Trail-O Details

US Trail-O Championships - Meet Notes


Sat, Aug. 9, 2014 - Round Mountain, Lake George, Colorado
Starts - 12:00 noon – 2:30 p.m.  Course closes at 4:30 p.m.


One Timed Control Station with 3 tasks (controls), done consecutively, 90 second total time limit; 
Main course,  16 controls, 2.0 km, minimal climb, started immediately following the timed control station, with 120 minutes total time limit for both together.
[Note – Rec Course participants skip the Timed Control Station, and only do the 16 controls of the main course.]
Prestart – on ranch road about 500 m. south of the M Lazy C Ranch (Meet Headquarters, follow signs.)
Finish – follow streamered route a few hundred meters back to the ranch.


Control card,  loaner SI (SportIdent) stick used for electronic timing - you will receive both at the Prestart.  [Rec Course participants – control card only, since they do not do the Timed Control Station.]
At your assigned start time, or as soon thereafter as possible, you will be escorted to the timed control station, seated, and handed a set of three maps with a cover sheet. [Rec course participants – get a main course map and proceed directly to the 16  main course controls.]
The monitor will point out to you six control flags from left to right: “Alpha” (A), “Bravo” (B), “Charlie” (C), “Delta” (D), “Echo” (E), and “Foxtrot” (F), and then state “The time starts now.”


You will have 5 seconds to punch the Start box in front of you with your SI stick, and then proceed as follows:
-         punch the Start box
-         uncover the first map
-         study the map and terrain
-         punch your answer in one of the 6 SI boxes in front of you labeled A, B, C, D, E, and F
-         uncover the second map, study, and punch your second answer
-         uncover the third map, study, and punch your third answer


At 70 seconds, if you have not yet finished the above, you will receive a 20 second warning.  NOTE – you are not allowed to look at the next map before punching your answer, nor look back at a previous map.


As soon as you have punched your third answer, or after 90 seconds, you are done. Hand back the map set, stand up, get a main course map, and proceed to the start triangle and first control. You now have the balance of 120 minutes (118+) to do the 16 main course controls and punch the Finish box.
You will use a paper punch to mark your answer (A, B, C, D, or E for your chosen control, or Zero for non of the above) for each of the 16 controls.
At the Finish, punch the Finish box with your SI stick, then turn in your map, control card, and the loaner SI stick. Your map, copy of the control card, and answer sheets will be available back at the Ranch.


Your Trail-O score consists of two parts – Points plusTime. Ranking is by points, then by least time for those with the same points.
Points  – One point for each correct answer on the main course, minus 1 point penalty for each 5 minutes or part thereof overtime beyond 120 minutes.  (Max 16 points)
Time  – Your time at the timed control station (max 90 secs), plus a penalty of 60 secs each for any of the three timed controls missed or unanswered.  (Max 270 seconds total)



US Trail Championships - Further Information.


No, Trail-O is not a sissy form of foot orienteering. Yes, it was originally developed for physically handicapped people who couldn't go into the woods to do foot-O. But now many foot orienteers enjoy it as a supplemental form of orienteering that demands good skills of map reading, interpretation and analysis.


You get a regular orienteering map, with red circles marking control locations.  You set out along a trail toward the location. Soon you see off to the side, in the vicinity of the circled location, not just one but a cluster of flags!! What? Yes, these extra flags are decoys. Only one (or maybe none) of the flags is in the center of the circle described by the control description. Which one, if any? 


Maybe it is the second one to the left. You find along side of the trail a post with a sign "1". This is the viewing station (decision point) for control 1. Its function is only to allowing everyone to be on the same page in naming the controls, left to right, "A", "B", "C", "D", and "E". Often there are less than five flags, but they are always labeled left to right, A, B, C etc.  Note that the control description will have in column 2, instead of a control code, an indication of the number of control flags present, e.g. "A-E" meaning five flags, "A-D" for four flags, "A" for one flag, etc.


Study the map and the terrain. You can walk back and forth along the trail for better views of the flags and terrain. Just stay on the trail. When you have decided your answer, shortly beyond the viewing station you will find a pole with a paper punch. Use it to mark your card with your answer. Punch on the line for control 1, one of the boxes labeled A, B, C, D, E, or Z. Remember that Z = "none of the above" is also a possible answer! Now proceed on the trail toward control 2.


Remember you have a time limit (120 minutes) to complete the course. You can divide your time up as you like among the controls. You have an average of about 7+ minutes per control, including time walking (or running) between them.




You are confined to trails, in this case the dirt jeep roads on the map. Do not wander off of the these roads, even one or two feet, for enhanced views of the controls. That is considered cheating! Remember, this is trail-O. Going off-trail is foot-O. 


In some cases the sides of the roads are not well-defined, and there are lots of extra unmapped tracks in the terrain made (illegally) by cars and ATVs. These are off-limits for the trail-O. In some cases there will be surveyor tape marking the sides of the trails. Just stay on the main tread of the roads, thank you.


There is one exception at control 2 where the viewing station is a few feet off the jeep road. You are allowed to go into the terrain as far as the viewing station post. The extent is marked with surveyor tape.


In addition there are several sections of jeep road that you are not allowed to go on. They are marked on the map with short red lines across the road, and with surveyor tape in the terrain. Do not cross any surveyor tape to continue on any of these roads.


IOF Rule 21.12  "The control card must, as far as possible, be kept concealed during the competition so that competitors cannot see each other's answers."


A word about the TERRAIN.


There are lots of rocks, boulders, boulder clusters, bare rock, rocky knolls, rocky hills, rocky ground, and rock faces in the terrain. Did I mention rock? Jumbles of rock. Remember you are in Colorado - home of the mighty Rocky Mountains. So have some sympathy for the poor mappers (original map by Mikell Platt at 1:15000), and use your skills of map reading and interpretation for how he used the various rock symbols for mapping the terrain.


This Page Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 18:18