Europacupåpning i Norwegian Spring
Norwegian Spring 2013
Maps, solutions and results may as ususal be found in the map archive.
Day 1, Varteig:
|The final part of the day 1 course|
The terrain for the first day was not chosen because it was an optimal terrain for trailo, since it is not, but in order to arrange trailo from the same arena as the main event for the runners. The area where you were looking over the fields in the end was the only part of the terrain I initially thought was challenging enough for an elite course, but for every hour spent in the terrain, other parts also become interesting. In the end I actually think the terrain suited quite well for trailo, even though the elite course more or less passed straight through the only real forest in the beginning of the course. In general I thought that the course this day was not very difficult and my guess was that 12 people would have all controls correct. 5 people made it and I am happy also with that number.
The event started with timed controls. The two controls should be fairly easy as the overview was very good. The contours were also drawn at natural places in the terrain - no trickery, just plain contour reading. What could confuse some was that the hill to the far right in the green area was not visible. A fairly good tactic here was probably also to use the parking area to locate the hill and the spur.
|Egil Sønsterudbråten in action at control 16 to 18.|
The percentage that had control 17 correct was impressive, but the percentage that managed control 18 was not. Only 44% chose the correct flag here. Originally I did not have the D flag even close to the correct position, but it was included to make the problem more challenging. The D-flag was set almost one full contour higher, and I thought (and still think) that following the height from the B-flag and maybe also finding the boulder south of the control would show that the D flag was too high and the E flag was perfectly placed. However, I have no problem seeing that those trying to read from the right could possibly put the contour a bit higher and thus excluding the E-flag. It is however very hard to determine exactly were the contour goes in that area, so I would say it is an unwise decision from the competitor to rely on reading from the right instead of reading from the left were there was more distinct features. Looking at the problem now, I see that moving the D-flag up 1m to the next contour and maybe moving the correct E flag up half a meter could have given a raised the number of correct answers. To me it is however nice to see that even if the map probably was not 100% perfect with the height of the contour through the green area north of the circle, almost all of the "big names" answered E. The rest of the course was fairly easy.
Day 2, Kjeøya
While I initially was not perfectly happy with the terrain the first day, I was perfectly sure right from the start of the planning process that the second day was a very nice area for trailo. There were plenty of complex "black and brown features" in a quite small area, and the view was fairly good in most areas as well, making it possible to set a few distance controls as well. My guess was that this day was more difficult than the first one and guessed that 6 people would get 20 points this day. I felt that there were several quite tricky controls and also the maximum time was only 96 minutes. The course was once again slightly more challenging than I thought, leaving only 3 competitors with full score.
|Overall winner William Rex on the 8th control at Kjeøya|
|Control 6 day 2 was a though one.|
After the course there were three timed controls at the arena at some distance. I knew that reading the cliffs on the second task would be difficult, but still almost all the top competitors answered correct, just at different speed - just the consequence I would like to see on a time control.
The intention of leaving the last 6 competitors for a "grand finale" on the timed controls was that everybody could see them in action at the timed controls. Unfortunately, that intention was not communicated to the competitors - that I will hopefully remember in a similar situation.
The mapping process
Since I live in Oslo, an did not have much time to travel to Halden/Sarpsborg to revise the map in addition to the additional precise trailo revision around the control sites, I needed help with preparation of the map. Therefor Morten Dalby (which has mapped most of Halden SKs maps) was hired to make a new trailo map at Kjeøya (day 2) with 2.5m contours (the original map had 5m contours) and to revise the existing sprint map in Varteig (day 1). Although the mapping work started a bit late due to some misunderstandings, and the cold and snowy winter complicated the mapping work, Morten manage to do an excellent job at Kjeøya, making my job with the final adjustments easier. Unfortunately he got some back problems during the winter, making him unable to revise the map in Varteig. Therefore the job was transferred to Bjørn Paulsen just some weeks before Easter. Bjørn's work helped me, but as he was not used to the accuracy demanded in elite level trailo maps, I had to do quite a lot of both the general revision in addition to the control specific trailo revision. To show some mapping work that has been done three versions of each of the two maps are included below: Version 1: Original map, version 2: Final map from hired mapper, 3: Competition map with my adjustments. Click the images to enlarge the maps.
All in all I think the event turned out fairly well and I hope most competitors left the competitions happy, even if some of you got quite many mistakes. I want to make courses for the top level trail orienteers, and did that by demanding precise map reading both on shorter and long distance. That being said, I don't like correct decision rates under 40% especially when mistakes occur as often on the first page as the second page of the result list. I know for sure that I have reached the upper limit for difficulty and do not need to push the difficulty in the courses any further to "make it challenging enough," which for sure is relieving as it is much harder to make difficult courses that are perfectly solvable and not involve any chance games compared to making easier controls.
As those of you that were present at the event, I was "slightly (!)" stressed during the weekend. I had started my work early, spent a lot of hours both in the forest and in front of the computer to organize the event and from my point of view I did what I could regarding the preparation. I still don't understand how other organizers manages to arrange big events without working 20 hours a day the last week and running around on the arena like stressed monkey. If you got some advice on how to avoid such an over-stressing situation, I would really love to hear them.
- Martin Jullum (email: martin.jullum [at] gmail.com)