Discussion: US Mountain Bike Orienteering
in: Orienteering; News;
Thanks to the efforts of CNYO member Robert Buraczynski, the OUSA website
now has a Mountain Bike Orienteering Schedule and Information page ( http://orienteeringusa.org/orienteers/mountain-bik...
). Please advertise the page to your US local club. (URL's updated May 2012)
The page includes an invitation to national federations to nominate candidates to attend the FootO and Mountain Bike O Advisers Clinic
in Geneva, Switzerland, October 8-10. Be sure to let your local powers-that-be know if you're interested in attending this clinic.
They're listed on the web page (see Other Links at the bottom).
They have a very busy-looking web page, and don't include some of the events Robert listed.
Use all your sources. :-)
Whoa, and those guys already have a logo
I guess I'm more interested in whether there's communication between OUSA and the mtbo guys than anything related to the web specifically. There are apparently some gung-ho people out there, it would be great for them to be involved with mtbo within OUSA. I hope there is no duplicated effort.
And that is probably about as much brainpower as I will ever expend on mtbo. ;-)
Are these the US governing bodies of all sports with maps and orange/white flags?
-- Adventure Racing
-- Mounted Orienteering (Horses)
Are these guys actually doing anything, or is it just a flashy website?
I'm not sure that USCA (not to be confused with USACK, by the way, which is where the Olympic paddlers are) is really the governing body for canoe-O*. Yes, the national canoe-O champs are hosted (sometimes reluctantly) in conjunction with their other national championship races, but that's the extent of their involvement. All other canoe-O events that I know of are hosted by orienteering clubs.
*I'm using the term "canoe-O", but it applies equally to kayaks.
Seems like they have things under control (or want to), so I hope 'we' just let them. One less thing for OUSA to worry about. ;-)
USACK sounds like it should be governing this
The MTBO America principal was, the last time I checked in with him, working on course designs and other aspects of planning for races at a handful of QOC-area venues. That was a couple of months ago though so I should buttonhole him again.
I think it's unfortunate O clubs and USOF have not taken a bigger interest in this. Getting the most people to understand what orienteering REALLY IS is important in order to get sponsorship and members.
There may not be much crossover, but probably some people would do both.
I think we have neglected the other aspects of O, nordic skiing comes to mind also.
Here is an MTBO-related extract from the Orienteering USA 2010-2014 Strategic Plan (http://www.orienteeringusa.org/Docs/16June2010stra...
Mountain Bike Orienteering Team
- Establish goals, including, but not limited to, fielding a team in the World MTBO Championships in 2013.
Mountain Bike Orienteering
- Establish Mountain Bike Orienteering as part of the Orienteering USA community.
- Mountain Bike Orienteering represents a new and potentially interesting target for Orienteering USA. With the increasing number of adventure racers in the United States, it creates a growth opportunity for Orienteering USA and its charter clubs. This represents a potential link into the Adventure Racing community and a chance to increase starts through a new participation stream.
- Determine local “centers of excellence” to form a committee to develop an effective plan to launch Mountain Bike Orienteering in the U.S. In 2010, this committee would be charged with determining goals for sport development, club adoption and national championships. In 2011, this committee would be charged with determining the viability of World Championship Teams (as noted later in the Team USA portion of this plan).
- Establish go-forward plan addressing all goals.
- Potential inaugural U.S. Mountain Bike National Championship + other goals.
2012 – 2014
- Goals as set by the committee and approved by BOD.
- Pursue media partnerships with American media outlets like the Outdoor Channel. Work with electronic and digital media partners to provide access to orienteering content. This could take the form of learning about all aspects of the sport (including Trail, Ski and Mountain Bike), national team profiles, and domestic broadcast of the World Orienteering Championships.
Orienteering is, by nature, a sport of specialization, a sport of division. Representing the U.S. and Orienteering USA, we have Foot Orienteering runners at the Senior, Junior, Rogaine, and WUOC levels. We have a totally different type of athlete in the Ski Orienteering participants. A third type of athlete participates in Trail Orienteering , and eventually a fourth type in Mountain Bike Orienteering. This specialization, plus the administration and the budgets and funds that go along with it, has created an isolationist effect, a major lack of dialogue among the teams.
MOUNTAIN BIKE ORIENTEERING TEAM
Mountain Bike Orienteering represents a new and potentially interesting target for Orienteering USA. With the increasing number of adventure racers in the United States, it creates a growth opportunity for Orienteering USA and its charter clubs. A potential goal for our athletes would be World Championship and Junior World Championship teams.
- In 2011, an exploratory committee will be formed to determine the viability and potential of World and Junior World Mountain Bike Orienteering Teams.
- In 2012, if teams are considered viable and an acceptable level of world championship and junior world championship achieved, Orienteering USA would move forward with the program with the goal of World Championship participation beginning 2013.
- Formation of exploratory committee. Committee presents recommendations.
- Formation of team with deliverable goals. Goals set by committee and approved by BOD.
2013 – 2014
- World and/ or Junior World Championship participation. Goals set by committee and approved by BOD.
Knowing how the sausage is made, MTBOA guys (guy?) are up for a huge disappointment if their aim is to, say, get recognized with the IOF a-la Svenska Skidförbundet (the Swedish Ski Federation), which is an IOF Member alongside SOFT in matters concerning ski-O. Helsinki hates the Swedish situation and views is as several strikes against the sport in dealings with the IOC. I'd say unless your situation is rooted in over a hundred years of productive functioning, don't even bother. The IOF will tell you to work through your national Federation.
To gain an explanation why USOF has done practically nothing for MtbO, one needs to understand that it's always about the money, in this case, the somewhat rational fear that should MtbO events start popping up left and right, insurance rates will go up; and, secondary, foot and ski orienteers may get denied access to the parks they use if there is even a single mismanaged MtbO event in the park. The first item (like all things financial) can be dealt with productively (someone on the Insurance Committee of O-USA will have to abandon some dogmas and do some more work, but all this is manageable). The second item is a lot more difficult to deal with.
Foot and ski orienteers may get denied access to the parks they use if there is even a single mismanaged MtbO event in the park.
Currently, is there much overlap in land usage between adventure races w/bikes and orienteering? I would think that if this would be a potential problem between foot-o and bike-o, then it may already be an issue with AR w/bikes and foot-o.
Meanwhile, Australian Adrian Jackson is returning from the 2010 MTBO World Orienteering Championships in Portugal with 1 gold and 2 silver medals, taking his tally to 8. Between them, eight Australians have now won a total of 12 medals at this level, since Emily Viner took silver at MTBO WOC in France in 2002.
I'd say that it's more due to there being limited enthusiasm among existing USOF members for MTBO. Not that there's dislike for it, but just that very few have had the initiative to even organize MTBO beyond a few novelty events. I'm not sure there would be much resistance if people wanted to get things rolling.
It's not a problem between ARs with bikes and foot-O because these events are put on by separate organizations. Everyone: the adventure racers; the orienteers; the parks; the public; realize that. Someone running head-first into a locked gate that had been there for 20 years at, say (EXAMPLE ONLY), Fells and then suing Massachusetts for $29M (EXAMPLE ONLY) will not cause CSU to lose access to the Fells map for foot-O. It would perhaps complicate CSU's ability to put on MtbO events, at Fells and elsewhere, but I can't see how it'd be likely that it would affect foot-O.
Now, suppose MTBOA, an affiliate of (HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE ONLY) Orienteering USA, charters Disaster Orienteering & Riding Klubb. The DORK then mismanages an MtbO event at Fells. Next time CSU goes and applies for a permit for, say, a Billygoat at Fells, the park is going to go—hey—these are two different clubs of O-USA, and last time these orienteering people had an event here, we had trouble.
A much more pessimistic (HYPOTHETICAL) scenario would involve the DORK accommodating the unfortunate rider who happens to find the locked gate and then sue for $29M (for the course setter not removing the gate from the course, or not erasing the trail the gate happened to be on from the map, or whatever other negligence can be construed). The suit would involve everyone affiliated with the DORK, and that'd include MTBOA and Orienteering USA. Indeed the suit may well be thrown out of court, but O-USA and its insurance company would like there to be no suit, successful or not.
P.S. If you google "orienteering lawsuit" (with quotes), you get zero. If you replace orienteering (retaining the quotes) with MTB or "mountain bike", there are a few hits. Bikes move at a higher speed than runners, and the consequences of an impact are more severe—follows from laws of physics.
I won't dispute your hypotheticals, but I think it's unlikely that anybody at USOF has up to this point made a decision to keep MTBO at arms length due to concerns about this sort of possibility (even if it might be advisable to do so).
Anybody planning on attending MTB WOC next year in Italy?
I'm kind of pondering it....
While I know of local clubs that have eschewed MtbO for fear of losing access to land, Orienteering USA does not discourage clubs from having or promoting MtbO races. I think the real reason for little MtbO in the US is what JJ said. The current orienteers aren't very interested in putting on MtbO events. The organization has run for many years on the efforts of its volunteers, and in the directions that the volunteers push it. There hasn't been a lot of MtbO push. We have had a MtbO discipline committee that has typically had someone in charge who did little. Thanks to Bob for getting something going. We have also had a competitor at the Mtb-WOC at least once.
To the best of my knowledge, the people behind MTBO America have never approached the national leadership at Orienteering USA or volunteered to spearhead the MtbO committee. We are aware of their website and know that it primarily represents a member of QOC. Their goals seem to be aligned with our Strategic Plan, so hopefully, we can all work together to get there.
I think MtbO may be inherently limited by available venues regardless of how much enthusiasm people have to put on events. Given, at least in my experience , the propensity of mountain bikers to build trail loops that don't interconnect all that much, I don't think there are all that many places that both allow mountain biking and have a complex enough trail network to be navigationally interesting. Certainly far fewer places than are suitable for orienteering on foot and they'd get boring faster as one raced on them repeatedly. Not to say we shouldn't hold MtbO events, just that reality may impose fairly tight limits on realistic ambitions for the development of the sport.
A good network, as opposed to loops, of bike trails is required to make MTBO interesting. GAOC has had a couple of MTBO events at local bike trails. I have found it difficult to generate interest among the bike riders for orienteering events.
The variety of disciplines in orienteering is great fun. I enjoy orienteering on foot, in the canoe, and on the bike.
I did a MTB-O event this spring in Kamloops. It was great fun. In this neck of the woods, there are huge opportunities for mtn-bike orienteering. I can think of a wide variety of types of venues - from cross-country ski areas to technical single-track. Course could have a nice variety of route-choice decision making on long legs, to short technical legs on dense trail networks. MTB-O at Whistler during Barebones would have been great.
Brian I don't know if you spoke with Tim, but he planted the seed with WORCA (the organization that is responsible for most of the bike trails in Whistler) to start having MTB-O events. I think they're keen to try something new, especially for their loonie races. I believe AZ is keen to get that started as well. Lost Lake would be the best venue for that, that's for sure!
There are places in Colorado and Wyoming (and probably others as well) where it's possible to set MTBO courses just like regular courses, as opposed to like ski-O courses (i.e. not on a trail network).
MTBO Events are not promoted too much by USOF but the reason is obvious. There are just not enough events in the US and that responsibility lies with the local clubs in the US. There is no reason why MTBO cannot be big here like Europe and I encourage other clubs to hold events. OLOU ( Orienteering Louisville) will be holding it's first event on Aug 14th and hope to hold more events in the future. The amount of Mountain Bikers in this country is huge, but there is little crossover communication between Mountain Bikers and Orienteers ( Except when it comes to AR events). Thanks Robert for promoting this and it was great to meet you this past weekend in Ohio!
While I'm sure that MTBO is a great activity, I hope that local clubs work to 'saturate' the local schedule with regular O before they wear out their valuable human resources putting on MTBO events.
activity? you mean like trail O?
mmmmm I wonder if you can follow at Trail-O?
Joe you probably know that don't you?
While trail-o is also an activity, mtb-o can be described by many other terms that do not also describe trail-o. I'm not judging. ;-)
Although I love my mountain bike, I think US O-Clubs should stay far away from Mtn Bike-O. Park Rangers already try to lump as together with Mountain bikers and this always means more difficulty in getting access. Park access has become Orienteering's number one problem in California and encouraging an association with Mtn bikes can only hurt us more.
Are these guys actually doing anything, or is it just a flashy website?
Isn't that a good start?
I know of two park/wild areas in central Ohio that are detected to solely mountain biking, they have tremendous support; Now how many solely orienteering parks are there?
MTBO.US ( Mountain Biking America) looks like a European MTN Biking site.. No mention of any upcoming US Meets on there even though they say they are promoting MTN Bike Orienteering in the US.
A view from far away. MTBO (and rogaining) have been the saviour of a club I know. The mapping and course planning load is much much less than for traditional orienteering because travel is restricted to tracks. (A decision that can be made at national or event level) There is a mixture of participants from adventure racing, mountain-biking and orienteering backgrounds. The events attract fewer than do foot-o events but the work-benefit ratio is better. Participants contribute to planning much sooner than for foot-o.
Landowners have no bias for or against mountain-biking, perhaps helped by strong community support for cycling in general for its health benefits. Venues are mostly different from those used for foot-o and include MTB parks created by bikers with civic support. There haven't been any serious injuries.
As you might expect there are foot-orienteers who see MTBO as a diversion from their one true love. There are also many people in the world who can't see the fun in finding a tiny reentrant on a detailed map, but can manage just fine with a topo-style map. The name of the game is getting more people to read maps. MTBO is an easier way to do this than many others.
if you look at the results in this website
and look for 3 Jun 07, you will find this club's one and only attempt in a MtBO event, which attracted only two people outside the club's usual attendees, despite hundreds of fliers being handed out to mt bikers.
When we made others note the poor attendance, a thoughtful reply was "the mountain bike crowd is rather insular (as are most specific interest-groups). That is, they do things with each other, whether it’s riding, trail building, drinking, etc. If you get a bike organization to co-sponsor an event, then their constituents will follow. Of course, as you say, “free beer” is a powerful stimulant. Maybe try that next time."
Another comment was "they just want to ride", as in wavy S-shaped serpentines, rather than A-B-C-A as in a competition.
if a MtBO event is to be offered by a traditional O-club, then it should be done by someone that crosses between AdvRacing and O racing, so it could bridge the two cultures.
I would like to see the flier for the WPOC MTBO event.
MTBO does sounds like a good option for parks that restrict travel to a well-defined trail system. No worries about sensative plants being trampled.
Are these guys actually doing anything, or is it just a flashy website?
After a year, I don't think the answer is subtle.
So break yourself of this paradigm that Mountain Bike Orienteering is Orienteering with mountain bikes. IT IS NOT! Mountain Bike Orienteering “is” Mountain Bike Racing “with” Orienteering.
Quoted from here
Well written... hits the nails on the heads. Especially about the pizza. I'm just anxious to enter one of them notorious races
So break yourself of this paradigm that Orienteering is navigation on foot. IT IS NOT! Orienteering “is” a running race “with” navigation. Once you and others begin to embrace that subtle difference — that is not all that subtle when you start to unravel it — it is then that Orienteering will begin to flourish in America!
And all of the arguments made in the preceding paragraphs (about how to organize events) would seem to apply.
But, don't these vaunted MTBO people have the same problem that we benighted Foot-O people have? To wit, they do a really cool sport, but it just isn't popular among the savages, because they just haven't heard the gospel. If they did, they would clearly put aside their false gods and join our religion?
Or am I missing something?
Unless I'm mistaken, there are more people who do Foot-O in this country than MTBO, so might it be more informative for the MTBO folks to study us, not the other way around?
Not a huge number, its significance is the cost/benefit ratio. Dramatically less mapping and planning time per hour of participation. And after a dozen years the planning and fieldwork is all being done by bikers. Most of them prefer to set score events, as this was.
There are more people who do Foot-O in this country than MTBO, so might it be more informative for the MTBO folks to study us, not the other way around?
I think his point is that there are two ways to approach it:
1) It's a running/biking sport with some navigation.
2) It's a navigation sport with some running/biking.
If the MTBO folks study us, they'd find us using approach #2. We organize/promote our own events, independent of the mainstream running/biking communities.
The other approach would be to have the mainstream running/biking communities organize/promote some events that also include navigation. If they are looking for quick growth from almost nothing (the current situation of MTBO), then this seems like the better approach. Why study us if our approach isn't working well?
For example, when sprint/urban orienteering came around it answered the question "How can we get forest orienteering into the city?"
What if the question was "How can we add orienteering to mainstream 5K/10K road runs? Or trail runs?"
Here in Seattle, we just had 24,000 people compete in a Warrior Dash last weekend. It's basically a 5K run with tons of obstacles and mud. From their website: "This running series is held on the nation's most unique and demanding terrain." [Re-read that sentence again. Let it sink in.]
Why was this event so popular? Because it added something new to the existing slate of 5K fun runs, and it was promoted the way traditional running races are. It certainly wasn't because the federation of Obstacle Course USA wanted to organize a 5K obstacle course to the exacting standards of international obstacle specifications...
Hear, hear. I happen to be friends with some of the very successful trail running series organizers in the Bay Area. I don't know anyone in the Mtb scene, but I'd be pretty sure their thinking would be close to what my trail running friends think:
* Why should I put on a race that requires additional investment (making a map, paying someone to use their map, vetting the course) and will only bring in a fraction of the audience I am used to? If I charge a lot more than for my plain runs, they won't come, and if I don't, I just wasted all my work on nothing.
Obviously Warrior Dash people could be just putting on plain trail runs, but they chose not to, and they found a way to sell their event in a way that the attendance dwarfs even the most successful trail runs. What is the line of thought/advertising we can follow to try to get there?
Are these guys actually doing anything, or is it just a flashy website?
So what is the answer?
I can't tell, despite going back and looking at the website. I haven't heard even a mention of MTBO in the ensuing year since this thread was started, but maybe its just me. I hope the news is good.
Are you interested in MTBO, or do you just see it as another means of recruiting into mainstream orienteering?
If you are really just interested in mainstream orienteering, would growth in MTBO participation be useful to your sport, irrelevant, or actually a threat? Where I come from, I have come down on latter interpretation due to issues with land managers.
My personal conclusion is to leave MTBO to the MTB community or a specialised MTBO group. Let them deal with the issues they create.
This discussion thread is closed.