"If you draw it, they will come." could now be a motto for the Croom map. What a fabulous event it was! Great courses on great terrain. Brand new map. Perfect weather: sunny, starting out cool in the AM but a high about 70F.
A great turnout of over 170 people, even though it was a 2-hour drive for most of the Orlando-area members. That's as many people as we had at our last three events out at Brooksville, combined.(1994 / 1995). Those previous events however were held on a primitive black & white map (of the Sand Hill Boy Scout Camp), and to tell the truth, one of the events was 'tornadoed-out': that is, cancelled altogether.
This time we had the real thing for a map - a large 10 square kilometer 5-color map - and you responded. Thanks to all the Central Florida folks who took the Long drive and thanks also to all the West Central Florida folks who tuned out. We trust you had a great time and will return again and again. In fact, if you Tampa area members want to be a part of future event organization at Croom, let me know. We can help you on that score.
Notable at this event was the first Blue Course FLO has offered since our 1998 nationally sanctioned Class "A" event. Course-setters Donna and Steve Fluegel, who snow-bird here from CT, gave us a real classic Blue at 9.7 km. I was so pleased with myself just to be able to keep running that far. The heart of the Blue course was a 1.8 km leg from #6 to #7 and these control positions were two of the five on this course marked only by light green ribbons, not controls. That only added to the fun, of course, but in hindsight the ribbon-only controls probably explains the DNF's by otherwise-reliables: Artur Intson and Jim Septer.
Other courses were challenging, judging by the winning times in the results lists, although at this writing I have not seen the JROTC results. Note that the total number of DNF's, apart from a full set of beginners from Central High School, is 2; just those 2 on blue! That's unheard of in orienteering circles and is a testament to the excellent course design.
Remember, we show where they are on the map, we tell you where they are with Descriptions, and we give you a two-letter code to ensure you are at the right one - we really want you to find all these controls. So it is not a treasure hunt. You may correct anyone who describes this as a treasure hunt. You should find every control. Over the years FLO feels we've done better than average with the number of DNF's on our courses being under 10%.
The forest I saw was quite nice for orienteering: bland as any Florida venue, but interesting enough to keep coming back again and again. There is probably more topographical relief than at any other FLO venue. Nice to have hills. Initial reactions to the map were that lots more detail exists that could be mapped, so we will be soliciting volunteers to learn how to do that in the coming months prior to the next event, planned for early 2006.
A few behind-the-scenes stories to relate:
First, Donna & Steve designed a 12.5 km Blue course run the previous week by a crew of touring Swedish elite orienteers on a winter training break. Control locations were the same as our Blue, but with a few extra legs added. We hope to have more news on their adventures and their reactions to the somewhat odd Florida terrain, in a future newsletter. But it feels really cool to be able to say "I ran on the same blue course that the World Champion ran on last week", even though its not exactly true. Close enough for me.
Second: A friendly but officious Ranger greeted us about 11 AM asking to see our
"permit". None of us had it because none of us knew we needed a piece of paper in
our hand, believing our verbal approval to proceed was sufficient.
Now it turns out our other Ranger contact did not believe she had even given verbal approval, so we're on probation, right out of the starting blocks. They say they're going to let us return, but probably with restrictions, so the fact that our next visit was planned for next year will give us time to iron things out properly.
Third: There must have been 5 or 6 emails back and forth among Jonathan Linforth, the Fluegels and myself, regarding the number of preprinted maps to make. In the end Donna was convinced that Jonathan and I were both pessimistically low in our estimates, so she ran off extra color copies of blank maps just in case. Guess what? She used almost every single one of the extra copies. You guys turned out in numbers well beyond our dreams, so it's great to be wrong in that way.
Huge Thanks go to all helpers, starting with Steve & Donna Fluegel for carrying the full load of Event Coordinators and Course Setters and then running the start/finish table all day. Thanks to Toby Henson for coordinating the JROTC table and awards. Thanks to Laura Metallo and Cheryl Flynn for early registration, and for Russ Steinke and Paul Hodges for later Registration. Thanks to Ron Eaglin and Joe Maliszewski for control retrieval. Extra Special Thanks go also to Jim Septer and his wife, who hosted our mapper for his entire stay while mapping Croom last Fall, and even loaned him their car for the duration. Surely others pitched in at the event, but I'm forgetful, so anonymous thanks and apologies go to them collectively.
In all a fabulous introduction for a terrific venue. A shorter trip for the Tampa area crowd, but well worth the trip for the Orlando area folks.
|Sherie & Heidi||136:50|
|Central High #1||DNF|
|Central High #2||DNF|
|Central High #3||DNF|
|Central High #4||DNF|
|Central High #5||DNF|
|NTR||No Time Recorded (Card Missing)|
|DNF||Did Not Finish|
|DQ||Disqualified (Missed Controls)|
|OT||Over 3 Hour Time Limit|