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Route to Christmas: Day 9 2015

Today’s leg is an absolute gem from France: France is a country with lots of interesting technical orienteering – this is also a perfect stage for interesting route choice legs. In today’s edition of Route to Christmas we visit the Nationale Sud-Est 2015 race organized on the Mazayes map in Clermont-Ferrand. The race date was April 12th 2015. This race was also a French selection race – won by Philippe Adamski.

Unless you master the terrain or run very slowly and cautiously, there is a big chance for you not ending up where you had planned to
(Lucas Basset)

Thanks a lot to Theo Fleurent for the tip and to both Fleurent and Lucas Basset for comments about the leg. Basset is first up with an introduction to the Clermont-Ferrand terrain:

In Clermont-Ferrand, runability off tracks can vary from quite good to disastrous. When choosing a route-choice there, you should always find the balance between runnability, distance (the climb is not much involved in the equation here) and, above all, technical risk. Going straight in very technical areas involves often a reduced running speed, an obligation to look at your feet at the same time as your map, and unless you master the terrain or run very slowly and cautiously, there is a big chance for you not ending up where you had planned to.

On the other hand, straight is always shortest – each extra meter to run is a potential time loss. Fleurent adds the following comment:
In this very difficult terrain where high focus is required when you run in the forest, running on a track is a luxury that you can not alwyas afford. And the equation is often about how far you can go from the red line to have this chance. This depends a lot on your technique and running skills, but strategy with the moment of the race is really important too.  At the end of the race you will more likely go to a track to rest mentally and find a better way to attack a control and reduce the chance of errors, as if you are still fresh at the beginning of the race, you will still be able to navigate properly and have the aggressivity needed to fight the vegetation and the ground and then be fast.

With Basset’s & Fleurent’s words on your mind you may take a look at it and think about how you would attack this leg. The leg is as usually first provided without routes  (if the image is too small, you may click on it to get it larger):


You find other maps from the area in omaps.worldofo.com here. See also latest additions in 3DRerun from this area in order to learn more about this terrain type.


Next you can draw your own route using the ‘Webroute’ below. Think through how you would attack this leg, and draw the route you would have made. Some comments about why you would choose a certain route are always nice for the other readers.

Then you can take a look at how the runners have solved this leg below. First an illustration with all GPS-routes available:

Then an illustration with four distinct routes to see the alternatives more clearly:

As you can see from the above, there are practically three different options: Straight with tricky orienteering (although you can follow a small path for a while at the start of the leg), right (quite a lot of running on a clear path, but quite a long way out to the path) and left (big path/road most of the way, but it is significantly longer and the control is tricky). In addition there are some other possibilities between these options – noen of which are significantly faster.

Lucas Basset is fastest on the leg of the ones with GPS track with the route to the right. The ones with GPS running straight and left are nearly 2 minutes slower, but Basset has significantly higher speed. Still Basset’s route is probably at least 30-40 seconds faster than left. The very best might execute straight as fast as right, but with higher risk.

Lucas Basset’s comment about the leg:

I hesitated between taking the small path on the left (knowing the terrain, this was likely to be a very, very small path which stopped) and going around right on the big track.
What made me decide to go right are the two following reasons: 1) the big track is like a German highway, with no speed limit nor police camera :)    2) If you go left, you’ll have to deal with the last 500 meters of the leg without any path, in green and diffuse forest and with very few important features. Whereas on the right, the final approach is “given” by a small track and a vegetation “corridor”. There is almost nothing to do.

On the right, the final approach is “given” by a small track and a vegetation “corridor”. There is almost nothing to do. (Lucas Basset)

Actually I did not hesitate so long, and quickly made up my mind for the right choice. Doing that, the most difficult part of the leg was the way out of number 9: To find the fastest way to get to the highway!

 Below is a comparison of the pace for the three routes. Note how fast Basset can run the last part of the leg into the control – significantly faster than the way out from the 9th control. The good entrance to the control is one of the keys for the rightmost routechoice being so good in this case.

Density map

See below for a density map of some of the ones who have drawn their routes so far.

Additional information

You find the complete map in omaps.worldofo.com at this location.

Route to Christmas series

The Route to Christmas series at World of O has been very popular the last years – giving the readers the opportunity to do one Route Choice Challenge each day from December 1st until December 24th. If you have got any good legs in RouteGadget, GPSSeuranta or 3DRerun from 2015-competitions – or old forgotten ones which are still interesting – please email me the link at Jan@Kocbach.net, and I’ll include it in Route to Christmas if it looks good. Route to Christmas will not be interesting if YOU don’t contribute.

Not all legs are taken for the interesting routechoice alternatives – some are also taken because the map is interesting – or because it is not straightforward to see what to do on a certain leg. Any comments are welcome – especially if you ran the event chosen for todays leg!

About Jan Kocbach

Jan Kocbach is the founder of WorldofO.com - taking care of everything from site development to writing articles, photography and analysis.

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