"Malignity therefore may dart her shafts, but no earthly
power can deprive me of the consolation of knowing that I have not … been
guilty of willful error, however numerous they may have been from other
By cataloging our mistakes we hope to avoid duplicating them. We also hope that other event organizers
will learn from our errors and that participants will understand the kind of mistakes that happen
despite organizers' best efforts.
2010 Whistler (Western Canadian Champs & WRE)
- Used a wheel-barrow to transport equipment along mountain-bike trails to
the start/finish locations. Great idea! But we didn't have a spare tire or a
pump, so when we got a flat tire we were stuck!
- The toilet delivery was made to the wrong location, so no biffies at the
advertised spot. Somebody did eventually find them, to the relief of many!
2009 Ski Orienteering (Canmore Nordic Center)
Not an official Barebones event, but the mistakes were so awful it was almost
- There were four different model event courses with various length &
difficulty. AZ put these all in a pile and gave them to the start chief with
no explanation. The start chief thought all maps were the same and gave out
all the beginner maps to the elite skiers - who were astonished at how
boring the courses were. The error was not discovered until the 8-year-olds
started off on their 8km courses ;-)
- The batteries have somehow run out on the two most critical of our new
SI units - the Start & Finish. So we were not able to give times in the
model event as we didn't realize this problem until the first finishers
started arriving to a silent SI unit.
- To fix the above problem we quickly programmed to spare units as Start &
Finish controls. But the time on all the other units had been set *before*
daylight savings took effect, and the time on the new start/finish were
*after* daylight savings took effect. We had to manually adjust the start
and finish times for all competitors. The lesson that we are slowly learning
is to set the SI Time Master control before every event, and then use it to
set the time on all SI units (or simply set the time on every SI unit using
the computer before every major event).
2008 Rocky Mountain YMCA (Canmore)
- We received a brand new shipment of SI units immediately before the race
- all programmed to a European time zone. In his excitement AZ inadvertently
programmed *only* 90% of the other, older SI units to the same European time zone. Almost
all of the splits don't work. Richard spends hours painstakingly adjusting
every punch time so that almost everyone's splits times are correct in the
- Again the relay was a problem: the format is perhaps too complex and
requires too much explanation and causes too much confusion; another route
choice was hidden by poor map layout; and we still don't have the relay
software working. Look for a simpler format next year!
- Everyone knows that all text on a map must be oriented to North (ie: to
the top of the page). But we forgot that when we did our
fancy map layouts
that had the map name written up the side of the maps - and this caused some
problems for competitors when they had folded their maps so that now east
looked like north. We had been very proud of our fancy layouts, but now
we're a bit horrified that we overlooked that basic rule. We won't do the sideways writing again.
2007 Rocky Mountain YMCA (Canmore)
- Removed all course 1 & 2 controls after kids
were done but forgetting that some of them were still used on courses 4 & 5.
- Control 118 in the wrong spot by 30m in the Barrier Lake event. Better vetting was planned, but illness and other issues
forced us to use a weaker plan.
- Finish of the chase at Canmore Nordic centre
crossed a busy bike / roller-ski track. Riskier than we'd like - but high
visibility for the sport :-)
- Poor layout of relay maps hid one viable
route choice to the infamous "spur" control.
- No split times for the relay - we still haven't figured out how the relay timing software works.
- Still no reliable solution to the printer problems.
2006 Smoky Lake (National Team Selection races)
- Damn printers! Had endless
problems getting the maps printed due to poorly serviced printers and by
inconsistent colors on my Epson laser. Could have saved tons of time with a
reliable solution to the printing problem.
- Seriously over-estimated
speed of women's elite and so course winning times tended to be too long
- Sprint course was too long - need to keep winning times under 15 minutes.
2005 Red Deer (World Masters Champs pre-event)
- Pretty good event - not much went wrong
2004 Whitehorse (Canadian Champs pre-event)
- Laser jet fuser was not
properly calibrated, so ink rubbed off the maps a bit (which meant we had to
stay up late stuffing map bags when we wanted to be sleeping)
- One control circle could have been "broken" to better show the contour shape
- We should have had two punches at the last control (especially in the Chase and O Cross)
- Got the scale wrong on the Classic map (so courses were 50% longer than promised)
- Finish circle for the night event was in the wrong place because the
competitors parked their cars the the correct location before it had been
- Set a course that went dangerously close to seriously “under mapped” sections of
2002 Circle Square Ranch
- No times for the relay - we couldn't figure out the software (we had
to ask people what order they finished)
2001 Cranbrook, BC
- Didn't put a flag on the finish control until we noticed early finishers running
right past it.
- We claimed a 150m run to the finish but it was in fact closer to 1km
- We didn't have enough donuts for everyone at Control 6 on the Enduro
2000 Cypress Hills
First use of ePunching….
- Forgot to put flags on some stands
- Forgot to put controls on some stands
- Had the "download" station programmed as "clear" (and wiped out
three people's results before fixing it)
First Enduro event…
- some iffy control sites
- one indisputably wrongly-placed control
- pretty crap topo map
- Organizers got hypothermic in sudden thunderstorm
1999 Skookumchuk, BC
- We swapped the location of two controls.
- The banquet lady was a little grumpy.
1998 Circle Square Ranch
- We could have left the controls out until EVERYONE had finished (right Sheena?)
- We should have asked ALL the landowners for permission to use their land.
- Can’t remember that long ago
- Can’t remember that long ago