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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Definition of a "spike"

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 20, 2003 6:05 PM # 
Suppose you make a mistake enroute to your attackpoint but once in the red/slow zone you are spot on and nail the control. Does that count as a spike? Or does the whole leg have to be spot on... start, middle, end, nail the control... to count as a spike?
Jan 20, 2003 6:27 PM # 
its up to you to decide exactly what counts, but I think a mistake anywhere usually means its not a spike. route choice errors (non-optimal route executed correctly) are a bit of a gray area, I guess depending on how non-optimal your route is ;)
Jan 21, 2003 1:01 AM # 
Definition of a spike - Michael Eglinski
Jan 21, 2003 1:12 AM # 
Seriously – definition of a spike is gray area in all components, since performance on each leg could by put to scrutiny almost infinitely, as your technical level progresses. The more you know about technical and mental aspects of orienteering and apply them to your own experiences on the course the more “errors” you will find. Word error is not to be associated with time lost, errors are deviation from perfect decision making and execution for given athlete at given state of his/here technical/mental ability.
Sorry, it is a little convoluted, may be complicated a bit.
Jan 22, 2003 1:45 AM # 
I consider a control spiked if I cannot think of any reason why I should have done it better (considering all apsects - including route). Of course, somebody else might have done it better, but I use the term to indicate that I should not concern myself with that leg.

I focus on the legs I didn't spike and try to visualize how I would do them better. I can usually identify several such legs for each event, even if I consider the run to be generally "clean." A better orienteer (such as the "real" Spike) might think that many more of my legs were in need of improvement, but if I apply that standard, I'll lose focus on the areas where the greatest gains are possible.

I do agree with comments that Mr. Eglinski has made that a spike is more than the absense of a boom. There is a middle ground where the leg time was OK, but it was still a sloppy leg. Just because you didn't give away a big chunk of time doesn't mean you ran it well.
Jan 23, 2003 1:47 AM # 
Ed Scott put a tub full of beer on ice at a control in a French Creek 12-hour ROGAINE once. No gray area there...
Jan 23, 2003 6:56 PM # 
My personal definition isn't really that useful for training, and it's more for the sheer satisfaction of a job well done. More like a hole-in-one than just a well-played hole.

Basically if I've run a leg as directly as I would on a course re-run, and I'm aiming straight toward the control feature or flag when I first see it, then I'll say I spiked the control.

If it's a control in a pit that appears out of the foilage ahead of me, but it's 3 meters off the line I was running on, then I didn't spike it. If I come into a reentrant, say while intentionally aiming off slightly, and hit the reentrant just below the control, and then follow the reentrant to the flag, I wouldn't call that a spike, even if the leg works out exactly as planned.

If I'm straining for a view between the trees ahead looking for a rootstock, and the rootstock with the flag appears straight ahead between the trees I was threading my way through, then I spiked it.

By that definition, I don't spike controls very often, but it's really cool when it happens.
Jan 23, 2003 11:06 PM # 
I have to agree,with Wyatt, on the control spiking.When I first saw,the expression on attack point,I thought that spiking a control,actualy means,as a figure of speaking,that you were so accurate that you stepped on it,with your spikes,so that means that you have to be right on,comming into the control.I do'nt think that what you do on the leg,would have anything to do with the # controls spiked.
Jan 24, 2003 4:29 PM # 
But consider a tale that Mr. Eglinski himself likes to tell, from a course review years ago. The speaker explained how he missed the control to one side, and got past it, then corrected and came back at it, but got distracted again, then attacked for a third time and spiked it. (Or something to that effect.) I will agree with him that this is a gross misuse of the term "spike". I think a spiked control certainly has to be the result of a clean leg, but I think I'll also include a perfectly executed complex attack. Certainly, spotting a rootstock dead ahead in open forest is a spike. But so is threading my way through the one clean path in a laurel thicket, turning to go between a couple of cliffs, seeing the marsh on the left, and then, yes, three boulders, should be behind the middle one, hah! Spike!
Jan 27, 2003 7:52 PM # 
If I come into a reentrant, say while intentionally aiming off slightly, and hit the reentrant just below the control, and then follow the reentrant to the flag, I wouldn't call that a spike, even if the leg works out exactly as planned.

I grade myself differently If I did this it would be a spike because I executed to plan and was probably able to run faster because I was aiming for a wide linear feature. If I was intentionally aiming off and happened to land right on the control, then for me it would be a borderline spike because it would have been on the edge of making a mistake ie with a little more error in the rough compass work I would have gone up the reentrant when the control was actually below.

If I executed to plan then discovered later through course analysis and comparison with others that I had a crappy plan, then it would not be a spike.

This discussion thread is closed.