Wednesday, May 17, 2017
University of Alaska, Anchorage
Over 70 people came to the University of Alaska Anchorage on Wednesday evening to participate in our skill-building “Choose Your O Adventure” event. There were three different courses, 1-2 kilometers and 6-8 controls in length, with each focusing on a particular orienteering skill. Participants were encouraged to try as many of the courses as they liked. Most people took advantage of this, and we had a whopping 150 “starts” (one person on one course).
The aim of the exercise was to reduce stopping to look at the map. Study once, carefully, then go. Advanced orienteers were not given a map to take with them! Instead, at each control, they found a map that displayed the location of the next control, control code, and clue symbol. Once they left the control, they navigated to the next control by memory. If they forgot, or got lost, they had to go back to the prior control and try again. Beginners and intermediate orienteers were given a full course map to put in their pocket. They used the memory maps at each control as much as possible, but had the full map as backup if needed.
The aim of this exercise was to learn accurate map reading and to use features for navigation. Advanced orienteers received a map that only displayed a narrow corridor of features to guide them to each control. They were supposed to navigate to each control by staying inside the visible map corridor at all times. Beginners received the advanced corridor map, as well as a full map. They were encouraged to use the corridor map as much as possible, but refer to the full map when needed.
The aim of the exercise was to practice accurate compass navigation and to approximate distance. Advanced orienteers were given a “map” that only displayed control locations, clue symbols, and map scale. The actual map was blank! They navigated from control to control based solely on compass bearing and pacing. Intermediate orienteers were given both the blank map and a full map. They were encouraged to use the blank map as much as possible, but refer to the full map when needed. Beginners were given a complete map, but encouraged to use the compass (rather than terrain feature) for navigation.
The courses were timed, but these were training exercises, not races. We have compiled a spreadsheet with everyone’s times. Don’t think of them as “race results” because participants could customize the level of difficulty to their skill level. The controls were the same for everyone, but each participant could choose whether to take the “beginner” map or the “advanced” map or both. In addition, we had a few people who mis-punched controls. (FYI, if you punched the same control on more than one course, you were one of them! None of the courses shared controls.) So don’t view the times as results or rankings. But you might find them useful for seeing which skills are your strengths and weaknesses, relative to other orienteers.
Cory Smith was the meet director. Thanks to Linda Smith, Anne Billman, Diana Evans, Art Harmon, and Ian Moore for their help with this event. Thanks to o-training.net for their great training ideas.
Thanks to everyone who came out. We would really love feedback on this meet, since it was a little different. If you want more training, we are planning to have more of these exercises at a few regular meets this summer. Watch the schedule for details.
Please join us Wednesday, May 24th at Far North Bicentennial Park. Check the link for details.