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Nationals Lessons

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 27 March 2008, 1:15 PM  
Thought I'd start a thread for personal and wider lessons from Nationals, so maybe we can learn from others mistakes and look at ways of improving things....

1)compass technique: made a couple of errors early in the weekend on the compass and realised that my technique was shot. Wasn't getting my compass flat on the map and getting the map out in front of me enough to take quality bearings....just a little tech thing that slipped in when I wasn't watching.

2)multiple beeps: dsqed in the relay whne punching 1st control (different box) at same time as someone else and heard their beep, need to look for light in these situations.

3) mapping in sprint: find it hard to envisage a situation where constant crossings of "shallow lakes" is going to result in a fair race, unless they are all exactly the same depth. This problem should have been avoided by mapping them all with a black line as uncrossable.

4) protest system. It doesn't work as puts too much pressure on 1 individual to say hey thats not fair, especially at a nationals where no one wants to erase the efforts of the winner and commonly a good friend. There needs to be an independent official with the responsibility to protest if required.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 27 March 2008, 1:48 PM  
Good idea. But I think that lessons about personal performance will interest different people from opinions about the technical quality of the events, so they should be on a different thread. And I always think we should wait for at least a week before making the latter, the organisers have all put in a huge amount of effort and their skin can be thin at this point in time.

I always feel I haven't read the map enough. I've started writing on the back of my map hand with the pen in the map box RTFM. Next event I'm going to write on the non-map hand RTOH

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 27 March 2008, 4:05 PM  
We dont need to invent another position, the controller is meant to be independent, they are there to make sure the event is fair so why have yet another person, I think people need to actually use the protest system properly (like it was in the sprint) and it will work.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 27 March 2008, 4:54 PM  
wheres your evidence that it will work? I think there is copious evidence around that it won't.

when was a controller at nationals last independent? they are generally intimately involved.

you reckon it worked properly in the sprint? So we should only protest a course, or whatever that was, when we only have wider issues than the integrity of our national champs in the here and now?

what is the logic behind the current system, making one tired person, with clouded judgement protest to what is generally a hostile system? Its the nzof nationals, there should be someone representing the nzof and all competitors to upon investigation, say NO that wasn't fair enough.

If the aussies hadn't protested Weiti that would have stood as well

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 27 March 2008, 5:19 PM  
So what is at fault, the system or people not using it?

I think you will find Weiti results still stand as no-one did protest, according to the controller "A gentleman's agreement between the NZ and OZ managers was reached to not included the results in the test match, and no protest was received"

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 28 March 2008, 2:03 AM  
Haha, not sure whose argument this supports.

As said I don't think a system that focuses all responsibility on one individual works especially not in a community as small as ours. I for one am very hesitant to stick my neck out.

But I am gutted that some major races tend to be developing more treasure hunt characteristics

I think your quote above says it all.... The event is not good enough. but hey it doesn't matter

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 28 March 2008, 2:50 AM  
thats because no-one is following the proper controlling system and competitors are too scared to use the proper complaints procedure.

Do we really need another volunteer position to add to the list of jobs we are already struggling to find people to fill already.

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 28 March 2008, 3:32 AM  
I was too sick to run at the nationals so wasn't able to get to any of the events.

Looking at course 1 on the sprint map, I cannot see many occurrences of 'constant crossing of "shallow lakes"'.

Legs 2-3, 3-4, 12-13, 13-14 are all close to lakes but it is obvious that running around the edge is faster.

The only leg where you would maybe think of crossing a lake is on leg 11-12 and if I was a controller I would have checked out this possible route and if variable depth or unsafe would have moved the control placement so that this would have not been a route choice.

I don't know how dry the area was on the day, but when I remapped it in Jan 2007, I could definitely see that you could wade most of them - I did this once or twice to get to some islands. To my mind
an uncrossable edge is only correct for the big lake.

In my opinion, as long as the water route on 11-12 was checked out
beforehand, the course looks fair to me.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 28 March 2008, 3:51 AM  
Start another thread called Adequacy of the Protest Mechanism.

I'm always interested in the trigger factor(s) for irrational behaviour. Had one in the sprint, failed to RTFM OR the compass after coming through dense line of trees and headed off in crazy direction. Maybe not tiredness in this case. Which was the thesis that Martin Sellens was trying to test on the treadmill at Otago Uni many years ago. (He couldn't reliably generate a fall-off in answers to orienteering-type questions with tiredness, so therefore couldn't investigate the triggers.)

Best I can come up with on this occasion was that I had caught a rival.

Show Profile  AlanHorn Posted: 28 March 2008, 3:55 AM  
When I was doing a remap of the area in Jan 2008 -
the lake in the North East had some water in it but was bone dry for the event (even with water it was easy to get around the south end of it).
The very southern lake was completely dry in Jan, but had some water in it during the event. So I knew how deep it could get.
There only seem to be 3 lakes that have permanent water in them - the main lake, the 2nd one in the NE, and the northern one of the four in the south. And I didnt try to wade any of those.

Of more of a mystery were the ditches - we crossed these in the obvious places - but there is bound to be some deeper parts.

Show Profile  Eponine_ Posted: 28 March 2008, 3:57 AM  
From the map it is obvious that the fastest route from 2-3 is around the lake. Sadly this is a poor representation of reality.

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 28 March 2008, 3:59 AM  
I am of the opinion sprint maps should be updated right up until the very last day possible before printing - because they can change so much because of the public nature of the area (and in this case the water or lack of it) 2-3 should have been mapped as dry, or otherwise noted in the mapping notes as such.

the protest system is flawed because in general competitors don't want to step on the toes of volunteers who have put in so much work. nothing will get around this, even a nzof competitor rep, toes will still be squashed.

as greg points out the system would work if it was used as it is intended to, but people dont want to squash toes or offend friends and so they dont want to complain/protest.

yet one week after we are saying all the things that should have been said on race day!

Show Profile  nick Posted: 28 March 2008, 4:56 AM  
not so much a lesson as a continuing to grapple with the same problem

having done the physical preparation...

finding the right headspace to: RTFM; identify control/ attackpoint/route/exit with instinctive urgency and aggression; intuitively select and execute O technique; plan ahead ...all whilst running hard.

i know there is a place in my mind where I can do all of this... but how i get there?

one thing that brings me nearer the right headspace is doing alot of orienteering racing... i don't think i was mentally ready for Nationals until they were already over.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 28 March 2008, 6:17 AM  
I think this is about the time that I come into this discussion, considering I am the one that complained about fairness in the sprint race.

So I complained. Some people may not realise I did. Want to know why, here I go:

- To uphold the integrity of our National Championships

- An individual started about 1hr after the rest of the start block. This individual did not have young children which is the only reason you are allowed to (according to our rules).

- Prior to me complaining, I had heard that this was because this individual was commuting from Auckland. So was about 1/3 of the event. This I found was very unfair.

- A large time gap between the main block and other competitors can lead to different race conditions - eg temperature etc.

- I had heard that the competitor in question had been talking about the course and competition area with another unnamed competitor.

- IOF continually talks about results needing to be known instantaneously. Where do you draw the line? At the end of the start block the result should be known! This is why with sport ident, if it isn't on your card and if it is on the control box - you are still DSQ'd, as they want fast results.

- We upheld the start block rules stringently at the sprint at Waitangi so as a matter of principle I felt I should do it.

- Lots of people were moaning and would have continued to moan. I felt it was better to bring it above board and allow the process to decide what was fair and what wasn't.

Many comments flew around along the lines of "But this was a B level event". I think more importantly it was our National Championship for Sprint. Ok so the map wasn't up to A-level. It doesn't mean we don't have to follow A-level rules for normal standard competition!

So the decision of this complaint by the controller was to move it to Protest Committee as he couldn't make a decision on it. This was the right move.

The decision of the Protest Committee (as I understand it) was that since there was a start time request, and this was granted by the organisers (wrongly or rightly) and so for the sake of sportsmanship yes he shouldn't have been allowed to start then but the result would stand. They agreed with the complaint and its merits, but allowed it to stand.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 28 March 2008, 6:29 AM  
sorry for my unclear/ dualistic thread. I wish I had done it differently but its out of control.

Bryan, the fastest route for all those legs involved crossing a lake, although 13-14 (if thats the one back to the tower) probably evolved through the day with tracking on the western side of the lake making a dry route faster eventually

Show Profile  marcusd Posted: 28 March 2008, 6:34 AM  
Jamie - interested in your comments about compass technique. Were you just having issues keeping your compass flat or was it something else? I would be keen to know how to rectify the problem if you come up with any solutions. Is it just a matter of slowing down a bit? (not that I have too many issues in that area!).

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