Spent the last 24 hours (and a good bit of time before that) producing four championship events.... :-)
1. Corn Maze classic. I think last year's maze was a little better for orienteering, and it was certainly in better shape, but this one still worked fine, even if almost no one had a legal route. In some cases it was hard to tell whether a "trail" was original, therefore legal, or made by the customers, therefore illegal. Everyone got warned about the difference. But then, what can you do? DQ everyone? Nah, we're not copying the French. Ask people to DQ themselves? Nah, we're not copying the Canadians. :-)
Plus, if the French were stressed, and they had several hours before the Sprint final to sort things out, how would we have managed with, as it turned out, only 4 minutes between the last finisher in the Classic and the first start in the Sprint.
So congrats to Marek for his win. Even if he did skip the party. (Marek is from the Czech Republic, nice fellow, was in Amherst for a conference at UMass, just happened to time it perfectly, managed also to get to the SML Champs over the weekend.)
One interesting thing was how few people noticed that a lot of the letters in the maze had signs saying which letter they were. Made relocating quite easy if you used them.
2. Corn Maze sprint. Fairly straightforward, to the extent that anything in CMO is straightforward. Kudos to Dean for figuring out in advance that the controls for the Sprint would be at the letters S-P-R-I-N-T. Although he was on such a high as a result that his concentration, and his time, pretty much sucked.
Very tight competition, including a tie for first between Marek and Biggins. Two worth co-champions. Note that both meet the eligibility rules because there are none.
And then a bunch of helpers gathered up the controls in the little bit of daylight that was left, and then we headed off to Bub's for what seemed to be a very pleasant post-event party.
Last year the participants came from 8 different states. This year we only had 5 states, but also 2 other countries.
3. RollerSki Middle. The reason for this was to give a few ski-O folks a little more serious pre-season practice on the rollerskis, practice especially in map reading and terrain observation. Not that just going rollerskiing isn't good training, but the more you can simulate ski-O, the more it helps you come winter.
The problem is how to make it difficult enough. I suppose there is a way to set up the mazes that are integral parts of ski-O courses these days, but that seemed beyond me. The best venue I could find was the Northampton industrial park, with the bike trail adjacent to it, and weaving the course around a bunch of the buildings seemed to add at least some map-reading demands. The other way to make it more difficult was to have an accurate map, but one that was really had to read. And a gloomy very early morning. Even if we did delay the first start 10 minutes because at 7 am you still really couldn't read the map.
I think it worked OK. Not trivial orienteering, certainly not trivial to do at a good speed. And they do go fast! I started them all, then drove around to mid-course to watch a little, then back to the finish. That was fun.
4. RollerSki Sprint. This was obviously just a hill climb up the road to the top of South Sugarloaf, about 450' climb in a little under a mile. I put a couple of controls in just to ask for a smidgeon of map reading. There seemed to be a need for something more. Hence the five questions. Mainly to give them something to have to concentrate on while the brain was a little oxygen starved. And also to make the point that it should be second nature to keep looking around and observing the terrain even when it seems like all you have to do is go straight. And, of course, being able to count intersections and remember how many you have passed is a necessary skill. Not enough intersections on Sugarloaf, but a lot of nice orange posts.
So I think this worked OK too. It may have seemed sneaky, but there was a useful purpose in the madness.
The main hassle in all of this is the maps. I'm sure anyone with some OCAD skills could handle that aspect a whole lot easier. Maybe one of these years I'll learn.
Anyway, thanks to all who came. I got a few good memories.