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Nationals 07

Show Profile  robbie Posted: 17 April 2007, 10:31 PM  
Rob G Crossing fences at 90 deg does not make a course orange.
The original thought on the fences was safety. some are two strand hard to see. I was doubt until Jani Larken World Champ ran the course and I took his advise. Rob G you didnt even come to the event and now your an expert!!!!

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 17 April 2007, 11:30 PM  
The fences were not 2 strand and it was a bloody joke they were on, world champion have a look at the map now its obvious!

Just about all of our legs had a fence as a handrail, a fence crossing just before the control and no route choice. Saying the course was orange is wrong, as the first thing the NZOF rules state about orange courses is "Course shall have route choice".

The red description states "Navigation shall be as difficult as possible with small contour and point features as preferred control sites (no obvious attack points, no handrails etc.). Control sites shall be placed in areas rich in detail. Route choice shall be an important element in most legs" A barn on a ridge line, a tree 10m from a fence and a re-entrant/clearing 50m from SH2 are not elements of a red course.

Sorry Robbie but every time I look at the course or hear about it the worse it gets.

On a positive, its great to see the butterfly loop being used, the spectator control being visited more than once, and it was a pretty good event centre.

Show Profile  rob.g Posted: 18 April 2007, 7:02 AM  
Robbie, I don't want to be critical because I know you have put a lot of effort in but despite what anyone from overseas says beleive it was a major mistake to put the fences on. It definitely made courses easier, and as one weak W65 said to me thank goodness the fences were on as they helped her heaps. At the same time I am looking forward to running there one day, but would want a nonfenced mp.

Show Profile  The Clem Posted: 18 April 2007, 8:58 AM  
There were definitely 2 wire fences out on the long course. Either that or the things I walked into were just figments of my alcohol deprivated mind. So either people missed them because they made creative route choices or they were just too hard to see. The thing is they were either all had to be put on the map, or all left off. Either way someone was always going to be upset about either action, and the organisers were just more concerned about personal safety rather than the technical concerns or individuals. It's sometimes harder to make a call that comprises the idealisms of the glasshouse living stonethrowers than to simply conform to the loudest opinions.
However, what I'm curious about is that if the individuals that performed outstandingly on the day, only did so because they had so many handrails to work off; is NZ orienteering in a really sorry state? I mean it seems obvious that if they had to use so many handrails they obviously don't pocess a great level of navigation skills or fitness. This should concern me as I'm heading accross to WOC this year to see a couple of them run and help them out a bit. Maybe I should warn some of the scandi's that won last year in the long that they're really not that good either, because there were soo many tracks to use as hand rails. Granted not all the tracks led them directly in, but there was more than one occasion where the situation and placement was simlar to this years NZ national long.
Now I'm really scared, the non requirement of navigation and fitness skills has me thinking I'll be winning next years nationals. I'm just not sure if I'm ready for that.

Show Profile  Paul I Posted: 18 April 2007, 11:20 AM  
Thanks for all your efforts Robbie, I enjoyed running in the beautiful forest, and the map was accurate. The only dodgy thing I could see on the map if you were trying to pick holes was with the cartography of vegetation boundaries. Clearly the sizes had been reduced, and not by a small percentage!
After consideration of comments prior to this, in trying to remain neutral, I have come up with a couple of points I think could be valid to the thread...

1.My course (3) could easily have been harder technically not physically, even with leaving the fences on, keeping both sides to the argument happy. On one occasion a ran over a fence without even seeing it so I never took them for granted anyhow.
2. Setting or controlling courses on your own map has its distractions as you are always trying to use the bits on the map that you liked, I know this from my own experiences. I usually really enjoy competitions on one of my own maps set by someone else from an entirely different perspective.

In more general view I don't think we can stress out so much if a course is sometimes a bit too easy, the winner on the day was still the best athlete who carved up the course. In fact this is more preferrable than a course where some controls are hidden or in dodgy parts of the map where luck comes into play (as an example I highlight the controls in the very, very rough open at the long distance Tamoc event.)
We should be concerned with trying to include as many route-choice legs as possible on our long format events. This is a big part of the skill at which a top orienteer needs to develop to succeed overseas. We probably struggle a bit in this area on our NZ terrain. The Pio Pio map, however, provided a great opportunity for this, and it was great to have to think hard about route-choice while running there at the time.

Show Profile  robbie Posted: 18 April 2007, 12:15 PM  
greg there are several two strand fences in the forest. I spent 400 hours in the forest believe me. The first for example was from the start to control one. You crossed not one but two double strand fences.I was very concerned as there was a down hill start and elites going at speed could get injured. That is why I placed ribbons down both fences so you could see the fences. Fences on every leg....get route choice.....joke two

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 18 April 2007, 2:09 PM  
Clem I was asked the same question by Ross' Mum and I'll give the same answer, No, The winners deserved their titles, it was still a National Champs race and you hear a lot of top sports people say performance on the day is 10% physical and 90% mental, and they still had to perform.

What the fences did was take out a lot of the technical challenge of the race (and swayed it more towards stronger runners) and also basically eliminated the chance of making a big error.

Sorry Robbie I should have stated that out of our 29 legs only 24 of them crossed fences, of the 5 that didn't, 2 of them the control circle was touching a fence, 2 of them the control circle was touching a track and 1 had the fence/forest/farm border as a handrail which was about 55 meters from the control (and thats not counting the fence I crossed thats not on the map)

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 18 April 2007, 5:23 PM  
Not one to avoid a controversial argument.

Firstly I thought the area was great, although the southern part of the forest is a bit limited leading to the route choice issues. Coming down from the hill Course 1 Leg 19-20 would have been a great leg if the fences weren't there.

Other legs, eg 20-21 really tested micro rather than macro routechoice, thats fine, but it would have been good to have a leg with routechoices left, right and red line. Eg if 20 was further up the hill and 21 was in the valley near 22

Secondly I thought the mapping was good (as it was the entire weekend)
The only fault was the decision about the fences. Scandis have been telling us for years to put the fences on, rightly we have a convention to not, we need this because of the limited technical difficulty of our maps. I would also argue that a dangerous fence is not made less dangerous by mapping (I have had my worst two running into fence episodes in Australia where they map fences). On the otherhand taping of fences is a great idea, thanks Robbie.

Take nothing away from the winners they were faster, stronger and made less mistakes, check the splits out its not like everyone had perfect runs.

Show Profile  Bill_E Posted: 18 April 2007, 10:18 PM  
Time to get on a hobby horse ...

I find it quite amazing that fences are NOT on maps for events as important as the National Champs. Not putting fences on the maps makes the competition inherently unfair because there is information missing from the map that affects the relative speeds of different routes. For example, on the elite course, leg 21-22 (across the marsh just below the start) involved crossing 2 fences. Yet going a bit to the right of the line meant that no fences were crossed, and that route immediately looks much better. It probably only involves seconds, but if the title was decided by less than 5 seconds (and in Ireland, that's happened plenty of times!), then the loser would be fully justified in protesting if they had crossed extra fences when taking a different route choice from the winner.

So, in my view, it's fine to leave fences off for local events, but you would never find it being allowed in IOF competitions. The question is at what competition level fences ought to be on maps. My opinion is that that level is (probably substantially) below the National Championships - any event where there is a title (or team selection) up for grabs.

Of course, having the fences on the map can make navigation easier, but then so can having the paths on the map, and I don't hear anyone proposing to leave paths off except in training. The job of the course planner is to try to nullify the usefulness of fences, and if fences really make so much difference to the level of difficulty of an area, the area probably shouldn't be used for major events.

So thank you Robbie. It was a refreshing change. And having nearly castrated myself on one of those 2 wire fences in the relay at Waiuku, the point about safety is a valid one too!

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 18 April 2007, 10:48 PM  
didn't some people have issues at the nationals in hawkes bay because the electric fences were turned on, but not mapped, and they couldn't cross them?

Show Profile  Marquita G Posted: 19 April 2007, 8:33 AM  
Personally I don't think fences should be on and we are so used to them being off the map that no-one thinks twice really. However, it's probably fine to leave them on if the courses are planned accordingly. I think that is the real issue here - I suspect the courses were planned without fences and at a very late stage it was decided to put them back on without adjusting the courses. What could have been a challenging red-level leg was turned into a relatively simple orange level (M21E 15-16) or even yellow (M21E 1-2). A fundamental decision like this must be made on day 1 of the project, not 95% of the way through when it is too late to mitigate the effects of such a decision.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 19 April 2007, 9:03 AM  
Bill raises an interesting point about the fairness with fences and should probably be looked at in more depth, in terms of having something set saying that either fences should be on the map or the planner/controller must ensure that the routes will not be unfair because of differences that can not been seen without them.

I think the other problem was the blatant ignoring of the planner/controller relationship guidelines. Its hard to see your own mistakes which is why the controller is meant to be as independent as possible.

Some people had issues with water at Hawkes bay, some people had water issues this year as well, when will anyone learn

Show Profile  stu barr Posted: 19 April 2007, 9:38 AM  
hi Bill

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 19 April 2007, 11:37 AM  
Just started training for next years Nationals. What are the current rules for M21E winning times in the long distance?

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 19 April 2007, 11:59 AM  
90 to 100 mins

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