land, but the current rails are a little bit out of date. Although the recent cuts by the country's current administration to transport infrastructure in NYC doesn't bode well for that.
Apr 10, 2017 9:28 PM # 
I do think it's important to stay focused on whatever goal/target audience you're aiming at. If you want a place where elite athletes can live while training, there needs to be some access to jobs. Which certainly makes the Harriman/Peekskill option more appealing, and if those elite athletes are actually working some degree, they can perhaps pay something for staying at the house. Remember that many (and I speak in generalities, I am sure there are a lot of exceptions) orienteers tend to be well-educated tech-oriented folks, who will naturally gravitate toward the tech hubs of the bigger and more expensive cities. Unless they've figured out the holy grail of working remotely from an amazing location with a fast wifi connection, the commute needs to be considered.

If the focus is solely for camps, be it national team, junior/regional/school camps, international visitors, then yeah, out in the middle of nowhere is good. Does there need to be some sort of backup plan, like camps for outdoor ed or something, for if there aren't enough interested orienteers to meet the financial needs of running a place like that?
Apr 11, 2017 7:56 AM # 
Great point, Alex.

From my perspective so far, there doesn't seem to be much drive or incentive for US team orienteers to move to the same area, which is why I think it's better to organize frequent training camps for all teams.

I wish we had a similar situation as what they have in Spain: a large central city with mountains nearby and loads of maps, all points of the country within a 7-hour drive, and government support for sport.

Since we don't have any central city like that, and there's no support or incentive for elite orienteers to live in the same location (like scholarships), I figure the next best option is to have a training center where we can meet as a team and train often.

The reason I'm leaning towards this option is because I would need much less support to implement it. It looks like after the startup funds, I could fund it alone and still have time to train and travel to events.

I also have a few friends who could come and map more terrain in this area for relatively inexpensive. There's about 40km2 of easily accessible terrain to be mapped nearby.

And Harriman and WCOC maps are not out, they're not far away. Like I said, there's a possibility for collaboration with AMC to organize orienteering lessons in exchange for very cheap accommodations for training camps in Harriman. If that's not win-win for orienteering, I'm not sure what is.

Basically, I don't want to spend all of my time paying for a space and not training and competing.
Apr 11, 2017 8:48 AM # 
Another thing is if you are heading down the organise stuff for kids/racers, there are plenty of well-off people in Westchester who will pay money for after-school activities.
I don't know what the situation is where you are suggesting. Not trying to sway you, just something to bear in mind.
Apr 11, 2017 3:08 PM # 
Thanks, Neil. I appreciate everyone's input!
Apr 12, 2017 4:04 PM # 
It may not sound like the hotbed of orienteering but--have you thought about New Hampshire? Property probably isn't as cheap as you mentioned above but, the orienteering is as good as anywhere. Consider, Burnt Mountain, Pawtuckaway and Harris Center for starters. Plus Bear Brook, Beaver Brook, and Hillsbourgh and there are others too. The maps aren't packed closely together but are probably all within about 1 hour of a central location such as Manchester/Concord.
Apr 13, 2017 6:54 AM # 
I have considered that area also, Carl. The only thing holding me back so far is the price of housing there.

I suppose I should note that I haven't given up hope on Peekskill or any other location. Just that the DWG seems to be a place where this project can be relatively easily implemented without me working to death. If I find a good opportunity, I'm always open to it.
Apr 13, 2017 7:03 AM # 
17-18 large, technical, up to date maps within 80 minutes is pretty good for America. (Agree on the eastern vs western forests. I've considered mapping some lower vis forest here, but I'm not sure how interested the locals would be, and the forest service seems to be frantically thinning any forest anywhere near any homes, which is essentially everywhere here.)
Apr 13, 2017 7:08 AM # 
By the way, for a training center, I'd make really sure that any inexpensive remote home had really good plumbing (water and sewer), able to withstand numerous orienteers staying there at the same time. Septic systems and wells sometimes don't have the same capacity as city water and sewer, especially if there were any cost saving DIY aspects to the construction.
Apr 13, 2017 10:12 AM # 
For example, there are one bedroom apartments in Peekskill selling for $60,000 and less. I could possibly purchase one myself. Outfit the living room to accommodate two to three people reasonably comfortably, and work out a deal to rent out the AMC cabins occasionally for larger training camps.

It's tough because there are so many variables and outcomes that could be equally beneficial. The important part is choosing one and actually pursuing it.

Really good point about the septic systems, Jim. There might be a few other basic services that would be missing from a location like that.
Apr 13, 2017 3:15 PM # 
Random Canadian here:
I would think it is a no-brainer that getting the critical mass of athletes should be your focus, not focused on maps/terrain. Limited competition in North America is always an issue.
In Canada, sure Yukon has unlimited terrain and maps, but also crazy expensive to travel and wouldn't work as a Training Centre.
Apr 13, 2017 8:40 PM # 
A place like this would be good if you could convince them to include orienteering and weren't set on buying a place.

Unfortunately, there aren't many maps within a hours drive. (maybe 1)
Apr 14, 2017 4:55 PM # 
Just the map out the door... but not the nicest forests up there.
Apr 14, 2017 6:10 PM # 
You have a great point, Nevin. That is the ideal. So far no one seems ready to make the commitment to move, but maybe if we can create the conditions for it people would consider it. Without scholarships or some form of financial support to convince people to move, I don't see many incentives for many.

Carl, that place looks amazing. The mission statement, the support, everything except the lack of maps. Of course...investing in accommodations may be just as effective as investing in maps around a center that already exists. I'll look into this.
Apr 14, 2017 8:37 PM # 
Craftsbury is an amazing place, with an incredible amount of support for competition. They were instrumental in making my timing company work this winter, employing me for 5 days of racing last winter. That is also where the Ski-O World Cup and world masters will be next winter, so I have the lidar, and am working on a new ski-o map.
I don't really see them being that interested in supporting an orienteering team though. Skiing, biathlon, and rowing are the passions of the owners, and the sports their kids have competed in, so its no surprise those are the sports the GRP supports.
Apr 15, 2017 1:35 AM # 
It might be worth asking but like Ed implies, don't get your hopes up. They are familiar with orienteering, Krum has worked there, there have been, and will be ski-O events there and Head Coach Pepa Miloucheva is a Ski-O WOC gold medalist---though she avoids getting involved with US Ski-O.

You could promote orienteering as alternative training for Skiers and Rowers. That might work but Ben Lustgarten, one of the ski team members wasn't real enthusiastic about it when he was in College and their team tried it several times at our events. Of course I don't know his feelings for sure but as I recall, his group was always quite far behind the others.

The map I was thinking about was the Fritz property in Marshfield. We used to try and hold events at Craftsbury but the woods were really crappy (logging slash, raspberries and saplings) with a few pockets of nice stuff. But, that was 20+ years ago and they may be better now.

I think the GRP started as a way to support 2nd tier athletes who didn't get support from the national teams. The idea being that with GRP support, they might be able to bridge the gap to the top level. A great idea and I think now some of their athletes are there.
Apr 15, 2017 2:13 AM # 
I learned the water issue the hard way, even with a good quality $300,000 house with otherwise good construction on city water. The forty year old water line was galvanized, and corroded. One shower no problem, but two showers at the same time, and only one person would get water. Fixed within the last week for $5000 (replaced the water line). It didn't show up on the home inspection (and wouldn't, even with a relatively thorough one, given what they look for), nor the plumbing inspection. It could help to have a contingency fund set aside for non-obvious stuff.
Apr 16, 2017 3:11 AM # 
>there are plenty of well-off people in Westchester who will pay money for after-school activities.

Neil is right. That's the advantage of having a place with rich neighbourhoods nearby. For one night a week for 20 weeks a year (i.e. 2 x 10 week sessions) @100 kids per session @ $125-150/kid = $25K-$30K/year. Request that the insurance be covered by OUSA and you are clearing $17-$20K in profits. Add another night or do a week or two summer camp and that pays the bills easily.

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