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Keith Chann
11-19-2013, 10:14 AM
Rain is now in the forecast for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Walnut! We went from 1997 to 2009 without using a rain course and now it might be 4 years in a row!!

How much do you prepare your team for running the rain course vs the hill course?

How much will this change who qualifies? Some teams are just better on the flat fast course and some are better on the strength based course with hills.

Get out fast and hang on or start conservatively to save it for the hills?!

Two totally different otions that will decide CIF championships and state meet berths!
Perhaps each year we should have a random draw at the meet to see what course we run. This would really challenge coaches to prepare for any possibility! Interesting!

JStepp
11-19-2013, 10:25 AM
If we're gonna have a track meet at the end of XC season, we might as well stick them on the track and have them run 11.8 laps instead of the rain course.

George Ramos
11-19-2013, 10:50 AM
If we're gonna have a track meet at the end of XC season, we might as well stick them on the track and have them run 11.8 laps instead of the rain course.

I wouldn't call the rain course "flat," but I get your point.

yesstiles
11-19-2013, 11:27 AM
There's no rain forecast for Friday or Saturday in Walnut.

Rich Gonzalez
11-19-2013, 11:30 AM
"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

ClemDog
11-19-2013, 11:38 AM
I am no fan of the rain course at Mt. Sac. In fact, I find it insulting. This is Cross Country, not the USATF road racing championships. Sos what if the Valley Loop is muddy and the downhill of Reservoir turns into a slip & slide, that's what makes this sport great. If the peeps at Mt. Sac or CIF don't want to accept the "liability" to have kids run in the mud, I volunteer to design a hybrid course that uses some hills, some road, and is actually fun to run and watch.

Doug Soles
11-19-2013, 11:48 AM
I am no fan of the rain course at Mt. Sac. In fact, I find it insulting. This is Cross Country, not the USATF road racing championships. Sos what if the Valley Loop is muddy and the downhill of Reservoir turns into a slip & slide, that's what makes this sport great. If the peeps at Mt. Sac or CIF don't want to accept the "liability" to have kids run in the mud, I volunteer to design a hybrid course that uses some hills, some road, and is actually fun to run and watch.

I was skeptical about whether or not we needed to use the rain course last year as well, and would have preferred the Mt. SAC regular course. Then I watched this video from the LA City Section from the same day last year and realized it might be better to play it safe. A safe race is better than a mud pit anyday...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_plAx5D61eY

Doug

phildampier
11-19-2013, 12:25 PM
Isn't that why the wear spikes in other states?

I was skeptical about whether or not we needed to use the rain course last year as well, and would have preferred the Mt. SAC regular course. Then I watched this video from the LA City Section from the same day last year and realized it might be better to play it safe. A safe race is better than a mud pit anyday...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_plAx5D61eY

Doug

RichEde
11-19-2013, 01:23 PM
It's NOT going to rain Saturday. It's NOT, it's NOT, it's NOT.

Rex Hall
11-19-2013, 01:29 PM
Even though we're Dolphins and like water, I hate the rain course!!!!!!! Anybody ever try and run on a horse race track in the mud and snow??? Slow, but fun!!!!

Torres BHDP
11-19-2013, 01:32 PM
Regardless whether it's going to rain Saturday (I'm hoping not, weather services are giving contradictory info as of today), I think that the question of the rain course being a fair assessment of the abilities of our teams is a very important issue. It surely isn't a cross country course by any stretch of the imagination.

I'm with Jay and Liam in thinking that the rain course does not test what we've trained all season/year for. I also don't think that (hypothetically) losing to another team by one point (which happens so often in our sport) after one or more runners slides/falls trying to climb a muddy hill is a fair assessment either. I throw in my vote for some sort of hybrid course.

This is most definitely a question that needs more discussion. Maybe after a couple of years on another course we will have a better idea of the changes that can be/need to be made.

Joe Wiley
11-19-2013, 04:47 PM
Going a bit against the grain here...

It doesn't make much of a difference, especially for the boys, whether the regular course is run in mostly dry conditions or the rain course is run if it's wet. Fitness prevails and the top teams will advance either way. I'll concede that the teams on the bubble fighting for the last 1 or 2 qualifying spots could potentially change depending on the course, but that's racing.

The girls are affected a bit more than the boys at this level of development so if a team has truly geared training for the steep up and downhills of Mt SAC that's a bummer to be presented with the rain course.

Watch the video that Doug linked earlier in this thread and it's pretty clear why you don't race the regular course in sloppy conditions; it's no longer about fitness, the hills are just too steep to be run when slick/muddy.

Yes, XC is fun with mud and all that, but it's difficult to wear the proper spikes if part of the course is paved and part of it isn't.

Ultimately, I think it's our job as coaches to prepare our kids to race the other kids no matter what the course is.

CalCoast
11-19-2013, 08:53 PM
Going a bit against the grain here...

It doesn't make much of a difference, especially for the boys, whether the regular course is run in mostly dry conditions or the rain course is run if it's wet. Fitness prevails and the top teams will advance either way. I'll concede that the teams on the bubble fighting for the last 1 or 2 qualifying spots could potentially change depending on the course, but that's racing.

The girls are affected a bit more than the boys at this level of development so if a team has truly geared training for the steep up and downhills of Mt SAC that's a bummer to be presented with the rain course.

Watch the video that Doug linked earlier in this thread and it's pretty clear why you don't race the regular course in sloppy conditions; it's no longer about fitness, the hills are just too steep to be run when slick/muddy.

Yes, XC is fun with mud and all that, but it's difficult to wear the proper spikes if part of the course is paved and part of it isn't.

Ultimately, I think it's our job as coaches to prepare our kids to race the other kids no matter what the course is.



Bravo...Could not have said it better.

ClemDog
11-20-2013, 11:10 AM
Doug's video is a good example of a poor decision by a meet manager. However, it in no way remotely represents the conditions at Mt. Sac in the rain. In order for you to have a muddy slope, there has to be enough soft dirt present or some source of loosely packed dirt that would slide onto the course. The hard-packed running paths on the hills and the cow-trampled surrounding hill sides + trees and vegetation help the trails hold up in the rain. Every year we have used the rain course, I have voiced opposition. Each time, I have been told that the mud in the Gauntlet and Valley Loop was the deciding factor. No mention of safety concerns on the hills.
Common sense and self preservation will slow the kids a little on the downhills, however, I don't see it as unsafe.
I would gladly design a hybrid course. It would take a day or two, but it is not exactly rocket science.

yesstiles
11-20-2013, 01:34 PM
IIRC, last year the conditions on the weekend of CIF Finals were very similar to the weekend of Footlocker at Mt. Sac, yet the rain course was not utilized at Footlocker and everything was just fine.

Hal Harkness
11-20-2013, 06:14 PM
ClemDog doesn't know what he's talking about with soft dirt or loosely packed dirt the only reason one would slip when the surface is wet. Let's see, this is my 21st year at managing at Mt. Sac and probably 20 years prior to that on the management team for the City Prelims and Finals at Pierce College. Both courses are run on clay and are totally similar in what happens when the surface becomes saturated and will not longer absorb any more liquid. The Valley Loop is the lesser of all the evils as it fills with runoff and just becomes slippery. The hills, both up and down are the real safety points. The total lose of traction causes runners to lose balance/control and bad things begin to happen. There is also the problem of clay sticking to shoes like super glue at some point.

The decision whether to use the rain course or not is very easy to make when you're not responsible for the well being of a lot of young people.

cush
11-20-2013, 07:54 PM
i'll have to go with grampa harkness here, even though i have no horses in the race this weekend. there were some athletes--not mine, mind you--during one of the rain course days the last couple of years who attempted to run up the switchbacks while warming down, and they literally could not make it up the hill. multiply that by 16 teams over 10 races, and it could definitely spell trouble.

i also ran the footlocker coaches/supporters race last year; while the raceday conditions were only drizzly/misty, the course had definitely suffered from the previous days' rains. no one got hurt that i know of, but it was a minefield of ruts and poor footing that made the downhills especially difficult to navigate.

so, the difficulty in preparing for this meet during drizzly conditions is being able to accurately predict during course setup that it would only be slightly misty and remain that way for several hours; however, if any period of even moderate rain occurs during the races, i believe it could absolutely be disastrous...

Remylive
11-20-2013, 08:45 PM
Could we at least make the damn rain course 3-miles or 5000 meters? Running a 2.91 mile rain course because the Mt. Sac course is 2.91 miles makes absolutely no sense.

yesstiles
11-20-2013, 10:35 PM
I remember they used to bring out sawdust or woodchips to temper the course after rains. And at footlocker they had those huge air blowers going. Nevertheless, all the weather models show 0% chance of rain Saturday, with the big rain day being Thursday. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Hal Harkness
11-21-2013, 06:53 AM
The rain course distance is not mirrored to the regular course, it's that distance because that's how Mt. Sac designed it and when we all found out it was too long after the first running, the only way to shorten it was to reduce the turn around loop in the soccer parking lot and because of the concrete barriers there is only one place to move the turn around.

Footlocker is a Mt. Sac event as well as the Invitational in October. They have whatever personnel and financial resources they wish to expend on the course in weather prep, we don't. That simple.

Remylive
11-21-2013, 08:16 AM
The rain course distance is not mirrored to the regular course, it's that distance because that's how Mt. Sac designed it and when we all found out it was too long after the first running, the only way to shorten it was to reduce the turn around loop in the soccer parking lot and because of the concrete barriers there is only one place to move the turn around.

Footlocker is a Mt. Sac event as well as the Invitational in October. They have whatever personnel and financial resources they wish to expend on the course in weather prep, we don't. That simple.
Hal,

Respectfully I must disagree.

Totally understand the logistical challenges. But I believe they are overstated. The vast majority of high school coaches set-up cross-country courses every year that are 3.0 miles with far less resources and manpower available than at Mt. Sac during the CIF Championships.

I do not buy into this is the only way to set-up the course excuse. One could simply go around the soccer parking lot the first time the long way (used in 2010), then go around the soccer parking lot the shorter way the 2nd time (the one used the last two years). That's just one simple example of how to make a change to make the rain course 3.0-3.1 miles.

Is there a need for change now? Absolutely. This is no different than when the course was 3.2 miles and there was a need and cry to shorten it to 3.0-3.1 miles. Now that the course is short, there is a similar need and desire to make the course 3.0-3.1.

Logistically it is the same set-up for 2.91 as it was for 3.2. So why are we running 2.91?

I understand you are not in charge of the setting up of the rain course. But how can you argue that 2.91 is more appropriate than 3.2? Wouldn't it be better to mirror the distance that is run at the state meet? Or the traditional distance of 3.0 miles if a simple moving of cones could remedy the situation?

Hal Harkness
11-21-2013, 08:39 AM
Doug Todd sent an email to Rainer Wulf in the SS Office this morning (Thursday) indicating they received "quite a bit" of rain during the night and the course was in poor condition. Any further rain today will only make matters worse.
.

Doug Soles
11-21-2013, 08:53 AM
Doug Todd sent an email to Rainer Wulf in the SS Office this morning (Thursday) indicating they received "quite a bit" of rain during the night and the course was in poor condition. Any further rain today will only make matters worse.
.

Sounds like we all need to plan for the rain course on Saturday, even if it isn't raining that day based on course conditions from previous rain...

I second Rene's thoughts on creating a 3.0 mile course so we can use the times for records in our record books (believe it or not that is very important to coaches, athletes, parents, etc.). I even volunteer Cush to run it a few times to make sure it is accurate. ;)

Doug

RichEde
11-21-2013, 09:16 AM
Remy,

In concept, I like your idea. It is a bit more complicated than moving some cones 20 times. Even with cones and course monitors, we had a significant number of runners make somewhat arbitrary turns in the soccer parking lot, so we found that actually flagging the turn-around was pretty much necessary and those flags would have to be moved during each race. It can be done and if we can get sufficient manpower, we'll look into it. We MAY be at the mercy of Mt. SAC's use of one arm of the parking lot.

Craig Dunn
11-21-2013, 09:28 AM
Doug Todd sent an email to Rainer Wulf in the SS Office this morning (Thursday) indicating they received "quite a bit" of rain during the night and the course was in poor condition. Any further rain today will only make matters worse.
.

Is there a chance that there might be a definite decision made be late Friday afternoon? If so, can it be posted here?



Thanks,


Craig

RichEde
11-21-2013, 09:32 AM
I will be out on the course Friday afternoon to take a look at conditions. If we can make a definite decision at that time, I'll post here.

Keith Chann
11-21-2013, 09:41 AM
So Tuesday I was sitting in front of my computer and pining for the days when coaches would actually come on this board and have discussions. It was Tuesday before CIF-SS Finals and no mention of prelims and/or Finals anywhere. I then tried to figure out what might cause a reaction strong enough to actually get some life in this message board and BINGO "rain course" seemed to be a good topic.

Success (and fruition)

RichEde
11-21-2013, 09:46 AM
So Tuesday I was sitting in front of my computer and pining for the days when coaches would actually come on this board and have discussions. It was Tuesday before CIF-SS Finals and no mention of prelims and/or Finals anywhere. I then tried to figure out what might cause a reaction strong enough to actually get some life in this message board and BINGO "rain course" seemed to be a good topic.

Success (and fruition)

So you're the one that jinxed the weather?

yesstiles
11-21-2013, 10:45 AM
Yes, please make the course 3.0 miles. I hate short or long courses.

Hopefully 36 hrs though between rain and race will be enough time for the course to be usable.

Coach Razor
11-21-2013, 10:54 AM
44

If it comes to it & we need to go rain course:
Would it be possible to flag both turns & just swing a rope across the shorter turnaround that first time thru, then swing it to block the longer turn around second time through? Might be easier than trying to move the flags each race. Just my 2cents to help with ways to get a 3mi course... Seems like lotta folks would like that, including myself ;)

Sorry for the crude drawing... Did it on an ipad app real quick. Red lines = flags, yellow line = rope.

ClemDog
11-21-2013, 11:29 AM
ClemDog doesn't know what he's talking about with soft dirt or loosely packed dirt the only reason one would slip when the surface is wet. Let's see, this is my 21st year at managing at Mt. Sac and probably 20 years prior to that on the management team for the City Prelims and Finals at Pierce College. Both courses are run on clay and are totally similar in what happens when the surface becomes saturated and will not longer absorb any more liquid. The Valley Loop is the lesser of all the evils as it fills with runoff and just becomes slippery. The hills, both up and down are the real safety points. The total lose of traction causes runners to lose balance/control and bad things begin to happen. There is also the problem of clay sticking to shoes like super glue at some point.

The decision whether to use the rain course or not is very easy to make when you're not responsible for the well being of a lot of young people.
Hal, that was a little harsh. I wouldn't say that I don't know what I am talking about. As an avid/experienced trail racer (I will show you "dangerous" trails if you like), competitive runner with over 20 years of xc racing experience, oh, and an AP Environmental Science Teacher, I think I am qualified to make and support my previous statements. But, I am going to let the insult go.




For future consideration, I propose: 2x Valley Loop + Switchbacks + Poop Out, turn right at the 2-mile, go back up Switchbacks or do the Valley Loop again, then head to the finish. Finish on the track if you need to make up distance. That sounds fun and safe. If poop out is too slippery with clay, then loop out on the parking lot and then into the stadium. There are a few options if we get creative.




For future, future consideration, Great Park? Allow spikes and use a better course with no concrete. There has to be one out there somewhere.




In the end, I coach my athletes to run their best regardless of the course, so bring on whatever. I hope that we run the regular course, but if we don't I hope the rain course will be 3.0 or 3.1. That is what we train for.




Liam Clemons
Director of Cross Country
Trabuco Hills High School
*Runner Up - Big Baz Winter Trail Series 2013

Matt Rainwater
11-21-2013, 12:06 PM
“Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?”
― Frank Herbert, Heretics of Dune

losaltosxc
11-21-2013, 12:26 PM
Here is my concern.....we are less than 48 hours from our CIF championship race and want to alter a course that has been used in the past. I'm not sure of any other sport that would do this at the last minute. The course is what it is this year; either regular or rain course. Do we not have a committee that oversees southern section cross country that can come together and vote on this or have an open meeting for coaches to voice opinions. It seems crazy that we would add an extra turn here or there and change it without proper notification or within a proper time period well in advance of the biggest race leading up to our state finals
I am not fond of the rain course at all or it's distance but should keep it this year as is until we as coaches ratify a new course or venue.

xcbreak
11-21-2013, 01:16 PM
Here is my concern.....we are less than 48 hours from our CIF championship race and want to alter a course that has been used in the past. I'm not sure of any other sport that would do this at the last minute. The course is what it is this year; either regular or rain course. Do we not have a committee that oversees southern section cross country that can come together and vote on this or have an open meeting for coaches to voice opinions. It seems crazy that we would add an extra turn here or there and change it without proper notification or within a proper time period well in advance of the biggest race leading up to our state finals
I am not fond of the rain course at all or it's distance but should keep it this year as is until we as coaches ratify a new course or venue.

I have to agree, I believe we should stick with what we have for now. If this was such a big deal it should have been addressed after the first year of the 2.91 course not 48 hours before we race.

Remylive
11-21-2013, 04:08 PM
Here is my concern.....we are less than 48 hours from our CIF championship race and want to alter a course that has been used in the past. I'm not sure of any other sport that would do this at the last minute. The course is what it is this year; either regular or rain course. Do we not have a committee that oversees southern section cross country that can come together and vote on this or have an open meeting for coaches to voice opinions. It seems crazy that we would add an extra turn here or there and change it without proper notification or within a proper time period well in advance of the biggest race leading up to our state finals
I am not fond of the rain course at all or it's distance but should keep it this year as is until we as coaches ratify a new course or venue.
In the past there have been times when we as coaches have not known what the rain course would be until we actually got to the meet the day of.

Not the best thing for a championship race. But not unprecedented.

Remylive
11-21-2013, 04:30 PM
I have to agree, I believe we should stick with what we have for now. If this was such a big deal it should have been addressed after the first year of the 2.91 course not 48 hours before we race.
This isn't the first time this has tried to be addressed. Unfortunately, then like now, concerns fell on deaf ears. My personally feeling is that most coaches prefer to run a short course rather than a long course. I'd prefer to run 3.0-3.1.

cush
11-21-2013, 07:07 PM
i understand course consistency for record purposes, but for any other reason? it's cross country--who cares if it's 2.9 or 3.2? do the math to approximate pace to 3 miles. there's nothing magical about 3 miles, and i can't imagine everyone would overhaul their training schedules if EVERY hs x-c course were reduced to 2.91, or extended to 3.2. in my humble opinion, simplicity in course management/monitoring (and i do remember complaints about athletes cutting the turn early in 2010) trumps adhering to an exact distance...

regarding clemdog's course suggestions: it was in 2010 when it was raining pretty steadily during cif final races when some athletes from an unnamed team attempted the switchbacks (rumor has it the mt sac gods cursed them to not advance to state again). they seriously could not get to the top. last year, i suspect it would not have been as difficult since it did not rain as hard, but that seems impossible to predict, especially when you're setting up the course, and a further impossibility to change midway through the meet.

you want my suggestion: 12 laps around the track, except for saugus--they'll do 12 and a half laps as per their coach's request (and they'll still kick most everyone's butts). one caveat: lapped runners are dq'd, which means only about two or three girls in the d2 race may qualify for state...

Sstoz Tes
11-21-2013, 09:17 PM
Per Rule 1715 in the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (Incorporated) Constitution: By-Laws and Rulings (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/varsitytimesinsider/files/bluebook.pdf) document, reference is made to a maximum distance rule, apparently adopted 2001-03-22 by the Southern Section Council. According to the ol' CIFSS(I)C:B-LaR, the maximum distance in all "non-league, league and invitational cross country competition" is 5 000m. Though it seems unnecessary given the above reference to a maximum distance, the rule goes on to state that courses <5km can be "adopted by a league or by mutual agreement by schools for non-league competition," which I guess opens the window to the M't S.A.C. course (4 680m, though it used to be 4 750m; but that's a whole different forum discussion). No minimum distance is listed.

From a vague recollection of an old DyeStatCal forum discussion way-back when (I think in 2010; it was during the bad ol' ESPN daze, which, despite efforts to preserve it, seems to've been reduced to oblivion), I believe there was a mini-tempest when it became known that the rain course was going to be 150m over the 5km maximum. I think the course was quickly reshuffled and hacked and sliced so that it came out to </=5km.

Selbyphotography
11-22-2013, 06:52 AM
2010 rain course

http://www.selbyphotography.com/Sports/Cross-Country-2010/CIF-SS-cross-country-finals/14738912_fLWTs8#!i=1098310281&k=x7tR4DP

Hal Harkness
11-22-2013, 07:03 AM
The original rain course was shortened because no one knew exactly long it was before we used it. The Advisory Committee requested it be shortened after numerous comments from coaches indicated that distance was too long.

That is the process for making changes/adjustments in policies and procedures.

Rich Gonzalez
11-22-2013, 09:19 AM
The latest, as of 10 a.m. Friday:

Apparently Doug Todd sent an email this morning informing that the current condition of the course might actually make it runnable on Saturday if it does not take on more water.

A few people plan to be at Mt. SAC early this afternoon for administrative detail regarding the facility. At that time, the condition of the course also will be reviewed. I will drop by Mt. SAC to visit the course as well.

Here's the snag: The current weather forecast calls for two hours of "few showers" between now and the end of the meet tomorrow. But that two-hour window is from 4 to 6 p.m. this evening, AFTER the review of the course.

My best suggestion: Plan for the rain course to be used tomorrow, since the forecast might be correct or there might be even more rainfall than forecast. If there is no rainfall from now to until tomorrow and if Coach Todd's recent assessment is accurate, then one would think that any decision being made before early tomorrow morning would be a premature one.

Still, as coaches you need to prepare your kids for the high probability that rain comes, the course goes bad, and the rain course will need to be used.

Rich

XCPCC
11-22-2013, 09:37 AM
Thanks, Rich, for the update!!!

Doug Soles
11-22-2013, 09:55 AM
Thanks Rich! Maybe someone can bring some sawdust for the bad parts and have it ready to run! :)

Doug

ClemDog
11-22-2013, 10:18 AM
Thanks for the update. I think if the soil has not reached its saturation point yet, it would have to rain fairly hard for it to get there in a two hour window. The flip side is that once it does become saturated, you are looking at 12-24 hours for it to dry out again. Could go either way.
I think most of the rain is in my backyard so far... Taking one for the team ;)

Ivory Tower
11-22-2013, 10:21 AM
Just a suggestion but, how about using Quick-Dry on any bad parts. They use this stuff on baseball fields. Works like a charm.

RichEde
11-22-2013, 02:56 PM
As of 3:30 when I left Mt. SAC the regular course is runnable. If it does not receive significant rain tonight we will run the regular course. We'll make a final determination at 5:30 in the morning if necessary. Keep good thoughts, it's sprinkling lightly in the area.

Coach Razor
11-23-2013, 05:31 AM
Update!?

Rich Gonzalez
11-23-2013, 05:44 AM
As we tweeted 45 minutes ago..... the REGULAR course is being used! NO RAIN COURSE! :)