Daze 4 course setting and test running is complete, and what can you say but: "Wow!" It would be great if the course could speak for itself, but courses can't speak so I will fill in for it.
The over-arching goals were to come up with a course that would be fun, not overly leg taxing, and which would feature a daring design that no course-setting-by-committee could ever arrive at, even if they dreamt a million dreamy dreams.
Though it may seem immodest to say so, the truth can not be avoided: this is one of the greatest courses of all time. To find courses of comparable quality and overall sizzle factor, you have to range rather far back to a time where courses did not loop through the finish one or more times and where the desecrating, so-called "butterfly loop" had not yet been devised and foisted upon various unsuspecting runners with world ranking numbers behind their names. Internationally, the WOC Classic courses from 1985 and 1989 would be good choices. Domestically, Day 1 from the 1979 Team Trials (Quabbin), or Day 2 from the 1979 US Championships (Silver Mine) come to mind. (The 1979 vintage was quite good.)
A course of this magnitude and superlative quality deserves its own name, and so: Ten at Ten (10 controls, starting at 10 o-clock).
A brief description of each exquisite leg:
The #1 control: Considering the mass start format, what else can you say but: "The greatest leg of all time!" In a single leg, runners will traverse every single terrain type ever seen in orienteering. Amazing.
The #2 control: Every great race will feature at least one leg ending at a boulder; this race will feature two. This is the first, a delicate, almost ephemeral leg that some runners will use to finish completely savoring the mighty first leg.
The #3 control: Right now it looks like the best talent in US elite orienteering is to be found on the female side of the equation; this leg will be an opportunity for the women to separate themselves from the cowboys. Anyone who plays Catching Features regularly will enjoy a significant advantage on this leg as well.
The #4 control: It's not a maze, but it is a chance for runners who are going too fast to do what they should not.
The #5 control: For balance, this leg offers the best opportunity for cowboys to demonstrate their O' skills and running prowess.
The #6 control: So far, no control features have been duplicated, and this leg will not break that string. The control itself offers a vantage point from which the runners can peruse most of what remains of the course, if they choose to stop to admire. But why not just keep running instead? Especially when the ensuing leg starts with a downhill scamper....
The #7 control: It becomes time to shift gears and find what the beetles have not (yet) found.
The #8 control: Sooner or later, every orienteer--even the very best--will experience one of those days where nothing seems to be working as it should. This leg has been set with express purpose of delivering a leg where *every* orienteer will experience complete and total success and enjoy, however briefly, a moment of personal triumph. It is no coincidence that this is the leg where the second boulder control occurs.
The #9 control: For the first time from the departure from the Start, runners will now be able to spot the Finish. And it is time to shift gears yet again, if a higher one can be engaged.
The #10 control: This, the final leg, features a control which could in so many ways be the final control for almost any course at any Oringen. Thus, it honors the sport's Swedish origins.
And, finally, the Finish. Runners prefer a downhill finish, organizers something more uphill. Which style awaits will only become fully apparent on Daze 4.
So there you have it, a leg by leg description of one of the greatest courses of all time (other people may have different opinions, but really, what do they know? ha!), set in the incredible terrain and vegetations of Wyoming's Laramie Range.
Event information is available here: