McBee’s at the USA National Individual Orienteering Championships in Idaho

This year the US National Orienteering Individual Championships were held in Idaho June 23 – 25th and sponsored by COTC (City of Tree Orienteering Club of Boise) Check out their blogspot. As usual, the superb organization and excellent terrain for orienteering made this a meet to remember. Fortunately the scalding 100+F temperatures of Idaho summer held off this year. Two years ago – June 26-26, 2015 at their Western States Championship meet, we all nearly died after three days of running in the severe heat with the only relief being a long sit in the swimming pool of our camping site since we didn’t have an AC.

Our Club, CROC (Columbia River Orienteering Club) CROC Web site is based out of Portland and the environs including Hood River. Although we are a small sized club, we regularly have members place in meets around the US and have several members on the USA Orienteering  and Bicycle Orienterring teams. Check out our “Home” CROC Home where you will see Ali Crocker of the national team in the scrolling pictures.

Jill and I compete in the 70+ categories of orienteering which although strenuous for our age group are nothing compared to the Elite 20 – 35 year old courses. Let me go through the men’s three courses for 70+ to give you some idea of what we do.

Sprint: Here’s the Boise State University Campus with the Brown Sprint Course, 70+ controls and my green dashed arrows showing my route through the building areas.  On the lower left you can see some notes that I wrote in after the race with my times. The four minute control was the one that did me in on this race for any chance at a medal. It’s the time from #5 to #6. Follow the green line and notice the Brain Fart! I leave #5, cut out to the open area on the right and then for some unknown reason halfway down the 2 block section, I cut in and go to #7 – Duh! (Probably got my heart rate up above about 135 in that dash and that’s when the brain begins to go for those of you elders who get into this sport.) So then I had to go around the building to punch  # 6 and of course then go back to  #7 again anyway. I ended up in 8th place for the group of 12 men.  I calculate my race speed here was 5.89 km/hr for the 2.2 km which is not fast enough for this kind of terrain. You can see all of the race results for the sprint at: Winsplits by Class – M70+Sprint Course Close-up

Long Course: The next day’s race was fortunately up at about 7000 feet near Stanley where Spring was just coming into it’s full bloom of flowers – Great! Cooler weather and forest. The course was on an old piece of Glacial Moraine near Trap Creek. Lots of boulders in among the knolls, depressions and dead-fall of Lodge Pole Pine Trees!  Straight line running meant jumping and climbing over a lot of dead stuff, or trying to figure a route around it without losing the directions.  This 2.9 km course was deadly if you lost focus or got disoriented at any time. Note the 10 ft. contour lines and note the green hash marks across especially the red line running from control 5 – 6 and again between control 8 and 9. Those were my bugaboo’s for this course because in fighting the timber I got off track just enough to then have to do a circular re-locate in the last 50 meters.  My speed dropped to 3.6 km/hr, control 5-6 took me 14 minutes which is probably a loss of 4 minutes and control 8 to 9 took me five minutes which again is a loss of almost 2 minutes. But the course was tough on everyone else as well and on this race so I pulled myself up to finish 5th on the win splits:Long Race win splits for M70+ Long Course Close-up

Middle Distance Race: The third day of races was again a challenging Glacial Moraine area near Dutch Lake. Again Lodge Pole Pine dead-fall and lots of mini-contours. In fact this course took us through 5 different depressions – very difficult features to locate in this woody overgrown country. Note the map and my route today was pretty much straight line with only one glitch between 8 and 9 where I knew better than to drift to the right, but did-so anyway and then had to do a circuit because of a great big dead tree across the path I thought I could take. That made this into a 7 minute leg between 8 and 9 with a loss of 3 minutes of messing around. But in this case, my other times were very good, being fast enough to stay ahead of the pack despite the error. My speed again was slow because of the rough terrain, but 3.3km/hr was sufficient to put me into 3rd place for a bronze medal to take home to CROC. Winsplits M70+ Middle DistanceMiddle Course Close-up

So it was a good competition as always, and with 12 men in the competition for medals, made me feel really great that I had been able to improve so much over the three days and have clean runs with no mis-punches or major disorientation. With nothing nut a hand held compass and a map, this is a real test of one’s ability to focus. Next year I’m going back to try to better my ranking. The big question to me is, how come the men’s 70+ category is one of the largest groups competing? Maybe cell phones and GPS’s  have drained a part of our brains that needs more exercise and practice.  Have a great day!

Here’s my wife and me with our medals on the last day. Yes, she’s good: Three silver medals and one bronze in the women’s 70+ group so she keeps me hopping. Chiao until next time. USA 2017 Medals 70+ Age gp




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