Saturday, February 11, 2017

Training for MOGA 2017

I registered to compete at MOGA again this year. After last years smashing success, I feel like there is some pressure to perform well again this year. MOGA 2017 is in Manhattan Kansas, about a 10 hour drive away. It's actually the furthest west that a MOGA event has ever been. I think if it had been further east I wouldn't even have considered going. I'll be teaming up with Lostsole, Sequioa and Kimpossible again and we'll be attempting to defend our title. So better get training....

Just outside of Santa Fe is a nice geoart series in the shape of a geo-circle that seemed like it would be a perfect training run. The art consists of 25 caches spread out over about 6 miles of hiking/running. The terrain is hilly, juniper scrub and without many trails to utilize. Trying to find all these caches in the 2.5 hours given for a MOGA competition event would be my challenge.

I began my run at 7:25 am on a warm winters day. My first decision was to decide how to run the route. A classic traveling salesman problem. But no fancy algorithms for me. Just gut intuition. The distance between each cache was usually .12 miles, which was just enough for me to get winded. The geocaches themselves were all bison tubes in trees, mostly junipers. These are not always easy to find and I spent as much time stopped at geocaches, searching, than I did running. The experience reminded me a lot of MOGA 2016 actually. Each cache on this geo-art is labeled Geo-#. The order of my finds was 20-21-22-23-24-25-9-10-6-5-1-2-11-12-13-14-15-8-7-16-17-18-19-3-4. It ended up taking me 2 hours and 22 minutes. On two of the caches I spent too long searching for the cache though. #17 I spent about 14 minutes searching for and finally found it. if this had been a MOGA competition I would have probably skipped it so that I would have more time to find other punches. And #4 I flat out didn't find. I initially spent 5 minutes searching before skipping it and going on to Geo 3. Then on my way back to my starting point I stopped and spent another 19 minutes searching. Those little bisons can be super elusive!

All in all it was a good training run for MOGA though. I'll have to find another art to train like this again. One major difference though is that I expect the terrain in Kansas not to allow straight line connections between points. The juniper scrub out here is relatively open and without much real bushwhacking. Kansas will eb adifferent story and I will have to plan my routes to follow existing trails more... probably. That's what I did for MOGA 2016 in Ohio at least.