I was just curious what you meant by your LTF strengths/weaknesses? Do you mean you are good at deciding when to bash thru the terrain or take the trail around? Are you good at running in the thick W. WA woods? Are you good at navigating to the correct feature and ignoring similar features in the terrain, etc.? It was interesting to look at RG and compare your routes vs. Peteris.
Haha since you ask I'll give you the full report...you may be sorry you asked.
So, physically speaking, I'm a relatively strong terrain runner (born of course from many years of dealing with PNW forest), but not a particularly fast runner in general, especially at this point in my career - there are probably at least half a dozen guys in the Winter League right now who'd dust me on a track or in a road race. Also, I'm not a good climber.
Navigationally, I'm an average* technical orienteer (probably below average with the compass - again a product of PNW upbringing), but my biggest strengths are that I make decisions quickly and am very good at maintaining speed at or very near my physical limit while navigating (this is also why I usually do relatively well in sprints - thanks GVOC!). Of course, the flip side is that I can get into trouble in exceptionally vague, tricky, or technical terrain, or when I make decisions *too* quickly and miss features, misinterpret stuff, plan carelessly or inadequately, don't read sufficiently ahead in a sprint and get trapped, etc. But when the terrain/course suits my style and everything works, I can get strong results.
Applying that locally, I do well at a venue like LTF, which is rugged but relatively flat, requires a lot of varied terrain running, and is moderately technical but not notably so. Or North Seatac, which rewards quick and accurate sprint-style map reading and decision making at speed. And besides that, at LTF I just happen to know from experience which bits of forest to attack and which to avoid. On the other hand, a venue like St. Ed is just about the worst possible combo for me, which is why I always get my butt kicked there.
*When using terms like "average" and "relatively" I mean in comparison to the other local guys in my peer group like Eric, Peteris, and Jourdan, as well as the other guys in that group who live elsewhere.
Thanks for the explanation. It's interesting to hear your perspectives. Also interesting to hear what is good/bad about oing in PNW in terms of skill development. You mention the compass skills, and I think mine were also below average back in my competitive days. I remember that I pretty much never even carried a compass starting out with winter COC series events. My first real test with the compass came at Cle Elum and I was beat over the head many times to learn to use the compass. I also think if we had more night-O training/events it would help emphasize the compass skills.
Yeah, Eric is really impressive in this respect. For as long as I've been racing against him he's always been strong with the compass despite living in Seattle his entire life and learning to orienteer in WIOL and at UW.
My compass skills are terrible, too.
I seem to remember trying to use my compass once and ending up a full 90 degrees off of the direction that I was trying to go. You might say my compass skills are lacking.
Wow, 90deg is a good trick. I think the 180 error is quite common but 90 is a good one. Now that I have elementary kids that I'm teaching it's nice to have some perspectives from some of the pro WIOL alums. My HS coaching was a bit of trial by fire (i.e. find fastish tracksters and try and see how oing grows on them), but with young elementary kiddos that doesn't work too well. Looking back at my early oing days (post-college), I think I could have minimized many of my mistakes with proper compass technique.