Welcome, all, to a new season of orienteering!
To those of you who've been watching the 2011-12 schedule take shape online and to those of you less inclined to watch pots boil, I feel safe in claiming that the schedule now online should, barring the unexpected, hold good at least through Christmas. We've yet to link to the Stumble SVO will be hosting on November 6th and the Mid-Atlantic Champs to be hosted by DVOA and Tim Gilbert will no doubt add some more Richmond area events but you should be able to plan on the Maryland and Northern Virginia events staying where and when they're currently shown. Start marking your calendars.
That said, I should draw attention to a couple of changes from past practice:
- we've scheduled a few Saturday events in addition to the now traditional Saturday evening night-O at Little Bennett.
- we've changed the QOC standard start window (12-2pm during EDT; 11am-1pm EST) to run from 11am to 1pm with courses closing at 3pm regardless of the time of year.
The Saturday events are intended to give people with regular Sunday commitments, religious or otherwise, an easier path to trying orienteering for the first time. The start window change arose from a discussion at the last board of directors meeting of whether our traditional start window was optimal. Without going into gory details, there was a consensus in favour of an unvarying year-round start window but not for any more radical change without broader consultation. I'll therefore appreciate if those of you receiving this who have any preference at all would tell me how you'd rank the following start window options:
- traditional QOC start window - 12-2pm during EDT; 11am-1pm EST, courses close 2 hours after the end of the start window
- 11am-1pm, courses close at 3pm
- 10am-1pm, courses close at 3pm
- 10am-12pm, courses close at 2pm
At the risk of biasing the results, some considerations underlying the options just given:
- a longer start window may be both inherently good and a help when using parking-constrained venues in that early starters on shorter courses might be expected to finish and leave, making room for later starters. Of course, more volunteer time would be required.
- an earlier beginning to the start window would make orienteering more compatible with some other weekend activities in that orienteering could occupy the morning, leaving the afternoon free for most participants. The tradeoff here is with time for controls to be hung in the morning before the event starts (hence the choice not to ask your opinion of any options starting earlier than 10am).
Please email me (jon.torrance@...) your ranking for the options above and any comments you have by... let's say the end of this coming weekend. We'll then take stock, publish the results and proceed from there with further discussion and/or implementation of the preferred option.
Anticipatory thanks to those of you I'll be hearing from over the next few days. And I'll hope to see you all, plus the silent majority or minority, as the case may be, at Lake Needwood on the 18th.
President, Quantico Orienteering Club