Interviews with the course-setters and the main cartographers

Tomáš Zakouřil (TZ) - semi-final course-setter

Vašek Zakouřil (VZ) - final course-setter

Petr Uher (PU) - main cartographer

With its many deep valleys, the area known as Kost is most certainly ideal terrain for a Long Distance race - but sandstone rocks add a lot of detail, so in recent years it has been usually used just for shorter distances. So what can the competitors expect?

VZ - It is right that with the exception of Euromeeting 2010, there has been no true Long there in the last 17 years (note – the last one was moreover one of the 1995 Czech Cup competitions, where forking in an individual race was used in the Czech Republic for the first time, and VZ was the course setter too). And it is also correct that both the northern and southern parts of this forest were in the past quite frequently used separately for Middle, but the terrain as a whole is actually really splendid for Long. And that’s the reason why we decided to introduce the terrain in a completely different way to that in which people have experienced it before: with 1:15,000 scale (only Masters will use 1:10,000), with a much higher level of generalisation than is usual in this kind of sand-stone terrain, and with routes which have not been in use for a long time. Using Kost in such a way makes me really happy, and we all – course-setters, mapmakers and organisers – agreed on such a plan.

What does this plan mean for the mapmakers in particular?

PU - We have mapped and drawn „Kost 2012“ (using OCAD10) together with Miroslav Horáček (1.7 km²) and Josef Borůvka (5.4 km²). My portion accounted for 4.0 km². In recent years, the entire area was published at 1:10,000 scale, and the northern part in 1:7,500 too. Now, the terrain has been re-worked to 1:15,000 scale and over the majority of the area, the positioning has been made more accurate through the use of a digital relief model (DMR4G, and partly using the more accurate DMR5G). Laser odometers were used for distance measuring. Use of the digital relief model has resulted in objects or groups of objects being moved by up to 20 m. In this way the former map has been made more accurate, updated and generalised so that it would comply with ISOM rules, and with all the objects more visible and better spaced out. For this purpose, general rules for the mapmakers were defined, for example: stones under 1.8 m height are not mapped (in complex stony areas under 2.5 m), and narrow passages between rocks are not mapped. Masters will run with a map in 1:10,000 scale, which will be the same and just 1.5 times enlarged.


Yes, but this is actually not anything non-standard. After all, 1:15,000 scale and ISOM rules shall be used for maps for Long, and primarily route choices shall decide rather than the last metres before a control.

VZ – That’s for sure, but how many Long races in rocky terrain have you actually experienced in recent years? Influenced by Sprints in rocky areas, events in such terrain tend to use maps with bigger scales. Each and every small stone or rock is put on the map, and this also results in distances between controls being still shorter and shorter. With a little bit of hyperbole, one rarely finds a route across four ridges, with a range of route choices available, and instead there is usually a control on each of those ridges, and finding the control is the main issue. And if a Long as it should really be is organised here, then it is using a map which for sure doesn’t meet the ISOM requirements.


With higher generalisation of the map, hasn’t the course-setting been more difficult than usual here? I mean in choosing control sites on features which in the race can be clearly defined, so that the competition will be truly objective?

TZ – Of course it has been necessary to take this into account in the course- setting and it is not possible to put the controls literally anywhere, but we knew this from the beginning. Moreover, the really precise processing of the relief has made our work much easier. Briefly said, you don't need to place the control on a small rock in the middle of three others, which all would be in the circle, if you can place it in a similar spot related to, say, an exactly located and defined foot of a rocky ridge, which both on the map and in the terrain is absolutely unambiguous.


Now an issue that is a little bit different – there will be TV coverage from the competition; did it influence course setting and was it necessary to think about the needs of TV at the stage of thinking out the concept of the routes and the placing of controls?

VZ – Most certainly it was! Because of the needs for stretches covered by TV, respecting the maximum possible distances from transmission trucks and the need for pre-warnings, both elite courses are completely different from what we would have planned if the TV wouldn't be there. But as we knew it from the beginning, we took it in account when we created the concept of routes. Luckily, the northern part of the area gives enough space to tackle this. Radek Novotný, a skilled o-runner who is involved in co-operation with the TV team, contributed to the work on both elite courses, so the result is absolutely the best that could be achieved from the map and terrain under the given circumstances.


Will there be any notable difference between the qualification and final events (apart from the fact that the final is longer), in the sense of technical or physical difficulty?

TZ – In terms of the general concept and the approach to course setting, there is no difference between the courses on the two days. The area for the semi-final is less compact, so the first day will be a little bit more about strength and less about mapping technicality than the final. But we also wanted to let the competitors get an idea of the terrain for the final, to let them know what they can expect the day after.


What are your messages to the competitors?

TZ – There are some really steep slopes, so it is necessary to count the contours well. On the other hand, it is not necessary to be too defensive – a competitor who is strong enough can get advantage from straighter route choices involving more climbing

PU – Competitors need to be aware of the fact that the map is generalised more than usual and therefore doesn't show every stone or little rock.

VZ – It will be important to forget the usual outlook, where we are used to having all stones and rocks on the map, and just consider them as a natural part of the terrain - which anyway will require 100% concentration!