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Training Log: Swampfox

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Saturday Jan 21 #

Note

Not long ago I came across this:

“That’s another thing we’ve learned from your Nation,” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we’ve carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?”

“About six inches to the mile.”

“Only six inches!” exclaimed Mein Herr. “We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”

“Have you used it much?” I enquired.

“It has never been spread out, yet,” said Mein Herr: “the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.


It immediately made me think of the long ongoing trend in orienteering mapping towards ever larger scales with ever larger amounts of detail.

My view is, and has been for some time now, that the efforts in including increasing amounts of detail dwarf any benefits to the racer from having this additional detail. Indeed it has often gone to the point of absurdity, where the additional detail has become a disadvantage rather than a benefit to the racer, because of diminished legibility and increasing irrelevance of any given piece of detail.

My wish for O' mappers everywhere would be to keep one principle foremost: that above all, a map must be useful.

Then the following principles apply: legibility, consistency, accuracy, and inclusion of all important details.

An orienteering map is not intended to be, nor should it be, an exhaustive, encyclopedic inventory of all possible objects within the competition terrain. And yet that seems to be what many orienteers think it should be, as if a map with less detail is somehow a compromised, second rate product.

Friday Jan 20 #

Note

Skiing was quite good; there was about 1/2" of new snow that fell overnight. Saw more bikers while I was running after dark than I've seen in a while. One of the bikers stopped and we chatted briefly; I didn't know him, but recognized his name and realized that his wife was one of the two physical therapists that had given me some good suggestions back in the summer that seemed to have made a significant improvement with the very persistent groin/upper thigh problem I had that had been impairing my running.

Thursday Jan 19 #

Note

A beautiful day with full sun; there was some breeze during the day, as evidenced by snow blowing across the Happy Jack highway and melting and re-freezing on the surface. But even this bit of breeze was only a change from the past week or so, and nothing like the typical afternoon winter wind.

Skied and ran; skied at a very easy effort today.

Wednesday Jan 18 #

Note

Perfect day weatherwise, and ever so slightly warmer than yesterday. Did ski intervals up Moose Hill through to Summit Loop, and followed up with running until a little after nightfall. Venus is very bright and the moon was out of sight.

Tuesday Jan 17 #

Note

A cold morning offset the bright sun, and the temps never warmed up that much. It was completely comfortable outside, however, with no wind to speak of. Great skiing followed by some running on the bike trails.

Monday Jan 16 #

Note

Another nice day of skiing, with some late day sun. Lots of people were up top enjoying the holiday, while it seemed plenty of businesses in town were operating as if it were just another workday.

Temps were a little colder/crisper than I had expected, in the mid teens or slightly higher--just about perfect, given no wind.

Ran after skiing and enjoyed the early night skies.

Note

5 o-clock day today! It's midwinter now, and some signs of spring will start to become apparent in less than 5 months, if we're lucky.

Sunday Jan 15 #

Note

After skiing, and then running, I supped from the fruit of the cara-cara. I supped from some other things, too, but it is the tanginess of the cara-cara that lingers, a ruby-red splash of sweetness. Maybe it came from somewhere near El Paso or Phoenix?

While running in the dark, at one point I saw a small black shape in the snow ahead, about where the start/finish line had been for a ski race yesterday. I thought maybe there was movement, but it was hard to see. Maybe slight movement. Maybe no movement. Then, as I was passing to the side, I saw definite movement, and I could make out the shape as a fox. I whistled to let it know for sure I was there, and for all I could tell it didn't pay me the least bit of attention. I thought that was odd. It seemed intent on sniffing out some scent in the snow. Maybe mouse? Or maybe it was sniffing the scent of something that had been there earlier.

Skiing conditions were excellent. Another day with no sun, and also there was no wind.

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