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Training Log: TheInvisibleLog

In the last 7 days:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Walking2 2:45:00 6.21(26:33) 10.0(16:30)
  Running3 1:42:43 10.46(9:49) 16.83(6:06) 310
  Back, core and achilles2 40:00
  Real Orienteering1 14:00 1.49(9:23) 2.4(5:50) 50
  Total6 5:21:43 18.16 29.23 360

Sunday Dec 4 #

8 AM

Running 43:00 [3] 6.57 km (6:33 / km) +85m 6:09 / km
shoes: Grey Kayano

Sufficiently recovered from illness to try a run, but not the 12 ks on offer from the serious crew. Usual skraplands run... well almost. Closed areas forced a detour or two. Might have to put this on hold for a while to await the fall of grass seeds.
12 PM

Real Orienteering race 14:00 [4] 2.4 km (5:50 / km) +50m 5:17 / km
shoes: Grey Kayano

Novelty event at the club end of year presentations. This event was a WINNER! Consensus is we need to do this again. Rules as follows-

20 minute score event with a mass start.
20 controls.
Teams of five.
Only the last valid visit to a control site scores for that control.
You can only visit a control site once.
If you are back late none of your control visits will count.

The inspiration was shared games of Quake playing Catch the Flag in our earlier days. Similar forms of behaviour to Quake were observed- camping, stalking, ambushing, feinting. No-one fully appreciated the tactics initially. My race consisted of a visit to the toilet after the mass start, and a jog to my planned most distant control. Once tehre, I hid in the scrub and watched an opponent hide in another piece of scrub. I wasn't sure if he knew I was there, but he did. I had timed my return run and punched the control with only seconds left on my count down. Opponent was waiting till I punched, but waited too long. I then ran back hard, punching three other controls on the way. I was confident that anyone punching after me on these needed to be a faster runner, and only one of them was. Arrived back and punched with no seconds to spare. The last 10 seconds was a frantic sprint with a verbal countdown in my ears.

Lest anyone think this is just for hard core, the person who collected the most valid controls was the four year old wandering around with his grandma. They visited a number of controls very close to the finish, and the more serious runners generally misjudged their time and were unable to visit them, or if they did, were back late and disqualified. You need insurance tactics in this game.
EXCELLENT game design by Peter Forbes.
This was followed by presentations and lunch. Notable winners based on popular vote-
Black Crow- Julie and I for both arriving in Qld without our compasses or SI sticks.
Noodle Award- twelve entries but almost unanimously voted to Karina Cherry.
Best Leg- 10 entrants with a closely contested result. The winning margin was one vote. Winner was Ilka Barr's long leg on course 2 at the Bendigo Bush 15. Close behind were a leg on our Kooyoora State Series (Andrew Cameron), a leg at a local event on Chewton (Shayne Hill) and a leg on Tarrengower (Julie Flynn).

Saturday Dec 3 #

8 AM

Walking 1:30:00 [1] 5.0 km (18:00 / km)

In retrospect it probably wasn't a good idea to play golf whilst recovering from viral infection that has affected my balance. I only landed on the fairway from one of my 18 tee shots. Still, to make the most of a bad lot, I submitted my third and final card to get a handicap assessment. Looking forward to an easy start to Stableford comps. If this gets out I will be called a BANDIT.

Friday Dec 2 #


Some sort of virus. Letting go after last weekends events?
Good news of the day is that orienteers across the world have voted for the best orienteering course of the year. First place to a French event on very technical terrain presented at 1:7,500. Second place to technical terrain in Italy/Sovenia also mapped at 1:7,500. This is notable as the current rules of the IOF say that maps at this scale are 1:7,500 are not suitable for international orienteering. Well, I would say the punters have spoken. The IOF Mapping Commission is wrong.

Thursday Dec 1 #


Orienteering news of the day. Finland is now covered by one orienteering map (well 80%). Three enthusiasts and open access to lidar data. And a degree of obsession matched with great computing skill.
Pity it can't happen in Victoria.
8 AM

Back, core and achilles 25:00 [1]

Running hills 14:44 [4] 2.5 km (5:54 / km) +190m 4:16 / km
shoes: Grey Kayano

Ten ascents of Honeysuckle St

Running warm up/down 15:00 [2] 2.7 km (5:33 / km)
shoes: Grey Kayano

Descents and to and from home.

Wednesday Nov 30 #


Addendum to yesterday's missive- funding mapping.

How much do you need to charge to pay for a map?

Quite a few years ago I built a financial model on spreadsheet to demonstrate what our club (and others) needed to charge to fund the development of a map by a professional mapper. This was based on the clubs experience of in paying for the mapping of a few areas including Korong. You plugged in all the mapping costs, a potential schedule of use at different event levels, a bank interest rate and inflation rate and it spat out the numbers. The result was a shock to many and no-one would use the model. From memory, it suggested we needed to charge around $6 at a major event per entrant.

What can Championships pay for?

Its quite clear that State Championships do not provide enough return to fund map making. For most clubs this leaves National Championships and local events as the means to pay for professional map making. National Championships have higher levies but also higher entry fees. And also much higher participation. Assume 800 entrants and a charge of $2 in the entry fee and you can pay for a modest spur gully bush map. $4 will pay for something better or larger. Charge that and use the map for two events and you can then pay for a special map like Korong. We have six of these opportunities a year across the country. That is the opportunity to create one map a year per state. Its pointless to observe that this explains why Australia cannot support a professional mapper. Its is more useful to observe that this doesn't inject much terrain novelty into a State's orienteering fixture. So its left to local events to feed the map hunger.

What can a local event fixture support?

The advantage of local events is a lower levy and in the case of Bendigo regular repeated participation. Gradually this can fund some mapping. No other Victorian club is in that position. Street orienteering really should not fund bush maps. And the sprint series can only fund local sprint terrain. At some time in the past (when I was club President but before I was as deeply into mapping) I set a notional $1 component of each entry to fund mapping and remapping. This was a notional $2,500 a year. That can pay for a map of modest terrain or small size. And during the reign of President Jymbo this is what happened. Over four years the club paid Chris Creely to remap Norfolk Hero, One Tree Hill, Wildflower Drive and Diamond Hill. I was paid to map Birds Reef and Dead Bullock Gully. There was clearly some dipping into cash reserves here. Its a good use of reserves when the club runs as many events as Bendigo does. Some special project funds paid for Camp Hill.

My mapping plans

The above schedule means someone such as myself can only expect to be paid to produce a club map every couple of years. A further issue for me is my special relationship with the club president. I feel uncomfortable at her signing cheques to pay me to make maps for the club. But I have a list of terrains I would like to see mapped and used. My solution is to just go out and map when I have the time and the inclination. The maps are being released for local events rather than championships. I am retaining copyright on the maps. There are two reasons for the latter. I want it to be made explicit that the club is not funding this mapping and Julie is not in a compromised position. A copyright note on the map is also a message that this is a significant voluntary labour. I am now adding time mapping time as a notice on each map. I will maintain some control over the use of these maps, particularly the bush sprint maps. And I maintain the option of selling the maps to a club in the future. This year there were five new maps or remaps on the fixture- four of them remain under my copyright- White Hill, South Star, Ironstone Hill and Adelaide Hill. Next year the fixture will have at three new areas- Lockwood Range, Sparrowhawk and New Argus (remap). Following years will see more added around Wedderburn and Heathcote. The message for those looking for new terrain in your bush orienteering is to closely follow the Bendigo local event fixture. The most interesting new terrain in Victorian orienteering this year was probably White Hill No 4. Fifty people indulged in this boutique orienteering experience. Those who think the best terrain is at State Series events missed out. I was happy not to advertise the event too widely as I was organiser and its much less stressful with 50 rather than 100 entrants. ;-)

The fate of the mapping stock outside Bendigo

The final observation I have is the fate of maps between Bendigo and Macedon owned by Melbourne clubs. I can't see enough State Series and club events happening to pay for the maintenance of all these maps. I can't see enough of these events to justify spending club financial reserves on these maps. A few may be used for national events (next in 202?). But our choices for national events are increasingly on the technical terrain around Creswick, Kooyoora and the north east. Perhaps in the next few years Bendigo can cut a deal with clubs who currently own maps around Castlemaine. That would see the maps being regularly used. I fear though that we may never again run on a map such as Mt Franklin Gorge. You can fill in the dots on the other similar areas.
8 AM

Running 29:59 [3] 5.06 km (5:56 / km) +35m 5:44 / km
shoes: Grey Kayano

Problems with new shoes. Ended up wearing one old and one new. This may be a permanent solution.

Back, core and achilles 15:00 [1]

Tuesday Nov 29 #


Its two days after the event. Finally repacked or reprogrammed everything. Have a delivery to make to Melbourne, but other than that I think life is back to normal. Time to reflect on the weekend of sprint. Here are my initial thoughts.

Paddling beneath the surface
Finding course setters and organisers: The fun started trying to find course setters. November is not orienteering month in Bendigo and many were booked with post season trips. Neither is sprint orienteering a favoured orienteering style for our most experienced course setters. We were committed to the events long before we had three course setters.
Road closure process: We were required to go through a formal road closure to use the area. This means lots of forms, risk plans, notifications, advertisements. The process wasn’t concluded until the last week before the event. It drove me mad. Never ever again.
Permits- the number of plans: And even more plans. At one point I decided to take the risk management matrix seriously enough to calculate the probability of orienteers colliding and requiring medical attention. I used data for the last four years of sprint and park orienteering in Victoria. The probability was 0.03% for the weekend. I observed that this was somewhat different to the risks on sporting fields. The last three permits required appeared in the last few days before the weekend.
Endless map changes: Well six versions in the months leading up to the event. There were shifting works in the school, park and Vahland Precinct. Changing the map is relatively easy, but some of the map changes had implications for course setting and route choice. To gain some certainty I had to discuss with land managers their works schedule and supplement that with unofficial chats with various tradesmen and site managers.
Gates: There are 82 gates on the map. Some have reliable schedules of opening and closing. Some don’t. The map is designed to turn on and off various gate symbols according to the time of day. We had to identify the most important gates and then negotiate their status. Some out of bounds areas were created for gates we couldn’t predict.
SI-Air. Yes its lovely to run past without stopping, but it’s a pain in the arse to manage. All boxes have to be reprogramed, then turned on before an event and turned off afterwards. Its heavy on the batteries so we had to ditch controls with low batteries. Thankfully Yarra Valley had brought up their set just in case. This was a case. SI-Air also means you have to be particularly careful about control placements so competitors cannot punch whilst on the wrong side of an uncrossable feature. A couple were shifted.
Entry fees: SI-Air costs $6 per competitor. Once we decided to use it for start and finish it was necessary that everyone used it. So everyone had to have a hire stick (almost everyone). And the Saturday events were not pre-entry. Some terse emails were exchanged about how to make this work on the event files. I will admit to throwing my hands up in the air and leaving it to the SiS crew to solve. Not my problem. It also meant the initial budget set entry fees for adults at $30…. For a 15 minute race. So then we started looking for costs to cut. Prizes only for first. Sprint into Spring can bear some of the SI-Air hire cost. We got the entry fee down to $25 with no margin to compensate the club for equipment or effort. I added a little diagram of where your entry went on the information sheet. Basically half went to levies and the rest to venue costs. This was removed by others as it was seen as too provocative. Maybe it was in this context, but we need to talk about it.
Eventor woes and late entries: Unluckily, the help in getting eventor set up made a minor error. The closing time for juniors was 23.11. For seniors it was set at 00:00. But to eventor this was midnight at the beginning of the day. The result was that on the last day of entries, eventor said entries were open but would not allow senior entries. I fielded emails and phone calls and ended up entering quite a few people myself and paying for their entries. I had to recover this money at the event. And then whenever a late entry request emerged, I didn’t know if it was due to the eventor mistake or competitor laziness. So I had to accept them all.
Real life intervening: as always, it did. Evan needed ferrying to the hospital in Melbourne after breaking his hand. Not the week for this to happen.
Tophs alarm: On the morning of the Champs he hit the stop button rather than the snooze button. So we started putting out trestles at about 7:30 for a 10:00 start. It was just that little extra bit of stress. Finished the last checking with 20 minutes to spare.
Fence mapping: While putting out trestles we discovered a mapping error. A quick conference was convened and the control was shifted to the wrong place to get the right result. Once an orienteer sees a control they forget the map. It seemed to work.
Start procedure 3 or 5 minute boxes: We had advertised a three minute start procedure, but as the implications of SI-Air became clearer, the initial choice was a five minute procedure. This quickly proved unworkable and the procedure was redesigned whilst starters were being sent off. It was confusing for a while. Thankful I ticked the start box option on the OE file. Otherwise the starts would have been a wreck.

Issues- what we might have done better
Shorter champs courses- scenery or complexity. There were two consideration in course design. One was course challenge and the other was taking runners through different parts of the precinct. This worked well on the long courses. But compromises were inevitable on the shorter courses. The result was a few too many scenic but facile legs. Next tome would drop the scenery for the short courses.
Prizes for junior placegetters. Ditching prizes for junior placegetters was a mistake. But on the other hand, we made a loss on every junior entry and recouped this by charging seniors twice as much.
People not admitting they had lost contact: Its always amusing to hear a competitor claiming the map had lots of unmapped detail when you know every bit of detail was revealed by lidar, or the previous mapping six years ago. Some people cannot admit to themselves they didn’t know where they were.
BGV attendance- As always, the word Sprint is the Kiss of Death for Bendigo attendance. I looked at past attendance and calculated that calling an event State something reduces Bendigo attendance by 20-25%. Calling it a Sprint reduces attendance by half. But if you run a sprint on mining terrain but call it a bush event, attendance is normal and people say they love the 1:5,000 scale. The Vic Sprint Champs was no exception. We had a greater Bendigo attendance at the Park and Street event late on Sunday afternoon on the same map.
Entry fees: Not sure what to do but something has to be done. Making a loss on events is not sustainable. $30 for a long event is much better value than for a sprint event. But the work in sprint events is, if anything, greater. You can’t use the maps as much. They take much more effort for a given area of land.
My ability to delegate: I need to work on this. I don’t trust other people and the more I delegate the more stressed I feel. I think I am emotionally unsuited to managing events. Give me a task I can do by myself with a reasonable deadline and I am fine.

The Good
BGV helpers: Some wonderfully competent people in the club saved the day at the start and the finish. People like Peter Searle, John Chellew, Peter Galvin, Jim. And we have another group of less experienced orienteers who only go to our local events but were willing to work on this big weekend. I only had to shift the start time of one person to allow them to help and compete. This is because the vast majority did not enter. Its not their scene. But their help was wonderful.
Cooperation and support from Melbourne. Ted, Margi, Debby, Ian. It probably wouldn’t have happened without them.
Talented course setters. Three club members course set on different maps. Three excellent jobs were done. I may be biased having been deeply involved in the Camp Hill event, but I think it deserves some recognition. I learnt quite a bit from Tophs course setting. He used some areas I thought had little potential.
Varied sprint styles- We are blessed with good terrain around Bendigo. Three events, three different maps with three different course setting styles. SE Colleges was generally about quick decisions and lots of direction change. No time to settle. The South Star map required keeping in contact with continuous detail whilst still running fast along tracks. The Camp Hill map set a series of route choice dilemmas with decisions needed to be made before leaving the control. Once you started running you were committed. This meant you needed to analyse the coming leg before you started it. And all the while the running was fast. I doubt we could have chosen a better trio of maps. The gold mining terrain seemed to excite quite a few traditional orienteers though it clearly worried the less experienced. Someone has suggested using that map for a NOL weekend. Well, there is more than one of these maps- South Star, New Argus, New Saint Mungo, White Hill, Birds Reef. More are possible with a remap- Devonshire, Golden Gully, Napoleon Gully.

Not up for a major carnival. This weekend consumed my life in the weeks leading up. And I am retired! Not up for a JWOC. Probably not even a NOL. How about a training camp on mining terrain at 1:5,000.
Making life complex when it isn’t necessary: Quite a few decisions about this weekend made it more complicated than was necessary. Some aspects of a competition are nice, but not when you consider the work involved they don’t make sense. Whilst this club has quite a few on-the-day volunteers, it was quite hard to raise volunteers for the lead up work. Quite a few have reached the stage in life where they are purposefully stepping back. Its time for the next generation, but I don’t see that next generation in the same numbers. And some have important but different orienteering contributions to make. These volunteers need to be protected from excess demands.
Don’t do road closures. At least ask someone before considering it.
Entry fees: Pick a final day, and make the normal entry cost two days earlier. Add 50% for the next day and 100% for the final day. Anyone considering a later entry request will know they face an exorbitant entry cost and I might feel happy to accept because it will give the event a profit.
Rethink levy rises. Lets be honest. Running State Championships is not about clubs. Its about the state and national associations. Lets be explicit about this.

Walking 1:15:00 [3] 5.0 km (15:00 / km)

All this orienteering organisation has been bad for my golf swing.

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