Event Report: Mt. Pinos, June 2012

Mt. Pinos Sunrise

Once again, Mt. Pinos proved to be a superb venue for a two-day LAOC meet! About 100 orienteers came out to enjoy the courses set by our very own Sue and Rich D. I don't think I've ever heard more compliments on the courses at an O-meet. The praise was genuine and consistent over the two days.

As expected, the high altitude made for difficult decisions due to less-than-ideal brain oxygen levels. Even around camp, the sluggishness was apparent. (“Uhhh, how do these tent poles go together?”) My favorite quote of the weekend, from Matej Sebo: “Even when contouring, I felt like I was going uphill!”

Craving a gorgeous SoCal summer weekend, a huge contingent from BAOC made the long journey to Mt. Pinos. Boy, did they make their presence known - the results were dominated by our friends from the North!

Saturday morning’s classic point-to-point courses were first on the agenda. The elevated remote start made the courses a bit more bearable, but they were still demanding. The 7.5k, 310m climb Blue course seemed especially exhausting, but that didn't seem to bother the BAOC folks. Led by Jonas Kjall (get ready to hear that name a lot more), they took the top four spots, all with times at or under 70 minutes.

Competitiveness was not just limited to Blue, though - there was fierce competition across the board. On Orange, Ana Sofia Chavez edged out Olga Kraght by a mere 2 seconds. Even on the White course, only 4 seconds separated 1st from 2nd place! In Yellow however, Daniel Sebo smoked the field with a time less than half of anyone else!

After a brief midday rest, the competition heated up as the Prolog got underway. On the all-downhill course, 51 orienteers raced for evening start times. The first person done with the Prolog = the first person to start the Chase. Other competitors would start later, based on how far behind the leader they finished the Prolog.

Due to an unfortunate Finish placement, the last leg of the Prolog was thrown out, but that didn't seem to affect the orienteers’ spirit. (Note to future MDs: if one control gets misplaced, pray that it's the Finish - it makes throwing out the leg an easy choice.)
Again, Jonas took top billing with a blistering time of 15:56. (There was a good-natured collective groan as his time was posted on the string.) Not far behind though was a swath of eager competitors, led by Greg Walker of Boston’s CSU.

Saturday night’s Chase also turned out to be a fantastic race. Although the early controls stayed mostly on-trail, the second half of the course was less straightforward. Making it especially difficult was the last two weeks of vicious undergrowth growth, which did not make it onto the map, of course.
While Jonas got a 70 second head start on the field, Steve Gregg found himself in the unfortunate position of leaving only 8 seconds ahead of the catch-up mass start. Needless to say, Jonas crushed the competition once again. He extended is 70 second lead into a 7+ minute win. That didn't mean there was no excitement, though…

Because the combined time of the Prolog & Chase is what counted for the results, the orienteers finished in the exact order of the standings. Never before have I been able to witness real-time racing at an orienteering meet (still with staggered starts!). It was incredibly exciting to watch the races for 3rd/4th and 7th/8th, between Joseph Doetsch and Greg Walker, and Alex Kiperman and Will Hubsch, respectively. (Note to ESPN: this is the future of televised orienteering.)

Sunday morning’s Score-O brought another large crowd. 72 orienteers, still exchanging stories from the night before, crowded the Start parking lot. Due to the overwhelming number of registrants, we sent out a first wave of starters while printing maps for the second wave. Due to the stiff 50 point/minute late penalty, the vast majority of orienteers came back within the time limit. Upon analyzing the results, only five orienteers managed to collect all the controls. Any guesses on which of those had the fastest time?

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend, and I can't wait for next year! I know this is cliché, but it truly would not have been possible without the help of the many volunteers who so generously offered their help throughout the weekend. Special thanks to our ever-present e-punch gurus Rich Hoesly and Marvin Johnston and course setters Sue and Rich D.

Here’s a (hopefully) complete list of the remaining volunteers: Bruce Corning, Elizabeth O’Keefe, Danny Trudeau, Anne Mullins, Lubo Sebo, Audrey G., Brad W., Chris “Subaru” Searight, Allen Hubsch, Will Hubsch, Bridget Thomson, Joel Thomson, Mikkel Conradi, James Scarborough, Ryan D., Charlotte D., Gary Dolgin, and Christian Bower. Thank you all so much!

- Andrew Tomlin

PS There was only one result from Saturday night’s Potluck: deliciousness.

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