A lovely sunny day for the Shining Cliff event on what must be one of the most picturesque assembly areas going! We had just under 300 competitors, which is fewer than last time & probably due to Mothers' Day - or maybe people remembered how physical the courses were in 2012! Thank you to Ranald, David and all the DVO helpers as well as the landowners and Natural England.
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It was tough! "Brutal" was a comment from some on Brown. The Appendix on Route Planning says that "The Long distance profile is physical endurance. .. and aims at testing the athletes' ability to make efficient route choices, to read and interpret the map and plan the race for endurance during a long and physically demanding exercise." That was what we were seeking to achieve.
We weren't helped by the wind blow and felling in the last three weeks which made some areas significantly more difficult, physical and unpleasant.
Thanks to those who gave us constructive feedback - some that it was far too physical (it can never be too technical on TD5 courses!), that the vegetation wasn't mapped well enough or that controls were in the wrong place. Interestingly, control 105 received most comment as being too high, too low, too far west or in the right place. Perhaps we shouldn't have used it but we trying to get people through a narrow corridor without too much path running.
Some also said that it was nice to have consistently technical courses with genuine route choice - I'll be interested to see some of the routes taken by longer legs on Blue and Brown.
However, I do think people should pause before they criticise and remember that we are all volunteers.
My thanks to Dave for his supportive Controlling. Some were surprised to see a NOC official at a DVO event but the British Orienteering Appendix on Event officials makes it very clear that the Controller at a Level C event should be from another club. Dave made many suggestions for improving the courses which, given his experience, I was happy to engage with.
Thanks also to Dave, John, Paul A, Sal, Graham, Paul W and Richard for their help in collecting controls. Sal yet again calmly marshalled the DVO teams to provide a seamless organisation.
Thanks also to those who took part in the map trial - I'm sure Mick Lucking will find your comments useful
Finally, my particular thanks to Viv for her help in endlessly checking control sites and then two days of putting out controls. We both found the area very physical but had some really wonderful days in the woods - and some very wet ones!
Having seen Shining Cliff in all weathers over the last few months whilst looking at control sites and potential routes it was a bonus to be blessed with warmth and sunshine yesterday.
As Ranald says, it was tough, but then we know that Shining Cliff is probably the most physically challenging area that we have in EMOA and it should always be approached with that in mind. Good training perhaps for what you may face at the JK?
Taking this into account, the courses were designed to avoid the very worst of the brambles and to get you into new areas where possible and they gave plenty of route choice whilst always being kept towards the bottom end of the guideline distances.
Whilst the additional windblow, brashings, and very recently felled trees gave additional physical problems for some, I am still of the opinion that it would have been difficult, and wrong, to compromise the courses by cutting out the affected sections.
Feedback for the volunteer officials is always welcomed but can I just ask that you please bear in mind when doing so that we are volunteers and that you give your comments appropriately.
Thanks to DVO for the opportunity to control your event – I’m always happy to help again in the future!
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