BAOC COOL #6 and Regular "B" Event
Shell Ridge Open Space
Date: (Sun.) Jan. 22, 2012
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Event Director: - 510.407.1876
Course Setter: Jay Hann
Type: Junior; Enjoy a new map of this familiar park (pending park approval)
Comments on Course Difficulty
Need help picking your course, try out this new tool: effective lengths!
Last year, I developed a new system for describing the physical challenge of an orienteering course, that I'm calling Effective Length. This week, I wanted to introduce it to the club. We all know that a 5 km orienteering course is way tougher than a 5 km road race. You have to fight through vegetation, around creeks, and over hills. But how much tougher? Let's say you go out and run a 5 km orienteering course almost perfectly, but you still take 55 minutes to finish. And let's say that you also run a 10 km road race in 55 minutes. We could say that the 5 km orienteering course has an Effective Length of 10 km. Make sense?
I developed a simple formula for calculating the effective length of a course, in advance. This way, you know just what you're getting yourself into! Just remember: this will give a low estimate. Every little mistake you make will increase your time on the course. If your finish time really matches your road race time for that effective length, that means you're navigating and running through the forest really well!
So how do the Shell Ridge courses plot out?
Effective Course Length Climb Length
White 1.9 km 90 m 3.9 km Yellow 3.1 km 180 m 6.7 km Orange 3.7 km 250 m 8.4 km Brown 4.4 km 240 m 9.3 km Green 5.2 km 290 m 11.1 km Red 5.9 km 330 m 12.6 km Blue 8.0 km 500 m 17.6 km
To be clear, I haven't seen the courses yet. These predictions are only based on the distance and climb, and the actual difficulty will depend on course setting. But the predictions have been pretty accurate in the past.
What do these mean for the Beginner/Intermediate courses? The White and Yellow courses are slightly tougher than average, but not outside of normal range. Don't expect anyone to finish the Yellow course in under 30 minutes this week. The Orange course is pretty typical for a local meet. As usual, the biggest factors on Orange will be your route choice, and how well you avoid making mistakes.
As for the advanced courses?
- At 9.3 km, the Brown is about 30% tougher than normal (OUSA guidelines would be about 6–7 km). I will be very surprised if any regular Brown runners break under 1 hour.
- The differences between Brown, Green, and Red are pretty small this time, with the Green course being slightly tougher than average, and the Red course slightly easier.
- If you are stepping up to Blue though, it's a much bigger jump! The Blue course is going to be slightly tougher than a typical local event, but still about 15% shorter than an OUSA sanctioned course. If the top runners do well, they should finish in just under 70 minutes — but you never know for sure!