It was a cold day for orienteering. The temperature may have reached 40 but I kind of doubt it. The one good thing is that the winter storm that was forecast did not arrive until everyone was long gone after the competition. Again this year, we had a lot of cooperation in terms of carpooling. We had some extra spaces left over around Rec Hall. We want to thank all the competitors for making an effort to deal with our parking limitations.
Registration was again limited to 150 people this year and again we sold out, this time about three weeks before the event. But, we had found a way to include more people without adding to the parking problem. We joined forces with Grass Roots Racing to have Raccoongaine count as one of their regular series races. The Grass Roots Racers would register through their own organization and would park at Linsly center and walk or ride their bikes to Rec Hall. This would add up to 64 people to our numbers. By the time we were ready for the mass start, we had lost seven teams for various reasons and lost a few individuals from other teams, a total of 15 people. I think that left us with 44 3-hour teams, 59 6-hour teams and 199 people participating.
The format was the same as in previous Raccoongaines. 50 controls were placed in the forest with values of 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 points (10 controls for each value, a total of 1500 points). Point values were mostly determined by distance from the start and difficulty in getting to them; we did not expect anyone to reach them all. Four controls (mystery controls) were not marked on the competition map (in this case they were 40, 41, 42 and 43); at four other controls (mother controls, in this case 30, 31, 32, and 33, respectively)) that were marked, we placed maps showing where one mystery control was. After arriving at a mother control, competitors could choose to go to the mystery control or not; all mystery controls were 20-point controls. Some curious things happened with the mystery controls this time. If you look at Visitations you will notice for the 32-42 pair, many people on both the 3-hour course and the 6-hour course who went to 32 did not subsequently go to 42. This was rather surprising as 42 was only about 70 meters from the finish. Also, you will notice that more teams went to 43 (the mystery control) than went to its mother control (33). The curious thing is that multiple teams finished reporting that 43 was in the place where 33 should have been. This was not true. The teams had stumbled onto 43 while looking for 33 and didn't realize they weren't where 33 should be. At least one team also stumbled onto 40 without going to its mother control.
The overall winner for the 3-hour course was Eric Mencke with 320 points. But having an additional three hours made a big difference as the overall winner for the 6-hour course was Team SOG with an amazing 1370 points; second place overall on the 6-hour course went to Joe Solo with 1330 points. Both of these scores are 200 to 250 points higher than anyone has previously achieved at Raccoongaine. Full results are available in a spreadsheet-like form at Results Use the 3-hr and 6-hr tabs at the bottom to look at the different course results. You can view the routes taken by various competitors at Routes
An analysis of the control visitations (you can view these at Visitations ) by the 3-hour teams shows a few interesting patterns. As one would expect, few of the 3-hour teams ventured very far east of route 18. As a consequence, none of these teams visited controls 55, 65, 67, 69, 73, or 79. This list would have been much longer had it not been for the team Running on Empty. They seemed to be the only 3-hour team to make it around the east end of the lake and, in so doing, they were the only 3-hour team to visit controls 58, 59, 61, 66, 68, and 75. More evidence of the tendency to stay west of route 18 was the fact that more 3-hour teams visited controls 35 and 44 than 6-hour teams. Control 70 was clearly the choice for those who wanted to get at least one 50-point control. In general, there were very few visits to controls numbered in the 60's; this contrasts with the 6-hour teams in which a handful of them visited all controls numbered in the 60's.
Analysis of the control visits by the 6-hour teams (again, see Visitations ) was not as revealing. It was clear that the least visited were controls 45, 77, and 78. This was to be expected by virtue of their location. You can't see this in the visitation table; but observation of the punch cards showed that many teams had the same or similar game plans; they were visiting nearly the same set of controls - this made sense; if you are going to make the trek all the way to the east, you are going to try to get the same controls there. I was happy to see that control 77 had the fewest visits overall. It is in an awkward place with a lot of nasty vegetation blocking it and is almost a dead end in terms of what to do next. No team went to all 50-point controls.
Here are links to several groups of Alexis' photos from Raccoongaine:
After the start
Finishers on 3-hour course
Post-race on 3-hour course
Finishers on 6-hour course
Post-race on 6-hour course
Additional photos taken by the Grass Roots Racing photographer can be seen here
If you are curious where the Raccoongaine competitors came from, see originations
A lot of people helped to make Raccoongaine possible. Thanks to Alexis Rzewski for designing the course. Thanks to Dave Battista for vetting the course. Thanks to Jerry Agin, Nick McCullar, Joe Logan, and Jim Trautmann for controlling the parking. Thanks to Sherry Shank, Dan Marincel and Laurie Opila for dealing with registration. Thanks to Naomi Jarvis, Yaki Barak, and Joe Logan for handling with scoring. Thanks to Giuseppina Mecchia, Laurie Opila and John and Jennifer Carrabba for managing the kitchen. Thanks to Anneliese Steuben (and others) for helping to set up tables. Thanks to Jennifer Livingston for helping pick up the control flags.