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Discussion: Westchester County Challenge 2018 and Continental Club Relays

in: Westchester County Challenge (May 25–28, 2018 - North Salem, NY, US)

Feb 14, 2018 10:46 AM # 
DVOA is in the process of sanctioning for a National Event which will take place during Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28, 2018 in Westchester County, New York.

We will use some of nicest terrain in The Hudson Valley and North-Eastern United States.

On Saturday, May 26 we will welcome you to Westmoreland Sanctuary, Mount Kisco, NY.
Westmoreland Sanctuary was established in 1957 as a not-for-profit nature center and wildlife preserve with the mission to “acquire, establish and maintain for the free use, enjoyment and appreciation of the public. . . tracts of land, including woodland and streams, as a nature sanctuary . . . to promote nature appreciation, preservation and conservation generally, for the present and future benefit and enjoyment of the public.”

A reconstructed 200-year old church serves as Westmoreland’s Sanctuary’s Nature center and Museum. The former Presbyterian Church from Bedford Village was saved from demolition, taken down piece by piece, and rebuilt in the sanctuary in 1973. It contains exhibits of local flora and fauna, live animals, a bird observation window and an auditorium for public programs.

Westmoreland Sanctuary was first mapped by Westchester Orienteering Club volunteers, with the lead of Eric Weyman in 1984.
The latest update was done by Greg Balter in 2014 with use of 2013 Westchester County LIDAR and Aerial Imagery. Field-checking was done by Greg Balter and Geof Connor in 2015, and trail network updates are done by Geof Connor at least once a year.

We will have Middle Courses at Westmoreland as part of our Westchester County Challenge National Event.

Sunday’s Continental Club Relay Championships will be held at Mountain Lakes State park, North Salem, NY. First use of this park’s map was during the Fall of 2014. Field checking was done primarily by Bob Burg with help of Paul Bennett, map was drafted by Bob Burg. Later drafting version was done by Greg Balter with use of 2013 Westchester County LIDAR and Aerial Imagery, with very limited additional field checking. Trail updates were done by Geof Connor and Niels Lyng Olsen as late as winter of 2018.

We will have 3 legs, forked relay with 2 categories: 3+ points and 7+ points. We encourage US and Canadian Clubs to bring as many teams as they can build, to make a real splash on non existing relay scene of Orienteering in North America.

The profits from relay will go to National Junior Team.

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 28 2018 we will have Long Courses at Mountain Lakes State Park. We will have fairly early start times to accommodate for your travel back home.
So, build your team, come to Westchester County Challenge and enjoy fast, runnable woods we have.
Feb 14, 2018 2:00 PM # 
Feb 14, 2018 2:39 PM # 
Way to step up DVOA!
Feb 14, 2018 4:32 PM # 
Sounds like fun!
Feb 14, 2018 11:39 PM # 
What is the nearest town and central town to these maps? I am looking into Airbnb for Juniors.
Feb 15, 2018 6:18 AM # 
Katonah, NY
Feb 15, 2018 3:52 PM # 
Angelica, I am planning on later starts on Saturday, may be first start at noon or later, to allow people to travel to the meet on Saturday morning, You can consider North Salem for accommodation, as well.
Feb 16, 2018 3:22 AM # 
airbnb Katonah? maybe try danbury.
Feb 16, 2018 6:48 PM # 
or Mt Kisco, which actually has a hotel (Holiday Inn)
Feb 17, 2018 4:49 PM # 
Sorry folks, including Greg, but you might want to hold off on the reservations.
Multiple communications with core DVOA people indicate that this proposal is, at the very least, quite premature.
Feb 17, 2018 7:16 PM # 
Tom O:
Here is what DVOA agreed to:. we will manage starts and the finish. All other administrative roles ( including event director, registrar, sanctioning request) need to be filled by someone else if this event is going to happen.
Feb 18, 2018 1:58 AM # 
OK, time for hard facts.
Land use permits have been secured, along with insurance certificates. Land use fees have been paid.
Both maps are fully complete and updated, with plans to make minor corrections to any problematic spots course setters and vetters will locate in the process, with time table for final editions set for end of March. Long courses are designed and in the process of vetting by Niels Lyng Olsen. Two of us spent 3.5 hours at Mountain Lakes today, meeting with Park Manager Taro Letaka and vetting Blue and Red Courses and some other control locations.

I have news for you: if you ran here 3.5 years ago, it is as fast as it was then, and if you have not - come and see it for yourself.

Relays and middle courses are in the design process, and with little or no snow on the ground, the course setting crew is planning to have finished courses by end of March.

Fully completed sanctioning request for National Meet was sent to Orienteering USA on Tuesday, February 13. So far, have received only positive response from members of Sanctioning Committee.

Key Meet administrative and technical positions are as follows:
Ann Paul, Meet Director Day 1, Westmoreland's Sanctuary's Director of operations.
Greg Balter, Meet Director, all events.
Wyatt Riley - Registar.
Valerie Meyer and crew - results; Valerie's accommodations at event site are booked and paid for.
Andis Vitolins - course setter, middle courses, day 1.
Greg Balter - course setter, relays, day 2.
Niels Lyng Olsen - course setter, long courses, day 3
Sergey Gnatiouk - course vetter, relays, day 2 .
Niels, Andis and myself are working on vetting each others courses heavily and have common goals and high quality standards.

Little bragging - Course setting team has more than 160 years combined competitive orienteering experience on 4 continents. It does not mean we will not make any mistakes, only a fool would make that statement. But we will do our best, so you can enjoy courses and terrain as much as we do, while working on it.

At DVOA winter meeting, when I proposed this event to DVOA members, there was great deal of support for the idea. At one point, a DVOA member who's name I do not know, to my shame, came to me and said the following: "You have in us your start crew, we did it at Boulder Dash 2017, same way" (and long way from home", I add).

Here are my weak spots, and I am planning to work in those areas as a meet director. Hence my relatively small experience as a national meet director (I co-directed team trials twice) , I am actively looking for a co-director, besides Ann Paul, who will help us great deal at Westmoreland.

Geof Connor, 2016 US Classic Championships and WRE Meet Director, has graciously agreed to serve as a meet adviser, and has been very instrumental at helping us work with local park officials, securing permits and establishing great relationship parks officials and volunteers. Geof has competitive goals this year, and declined to serve as a meet co-director.

The first edition of meet bulletin will be published in early March, and the final edition is planned to be released in early April of 2018.

As soon as sanctioning is secured, DVOA website on this Event will go live.
Feb 18, 2018 2:53 AM # 
and now, some rumors: we may be hosting 2 days of 2018 US Senior Team Trials, not carved in stone yet :).
The only relative to WOC 2018 in Latvia subject is our middle course setter :)
Feb 18, 2018 4:54 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Right hand, meet left hand.
Feb 19, 2018 4:21 PM # 
OK, no longer rumors, on Saturday, May 26, and Monday, May 28, we will host US Senior Team Trials, with those races starting 1 hr before general public, you shell come and cheer, and enjoy the show of best orienteers in the country.
Feb 19, 2018 10:18 PM # 
@Pink :)
Confirming that registration page is being handled by DVOA (setup/operated by me, Paypal to DVOA Treasurer). Already setup & under test (experienced eventregister admins - email me if you can help test...)
Feb 20, 2018 1:03 AM # 
Tom O:
Thanks Wyatt & Greg. Looks like things have evolved considerably over the last week.
Feb 21, 2018 5:16 PM # 
Brilliant! Great to see you have Ann Paul on board too!
Feb 21, 2018 5:22 PM # 
Ann has being asking for a National Meet at Westmoreland for last 3 years, since I made new map.
Feb 21, 2018 7:55 PM # 
Do they have a parking plan?
Feb 21, 2018 8:33 PM # 
@GuyO: We do, for all 3 days, approved by local managers.
For details, wait for bulletin #1, soon to be released.
Feb 22, 2018 9:19 PM # 
Thanks Greg, you seem to have this under control!
Feb 23, 2018 3:26 AM # 
Especially this! ;-)

"Valerie Meyer and crew - results; Valerie's accommodations at event site are booked and paid for. "
Feb 25, 2018 6:15 PM # 
Event Registration page:
Who's Registered:
Feb 27, 2018 4:22 PM # 
Does anyone have a link to a description of the point values per category so we can start forming teams?
Feb 28, 2018 12:32 AM # 
It magically autocalculates when you register. Nifty.
Mar 2, 2018 12:47 AM # 
Is anyone familiar with Blue Mountain Trail Lodge?
Would it be a good place for Juniors and families to stay during this event?
Mar 2, 2018 1:43 AM # 
In my experience, it is booked far ahead, but you can try..also, must be booked by a local county resident.
If you are unfamiliar, 2 bunk rooms with 15 twin beds, 1 big kitchen, 1 main room with long tables, showers and bath with each bunk room.
Not sure of distance to events.
Mar 18, 2018 12:21 PM # 
Blue Mt. is about 1 hour from venues depending on traffic and it takes ages to get a permit. Better value are the yurts and shelters at Mt Lakes (914) 864-7312 or shelters at Ward Pound Ridge (1/2 way between the two venues) (914) 864-7317. Both can be booked directly with the parks which means instant confirmation.
Mar 18, 2018 5:23 PM # 
Blue Mtn lodge is not available on Memorial Day weekend -- which should come as a surprise to nobody.

One or two yurts at Mountain Lakes have been booked for NJP participants. Probably more still available...
Apr 4, 2018 10:53 PM # 
While I am working on a latest version of event Bulletin v.2, to be releases soon, here is Team Trials Middle and Long courses preview from course setting team.
Apr 7, 2018 1:12 PM # 
Event Information Bulletin #2 is released.
You will find maps and updated courses information, local camping accommodations information, arena maps and more...
Apr 7, 2018 5:22 PM # 
The information in the Bulletin #2 regarding the Friday sprint is incorrect and will be corrected shortly.

Starts will be in the afternoon: 2 at the earliest, possibly later.

The sprints will be open to non-team trialers. However, total participation is capped and so there will be a limited number of available open starts.

There will be only two courses - Red and Blue, designed with the normal winning times for F-21+ and M-21+ respectively.

I apologize for the confusion; I have been slow to publish the information.
Apr 7, 2018 6:54 PM # 
@Sandy : corrected.
Apr 7, 2018 7:34 PM # 
Thanks Sandy!
Apr 10, 2018 11:55 AM # 
I booked a room in Norwalk (thank you, a certain Glen, for a gift that keeps on). It was less than Danbury. Inquire.
Apr 10, 2018 1:00 PM # 
I think T/D is referring to the reduced rates sometimes available at Hilton properties. I've been using it for our O travel (when available).
Apr 10, 2018 10:22 PM # 
The MVP Hilton rates are a really nice OUSA perk. I always check them.
For us, the Norwalk hotels end up being more expensive than Danbury because the properties there (Doubletree, Hilton Garden Inn) don't include breakfast. So Hampton Inns win out most times when all four of us are traveling.
Apr 10, 2018 11:25 PM # 
If you stay there often enough, you'll reach a level where you can choose bonus points or up to two free continental breakfasts (per room) at the other properties like Hilton Garden Inn.
Apr 12, 2018 12:21 PM # 
Just how are the benefits to OUSA members better than those available to all HHonors members? My initial impression was that there were too many hoops to jump through to even bother.
Apr 12, 2018 10:26 PM # 
HHonors gets you a 10% discount, I think (similar to AAA, for instance). The MVP program discount is closer to 20% if available at that motel on the dates you seek.

Since I was already an HHonors rewards member this just increased the chances of me staying at Hampton Inns. Price usually beats comparable facilities (like Holiday Inn Express).
Apr 12, 2018 10:38 PM # 
EDIT: I was reminded that I am already committed to the Scottish Championships which are the same weekend. So I will only arrive in the US on the 28th after the meet.

I will be in the US in this period for a work trip. It looks like this is going to be a quality race so I might make the effort to travel for it.

1. Where will most people be staying between the races? To the east I imagine (Norwalk?) Would it be easy to get a lift to the assembly locations?
2. How easy would it be to find a space on an ad-hoc relay team?
3. Afterwards, I would need to get to Philadelphia, is this somewhere people would drive to? Or reachable by public transport in some sensible manner?
Apr 12, 2018 10:47 PM # 
Many of us will be traveling to Philadelphia by car after the races so getting a ride shouldn't be a problem. If you don't get any better offers you're welcome in my car. (I live in Philadelphia.)
Apr 13, 2018 1:55 AM # 
HHonors only gets you so far, even as a Diamond VIP. A 1 pm checkout is often as good as it gets. We usually use the AARP rate at Hilton properties when we are at orienteering meets. Usually the same discount as AAA and sometimes more widely available, but with a 2 pm checkout, when available. We have never had a case when it was not available. It sure is great to have a relaxing hot shower before heading to your flight.

Breakfasts are free at Hamptons and Homewood Suites. If you stay often enough, you get free breakfasts and premium wifi at the other hotels. We recently used the 2 pm checkout at the Doubletree in Tucson and at the Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow. We were very grateful for the showers in Tucson after our run in the desert before taking the redeye!
Apr 15, 2018 4:29 PM # 
Thanks Sandy for the kind offer. I have since been reminded that I am already committed to the Scottish Championships for that weekend so can't make the meet. Perhaps the dates will work out nicely next time.
Apr 16, 2018 1:07 PM # 
It is tough for us to coordinate our schedule with our friends across the pond :), but we still have tons of great terrain and maps around NYC. Events will be coming, for sure. And, there is the most important race in the world:
The Billygoat!
Apr 27, 2018 2:30 AM # 
Where are the details on the relay difficulty and the point structure? Had a question on Facebook and do not see it. Thanks
Apr 28, 2018 9:57 PM # 
Wyatt: has the distances.

3 person teams - two categories:
- 3-or-more points (total of 3 people) and
- 7-or-more points

Normal OUSA point scheme per person (and it shows up after you register for easy checking.) (As mentioned above, unlike the OUSA rules OUSA rules, this event has 3 person teams to allow more clubs to assemble teams.)

Example: An F21 (2), an M50 (2), and a M14 (3) could run as a 7+ point team.

Preliminary info on relay difficulty:
* first 2 legs on 3+ and 7+ are the same - forked, brown / green difficulty
* last leg on 3+ team - green difficulty
* last leg on 7+ team - orange difficulty
May 7, 2018 2:20 AM # 
We are entering last week of regular registration Westchester County Challenge 2018 and Continental Relay Champs.
Maps are printed and laminated, we are getting ready to roll.

Last year I visited Canadian Orientating Championships in Ontario. I noticed large number of young kids taking park in it. I secretly hoped that we will see some very active participation from our Northern Neighbors in WCC and Relays.

I would like to hear opinions, why my secret hopes did not come true: wrong timing, wrong location, poor marketing or something else.
May 7, 2018 2:44 AM # 
Perhaps because you didn't include a Sass Peepre junior camp? It's a big draw.
May 7, 2018 3:14 AM # 
Sass Peepre was Sun-Tue before the Fri-Sun COCs.

More likely because most students were still on Summer break, so event+travel didn't have to be squeezed between school days. In years with few snow days, Memorial Day weekend might get expanded; 2018 has not been one of those years. So, in a word: timing.
May 7, 2018 3:42 AM # 
Yep, most Canadian kids are still in school on US Memorial Day weekend. That definitely makes a difference.

This discussion thread is closed.