Weather Cooperates To Make Lincoln Park Score-O
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The first day of Spring 2005 saw over a hundred orienteers and newcomers turn out for a "walk with a purpose" in Lincoln Park. Despite promises of warm temps earlier in the week, Sunday, March 20 dawned cool and cloudy...a perfect day for orienteering.

A brief mention of the event in the Chicago Tribune's Friday Section "In/Out" column inspired many newcomers to stroll over to the event which began at Ranalli's Restaurant on Clark Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. As a result, the event enjoyed the heaviest turnout it has had in its 3-year history.

Michael Collins won the Long Course event by visiting 42 of the 50 controls within the 90 minute time limit and answering every question correctly. Runner-up Kathy Bullard also visited 42 controls, but omitted the high-value controls in the far north and east side of the map. 2004 Club champ Maricel Olaru had the leg speed needed to find 44 controls, but still struggling with English, he lost 24 points in eight wrong answers to fall to a third place.

On the Short Course, Milan Kratka found 24 controls, the same as second-place Tim Urquhart. However, Milan was able to collect nine points for the two controls east of the lagoon while Tim focused on the lower-value nearer controls. That turned out to be all that was needed to generate a three-point winning margin.

Long and Short courses differed only in that the Short Course, at a time-limit of 60 minutes, was a half-hour shorter than the Long Course. Black-and-white copies of the Lincoln Park map were handed out along with the "clue sheet" which contained a question about each of the 50 control features scattered along 2 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Many Park features were not shown, including the paths and sidewalks. So it required a minute or two for most people to "get into the map."

Instead of regular orienteering markers and punches, control features were statues, monuments, signs and other Park landmarks. Competitors tried to find as many of the features as possible within their time limit. At each feature they attempted to answer a multiple-choice question about the item. Each control was worth from 1 to 5 points, depending upon its distance and difficulty, with a total of 150 points for the entire course.

Point deductions could occur for wrong answers and overtime. Controls which many found especially difficult included:

  1. Control #3 was one of the 6" high markers designating the ancient shoreline of Lake Michigan. However many ran instead to the much larger Garibaldi monument which was 14 meters to the northwest. Careful navigation would have shown that the Garibaldi statue was too close to the edge of the hill to be the correct feature. This mistake cost many people two points, plus a two point penalty for the wrong answer.
  2. The new rest room building at Belmont Harbor (control #32) was oriented NNW instead of true north. As a result, two faces of the building had a northern face. We allowed either answer.
  3. The Roman numeral date at the Lincoln Memorial (control #41) was incorrect on the clue sheet: we accepted any answer or notation that indicated the person had visited this point.
  4. Three questions were to count the number of holes bored into the iron posts at the very end of the three Lake Michigan breakwaters. Although two of them were very straightforward, the third iron post had two smaller holes bored into a flange on the post that were overlooked by several competitors.
  5. Question #124 asked how many holes in a sewer grate on a long narrow strip of ground between the lagoon and Lake Shore Drive which contained many grates. However only one sewer grate was within the circle. And the correct grate could be determined by sighting across the lagoon to the large cement entrance gates for the zoo.

Amazingly nearly everyone answered correctly that Schiller's 1807 death was in the 19th Century, counted all 71 slots in the fishing rod stand, and found the tree, loaded with bananas, growing along Lake Shore Drive. For those interested, the "bananas" were made and patiently tied to the maple tree by a local environmental group as a warning about the coming effects of Global Warming....

One of the heartwarming stories that came out of the meet involved Christopher Carlsen who drove down from Mundelein with his family to try this new sport. Unfortunately a printing defect resulted in a few clue sheets without control numbers, and Christoper received one. Most participants quickly returned to the Start for a proper clue sheet and a new start time. However, Christopher had never orienteered before, and thought that matching the unnumbered clues to the various mapped features was part of the challenge of orienteering.

So with determination, Christopher patiently led his family around Lincoln Park for over two hours. At each feature they tried first to select the unnumbered question which best fit that feature, and then the correct answer for that question. And for 25 of the 28 features he visited, his technique was successful, and he scored 68 raw points—as many as the Milan Kratka, the Short Course winner! But unfortunately Christopher was 80 minutes overtime, and the resulting penalty brought his net score down to zero. But congratulations Carlsens! With such talent, we hope you'll be back for another meet later this Spring.

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