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Discussion: Fall O Fest Trail O solutions and results

in: DVOA Fall Orienteering Festival (Nov 16–17, 2013 - Elverson, PA, US)

Nov 18, 2013 2:19 AM # 
You can see the solutions for the Fall O Fest Trail O here: Course solutions and Timed Control solutions

The results: Overall and by Class

Thanks to everyone for competing. It was a pleasure to see some many juniors giving it a try.
Nov 18, 2013 2:33 AM # 
curious why 13 was discarded. somebody want to explain?
Nov 18, 2013 2:44 AM # 
Karl--thank you for excellent courses and thanks to the DVOA trail-O team with Sandy A. and Richard for making this a great, fun event.

For those interested in a re-match, get ready for the annual Ridley Riddle on Dec 1st!
Nov 18, 2013 2:55 AM # 
Essentially it was because of slightly inaccurate mapping of trees near the circle.

If looking at the top of the control over the spur from the sidewalk to the north of the control location, the A control was exactly halfway between the two trees that were next to the roadway when in fact the control should have been closer to the western most tree. The trees were inaccurately mapped. The eastern most tree should have been maybe 4 meters further to the west. From a contour standpoint and distance from the stairs the A control was absolutely correct. Which was my intention when I set the course. I was not as diligent with the trees as I could have been.

As is usual in Trail O the competitors, with their sometimes overactive brains, will pick up subtleties that the mapper and the course setter overlook. Whether that makes this partiular control illegitimate can be debated from here to eternity but when I made this course I wanted the map to be very accurate within and near all the control circles, if it wasn't and if the mapping confused more than one competitor (which in this case it did) I was willing to discard that control.

I hope that explains my rationale for voiding that control.
Nov 18, 2013 3:03 AM # 
Could you explain why the middle boulder on cp 10 was mappable? Seems it was as small as the unmapped ones on either end.
Nov 18, 2013 3:07 AM # 
It made the cutoff by 2 inches. That I checked and double checked. The bottom of the flags were also hung at 0.5 meters off the ground. Somewhere that is the suggested height and it was helpful for determining which were the mapped boulders on this map.
Nov 18, 2013 3:18 AM # 
getting back to 13, if the center of the circle is midpoint between the trees and it is the correct distance from the stairs and there was a flag at that exact location, how can the control be voided? regardless of distance between the trees being off as you say 6 meters, what else was used to solve that particular problem? why was one woman's complaint (someone who always complains and protests) given any thought whatsoever???
Nov 18, 2013 3:22 AM # 
oh, now, now..
Nov 18, 2013 3:29 AM # 
and then there is this rule:
"If electronic punching is used, provision for competitors to punch in privacy shall be

didn't feel private to me
Nov 18, 2013 3:39 AM # 
control circle 6mm, scale 1:4000 the circle touches both trees.
gmaps pedometer measurement is 24 meters between the trees. great mapping Karl. where is the issue?

"Distance in range across the terrain estimated by competitors should
not be required to an accuracy better than 25%"
Nov 18, 2013 4:11 AM # 
This would not be a radical concept, but ...

if a professional sports league, such as the NBA, finds it necessary to establish a rule forbidding public criticism of the officiating, in order to preserve the public credibility for the sport and encourage good sportsmanship,

it would not seem too crazy then,

that if Trail-O community ever had an ambition to change its long-standing image of a small clique of bickering characters with a knack for complaints and a set of arbitrary rules that can never be satisfied,

that there may be room for improvement in the tone and approach to post-race discussion

both for the sake of credibility of this discipline as a whole and a more sportsmanlike appearance individually.
Nov 18, 2013 4:19 AM # 
Nice. But the original complaint came from someone other than me. And someone who typically complains and protests. I suggest you follow up with the individual as I am not in the mood to care about what anyone thinks about the public image of trail O.
I will add that Karl did a fantastic job on this course but failed in allowing the complaint to stand.
Nov 18, 2013 4:25 AM # 
I thought you were a member of the jury, Joe. Didn't you stick around to handle protests?
Nov 18, 2013 4:29 AM # 
There were no protests. Complaints on the other hand can be handled by the meet director without consultation.
Nov 18, 2013 4:30 AM # 
Was that really Dasha talking?
Nov 18, 2013 9:55 AM # 
It was more than one person who pointed out this mapping "deficiency". I apologize if I threw out the control too quickly. After ten hours of work that day I did not want to drag it out any longer.
Nov 18, 2013 1:20 PM # 
By the powers vested in me by the orienteering sporting authorities as the Registrar for this Event,

I would like to congratulate Karl on an excellent event, and to thank the 49 participants, many of whom are newcomers to Trail-O. The courses were uniformly well received. It was rewarding to hear praise from expert Trail-O competitors, including the winner of the course, international Trail-O orienteer, and an Editor of the CompassSport magazine Nick Barrable, as well as the top US Trail-O orienteers. The Trail-O results are posted and final.

We appreciate all constructive feedback that we have received, and will take it into account at our future Trail O events.

We hope to see you at our future events, including the fast approaching Ridley Riddle (December 1st, 2013).

While, in the interests of promoting good sportsmanship, we would like to conclude re-digestion of officiating for this event in this forum with any further complaints hereby labeled as “sour grapes”,

we very much hope that the Trail-O community can evaluate valid issues raised in conjunction with this event off-line or in a more appropriate forum.
Nov 18, 2013 3:19 PM # 
Great job Karl. Thanks for a fun and challenging afternoon.

I am curious if anyone would like to discuss number 12. Part of the problem obviously was determining which two trees the control was "between". That was not too difficult and checked from several angles. From the viewing station, C appeared to be midway between the westernmost and southernmost of the four trees. An apparently simple problem. (determining which trees were large enough to be mapped also entered in, but there didn't seen to be any real ambiguity about that).

Then, however, I went to the southeast and viewed the control directly along a straight line between the two trees. From this angle, when the nearer tree was directly in line with the rear one, the control appeared very clearly to be over a meter (I estimated about 1.5) to the east side of a direct line between the two trees. Therefore I (and one other person) chose "Z", because a control "between two features" should be directly on the line between, and it appeared that this one had clearly been intentionally placed off that line to test knowledge of this rule.

I asked several people who chose C, and none of them had checked the direct line between the trees. Did anyone else check from this angle and possibly agree or disagree with me? I find it hard to believe that Karl wouldn't have been careful enough to double check this, so I'm wondering what else I might have done wrong. The most obvious would be lining up the wrong two trees, but I'm sure I was pretty careful about that.
Nov 18, 2013 3:43 PM # 
Mike, I did check the direct line between the trees to confirm my answer. there was another tree (less than .75m diameter) about 2 meters further southwest of the southwest mapped tree. Perhaps this was the one you sighted.
Nov 18, 2013 5:33 PM # 
Does anyone actually have fun doing this thing?
Nov 19, 2013 12:04 AM # 
To T/D: Absolutely! It was an excellent course with some very challenging problems. Well worth the time spent doing it and the minimal entry fee.

Personally I find trail O mentally exhausting. And If it is not physical enough for you, there's nothing that says you can't sprint to every viewing station and every other angle you want to check. There was plenty of extra distance to cover if you went around to check all possible angles. In fact this is at least the second time that I've felt it would possibly be very likely that someone with true physical limitations could be disadvantaged by the time limit (in this case a mere 80 minutes) by not having the time necessary to check out all possible views of every control.
Nov 19, 2013 12:51 AM # 
To T/D. Actually, this one I found quite enjoyable, perhaps the first one of these things where I have found the interest in the set problems substantially outweighing the frustration factor. I don't 100% know whether that was because this one was better designed, or just because I am beginning to develop a little more of an understanding of what to expect from the game. Even more than in orienteering, there are lots of detailed technical things to learn before the event starts to become fun, and to perhaps a much greater extent than for orienteering, it is pretty difficult to find rules, conventions, and guidelines anywhere in a compact and organized form. It has been my experience that it requires at least half a dozen serious efforts and quite a bit of discussion with more competent "experts" after the event to really get much of a sense of what the sorts of problems that are actually going to be set. And I honestly think that for most orienteers it needs to be approached as more of an activity such as crossword puzzles or sudukos, or maybe a chess problem, rather than any sort of physical activity for it to be entertaining. All it really shares with orienteering is the use of a map (usually at a different scale) and a common set of control descriptions (typically used in a different way). I'm sure that for a novice to the activity, enjoyment is more likely if the expectations for success are set at a considerably lower level than for what one might expect in an orienteering competition after 20 or 30 years of regular participation!
Nov 19, 2013 12:58 AM # 
Mike, I also checked the direct line and found that it lined up just fine.
Nov 19, 2013 2:34 AM # 
Thanks for the comments. I am glad people found it enjoyable. The one thing I have learned is that simple straightforward problems are challenging enough and it is detrimental to manufacture nitpicking challenges.
Nov 19, 2013 2:38 AM # 
Mike, if the control was off the line between the two trees it was because it was moved after I placed it. I thought it was challenge enough to determine the proper pair of trees.
Nov 19, 2013 2:43 AM # 
To comment on the physical aspect of Trail O, it isn't tiring to compete but it was an exhausting day for me. My Garmin track says I covered 9+ miles throughout the course of the day.
Nov 19, 2013 1:42 PM # 
A couple of Trail O photos
Nov 19, 2013 2:23 PM # 
Sounds like perhaps in moving to the other viewpoint, I might have switched in a different tree. I certainly concede to Karl, Clare and others. It is disappointing to make such a mistake but I'm sure you are correct.
Nov 19, 2013 2:40 PM # 
Another question.

How many of you experienced trail orienteers seriously work on multiple problems (controls) at the same time? Of course you have to punch to register your decision at each control in order. But often you get good angles on later problems while working on earlier ones. For example, while going around to look at 4 from the south side, you also were in position to make the decisive views on 5 and 6. By the time I returned to actually punch my selection on 4, I had already made a decision on 5, and narrowed 6 to 2 of the 3 choices. Similarly, I solved 11 while still working on 10.

In some ways this working on multiple problems at once increases the mental difficulty, but it certainly reduces the time you have to spend moving around to view controls from different sides.

The first time I saw this situation, I wondered if it was legal for me to study a later control. But if the course is designed in such a way, there's really no way that seeing and thinking about upcoming controls could be prohibited. But, is actively studying other controls before punching the current one considered improper?
Nov 19, 2013 4:44 PM # 
I know that Nick B worked on 4 5 and 6 at the same time and a far as I am concerned it is fine to do so. It all boils down to time management. I know some competitors rushed themselves later in the course by checking out all angles early on the course and subsequently made mistakes.

I did have experience in France where competitors were not allowed to back track after getting to a certain point in the course.
Nov 19, 2013 7:17 PM # 
Interesting to mention Nick B., who won not only the Trail-O but M-21. No spring chicken at almost 40, he recovered from a not-so-good day on Saturday to win on Sunday by over 7 mins and take the overall victory. There are other examples of talented foot orienteers doing well at Trail-O (Tero as past Euro Trail O Champ.) I’m not naïve enough to assume that correlation = causation but it doesn’t preclude it. At some point, I hope more APers will look beyond their upturned noses and recognize Trail-O as an excellent, low cost training opportunity that doesn’t involve additional travel and may improve performance.

Think of it as akin to a Biathlete who spends hours at the shooting range taking target practice. What good is shooting when your HR is 60bpm while you’ll be competing at 160bpm? Part of the answer is that it will ingrain certain actions so that proper technique, form, etc . will occur almost subconsciously when fatigued and stressed. In a similar way, the focus and intensity of map reading in Trail-O may lead to improvement (perhaps subconsciously) in the hundreds of micro route choices made during a race and could shave valuable time from results.

If it were up to me, Trail-O would be required training for team members, if they’re already attending the meet. Not likely to happen but it sure seems the
team could use any advantage it can get to improve performance at the international level.

Thanks again to Karl for setting courses that everyone (including Joe, I think) found challenging and fun.
Nov 20, 2013 4:05 PM # 
Hey Sammy, I missed seeing you there. You are correct, I did find it fun and challenging. Next time don't be a stranger though and join me for a beer. My treat.
Nov 20, 2013 4:26 PM # 
I saw him at the results tent. We had a great chat.
Nov 20, 2013 5:21 PM # 
I'm always happy to join you for a beer Joe.
Nov 21, 2013 2:59 AM # 
I knew it!

This discussion thread is closed.