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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: When there is no attack point **near the control**

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 24, 2023 8:13 PM # 
One type of control I look at with DREAD is when there is no clear attack point close to the control. It was totally compass work over a long distance with no clear catching points close to the control to be practical. I was on one course years ago and it was Score-O with most of the attack points in white or impassable forest with few trails or other landmarks. Further, it was in Florida where the terrain is pretty flat so you don't have hills and gullies to guide you.

How do you find controls in that kind of environment?
Jan 24, 2023 8:57 PM # 
Florida? I'm guessing you are talking about Ocala National Forest or Withlacoochee State Forest or Wekiva State Park. Miles of pine plantation in relatively flat and sandy terrain.
But everywhere you can get situations where there are no close and distinct attack points. One of your old Florida friends and I were talking about that last Saturday and how so many do so poorly in that type of terrain.
To me the hills and sinkholes are not large but they are represented in the contours. At a recent event at Wekiva to find a single palm tree I went along a flat ridge to get to the palm tree shown on the map just down from the tip of the ridge.
The ridge was only one contour line high but it was there.
Sometimes you have to rely on good compass reading combined with careful pace counting. If the map says you have to go 400 meters then slow down, stop and look around as you approach that distance. To your left or right are there any signs of anything that could be your feature? DON'T go on another 200-400 meters.
They don't teach this in any textbooks but look at what other orienteers are doing. Do you see any that look as if they are leaving a control? Do you see anyone suddenly darting toward a feature? It may not be your control but then again...
Jan 24, 2023 9:05 PM # 
It was actually at one of your events, Gord - Croom or something like that? It was my first ever orienteering course. I can't quite remember the name of the place, but it was Score-O and it was where I first met you. You told me there was one guy from Norway who did the whole thing in record time. The first few controls were easy to find due to intersecting roads and trails and a dirt field. But after that it was a nightmare for me as it was all compass work and when necessary, I also have a tendency to lose count of my stride for some reason. Probably due to the ongoing need to keep my mind occupied.

There have been individual controls like that in some of the other events I've attended and I usually have a hard time finding them. Another problem is when you have a road or trail that is relatively straight and there is a control behind a bush off the trail. The only way you can guess where to get off the trail is to count paces from a known point prior in the trail, which I find unreliable in my case. I did learn to really overshoot where I THINK the control is, get off the trail, and then backtrack, off the trail, until I run into the control, but it doesn't always work if my pace counting is off -- and I haven't actually overshot the position of the control.
Jan 24, 2023 11:09 PM # 
Boy, I was afraid this thread had to do with Attackpoint disappearing. I hope it never happens.
Jan 25, 2023 12:25 AM # 
Lower case Dave, lower case 'a'. But good one and I agree.
Jan 27, 2023 1:14 AM # 
You have to move straight in the direction of the control, checking with your compass frequently, ---->> keep going no matter what, do not give up too soon, do not panic, believe in yourself, generate and circulate inside your mind a positive image of that hidden in a remote pit control appearing right in front of you out of nowhere.

This will work about 50% of the time. If it does not --then you are screwed. Hope you have a good whistle, you took a note with instruction how to bail out, and you have not attracted a hungry grizzle yet.
Jan 27, 2023 1:56 AM # 
One bit of advice that I learned from the very wise PG is that this is a situation where you need to use a very specific set of muscles: your neck muscles. Keep going in the right direction, but don't get tunnel vision and stare straight ahead, keep looking around. You may spot the control, you may spot something that you hadn't noticed on the map, or you may spot something that you shouldn't be seeing on your intended line, which is an indication that you've drifted and need to correct.

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