Results from meet

May 20, 2001
Swallow Cliff Forest Preserve

Dave Macaulay, Meet Director

Like the Swallows of San Juan Capistrano who return every March 19, a flock of orienteers in multi-colored plumage returned to Swallow Cliff Forest Preserve on May 20. The tall cliff is home to Bank Swallows and is annually visited by map-carrying humans who sometimes get lost in the many reentrants that eat their way back into the cliff.

The weather was perfect and the woods were filled with lush foliage—pretty to look at but sometimes difficult to run through.

The 1.5 km-long White course followed a long reentrant to the top of the cliff before circling and descending. Some people noticed a new unmarked trail and used it to avoid the last rocky part of the reentrant. But then they had to return to the reentrant to find the third control.

The Yellow course was very popular and some folks did Yellow after completing White. The 2.8-km course started and ended the same as the White but the middle portion offered additional challenges and opportunities for shortcuts through the woods. The trail to control 8 was somewhat tricky to find. It was possible to save time by leaving the trail and going through the woods to controls 5, 6, and 7. Unfortunately, late in the day, someone removed the markers at controls 5 and 6. The nine groups with an asterisk (*) next to their name were all slowed because of the missing markers. One group did spot a marker lying on the ground at a wrong location and rehung it at control 5.

The controls on the Orange course ended up being more difficult than I wished. The design guidelines for Orange call for "moderately but not extremely difficult navigation. The controls and best routes should invite the intermediate orienteer away from strong linear features (trails) that the beginners must rely on. However, the penalty for navigational errors should not be extreme. An Orange control may be placed in an area of intricate small features, but only if there is at least one good attack point nearby (preferably several) to help the competitors find it, and also a catching feature nearby to which they can ‘bail out’ if they become confused."

I spent the morning warning intermediate orienteers about the technical and physical difficulty of the course. Despite my warnings, the 4.4-km Orange course was the most popular. Congratulations Orange orienteers, you did well on a tough course!

The design guidelines for Green and Red require that "the advanced courses (Green, Red and Blue) should be designed to be as technically difficult as terrain and map permit." Controls should not be placed on too large a feature or too close to collecting features. Routes should not be parallel to obvious linear features or too close to catching features. CAOC’s maps differ significantly in their technical difficulty. The map we used is one of the most technically difficult areas and any advanced course on this map is guaranteed to be more difficult than on most other maps. In designing the Green and Red courses I tried to offer long legs with many route choices. However I probably placed controls on features that were too large or too near to linear features. Although many (most?) of you were well challenged by the Green and Red courses, I believe the advanced courses should have been more difficult. The map permitted tougher courses.

CAOC provides a course reviewer to assist the meet director but I was too pressed for time to take advantage of the service. The Orange, Green and Red courses would have benefited from such a review.

Many CAOC members volunteered their time so that everyone could have a fun outing in the beautiful woods. Rob and Lisa Blake, Tom Favale, and Scott Stanton worked the registration table. Brad Rogowski and Jim Marshall provided instructions to beginners. Mikhail Pekour, Joe Sehnal, and Jeff Schafermeyer picked up markers at the end of the day. Grace Eck was a tireless worker and was helping people all day long. Sarah Miller volunteered to assist with tabulating results. Thanks to you all!

Someone left a set of house keys at the meet. If yours, please call Dave Macaulay at 847-991-4977. If you found a pair of sunglasses on the Orange course, please also call.