Thanks for coming Spike!!
And thanks for your feedback. here are some of my unsolicited thoughts:
--I don't care for having competitors plot UTMs, either, but we try to make it as painless as possible by having it Friday night (i.e. off the clock) instead of during the race. We have to submit our maps to the printer about 1 week before the start so no time to adjust pre-plotted CPs last-minute based on weather conditions. For example, we re-did the biking sections on Thursday night before the race to accommodate forecast.
--I also think allowing GPS devices wouldn't be the worst thing for an 8-hour race. The best navigators using the map/compass are still going to be faster than people relying on GPS. And it's a hassle pre- and post-race to check. However, I want to set expectations for any competitors thinking about going to longer races, where GPS would certainly advantage less-experienced navigators (especially overnight), that they cannot be used.
--You are correct, we keep the nav easy for this race, but this course in particular was easier than we usually set, because of the terrain/maps we had available.
--I would love to collaborate with you for future mapping (if you want to, no obligations implied)! I use Terrain Navigator Pro from MyTopo because that's what I have available to me, and just allows GPS/shape overlay on the existing USGS survey data. But converting LIDAR data into more orienteering-style maps would be way more accurate and enjoyable for competitors.
Again thanks for making the trip and the more feedback, the better!!! I am not afraid of criticism if it allows us to make the Castlewood AR even better!
Stay in touch about future mapping. I'd love to see better maps at adventure races and with so much lidar available, it isn't a lot of work to get maps that are pretty good.
I really enjoyed the race, the only complaint I can come up with is that my post-race baked potato was a little small.
With my orienteering mindset, I read Spike's comment on allowing GPS to mean that he wishes one could look at one's track after the race rather than that he wants to use it to navigate with. But that doesn't seem to be where silky's reply is coming from. So Spike, what was your intention with the comment? And silkychrome, regardless of what Spike meant, I'm curious whether there might be a way to allow competitors to record their track without referring to the device during the event. Honor system? Only allow devices that display little or no useful info during the race? Securing the device in some sort of sealed container? I'm an old dog who has trouble learning new tricks so I'm still pretty ignorant about what the possibilities are. For my entrance in to the GPS world, I'm using my daughter's old Forerunner 15 that she gave me (I guess that makes it a "hand me up") when she moved to something fancier, and it tells me nothing useful until I upload the track. Or it's more than plausible that's there's a way to get something useful like coordinates out of it during the event, but *I* don't know how. My kids are constantly mocking my ineptitude with modern devices.
They had an option for using your GPS for tracking. You could get it sealed in a bag before the start and then you'd have to show that you hadn't unsealed it during the race. If it had really mattered to me, I'd have done that. But it seemed more trouble than it was worth.
I'd have liked to have the GPS track and HR data after the race. But for me it wasn't worth the trouble. I should have worn an old watch because. In a long event it is nice to have something to keep track of time. I think that helps make sure you eat/drink enough.
If someone really wanted to make use of GPS with a watch (and carrying the watch, not sealing it), you could probably use some of the newer watches that include maps. If your navigation was rough, it might help. I guess you could also use the distance function - sort of like pace counting if you can't read anything on the map.
The few adventure races I've done have all had list of gear you are required to carry. I think that's part of the sport. It makes most sense for really long races, but I've never done a race that took longer than 6 hours.
At the Castlewood Race we had a gear check. Before the last loop, everyone on the team had to show the organizers their compass and rain jacket and pants.
The advantage of using a GPS would mostly be realized at night. It would make relocation much faster. Top teams still wouldn’t get much but, for a mid-level team, it could be the difference between a five and thirty minute mistake. I think the real fear is simply that it would be a tough decision to reverse. One could (Spike has) argue that there’s no particular reaso.n why a compass should be allowed; you can certainly navigate without one. But, there’s no way you could reverse the decision at this point. GPS might be slower now, but there’s no reason to believe that will always be the case.