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Discussion: west point Ameet 2013 comments

in: West Point A-meet (Apr 27–28, 2013 - West Point, NY, US)

Apr 28, 2013 11:08 PM # 
Hope everyone enjoyed the great weather this weekend. We would love to get some comments on the meet to help for next year.
Apr 28, 2013 11:38 PM # 
Great meet! Photos of questionable quality can be found here.
Apr 29, 2013 12:31 AM # 
Are results and/or splits available anywhere from day 2?

Overall, great meet, though I was a bit disappointed to not run an epic West Point long this year =). It would have been fun if the start times for day 2 had been chase style or something based on day 1, but that's probably way harder logistically. Super thanks for the call you put in to the weather gods!
Apr 29, 2013 2:10 AM # 
1) Results from today will be delayed. The middle had some errors uploading and for the sprint, the computer used for e-punch download experienced hard drive failure while we were trying to back up the data. Recovery operations are underway... We have the printouts of the results and will work to get scans of them up on the website by tomorrow afternoon (unless, of course, we have a better option).

2) A link to all of our photos will be available in a few days once John Hensley Williams figures out picasa or whatever website he chooses to use.
Apr 29, 2013 2:23 AM # 
Just hope to see long course next year!
Apr 29, 2013 2:40 AM # 
I actually really like the 2x middle, 2x sprint format. But that's just my $0.02.
Apr 29, 2013 5:17 AM # 
Wil, you're showing your belly.
Apr 29, 2013 10:28 AM # 
I'm not particularly a fan of sprints, but I thought that the 2xMiddle, 2xSprint idea was innovative, and a great demonstration of thinking outside the box. It's not what I'd want to see all the time, but no there's disappointment on my part in terms of the format.
Apr 29, 2013 10:56 AM # 
Nice format to use occasionally but bring the long back next time.

8-9 on Blue Sunday middle is not a fair leg - one cannot determine the best way to go through the green from the map. Notice how the splits show most of the leaders making an error? Not a good indicator to see.

Overall, based on Sunday, seemed excellent.
Apr 29, 2013 1:07 PM # 
I think I might be an upload error for Sunday middle morning, I know my download took some extra effort... any chance I might be recovered? (Blue course, Alison Crocker, 45:15 was the time on my print out.)
Apr 29, 2013 1:45 PM # 
Not sure where to post this but as we were cleaning up the Junior Concession Stand, there was a small black jacket near by. We have it and can bring it to US Champs in two weeks. Let us know if it's yours.
Apr 29, 2013 2:05 PM # 
We had a great time on Saturday, thanks to the organizers! We had a baby with us so the 2-race format worked fabulously for us - Jason and I could each do one race and switch off being on baby duty. We'll definitely be back next year (though I'm intimidated by the idea of a Long course!)
Apr 29, 2013 2:09 PM # 
AliC - does your splits have your name on it, or does it say "Reserve"?

Either way, you can still enter the splits manually to get listed on AP at least.
Apr 29, 2013 2:35 PM # 
Not sure, because unfortunately I had super-trust everything was ok and tossed out paper copy of my splits... (guess that wasn't a good idea). So really hoping they can be recovered somehow!

The cadets did ask my name while trying to make my download happen successfully, so hopefully my name got attached to them?
Apr 29, 2013 2:38 PM # 
Control descriptions - height of the feature - key information that was not included on far too many controls.
Apr 29, 2013 2:50 PM # 
Oooh, yes, the height of feature would have been greatly appreciated on the not-a-rock-pretending-to-be-a-rock that was #1 on the red middle day 1. That may be a mapping consistency problem on that map, since #1 could barely qualify as a rock, but the boulders at #6 and #10 were massive, and looked the same on the map. But I'm just being a little tetchy because I lost a bunch of time thinking there was no way the not-a-rock-pretending-to-be-a-rock was actually the rock I was looking for.
Apr 29, 2013 2:53 PM # 
Agree about control descriptions. Cliff - foot doesn't cut it when there's several cliffs in the circle. Which cliff, how big, which side?
Apr 29, 2013 2:54 PM # 
You are probably in as Reserve, so the information is there, just not attached to your name or a course. They should be able to fix it easily enough. Things get a little tricky when running different courses in a combined event.
Apr 29, 2013 2:56 PM # 
Judging by me experience and comments from others the brown course on Sunday was brutal for over 70s. There were too many dangerous approaches to controls for people with aging joints and limbs (in particular Control 5). Perhaps you could get a brownie to vet brown courses next year.
Apr 29, 2013 3:01 PM # 
I have to agree about the Brown on Sunday. I am not 55 until August, so I was probably the youngest besides people in F/M-Brown, and injured ankle aside, I felt very uncomfortable getting in and out of a bunch of the controls. I was a bit frightened for myself, and I kept worrying about the older competitors as well.
Apr 29, 2013 3:12 PM # 
Please: A bit more climb and a bit more distance. Just have plenty of water out on the course. :-P
Apr 29, 2013 4:01 PM # 
Heard from some green competitors, day 2, water stop should have been sooner than #9. Note that #7 was near a road, then at least it would have been useful as a water stop rather than just seen as adding gratuitous climb.
Apr 29, 2013 5:36 PM # 
Really great event. Thanks!

I liked the format of 2 X Middle + Sprint, and hope to see it again, often, provided venues and course setting are appropriate.

Yes on dimensions. Please have those when there can be such a range of sizes of rocks and cliffs, etc...

Sprints should generally not have winning times longer than 15 minutes for top NA athletes.
Apr 29, 2013 6:01 PM # 
A.18.4.3 WINNING TIME: Sprint winning time should be 12-15 minutes for all classes, preferably in the lower end of this range. If part of a multiple-course day, winning times should be reduced to 5–15 minutes.

A.19.4.3 WINNING TIME: Winning time for Middle race is 30–40min for M/F-21+, 25–35 min for other classes. If part of a multiple-course day, the winning times for all courses should be reduced to 20–30min.
Apr 29, 2013 7:02 PM # 
Apr 29, 2013 7:21 PM # 
There was a curious description of control 113 (the 7th on the RED course on Sunday's Middle).
The description stated: “the NORTH-WESTERN foot of cliff.”
Since the main portion of the cliff (about 70 meters) is lying in NE-SW direction (at about 45 degree angle), it makes the whole section of it a NORTH-WESTERN one (except the small, 20 meters-long, southern part). So, sticking to the description, the control could be placed ANYWHERE within 70m under a very rocky bottom of the cliff - because neither point of cliff is an extreme in a sense of being the north-western one. Some of them are more northern, while others are more western... (the control was placed in the western extreme of this north-western section, which, in fact, was very close to the southern end of cliff - adding confusion instead of clarification).
Why wouldn't give that control a description like “Under the BEND of cliff?”
Apr 29, 2013 7:52 PM # 
The format of middle and sprint x 2 days was fine with me, but paying for 4 events gets too expensive. How about having a per race fee and a discount if you do all 4.
Apr 29, 2013 9:10 PM # 
Further to SV, Brown X approached 113 from above into the circle area. The circle contains three additional cliffs, all parallel and none obvious to having a NW segment. The control was not visible from above leaving the challenge of descending a very steep and rocky section with hope that the commitment might be correct. It became visible once down but separated by a gap of more big boulders and downed trees. Departing was almost as much of a challenge. A difficult control with perhaps too much guess work for old men.
Apr 29, 2013 9:14 PM # 
The above aside, I enjoyed the weekend with overall challenging courses as can be expected at WP. 2x M-S was a fun and different effort pushing fitness at the early stage of the season. The courses did tend to be on the longish side per the win time spec which changes the approach and tiredness that accumulates.

And nice job with the weather.
Apr 30, 2013 1:39 AM # 
I really liked the format with 2 races each day.
Apr 30, 2013 2:36 AM # 
I am honored to again host Routegadget for the USMAOC. All events are now available at Uploading your tracks should require a minimum amount of fiddling since I "geo-referenced" the maps to real life, so please upload, or draw in your tracks.
Apr 30, 2013 2:49 AM # 
I wouldn't cut back on the difficulty of the Blue courses at least. If a proper sprinter had been there 15min would have been possible. Both middles were right on target. There was room on Saturday to extend the course a little bit. Maybe add one more leg somewhere. I think somebody really strong could have gone sub thirty.

In short, thoroughly enjoyed the weekend!
Apr 30, 2013 3:33 AM # 
@bigE - under US rules, the Blue courses were mostly too long, even if not under IOF rules. 12-15 min time for the top Americans, not the world's best.
Apr 30, 2013 3:36 AM # 
The 2x(M+S) format, with separate overall rewards for each distance was innovative and inspired. I, for one, did not miss having a Long race one iota. However, from some of the reactions, both read here and heard yesterday, it sounds like the Sunday Middle could have been a suitable replacement for a Long race.

I absolutely agree with MJC about having special 4-race pricing. And (of course) I would also like to have seen a junior discount of near 50%.

As always, though, the cadets deserve A+++ for effort.

@E: Winning times on US A-event races are supposed to be achievable by athletes with ranking scores of 100. Now, one could argure -- perhaps effectively -- that they should be based on a world -- rather than national -- standard, but that is a topic for another thread (or 10).
Apr 30, 2013 1:15 PM # 
2 map update suggestions for the Trophy Point Sprint:

Approaching the final control on White - from the South, the best route on the map passes between the SE end of the building, and the high outer wall of that little complex. Unfortunately, there's an uncrossably tall fence blocking that route that wasn't mapped, so several kids on White got stuck and had to back around to one side or another - might want to put that on the map for future competitions.

Also just about 70 North of the final control, on the West end of the L shaped building, there is a viable route up a staircase, that is very difficult to read due to the index-contour overlapping the stairs. This is on what is probably the best route for Red, and possibly Blue - not sure about other courses. I was trying to figure out what the best solution to this was - moving the line or something, and I found that ISSOM suggests cutting the contour line for that segment: "However, contour lines shall be cut out for better legibility, if they touch the following symbols: ... step or edge of paved area (529.1)."

Looking forward to future Sprints there in the intricacy & variety presented by that map!
Apr 30, 2013 2:23 PM # 
On the subject of the Trophy Point Sprint... the first control on blue, and probably some of the other courses, probably crosses the line of appropriateness. Not that it is the only criteria, but the standard deviation of times on that leg is probably the highest of the course. The control circle was very hard to see, the map was very hard to read, and very much needed to be processed out of the gate, potentially reading gaps in cliffs that are at the limit of what the ISSOM standard allows.
Apr 30, 2013 3:18 PM # 
I enjoyed the weekend but am puzzled why no dimensions (boulders, cliffs etc) at an A meet - have I ever seen no dimensions at an A meet? Agree with conversation re CP 113 (brown 5, red 7 Sun). The "L" on the handout clue sheet (signifying "foot") was so small that I saw it as a dot! - which made no sense.

I seem to recall Joe Brautigam helping with vetting a few years ago. I think an older person 'from away' should vet most or all courses to bring a fresh mind for spotting any significant problems. The problem of too hard for older or younger recurs over the 30 plus years I've known this meet.

Premiere S & F for Sunday sprint! Good use of finish for both races at Lake Popolopen on Saturday.
Apr 30, 2013 10:34 PM # 
Thanks for using good substantial paper and sturdy map cases again this year. I'm sure others remember a few yearss back where the map cases were too thin and the paper was lower weight as well - that was not a good combination.

Saw a couple of mangled maps, but overall they held up well.
May 1, 2013 12:10 AM # 
Speaking as a relative newbie to competitive orienteering, and a first-timer at West Point: I really enjoyed the middle-sprint combo format (more chances to start fresh), the courtesy and organization of the cadets, the weather, the juniors' prominence, all of the legs on the green courses, running through the bayonet assault course (something unique!), the start and finish venues, not having to move between venues on Day 1, sprinting through the beautiful buildings and war trophies on 'campus', the course and map notes, the availability of recreational sign-up at the meet (for various friends and relatives), and the few times I was actually able to RUN in the woods (where there weren't too many rocks or details to pay attention to--I'm a novice in rocky terrain.) Map update: There's a second canopy/building at the Stony Lonesome gate.

THANK YOU for all your hard work.
May 1, 2013 2:21 AM # 
Will the results by class be posted somewhere? or are they and I haven't found them?
May 1, 2013 12:45 PM # 
Attn USMAOC--We can host class results (PDF of your total times by class for Middles and Sprints) on the OUSA website.
May 1, 2013 8:51 PM # 
The results, thanks to some help from Valerie Meyer, are now posted on the event web site.
May 1, 2013 8:58 PM # 
May 2, 2013 4:29 AM # 
Are you interested in comments on the courses, from someone who wasn't there and doesn't know the terrain? I hope so ;-)

I would like to offer some constructive comments regarding the Sprint courses. This is because I see that a lot of people don't seem to enjoy sprints as much as I think they should, and I think this is in large part because our Sprint course planning falls a little short in North America. The comments are specific to the Trophy Point Sprint, Blue course - but I hope all course planners will realize these are general points that can apply to any course.

Here is what the IOF rule book has to say about Sprint courses:
*Controls: technically easy
*Route Choice: Difficult route choice, requiring high concentration
*Type of Running: very high speed
*Terrain: Predominantly in very runnable park or urban terrain.

This is a difficult map to use for sprint orienteering because the terrain is a mix of quite difficult navigation (i.e. not technically easy control sites) and quite open, bland terrain (i.e. not providing much route choice).

Good course planning, I've been told, involves varying the "Three T's": Terrain, Technique, and Tempo. I think the course planner did a really good job with the overall course layout, including a mix of forest, open, buildings. All three of the T's were varied, which is great.

However I feel the course suffers greatly from very, very little route choice. Indeed, instead there are long sections of "dead running" in which the orienteer has nothing much to do. I heard a course planner once say that elite runners on his course had to make a decision every 4-5 seconds on average on a course he was particularly proud of. In the West Point courses there were long sections with no decision making required at all.

What would I have done differently? Well ...

First I love that the terrain changes a lot. But I would have perhaps started on the west of the map with the "buildings" section. One of the problems is that this is kind of boring area and the course goest through it twice - by starting on the west the course would still use it, but only once. Also in here I would have tried to bring the steps and walls more into play.

The next problem is how to use the open fields in a challenging way. I would have only a few very short legs there, then dive into the cool forest area on the east side of the map.

Once in the cool forest area I would of course use large features for control site. Also I'd provide as much route choice, using for example the long cliffs to add to the route choices.

I would double-back in this area and come into the finish area from the north.

Doing all of this would maintain the good aspects of the course, but would hopefully go a long way to increasing the demands on the runners' decision making and concentration

(There are very general comments of course, and perhaps not as useful as specific comments on specific legs. But I hope the comments make the point that Sprint courses need to involve a lot of high speed thinking, not just high speed running. And I want again to state that a) I wasn't there so I really don't know what I'm talking about, and b) these are intended as constructive comments for the course planner and for all other course planners in the future).
May 3, 2013 4:02 AM # 
For events at Buckner, Barth Hall used to be the place where results were posted, vendors were set up, meals served and everyone hung out. The meets at West Point haven't used it for the last several years but it might be nice if it (or a similar facility) were available. It's not necessary for a successful event but it is nice to have a big space that everyone fits in, especially if it's raining.
May 3, 2013 4:06 AM # 
Unfortunately, budget cuts have limited building access.
May 3, 2013 7:23 AM # 
...which, we hope, are temporary.
May 3, 2013 12:26 PM # 
Don't believe Barth Hall was ever heated....just open the door & turn the lights on?
May 3, 2013 5:56 PM # 
I ran the green coarse and found them quite challenging ..... day 2 in particular as there were a couple of controls that left me thinking I was crazy trying to get to them ... very steep for us (getting) older people. And the start was quite a climb I'm sure for the little bit older people .... I also was looking for hill tops that were actually rocks ...... otherwise I did have fun but will have to give it a lot of thought for coming back next year as I will be in the next age bracket up....
May 3, 2013 9:41 PM # 
Buildings being closed also means water / toilets being off.

This discussion thread is closed.