Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Eastern Ski-o Regional Champs

This past weekend was the Eastern Regional Ski-Orienteering Championships. This was a great weekend, with four events over three days. Although there wasn't a huge turnout, they were well-run events that went off without a hitch.

Friday night started the show, with a three-map motola (whatever that means, but they used that word a lot) at the ice rink also known as the Weston Ski track. It had gotten pretty warm during the day, and it was just starting to harden up as we started skiing, resulting in skiing off-trail being much more enjoyable than skiing on trail. We all started at once, with the instructions that we had to get as many controls as we could in sixty minutes. We were given one map (some people got map one, some people got map two, some people got map three, so you couldn't follow), and once we'd gotten all the controls, we turned in that map for the next one. Once you'd turned in your map, that was it, you couldn't look at it again.

I didn't have any problems navigating, but I did have problems seeing where I was going--Ed nabbed the headlamp with the new batteries, and so my light was barely strong enough for me to see my map, forget about seeing what I was skiing over. I was taken by surprise at one point when I suddenly started sliding across a frozen puddle; it took a surprising amount of strength to keep my legs together and my skis pointed in the direction I was moving. Anyway, I finished with all the controls in 39 minutes, with Ed just ahead of me in 34 min. To put things in perspective, he had raced hard, and I had been in survival mode skittering around on the ice. I guess the skiing was better by the treeline. Just behind Ed finished Jim Arsenault, a very good ski-orienteer from NH.

Saturday was at Gunstock, with a traditional race (individual start, long) in the morning and a sprint in the afternoon. I was on the red course, and navigated cleanly and skied relatively fast to finish in 42 minutes. The rolling hills at Gunstock were fun to ski on, and they had done a good job tilling up the ice to make it skiable. There also weren't any scary downhills, which was good, given the snow conditions.

That afternoon was the sprint, and with the men and women doing the same course I had high hopes. However, I took a slightly stupid route choice from 2-3 and from 3-4 (the two longest legs), and had one other hesitation, so ended up third, behind an adventure racer guy from Craftsbury and Colin by a minute and a half. Which is a lot in a ski race, but not very much at all in a ski-o race!

My route from Saturday's long course.

Sunday was another score-o, at Windblown in NH. The snow here was not quite as nice as Gunstock, it was similar to Weston's sugar-slush, probably because of the number of people skiing on it and possibly due to lack of a big enough groomer. Anyway, we had 90 minutes, and the winner was expected to take 60 min on the first map and 13 on the second. I knew that there was a giant mountain somewhere on the windblown map, and was worried I'd have to go up it on both maps to get all the controls (in a score-o, you don't have to get all the controls, you just have to get as many as you can in that time frame), but luckily we just went up it once. That was a long, slow, slog in the sugar. But coming down was a blast! Anyway, I didn't make too many stupid mistakes, except for one mispunch when I didn't read the control code and was thinking ahead too much. I am definitely stronger in a regular o-course than in score-o, though, I guess I just can't think on my feet all that well.

The score-o map from Windblown. Get as many of these points as you can in 90 minutes. The green lines that look like railroad tracks are classic or double pole only.

Controls I went to (in the order I went to them): 2, 9, 4, 7, 19, 20, 15, 14, 18, 17, 21, 12, 11, 10, 8, 6, 5, 13, 22, 23(except I got one from map two instead on the same trail earlier), 16, 3, 1, 24. Places I could have changed what I did: the triangle with 11-12-10, I should have hit 11 first, then gone down to 12, then gone across the lake to 10, instead of going in and out to 12 then to 11 and 10. In the 17-18-21 triangle, I could have gone from 18 to 17 then down around to 21, instead of going down the ski slope the way I had, which gave me some uphill to go back to 21.

My route from Sunday at Windblown.


Colin R said...

I think ski-o looks even better than a regular ski race in google earth.

Christopher Tassava said...

From this post and Colin's, I have to say that ski-o does look like a blast - just the right mix of cerebellum and strength. Congratulations on the good finishes!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jamie said...

The Windblown event looked like fun. I did one there several years ago just for yucks and skied classic, so running up some of those hills seems a lot easier. Its a good place for an O-meet with all those trail junctions. I did end up taking my skis off and running (literally) up the steep back-side of Barret Mt on a hiking trail. Hope the open slope was a blast, it usually is!

Alex said...

I love skiing at Windblown, but my favorite part is definitely skiing down the mountain, not up it.

I know of a couple people who use classic skis for ski-o, but skating is just so much faster its not even fair. You should have tried the Weston score-o!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.