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Discussion: Foresty sprint routes

in: GVOC Sprint Camp 2024 (Feb 9–11 - Vancouver, BC, CA)

Feb 13, 2024 4:09 AM # 
Looking at the maps from this weekend, I was super interested in how to tackle mixed vegetation forested regions in sprint contexts, like the south half of the Jericho map (Elite, Expert). For instance: for 16-17 Elite, were the winning splits around left on the trail or straight through?

Also curious about any impactful legs in the forested strip on the Citadel map (all 4 relay maps). For instance: 6-7 on map 1 looks super similar trail vs path, but maybe I am very silly for thinking that.

I have never been a sprinter, so I'm still learning the extent of how impactful running surface and distance can be in a sprint, vs a longer race.

(Also if there's a routegadget/livelox I've missed, or one is scheduled to come out, please let me know!)
Feb 13, 2024 9:47 PM # 
Pink Socks:
I think there can be a lot of factors at play here, some of which aren't showing up when you look at the maps at home. For the Jericho race, it was held in pretty steady rain, so the smaller trails were pretty sloppy in places, and sometimes maps can be harder to read at speed when they are wet. In addition to the mud, those smaller trails were sometimes a little twistier and less even. On Jericho Expert, from 14-15, I definitely took that into consideration and went left on the ultra-wide hard-pack gravel trail.

At Citadel, I learned pretty quickly to opt for the under-the-powerline path over the in-the-forest paths whenever possible. The forest paths were muddy, twisty, and had branches that taller people like me had to duck under in places.

Also, for both of these races, there were just tons of orienteers all over the place (mass start for the relay and 8 starts per minute at Jericho), so sometimes opting for the more wide open trails gives you more space to pass and avoid running into people.

Gene Beveridge (an elite from NZ, living in Vancouver) hosted a route choice presentation at the Saturday banquet, and he also mentioned that there can be several factors that go into these decisions, including running surface and steepness of grade.
Feb 13, 2024 11:51 PM # 
Also while forest or park sprints can be good chaotic fun and a chance to practice high speed map simplifying and ignoring distractions, I am not sure forest sprints are well suited for thinking too carefully about route choice.

In an urban sprint, you can't go straight due to buildings hence high speed route finding and directional changes is key. Running surface, stairs, direction changes definitely are key factors in route choice there.

In a forest sprint, bashing straight thru the short legs is usually best, especially if you are following, can stumble upon an unmapped track, or have a high pain tolerance. This unfairness is why sprint competitions are increasingly urban. That said, I still had a blast on these maps and learned the danger of trying to follow Pink Socks among other new skills. And your question is a good one and maybe there are some strategies other than bash ahead that I have not learned yet.
Feb 14, 2024 12:13 AM # 
Pink Socks:
learned the danger of following Pink Socks

I learned the danger of following your son! ...until I realized that I was running Expert and not Elite this year and he wasn't going where I was going any longer, lol.
Feb 14, 2024 5:40 AM # 
I've just uploaded a PDF with some basic route choice analysis for the most interesting legs of the weekend:

For Jericho, Tim and Pink Socks make excellent points, and the only thing I have to add is that straight was 100m shorter than taking the paths on that leg. So if you think you'd lose <20s by having to fight the vegetation, straightish will be faster.

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