Register | Login
Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: TomN

In the 30 days ending Nov 30, 2013:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Orienteering6 7:58:12 27.46(17:25) 44.2(10:49) 119530c
  Cycling1 30:00 5.0(6:00) 8.05(3:44)
  Total7 8:28:12 32.46(15:39) 52.25(9:44) 119530c

» now

Saturday Nov 30, 2013 #

Orienteering 2:01:59 [3] *** 8.0 km (15:15 / km) +250m 13:11 / km
15c shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280

Crow's Nest Sneak Preview. Tom S. and Greg L. arranged this early orienteering opportunity at the Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County Va. This is the state's newest land acquisition, and is not yet open to the public. The map is a work in progress, with good contours but almost no field checking. The park ranger was extremely helpful, opening the gate for us, giving us a little speech on the history of the land, and going out to eat with some of us afterwards. I get the impression that most of his job these days involves keeping people out, so it must have been a nice change for him.

The format was a 2-hour Score-O, 20 controls with even weighting, roughly 11K and over 300m climb to get them all. It's mostly steep and deeply carved ridge-and-reentrant terrain, dropping down to the river on 3 sides. Many old and disappearing roads and rides, mostly as yet unmapped. Otherwise, very few signs of human habitation.

It was initially disorienting to leave the road with so sparse a map, but it turned out my contours-only navigation was solid. Maybe it worked for me because I often have trouble keeping multiple dimensions in play, and here there was only the one.

In any event, I had no errors until the very end, when all I had to do was run up the mapped road to the finish, with all the time in the world to do it, and hopefully enough left over to get one of the controls at the very end before finishing. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. I hit an old unmapped road instead, and ran along it a very long way before realizing it wasn't the right one, and by then I was hopelessly out of contact. I finally happened to spot the park ranger, who was out for a walk, and he pointed me back the right way. My 15-minute run-in time was all used up by then and I came back in just short of 2 minutes overtime.

My route: 150-148-147-145-144-143-142-141-140-138-149-136-135-133-134.

Sunday Nov 24, 2013 #

Orienteering race 1:09:20 [4] *** 6.4 km (10:50 / km) +240m 9:07 / km
15c shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280

QOC Great Falls Adv. Med. A really cold day, 20s and windy. Had to dig up all my cold weather gear. I took this course pretty slowly, wanting to concentrate on precise navigation. But I ran enough on the hills to warrant a 4. Right off the bat I got confused about reentrants. I left the big trail just after the loop and headed south. The second reentrant seemed deeper and more stream-like than the first, and suddenly I wasn't sure where I was. But assumed I was on course and came straight to the control, just a little slower than I might have been. Things went really well after that, with almost constant map contact. I thought #14 was a little farther north than mapped, using #1 as an attack point. (I had previously used #1 as a waypoint on the way to 7.) I slipped up on 16, having planned to go out to the trail, but I got persuaded to follow a ditch, and then didn't know which ditch it was, scrambled a bit before doing the actual map reading necessary to find the control, probably 2-3 minutes lost. Even so, this was about the best run I've ever had at this park.

Orienteering 30:00 [3] 2.0 km (15:00 / km)
shoes: Adrenaline 3

Shadowing Alex Merka on Orange. Jan came by after about 5 controls and took over, having bailed on his course because of the need to stay leashed to Benny. Alex is able to articulate a plan. It's not always a good plan. She's too willing to take a bearing long distance when there are better options. For one thing, she needs to start thinking about handrails other than trails. Some of that is related to map reading and familiarity with the linear symbols like ditches. And then just finding the best attack point.

Monday Nov 18, 2013 #

Cycling 30:00 [3] 5.0 mi (6:00 / mi)

What a fine day, sunny, 70 degrees, a light breeze, and there were 2 bike share bikes parked in front of my building. So I hopped on one and rode it around the perimeter road. It was too much to pedal that clunker (with a shaft drive and solid rubber tires) up the steep hill by the garden plots on the gravel road, so I walked it up. Maybe another time I can stomp on it all the way. Meanwhile, there's a cold front tonight and it's not going to get out of the 40s tomorrow.

Sunday Nov 17, 2013 #

Orienteering race 1:05:13 [5] 5.7 km (11:26 / km) +220m 9:35 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280

DVOA Fall Festival Day 2, Hay Creek Green-X. Seemed a little less technical, less bingo-ish than yesterday. Hillier, which I don't mind at all. Undergrowth a little less pleasant than yesterday, with most of the Mid-Atlantic thorn-bearing species present and accounted for. I had another good run, but not a great run.

From the start, I took the lower trail to the reentrant, then up to the control. But it was the wrong control! Quickly recognized it as the charcoal platform to the north, and continued on to the right one. Too slow on #2, I went too high on the trail before cutting over. Then dipped too much, found another wrong control on a charcoal platform, and continued on to the right one. A little shaky on the long traverse on 3, but recognized the trail when I hit it, then a very workmanlike pass through the short legs 3, 4, 5, and 6 on mostly compass bearings.

Lost 4 minutes on #7 without hardly noticing. The problem was the trail. I didn't see it as I came down off 6, but I knew I was too far when I hit boulders. Slogged back up (hence the loss of time), got the trail this time, and had no problem with the control. Tapio and I left #7 at the same time, but again I couldn't find the trail and watched him hare off downhill. I worked my way around and down the steep side of the hill, crossed the little trail midway, and followed the line of rocky pits into #8. Why is it that the minor trails were more visible than the major ones?

Lots of route choices on #9. I left the trail at the 3-way junction, climbed straight up, traversed under the dark green, and contoured to the control. I thought it was a pretty good route, don't know why I wasn't faster on it. And this, by the way, had to have been the most magnificent charcoal platform in the whole 2-day event. It was as big as a skating rink and just as flat, and you could see it from a long way off, although the flag was tucked invisibly in the back. Nice one.

#10 I found by counting paces and then looking behind me. Then downhill, tried to hit the big trail but didn't see it, kept going and got to the clearing below the lake. Crossed the clearing seeing GlenT going the other way (he wondered what the heck I was doing there) but got up to #11 with no problem, just the time lost taking the long way around.

Back across the clearing and into the woods at the rock pile with a flag on it, saw #13 from a long way below and huffed up the hill to punch it (later on at the finish, I was seriously worried that I had punched the wrong control, because it turns out there was another one, equally visible, on the charcoal platform to the west). And then, uneventfully, on to the finish.

So, good map reading and terrain knowledge, good running speed, but three bad mistakes, each due to crossing a trail without seeing it, pretty quick recovery in each case but the loss of time on those three detours was what took me out of contention.

Fourth place in M60 in the combined total.

Saturday Nov 16, 2013 #

Orienteering race 57:49 [5] 5.5 km (10:31 / km) +130m 9:24 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280

DVOA French Creek Day 1 Green-X. Well, this went better than expected, but I have to admit, expectations were low. I'd been to French Creek a few times, around 5 years ago, and not done well, concluding, at the time, that it was the hardest orienteering I'd ever seen. Charcoal platforms were, to my eye, faerie visions that were there one time and not the next. Or, pessimistically, locations where a control was needed and no feature existed.

So, to my growing surprise and pleasure, as the run progressed, I found that this terrain was actually navigable. I still didn't see any charcoal platforms that weren't marked with control flags, but there were enough visible cues to get around and even relocate. Maybe I've learned something in the last 5 years after all.

I liked the common control #1. It gave me time to read the map, get my distance calibrated, and think about the first real leg. I didn't know if I'd see the faint trail on the right, but it turned out to be flagged for white or yellow, so I gladly followed it to the junction with the major trail. Then a very careful bearing towards the rocky ground. As I approached it, it seemed to loom above the forest floor like a castle. Holy crap, what is that? Is that it? I couldn't have missed it if I tried! So then it was easy to #2, and now to #3.

Not much to think about here, except I decided I needed to hit the trail exactly in the middle of the bend in order not to waste any time attacking the control. So, up to the trail, spot the bend to the tower, follow the rock band (not on the rock band, as I unfortunately discovered, but beside it on the even ground), then carefully following a series of charcoal platforms and boulders to the trail, which I hit dead center on the bend, and from there the control was easy, past a couple of big rocks to the smaller ones beyond. The splits show that I was first on Green at that point, yay!

The next 2 controls 4 and 5 were easy, but apparently I was too slow. Still worried about losing contact, I guess, and not focused on the clear navigation features in each case.

Then a big mistake on #6. My plan was to hop on the trail and follow it to the bend nearest the control, but that failed, due to a combination of seeing others leaving the trail in the general direction of #6 and losing track of where I was. So I committed the cardinal sin of leaving the trail without a firm position fix, got into unrecognizable features, relocated to the trail much lower down, hit the mountain laurel and recognized it as the green on the map, then up to the control.

On #7 I got a little off and didn't see the reentrant, spent a little time making sure it wasn't below me before heading up the hill to where it really was.

Now to #8, which I figured was a make-or-break control in the middle of nowhere with very little to guide me in. So I decided to climb up to the tower and use the same old rocky ground from #3 to attack from. It worked pretty well, as it turned out, but it was slow due to the extra climb. I didn't go all the way to the tower, attacking instead from the marked charcoal platform just NW of the rocky ridge. Spotted the flat place in the contour lines, dropped down the next slope, and there it was, pretty much a bingo. I counted that as a victory. After the fact, I think there would have been plenty of features to guide me around on a contour route that would have been a lot faster.

#9 and 10 were steady and uneventful. On #11 I again let my head be turned by others who, it turned out, were on Brown and had 2 controls in between my 10 and 11. I got to admire their control placements, but I should have stuck to the original plan.

Ron Bortz and I had been within a second or two of each other a couple of times before, but this time we were tied for 4th. He's a very steady navigator, but as he told me a couple of weeks ago, anything can happen at French Creek.

Sunday Nov 10, 2013 #

Orienteering race 53:23 [5] 5.0 km (10:41 / km) +200m 8:54 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280

SVO Mid-Atlantics Green. This park was a surprise. Open forest, big terrain features, great visibility -- just my kind of running. Execution was another matter. From 8 to 9 I fell to daydreaming, and didn't notice that I was running off-bearing and downhill until I began to see buildings. A little time reorienting, then a big climb back up. On #11, I was too high on the hill. I knew I was too high, but still reluctant to give up any elevation without thoroughly checking it out. That wasted a couple of minutes, and when I finally headed downhill there it was. No trouble on the infamous boulder control. Probably just dumb luck, but I saw the rootstocks first from some distance away, expected the boulders to be right behind them, and they were.

Orienteering race 23:35 [5] 2.8 km (8:25 / km)
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280

Relay, 3rd leg. A good run. Mainly I was able to keep up some speed on the uphills when everyone else was walking. Then some more daydreaming on the very last leg, finally hearing arena sounds from behind me, and making a U-turn back to the finish. A minute or so lost there. I was the first one back from the mass start of orphaned 3rd leg runners.

Sunday Nov 3, 2013 #

Orienteering race 56:53 [5] 8.8 km (6:28 / km) +155m 5:56 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280

QOC "Cowboy Relay" at Morven Park, long course. Really a motala, I guess. 4 short loops with everyone taking the loops in a different order, then a 5th long loop that everyone had in common. Loops 1-4 were easy. Not much navigation required, and there was almost always someone to follow. So the only thing was to go as fast as possible. For those who weren't running, there wasn't much point.

The last loop was as long as the first 4 combined, and there was some navigation involved. I messed up in the weird boulders on the 3rd from last control. A couple minutes lost, but then again it gave me a breather before the last bit of running.

Andy B. and Howie Weinstein were gradually pulling away from me but I could still see them up ahead until the last few controls, and I had passed the next guy around the last map exchange, so my finishing place wasn't really in question. Just had to keep running.

« Earlier | Later »