Sept 19, 2009 - Rendija Canyon, Regular Meet


Los Alamos - Rendija Canyon Results

      September 19 2009

Event Director: Una Smith

Event management: setup Judy and Dick Opsahl, Tami Martinson; start/finish Luis Pedro Aguillar, Laura Nunez, and Judy Opsahl; map table coaching Jerry Boyd; troubleshooting Robert Schwartz; shadowing Luis Pedro Aguillar and Robert Schwartz; wrap up Judy Opsahl, Steven Cave, Tami and Drew Martinson; collecting controls Judy Opsahl, Robi Mulford, Joey and Estelle Smallwood and friend.      

About 60 people participated in this meet, including 33 JROTC cadets from Moriarty, the weather cooperated, and everyone enjoyed their courses. Kudos to Una Smith, who did a fantastic job of setting up the complex combination of regular beginning and intermediate courses plus a score O'.  Judy Opsahl held a tutorial on how to orienteer cross country, and the participants all successfully completed the orange course.  Kudos to Bear and Timo Schacht, ages 13 and 9, respectively, who completed the orange course on their own after the tutorial.  Several participants came quite a distance for the meet; Robert and Edna Schwartz from Bushland, TX, and John Pascal from Farmington.

As always it takes many helpers to run a successful meet. We are always grateful for people who volunteer to help. Una set the white and yellow courses with the help of Bear and Timo Schacht and Una also set the Score O'.  Judy Opsahl set the orange course.  Vetters were Tami and Drew Martenson, who also helped with set up, Dick Opsahl, who also helped with set up, and Judy Opsahl. Luis Aguirre and Laura Nunez and Judy Opsahl helped with starts and finishes, and Robi Mulford, Steve Cave, and Jeff Hunker and Kelly Ray helped pick up controls. Many thanks to all.

A number of new members joined at the meet. We want to welcome back Steve Cave, returning after being sidelined from back surgery. It's good to see you back, Steve. We also welcome new members Laura Nunez from Albuquerque and the Justin Torgerson family from Los Alamos. A hearty welcome to you all.

- Judy Opsahl

White Course

Length 1.9 km, climb 70 m, 16 controls, 2 starts, 3 maps, 5 orienteers. Course design and setting by Una Smith, Bear Schacht, and Timo Schacht; vetting by Judy Opsahl.

Name Finish Time Start Time Run Time Class Found All Controls?
Ryan Saunders and Baby 13:12:00 12:25:00 0:47:00 White Yes
Justin, Nikolas, and Kristofer Torgerson 10:30:00 11:36:30 1:06:30 White Yes
Joey and Estelle Smallwood and Friend TBD TBD 0:32:00 White Pickup

This course had two loops with a cross-over point, and parallel out and back routes. We were concerned that control 12, at a trail junction where it could be seen out of sequence, could confuse people. Neither team mentioned any problems here. Both teams did mention they were confused by control 3/15, a single flag to be punched twice. One team ran in concentric circles around the control, searching for "the other control", before noticing that the clue sheet showed controls 3 and 15 were the same flag. Despite being confused by this tricky control, both teams punched correctly. One team, new to orienteering, mentioned they daringly left the trail, cutting a corner to save time. That's what we like to hear! Flags on this course were collected by a group of hikers who asked what was going on, and if they could help. They said they liked the short climb up a reentrant to the foot of the cliff wall and its long row of viga holes. They also found a freshly shed skin of a large snake (probably not a rattlesnake). They asked about other features of interest in the canyon and we gave them a map and sent them off to explore.

Yellow Course

Length 2.3 km, climb 95 m, 17 controls, 14 starts/maps, 41 (?) orienteers. Course design and setting by Una Smith, Bear Schacht, and Timo Schacht; vetting by Tami and Drew Martinson.

Name Finish Time Start Time Run Time Class Found All Controls?
Team "Samurais":  N. Kolburg, A. Randall, and Jaramillo - Moriarty JROTC 12:13:39 11:31:00 0:42:39 Yellow Yes
Team "Army Princesses": Shyann, McKnight, Sarah Ramirez - Moriarty JROTC 12:21:43 11:30:00 51:43 Yellow Yes
Team "Gun Nuts":  Jessica, Joshua, and Will - Moriarty JROTC 12:21:19 11:29:00 52:19 Yellow Yes
Laura D. Nunez - NMO 13:25:48 12:08:00 1:17:48 Yellow Yes
Jeremy and Aidin Danielson 13:26:40 12:00:00 1:26:40 Yellow Yes
Mike, Eagle and Wind Schacht, and William Szinger - NMO 12:57:37 11:13:00 1:44:37 Yellow Yes
Team "Halo":  Noland, Kyle, Wesley - Moriarty JROTC 12:27:24 11:34:00 53:24 Yellow Mis-Punch
Team "3 Musketeers": Ben, Audrey, Zach - Moriarty JROTC 12:28:40 11:35:00 53:40 Yellow Did Not Finish
Team "I Don't Knows": Taylor, Barbagallo - Moriarty JROTC 12:40:45 11:32:00 1:08:45 Yellow Did Not Finish
Team "Bravo": Mari, Ariana, Mariah - Moriarty JROTC 12:41:47 11:33:00 1:08:47 Yellow Did Not Finish
Team "High Rollers": Wright, Kelley, and Walker - Moriarty JROTC 12:45:42 11:25:00 1:20:42 Yellow Did Not Finish
Team "Angry Chihuahuas": Victoria, Jacob, and David - Moriarty JROTC 12:53:51 11:36:00 1:17:51 Yellow Did Not Finish
Team "Raiders": Seth, Brian, and Elijah - Moriarty JROTC 12:56:51 11:27:00 1:29:51 Yellow Did Not Finish
Scott, Paula, Evan, Aldis - NMO 12:40:45 11:38:00 1:02:45 Yellow No Punch Card

This course headed north out of Rendija Canyon on the Pajarito Trail, then looped east and returned to Rendija Canyon. Thus, it had three areas where someone could leave the course: east and west in Rendija Canyon, and into the small valley north of Rendija Canyon. These are well defined, bounded areas with very few exit points. That is exactly why Rendija Canyon is used for White and Yellow orienteering courses: if someone goes off course, it is relatively easy for them to find the course again, else meet management can intercept them before they go far. As shown here, the course is on the edge of the master map, a bad thing for a White or Yellow course. Running off the map tends to confuse even very experienced orienteers. However, the course was well away from the edge of the maps onto which orienteers copied the course, and no one ran off their map. Some teams did leave the course, going east down Rendija Canyon and punching controls on the Orange course, or going west up Rendija Canyon and punching controls on the White course. These teams showed good search technique (which is not an orienteering skill) but clearly were not using their map and clue sheet. One team's punch card showed they started off punching every control they saw, but then they worked out what their task was and from then on they did the course flawlessly, using their map and probably also their clue sheet, and finishing in good time. Well done! Several teams went off course at exactly the same point, control 10. This was the 4th control on a straight and fast trail segment. After control 10 the course made a sharp right turn. However, from control 10 some teams saw ahead of them and to the left a control on the Orange course, and allowed themselves to be drawn off the Yellow course and into search mode rather than orienteering mode. (These teams had a map and clue sheet marked with the Yellow course, not the Orange course, so they could not navigate the Orange course; they could only search it out.) The course could have been designed a little differently to help keep these orienteers on course, but then it might not have been such a rich learning experience. All teams returned to base on their own and within the time limit.

Orange Course

Length 4 km, climb 100 m, 13 controls, 6 starts/maps, 10 orienteers. Course design and setting by Judy Opsahl, vetting by Dick Opsahl.

Name Finish Time Start Time Run Time Class Found All Controls?
Jason Taylor - NMO 11:49:25 11:17:00 0:32:25 Orange Yes
Bear and Timo - NMO 12:03:30 11:12:00 51:30 Orange Yes
Stuart Trugman and Toni Taylor - NMO 12:00:30 10:51:00 1:09:03 Orange Yes
Jerry Boyd - NMO 11:28:00 13:03:01 1:35:01 Orange Yes
Edna Schwartz - NMO 13:41:56 11:52:00 1:49:56 Orange Yes
D. Ferrier, P. Webb, and G. Webb - GAOC 12:25:40 10:28:00 1:57:40 Orange Yes

Three orienteers on this course attended Judy Opsahl's tutorial just before the meet. Edna Schwartz reported she used every one of the new skills taught in the class. For Bear and Timo, age 14 and 9, this was a first try at an Orange course and they did it without anyone shadowing them. Well done!


Length 2.5 km (best route), climb 125 m (ditto), 17 controls, time limit 90 minutes, 6 starts/maps /orienteers. Design and setting by Una Smith, Bear Schacht, and Timo Schacht, vetting by Robert Schwartz.

Name Finish Time Start Time Run Time Class Found All Controls?
Jason Taylor - NMO 11:03:50 10:27:00 36:50 Score-O Yes
Robi Mulford - NMO, BOAC 11:44:55 10:57:00 47:55 Score-O Yes
John Pascal - NMO 12:44:30 11:54:00 50:30 Score-O Yes
Jeff Hunker - NMARC 12:38:40 11:37:00 1:01:40 Score-O Yes
Steven Cave - NMO 11:52:59 10:38:00 1:14:59 Score-O Yes
Dick Opsahl - NMO 12:38:11 11:15:00 1:23:11 Score-O Yes

This course consisted of two clusters, east and west. The east cluster was mostly on a terrace near the trailhead and the west cluster was spread out below the north rim of the canyon. The format was billed as a training exercise in precision orienteering, but as we realized while setting it a score O format in the mostly open terrain of Rendija Canyon is not conducive to precision orienteering. For precision training, a trail O format would be far superior. The score O format did allow the designers to pose some "questions" of route choice, for the competitors to answer. First, what general sequence to use? Begin with the farthest control and work back, or begin with the nearest control and work out? Robi Mulford says the standard wisdom is to go to the farthest and work back, but she worked it in the opposite direction. She also collected flags, starting with farthest first, and reported that it was much easier that way! Food for thought. The second question was in what order to visit the controls in the east cluster? Control 11 was an attractive link between the east and west clusters, but control 12 was at the bottom of the canyon, off the terrace where the others were placed, and not especially easy to get to from the terrace. This caused difficulties for several experienced orienteers, who returned to the trailhead without punching control 12! Everyone who did this had enough time remaining to go out and punch it, but they lost a lot of time doing so. Probably the best sequence would be control 12, then the west cluster, then the rest of the east cluster. Or, this sequence in reverse. The score O was a learning experience also for its course designers. There were a few problems of course design and control descriptions. Jeff Hunker mentioned the north rim was too much of a handrail. This was intentional, as the design objective was to provide a transition from Orange level courses to a score O or rogaine type format having no pre-set sequence. Robert Schwartz and John Pascal both mentioned there was something wrong with control 9, and John spotted it before he ran the course. The clue sheet describes what is apparent in the field: control 9 is set in a narrow, deep, short reentrant that does not appear on the map . The map is not in error; a 5m contour interval can hide a 10 meter feature, if it is short enough and lies just right. However, one fundamental rule of orienteering course design is that the clue sheet must describe a feature shown on the map! Una made a mistake there. At control 13 the tunnel feature is a storm culvert; its height accidentally was omitted from the clue sheet.


Green Course

Name Finish Time Start Time Run Time Class Found All Controls?
No Green Course Set N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Red Course
Name Finish Time Start Time Run Time Class Found All Controls?
No Red Course Set N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Blue Course
Name Finish Time Start Time Run Time Class Found All Controls?
No Blue Course Set N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A


Place codes

DNF = Did not finish. This usually means the team did not punch all the controls on their course.

MP = Mis-punched. This usually means the team punched some controls in addition to those on their course.

NPC = No punch card. Possibly not turned in for scoring, or lost; either way, the results could not be scored.

Club codes

BAOC = Bay Area Orienteering Club, California USA

GAOC = Georgia Orienteering Club, Georgia USA

Moriarty JROTC = Moriarty High School (Moriarty, NM) Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps; this a NMO member group

NMARC = New Mexico Adventure Racing Club

NMO = New Mexico Orienteers

General notes

Our efforts to advertize this meet were highly unsuccessful, so the turnout was gratifying. In all there were 28 starts and over 60 people on courses. Participants included orienteers from Texas and Georgia. There were seven membership renewals: Jerry Boyd, Steven Cave, Mulford family, Schwartz family, Smith/Szinger family, Thomas family (Moriarty JROTC), and Trugman/Taylor family. There were three new memberships: Laura Nunez, Schacht family, and Torgerson family. Welcome! Normally, renewals would not be mentioned in a meet report but we have been having trouble keeping track of this information, so recording it here may be helpful. Please bear with us while we straighten it out. On the advice of Bear and Timo Schacht and William Szinger, the White and Yellow courses had more controls than usual. Punching controls is what kids enjoy most about orienteering courses. On the advice of expert course designers consulted via the US Orienteering Federation, both courses were a little shorter than usual, to compensate for the large amount of climb that is unavoidable due to the trailhead being on a terrace high above the canyon bottom. This seems to have worked well, and it certainly gives novice and advanced novice orienteers more practice in the mechanics of orienteering. White and Yellow course lengths and climbs were measured on the "best" route; this method usually measures more length and less climb than the straight line point to point method. The snacks and freebies were very much appreciated but unfortunately the snacks fell far short of demand. Clif Bars were provided by the US Orienteering Federation. Apples, locally grown in White Rock, were provided by Norma Oono. Orienteering window decals, recent issues of Orienteering North America, and sport clothing catalogs also were snapped up. A few individual news items. Jason Taylor is back in New Mexico. We hope to see him, and maybe even catch him, at future meets. Jeff Hunker directed an adventure race south of Tijeras on October 11, with a score O type component. For details click here. Damian Swift is directing a big meet in California, and Robi Mulford will be helping with course design. NMO's next meet is October 24, again in Los Alamos. There will be a choice of 2-hour or 4-hour rogaine. We are expecting Moriarty JROTC again, also two other JROTC groups, several NMO members from Texas, and a family from out of state who will be vacationing here in Los Alamos.


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