Setting a Course (chalk line?)

Cones and Placement

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Adam Trahan
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Post by Adam Trahan » Wed Sep 04, 2002 3:49 pm

Tight Slalom

I usually just march off about 6' with my "feet" and lay a cone down on a natural line in the road. When I am done, I will go back and adjust any offsets that I don't want.

My question is on getting even a better course set.

How do you set perfect TS courses or is it not done that way in comps?

I am thinking of using a "chalk line" and then marking 6' or what ever course I want to set. If I want offsets, I can use a 90 degree drafting angle and a ruler.

Do you guys circle the cone base with chalk to reference the gate position?

I am pretty sure my chalk course is a good way to do it, but I would like to hear what you guys do.

Thanks very much.

John Gilmour
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Post by John Gilmour » Wed Sep 04, 2002 5:22 pm

There are so many things to consider when setting a TS course. Everyone has their own particular style.

Things that define a Tight Slalom course IMHO are:

1. The gates dictate the line taken by the racer as opposed to GS where the line is up to the racer.

2. The more advanced the course becomes the more the racer must adjust the placement of the rest of his body to make the course

3. Some gates which are "straight" may have to be treated as offsets by the racers and some "Offsets" may have to be treated as straights to make the course.

4. Speed management is paramount in good technical fast TS.

---------------------------------------------
Beginner course.

Flat or slightly sloped hill. 30 cones spaced evenly about 6-9 feet (2-3 meters) apart.

Gradually tighten the distance between the cones. IMHO most TS distances don't get much tighter than 2 meters- 1.7 meters being the straight slalom distance. In the UK and Russia there are tighter distances run. Typically in US comps distances are no tighter than 6.5 feet center to center. 6 feet center to center would be considered very tight by USA standards. Narrower trucks will help when running distances closer than 6.5 feet.

After you can comfortably run 6.5 foot centers consider setting a few cones within the course about 1 foot wider apart with about 1 cone width of offset to effectively stagger the cones.

Try no more than 3-4 offsets on flatter surfaces at first or you will lose most of your speed. It helps to set a few offsets then a few straighter cones to regain ones speed. Or save the offsets for the parts of the hill where you need to manage your speed more.

At some point I'll post a huge treatise on courses and types of cone placement but learning simple offsets and gradually increasing the offset and spacing will help. Running irreguarly spaced cones offers more challenege as you must alter each arc for each turn. European Special slalom is this type of course and tends to be one of the more exciting courses to run.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: John Gilmour on 2002-09-04 11:24 ]</font>

Miko Biffle
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Post by Miko Biffle » Mon Oct 28, 2002 6:51 pm

I'm wondering if any of you have stealthy, yet permanent marking methods?

I've found spray paint to be a bit too visible, and have started using fabric 'paint' in small bottles (you find them in fabric shops). The best thing about them is that they have many colors to choose from so you can differentiate between the courses.

I've also used white and blue shoe polish in the bottles that have a sponge applicator.

Any other ideas?

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Post by Matthew Wilson » Mon Oct 28, 2002 9:06 pm

spray paint is a good idea if you use a color that somewhat resembles the coloration of the pavement. It is hardly visible to the average pedestrian, and is not an eyesore in any way. My only qualm is that it is difficult to see at night.

How permanent is the cloth paint?
slalom is good

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Post by John Gilmour » Mon Oct 28, 2002 10:14 pm

I use small paint pens. I make 5 dots like the number 5 on a pair of dice.

No one notices them unless you are looking for them.

Then if you decide to race the course you can circle them with chalk.

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Post by William Tway » Mon Oct 28, 2002 10:56 pm

I use my kids Crayolas. They work great and last a hell of a long time. They recently re-coated my practice spot and I was hating until I inspected the course and found that the new black-top didn't stick to the wax crayon and my course was still highly visible.

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Post by John Gilmour » Tue Oct 29, 2002 4:25 am

I used to use the wax marking sticks that contracters used. I later found that if you criddled a cone- your wheels would act like a printing press roller and print the wax all over the course- eventually making the course slippery. At Catalina the course got much more slippery as the day went on because the wax was going everywhere! Wax also is readily absorbed by teh polyurethane similar to waxing the polyethlene base of skis and snowboards (makes it really slippery).

So who was responsible for all the carnage at Catalina? Who was the F$%#@%* idiot that marked the courses with wax?

I was. I marked the courses that Jack set.

So we live and learn. I hope we learn. My apologies to Brian Parsons and anyone who lost traction that day- it was all we had to mark the course. Paint or chalk would have been much better...after all what do freeclimbers use to enhance their grip and reduce the effects of skin oils...chalk.

Miko Biffle
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Post by Miko Biffle » Wed Oct 30, 2002 6:53 am

matthew wilson wrote:How permanent is the cloth paint?
It hangs around pretty long, but does tend to fade. I'm going to look into those paint pens John mentioned. Where do you purchase them John?

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Post by Tom Freer » Wed Oct 30, 2002 6:53 am

I like Gilmours idea of the little dots like on a dice.
Ahhhh...Dice....hickory dickory dock, this......no that's not the Dice.
I've got this one parking lot totally spray painted with metalic blue paint. I went out one day with a huge ball of twine, a measuring stick and the spray paint, because that happened to be the only color I had. Put the end of the twine under the front wheel of my car pulled it down about a hundred feet or so, nice straight line, tied the other end to my G&S Peralta warp II, and marked off 6 feet spots about 3" in diameter. I thought it was great, until I finished for the day and man was it loud!
Cops came one day and I thought man I'm freakin finished here. No kidding man the cop says "are you leaving now?" I said "why, do I need to?" the cop says "well actually I wanted to watch, just don't tell anyone I didn't run you off." No joke! Now of course, he couldn't really see the paint because I had the cones up. Still no problems though. I think next time, I'll use John's idea.

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Post by Glenn S » Thu Oct 31, 2002 4:00 am

How about using a stencil template the size of a dime or less, and go with spray paint? It would be fast,look clean, and lessen your chance of overspray or mishap. Different colors for different courses. Preferably colors like silver, charcoal, gray to match pavement color and look discreet.

Or better yet a circle stencil that will be your chaulk outline around the cone and some kind of water color that is not permanent, and washes off with water, but is more durable than chaulk :smile:

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: glenn on 2002-11-06 23:13 ]</font>

Etienne de Bary
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Post by Etienne de Bary » Mon Dec 16, 2002 12:53 pm

once, i was working on the studio i live in, i dropped a huge can of paint on the sidewalk, it opened up : splash !
1 square meter of thick white lake on the ground, thick like that it would take like 24 hours to dry. i was shure i'd get a ticket, people would slip on and fall down into it... That was just down the house door (a 6 lofts building)... real panic !
i started cleaning like mad with gazoline (NEVER DO THAT: WORST POSSIBLE POLLUTION, kills your water resource, if you have paint or mineral spirit you don't need, put the can out open and let it dry before throwing).
Eventually a group of building workers passed by, they were very cool about it, gave me a hand. We found some sand and covered the paint with it, and placed a signal (i don't remember what, maybe they had cones actually !!!!!!!! :wink: i did only quad skate at the time)

After that, i watched the ground in the neighbourhoud, there's obvious signs of such accidents all around ! Nobody cares very much.

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Post by Etienne de Bary » Mon Dec 16, 2002 1:10 pm

stencil putting white waterbased building paint with a plain big round brush seems to make sense. The pattern a central point & two half circles around.

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Post by John Gilmour » Tue Dec 17, 2002 1:42 am

I use Paint pens from the local art shop- they have felt tips that can be "pumped". Same markers used for graffitti (sale of paint pens is Illegal in NYC). The tips wear out eventually so making the 5 dots was more of a "conserve the tip" move than anything else. But the fact that no one knows a course is there except you is great.

So you can come back months later and set up in seconds. IF you have a lot of people slaloming....you then circle 5 dots and people know where to put the cones back.

Use different color pens to mark different courses. Or even just make the center dot a different color or shape- hearts, diamonds, moons, green clovers, whatever.


Having a good premarked course makes riding sooo much quicker. Also you can compare times from week to week.

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Post by Mike Maysey » Fri Dec 20, 2002 8:14 pm

In my opinion, when you mark a course you're wasting valuable skating time. When I skate tight slalom or any slalom, but mostly tight, I almost always do it alone and never use anything to mark the course. I simply throw down some cones and if I hit any, I just reset them where ever looks right or makeable. By the end of the session, I always have a completely different course than I started with. I've also probably challenged myself way more than if I had been skating the same marked course for the entire session. This works great for me since I have a tendency to get bored with one course and always want to make it more difficult as I get warmed up.

Food for Thought

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Post by Andy Bittner » Fri Dec 20, 2002 8:41 pm

Hmmm... there's a lot of food for thought here. I probably sit somewhere in between Mike's position and John's position. I think marking a course with chalk for a practice session can be valuable if you are paying attention to time vs. technique or time vs. equipment choice or adjustment. If you're not using accurate timing as feedback on your practice, I'm right with Mike.

At the same time, I think permanently marking courses is just plain stupid. Man... how lazy do you have to be, to give up all course variety, and the challenge of constantly riding something different, just so you don't have to use your brain while you set up cones?!

It is just my singular opinion, but if you think chalk lines, framing squares and tape measures are the tools needed to set up a good slalom course, you have an extremely confined and limited opinion of what is possible in coursesetting.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Andy Bittner on 2002-12-20 14:42 ]</font>

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Post by Adam Trahan » Fri Dec 20, 2002 9:41 pm

Objection your honor!

:grin:

Andy,

I don't think it is stupid to permanantly mark a course if done responsibly. If the course is challenging and a lot of people like it, then marked it can be. I would think that it could be used as a positive training tool as in checking your progress or working on a certain technique that the permanantly marked course presented.

A baseline of sorts.

Of course there are exceptions, but your post sounds like a blanket statement in regards.

With all due respect.

Best Regards,

adam
On 2002-12-20 14:41, Andy Bittner wrote:
...snipped for brievity.

At the same time, I think permanently marking courses is just plain stupid. Man... how lazy do you have to be, to give up all course variety, and the challenge of constantly riding something different, just so you don't have to use your brain while you set up cones?!

It is just my singular opinion, but if you think chalk lines, framing squares and tape measures are the tools needed to set up a good slalom course, you have an extremely confined and limited opinion of what is possible in coursesetting.

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Post by Vlad Popov » Fri Dec 20, 2002 10:00 pm

It makes sense to mark straight line courses and challenging practice courses if they are a success. Great courses are hard to reproduce.
For example, Brian Parsons set a great fast course at P&R the night we got busted, and I don’t think I’m the only one who’d love to skate this course again. If the course was paint-marked, we could have had unofficial races and practice sessions on it later. It was that good. Mike Ohm set a great course at Walker a while ago, and I’m sure the sweet memories still live on. If only we could mark it then…It’d be also great to see how much we’ve improved with time on the same course.
We have two straight courses permanently marked at Walker lane. It takes 2 minutes to set them up. It took us about 2 hours to get 2 perfectly straight 50-or-so-cone 5.5 and 6 ft courses set the first time.
If a 100-cone course fits at G-Burg P&R, it will be marked tomorrow.

On the other hand, when practicing by myself I never mark courses. There is no need.
So, there are two approaches and both of them make sense.

Vlad.

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Post by John Gilmour » Fri Dec 20, 2002 10:24 pm

Running a marked course is a good way to check your progress IMHO because you can try different set up on the same set of difficult gates and find out what works best.

That way on race day- you can look at a course and have a better idea of what would work for that type of course.

Also if you set a great course and not all of your slalom brethren are there to try it...they can return later and run the same course.

When setting courses on hills with constant pitch it is easy to see how your speed gathers and disappears, but on a hill with various changes in it....ie curves, changes in pitch, pavement quality etc... In otherwords- most of the hills you have- it is harder to set a really exciting course that does not either have a section that is impossible to make at great speed...or is too slow and boring. So once you hit that magical combo it is nice to save it. If your slalom is seasonal..it is nice to return to a familiar course and compare your times months later.

Also if you practice with people that are far away- it is also nice to be able to run some of the courses they may have set. In most cases running a preset course is a timesaver in terms of set up.

I ussually drop a course.....but have someone else mark it right behind me.... in that way- it doesn't slow anybody down.

Mike's method is great for running a wide variety of courses in a short time period. It also help you adapt your technique and gear to a course quickly. If you can't be seen making even the smallest of pin point marks- it is your only choice. It is also a great method if you practice alone and that way not one complains that you made a course too hard- or too easy- or too fast, slow whatever. If you practice with people with a wide range of skill levels you'l quickly end up with a very strange course-depending on who resets the cones.

One thing that is really really cool about marked courses is this-

You could fly to the Trocadero across from The Eiffel Tower tomorrow. Look for the marks...drop down your "regulation sized cones" and Tway timing system on the existing marks. You then could get the times from Jani Soderhall and compare your times to the times of slalom racers from 1975 to present. That's history for you- you are doomed to repeat it, and it's fun.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: John Gilmour on 2002-12-20 16:28 ]</font>

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Post by Mike Maysey » Sat Dec 21, 2002 12:04 am

True, the method I mentioned only works if you skate alone and hit few cones. Permanently marking a course can be a good bench mark for gauging progress, if used with a timer. Those who know me well, know I don't like to get too caught up in course setting or technical stuff...I just drop cones and go. If and when I mark my own courses, I use Sidewalk Chalk. Goes down easy and comes off easy for quick changes and modifications.

Now let's skate.

Pat Chewning
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Post by Pat Chewning » Sat Dec 21, 2002 1:48 am

We skateboarder's have it so easy compared to setting a slalom course for skiing.

Consider:


Skiing: A slalom pole weighs about 2 lbs. You need 2 for each gate.
Skateboarding: A cone weighs about 4oz, 1ea per gate.

Skiing: Drill a hole in the snow, screw in the slalom gate.
Skateboarding: Place the cone on the ground.

Skiing: Mark the gates with liquid dye (about 2 gallons per course).
Skateboarding: Mark the cones with a circle of chalk (about 1/3 of a stick per course)

Skiing: Mark your course on a slippery slope, usually at 0600 in the morning, with the wind blowing, and either rain or snow falling -- before the lifts open.
Skateboarding: Mark your course on dry pavement about 1000 in the morning, with the sun out -- in your shorts.

Skiing: Takes about 6 people to carry the equipment and set up a course. Takes about an hour.
Skateboarding: One person, by himself can do it in 15 minutes.

Skiing: The course markings last about a day.
Skateboarding: The course markings can last several months.

In both cases, my experience has been only to mark the course when there is an official race. Never for practice sessions.


-- Pat

Andy Bittner
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Post by Andy Bittner » Sat Dec 21, 2002 7:30 am

Well, I've always heard it said that opinions are like ***holes, everybody's got one and there are probably plenty of people out there who think mine stinks. It is, however, mine, and I stand by it (or directly in front of it, as the case may be!). Like I said before, I believe marking a course is really only necessary or even valuable, when fairly accurate timing is available and being used. That'd be for a race or timed practice where the results from technique or equipment adjustments can be guaged against a clock. So, I guess there's something to be said for the value of permanently marking a course to time and guage skill advancement over a period of time. Particularly so, I guess, for novices whose skills are improving rapidly enough to be significantly noticed against a timer over a training period of weeks or months.

However, I think that the potential disservice to a novice slalomer, as a racer, almost outweighs the training feedback of being able to compare your times on the same course over an extended period of time. The disservice I believe riding the same course most of their training time might do to people new to the sport, is to unnecessarily narrow the breadth of their experience. That may seem like an odd worry, but I really believe one of the most important things someone wanting to race slalom skateboards can learn is to expect and be able to handle anything. I feel the way to teach that and build confidence there is to vary the courses, if not from run-to-run at least from session-to-session.

Vlad noted that it's hard to RE-produce great courses, and my automatic reaction is that this wouldn't be a concern to a person capable of producing great courses. Easy for me to say, huh? From a guy who's been told he produces great courses, my point is that EVERYONE can produce great courses. It ain't voodoo-witchdoctor-magic.

That people happen to enjoy my courses is mostly luck, I guess, but maybe there is something to the consistency with which they're good. That's the point I'm trying to make here. In this latest re-birth of slalom, I have witnessed the setting of good courses being almost mystified. There's nothing mysterious to it. The only reason I think I do well with such consistency is that I learned to set courses at the same time that I was learning how to ride slalom (urethane-era) skateboards. I learned what was possible for myself, my skateboard and in the courses that could be set, all at the same time. I believe that integrated learning has served me very well, as a slalom skater, a racer and particularly in setting courses. When people ask me to give them some formulized method by which they can set courses like mine they are quickly dissapointed, because it's nothing that I can quantify and nothing that I can teach. All I can do is to recommend that people not be narrow in their learning and not give away valuable learning experience to others who'll continue to let you believe that setting a good course is some kind of gift.

That's a whole lot of overtime thought over whether courses should be permanently marked or not, but as Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

In my opinion, when those with experience try to spare newcomers the benefit of experiencing those same experiences themselves, they weaken the next generation and the potential for the sport. Nowadays, it seems like everybody wants things to come easier, even if some of what they're seeing as difficult, the learning and growing, was half the fun of the whole damned experience.

So, I continue to howl into the gale, while most of you are still probably thinking, "Awwwww... just shut up and tell me how to set a decent course!"

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Andy Bittner on 2002-12-21 01:33 ]</font>

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Post by Claude Regnier » Sat Dec 21, 2002 9:35 am

I agree with both Andy and Mike. It is not nescesary to mark your parctice courses. I've slalomed since the early 70's and only started marking them this past year and a half.

This was mostly to practice different course components. You can run pretty straight or regular offset type courses without marking them. But if your rinning a variety it's preety tough to reset it the way you layed it out if you've knocked a few down.

Mark the difficult sections at least when you're practising. I do recommend that you skate a variety in order to improve your overall skills.

If you have somewhere to skate that allows you to set up a few regular courses I do encourage you to mark a few out permanently. You really need that measuring stick once in a while to see if your improving or at the least maintaining your skills.

It is also very important in testing equipmenmt. You cannot trust the feel or the comfort level all the time. This is probably a racers biggest mistake. (that should draw some fire) You have to abandon that zone and work with some of the uncomfortableness once in a while.

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Post by Glenn S » Sat Dec 21, 2002 3:13 pm

Ok Andy, if you have MS Excel capability, why don't you put some of your course ideas into that program that Gareth Roe posted here so we can check them out :wink: In other words; show us a few examples of your great courses.

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Post by Adam Trahan » Sat Dec 21, 2002 4:44 pm


...snipped for brievity.

That's a whole lot of overtime thought over whether courses should be permanently marked or not, but as Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

In my opinion, when those with experience try to spare newcomers the benefit of experiencing those same experiences themselves, they weaken the next generation and the potential for the sport. Nowadays, it seems like everybody wants things to come easier, even if some of what they're seeing as difficult, the learning and growing, was half the fun of the whole damned experience.

So, I continue to howl into the gale, while most of you are still probably thinking, "Awwwww... just shut up and tell me how to set a decent course!"
Ahh Mr.Bittner, you wax profoundly... I do enjoy a good quote.

Your services as a course maker are in my limited understanding, more of a "course artist" in the eyes of the participant and by reading your statement and response, it makes more sense to me in my view.

One thing that I do not see your way is the reference to the "weakening the next generation." I don't see the benefit in letting others learn the same mistakes that those of us who have been in the sport have made. It sort of resonates to me that you would prefer to have those after us make the same mistakes as we did.

I thought it was good form to learn from mistakes, if not, doomed you are to repete them...

Yes, I do enjoy progressing the sport myself in my way. [this web site is my example] And I don't see the merit in not sharing the technique and technology letting the said neophyte learn those "lessons" on their own, doomed to repete slalom skateboard history. Not that Hyper Strada's are bad, but I would not advise someone to purchase them over say a Avalon. Am I getting this right? Do we smile when a potential shows up with the wedge in the back, backwards and slides out and hurts himself THEN only to tell him or keep quiet?

Howling in a gale is fine, most often though, when I chance upon those who howl in a gale, I find myself in retreat, not really wanting to converse or make exchange. It's that thing that you said before about opinions.

An opinion is the property of it's owner. Some are popular, others aren't. The idea here is that a good idea {opinion} will stand on it's own.

Permanantly marking a course is being done and people are having fun. This can not be denied and or removed. I like running both marked courses and spontaneous. I like slalom skateboarding. Enough said from me on this.

On any account, I do know that for the most part, racers like your course setting and that you do care about this skill. So with that, I will bid you good-bye on this subject and I will sit this gale out.

Best Regards Andy Bittner.

adam trahan

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Post by Troy Smart » Sat Dec 21, 2002 5:47 pm

I had a few "permanently" marked courses on my local skate hill.
I had the privilege of having John Gilmour live nearby for the summer and we marked 5 of his courses with different colored paint pens. I actually hated most of these courses, and still do (sorry John), but I hate them in good way (if you know what I mean).
They're hard. Two of them are impossible (by mortals that is, John does'nt seem to have a problem with them).
It was great to have them there because, as someone stated earlier, they are a great way to check your progress. Especially when used the way I use them. Meaning that mostly I ride my own courses but every now and then I'll set up one of JG's impossible courses and take just a few runs down it to see how much I've improved. This way it does'nt seem so repeatative and I can't "cheat" by running the same course over and over again.
It seems "fresh" again because it's been a while since I ran it. (actually the bottom of two are practically virgin because I've only made it there once or twice.)
And also a while back I took a long time to set a course, I was trying to set a course that really "flowed". Something very challenging but also with a lot of natural direction changes and variety. The kind of course that puts a big grin on your face and makes you act like a kid when you hit the bottom.
I did it. The perfect course. So I marked it up with a paint pen and I'm happy it was there.
I've got 3 kids, too much work, and a wife who works too.
Most of my skating is done by grabbing a half hour or hour here and there. Sometimes even less, so it's nice to have a course marked just to save time.
I prefer to set different courses all the time but that takes precious minutes that sometimes I don't have.
Now the sad part.
I went there two days ago to do some skating after taking a long break, and the hills are pretty much covered in sand and salt and most of the course markings are no longer visible.
Que Sera.
It was good while it lasted.

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Post by Glenn S » Sat Dec 21, 2002 6:45 pm

I too think that marked courses are a good thing. I've been lucky as of late to be able to practice on a TS course that Steve Evans marked out. Steve said to me that he is against any permanent form of marking as to not piss anyone off. But since it hardly rains here in California, the chaulk marks stick around for a while.

Steve has many years of Slalom experience and this course had features that I think only an experience rider of his ability could produce. Similar to what Troy explains, it was hard for me to make it through clean.

It has now rained for many days here in CA, and I doubt the marks are still there :sad:

Sure I could mark my own course and do. But I don't, at this point, have the knowledge to set a course like that one.

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Post by Andy Bittner » Sun Dec 22, 2002 4:19 am

Adam, Thanks for your reply. I know you weren't saying anything this harsh, but re-reading my post could make it seem like I have a torturous mean streak that wants to see people err their way to success. However, that is not my point at all.

Again, this is all just opinion, but the fact that your post suggests I might be wanting people to learn by making the same mistakes I made, indicates to me you're already missing one of the very most fundamental lessons in my personal syllabus. The lesson is that, in slalom course setting, there are really no "mistakes" to make. The very notion that there can even be a right or wrong way to set a course is completely antithetical to my position. There may be more popular and less popular ways to set courses or course feature, but not right or wrong. This is part of that "mystification" of coursesetting, to which I was referring in my last post. People don't die when someone does something like setting a cone that might take more speed out of a course than most people would prefer, nor are populations unhoused, virgins defiled or animals tortured. Frankly, setting a cone that kills more speed than most people prefer can't (in my opinion) even be called an error. The only way setting an odd, unusual or unpopular course feature is an error, is if your purpose in setting the course was to help you get along with everyone present. The result of setting and running an odd, unusual or unpopular course feature is learning, and I believe learning is good.

***ADDED AFTER THE FACT***

I just realized that there probably is one mistake or error that can be made in course setting, and that is to lose track of what side of each cone you should be passing on, and start setting a whole section of a course with all of the intended offsets offset in the wrong direction. That being said, the error involved is one of becoming distracted from the matter at hand for long enough to lose track of what's going on, not one of correctly setting a feature that shouldn't be.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Andy Bittner on 2002-12-21 22:26 ]</font>

Adam Trahan
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Post by Adam Trahan » Sun Dec 22, 2002 4:42 am

...no worries, I get your point, the drawback of a message board.

...am working on a chat room at the present.

Cheers mate.

adam

John Gilmour
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Post by John Gilmour » Wed Dec 25, 2002 3:03 am

Troy...the marks will appear again in the spring... the paint pens last a long time and are nearly invisible to the untrained eye....ie the condo association. You might find some new ones next time you go.

If you want to run at the "limits of your ability" ie at a level where you can just make the course. You NEED a marked course. Or one "miss-set cone" and the course becomes a blow out almost every time (sucks if this is early in the course)

So if you feel like you are on your game...you can set that "nearly impossible" course and see how you do.

Video games are really only fun if.....you get further than you did the previous time.....or just before you blow up. We just don't use quarters.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: John Gilmour on 2002-12-24 21:05 ]</font>

Brady Mitchell
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Post by Brady Mitchell » Fri Dec 27, 2002 4:15 am

I can`t set a course for diddly squat. Having course(s) marked GREATLY aids this lessor skilled slalomer.

Mark and Chuck marked some courses on our hill. Many benifits to it...

I get to ride courses that actually work.

The ease of setting a differant course.

And since some of these courses are difficult with my skills, I can judge my progress on them.

Since they marked several courses, each course has it`s own identifiable mark. One is just a plain dot, or an X, or a C.

Ya just have to be smart and not use day-glo paint. White or gray spray paint is good.

On an event hill where setting a permanent course can may not be wise, maybe using silver or gold paint is better. It won`t last as the metals in the paint oxidize fast and fade quickly. And on a sanctioned race, circles are a must to ensure course integrity.

Chuck Gill
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Post by Chuck Gill » Thu Jan 02, 2003 2:03 am

Another option...at one of my practice spots I went out one night and painted a flat grey dot every 2 feet. You can't see them unless you are looking for them (even then it is difficult), and you can set any spacing you want quickly without measuring based on the 2 ft. dots.

For guys like me who actually measure their cocktail ingredients, this can be a real time-saver.

Wesley Tucker
1961-2013 (RIP)
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Thu Jan 02, 2003 2:36 am

Chuck, why don't you just get a bottle of Evian and mark the course with drops of blood?

(OH! It never ends!)

Chuck Gill
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Post by Chuck Gill » Fri Jan 03, 2003 5:23 am

Ouch.

Actually, Wesley, it was the plastic hanger the bottles were on. Don't need it anyway, since my angry little parrot is doing a good enough job of keeping my fingers perpetually bloody lately.

Anyway, I prefer a non-biohazardous course marking method...the former body piercer in me.

Oh yeah, did you hear I beat Gilmour last weekend?

John Gilmour
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Post by John Gilmour » Sun Jan 05, 2003 10:43 pm

How I typically go about setting a course.

First off- know the hill.
1. Roll the hill- from top to bottom- straightline on your slalom deck. Do roll in roughly the "straight" line you would take down the hill- avoiding all surface imperfections, just like you would do if you were setting a course.

A. make note of where your board begins to accelerate

B. make note of where your board is merely coasting

C. make note of where your board is slowing down in terms of acceleration....consider not setting anything speed robbing there.

D. at places where your board appears to be coasting.- stop in that area and see if you would resume coasting down hill...if not make note of that and don't set any gates there that would suck speed out of the course. BUT also figure about how fast you would be entering that section and make sure the gates would be makeable for that speed.

e. Try to set gates that are wider and would cause you to go slower just in front of steeper pitches and on steeper pitches.....and don't set ANY gates that would slow you down within 40 feet of a "coasting section"

f.Set your courses harder at first- it is better to try and make a fast course even faster than to set a technically slow course and try to make it fast.
____________________________________________

2. Dropping the cones down.

***** the 11th Commandment- thou shalt always try to make the course equally difficult for both goofy and regular foot riders without unfavorably penalizing someone for their stance (you'd think those Parallel stance guys would be laughing....but they have an even more difficult time than either goofy or regular footed riders on highly offset courses)

a. make sure that you do not start your course where a car would not have enough time to see you and stop......and should a car see you and come to a stop in front of your course- make sure that ANOTHER car behind that first car would not hit the other car. Also make sure YOU can be seen EVEN if a car is blocking the course!

b. If setting a Duel ALWAYS drop a course down on the side of the road that has the most surface imperfections and problems- and "Dupe" the course onto the clean side. Nothing sucks more than having one course with a Manhole cover in between a gate- or having to cross over paint lines or road reflectors or a patch of cracks on one course. Make sure ...should you decide to set a duel that there is no patch of cracks that affects one course and not the other. If these conditions can not be met the answer is - set single track. A duel with uneven courses is not fair regardless of the fact that both racers race the same course.

c. Figure out about how much speed the typical racer would be entering the course and set cone spacings appropriate for that speed.

d. Make the first few gates good for pumping- but not overly technical....this will allow racers to fix any footing mistakes and greatly reduce the likelyhood of injury, ambulances, contest delays, and lawsuits.

e. If the racers are not entering with a fast speed-----> set enough gates to allow the racer to build speed in the course. 6-12 gates should allow most racers to get some workable speed depending on the hill pitch. They could be lightly offset, but setting widely offset cones in the beginning of the course will merely negate the objective of a good ramp or should you use a box push start...the start itself. Having poor footing will just increase the likelyhood of injury and lawsuits should a catostrophic injury occur such as a head injury. These "warm up cones" will allow the racers to prepare for the course as they gather or maintain their speed.

f. Now consider adding some wider offsets if the surface and pitch permits. If the surface does not permit it you should not be setting wide offsets. If the surface is good and the pitch is poor you should not be setting side offsets (one exception is a ridiculously steep hill that is steep and flattens then is steep and flattens....one where you would be going 40mph in less than 100 feet).

G. If the surface is good and the pitch is minimal you could consider adding technical components that do not take away speed but are still challenging such as a Curve of cones or uneven cone spacing, or step overs.

H. Try to match the types of technical components to the level of the riders skating. Haha ha ha I know I violate this one all the time :wink: ..... but seriously try to set things that encourage the skaters to skate the course and boost confidence while still giving people a source of achievement in progressing their skills.

So I'll try to catagorize different course components in terms of difficulty.

"Green dot"

1. Straight cones of even spacing 7-7.5 on center

2. Offsets with regular offset and even spacing 8-9.5 feet with 6 inches of offset

3. Step overs of straight cones 6.5 foot7.5 foot

4. Gaps or rhythm breakers

5. gimmee gates

"Blue Square"

1. Tighter straight cones 6.5 feet on center

2. Slight offsets taken at speeds over 18 mph 7.5- 8 foot on center with 6 inches of offset.

3. "Beat Busters" Uneven cone spacing of straight cones varying from 6 foot on center to 7.5 foot on center

4. Offset cones set within a line of straight cones offset to only one side

5. Diagonal series of cones regularly spaced

6. Straight cones that must be approached as if they were offsets in order to make the next series of cones.

7. Offsets that must be approached as if they were straights in order to make the next series of cones.

8. Cones which should be criddled in order to make the next series of cones.

9. Cones which should be taken wide to make the next series of cones.

10. Cones where you should be pumping and cones where you should stop pumping

"Black Diamond"

1. Courses that have few straight cones.

2. Cones of varying spacing irregular as well as with iregular offset.

3. Courses with Curves

4. Sections that require braking and controlled slides

5. Sections that require more unusual body positioning to make the course.

6. Sections that require pumping at speeds over 20 mph.

"Double Black Diamond"

1. Curves with Rippers ( series of curved cones with one of the outside cones placed further to the outside of the curve.

2. Decreasing radius curves

3. Setting cones using the crown on the road as a reverse banked turn

4. High speed braking

5. Cones that require 4 wheel slides and drift to make them- (Not to be set in competition) that's 4 wheel not just rear wheel.

6.A "J" series of cones that leads the rider into a decreasing radius curve across the fall line and then requires the rider to make another set of diagonal cones set across the fall line in the other direction.

7. Cones that position a rider at high speed to attempt to do a straight series of cones with his entire body far to the left or right of that series of cones.

8. Cone series that force the rider to extend and compress in height quickly as the sections change.

9. Sections that force the rider to quickly and precisely change style and foot positioning within the course at high speed to make sections.

10. Courses regularly exceeding 25mph for the bulk of the course.

----------------------------------------

So take a look at the group of riders and choose your "course components" to match the skill levels of the riders present for the particular catogory of racer- Am Pro- Beginner- Women- Kids- masters...etc you will be serving.


You don't need to try to control the rider's speed with wide offsets as the racer will go wide if he or she thinks it is necessary- Should the hill have lots of pitch use wide offsets with enough vertical drop to allow faster racers to gather more speed.

Finally ...don't make the last gates technically complex...they can be tighter but shouldn't be ridiculously offset or overly complex as this is the area where skaters will toss their better judgement out the window to beat another skater or post a faster time.-----> making a section overly complex at the finish just invites injury and ambulances.

The most technically complex sections of the courses should happen after then first 20 percent of the course but before the last 20 percent of the course. Having the drag strip at the end of the course can make for some amazing comebacks.

_________________________________________

So a sample TS Blue square course for a constant pitch hill where a rider would hit 15mph at the bottom of a 300 foot ride might look like this.

5 cones 6.5 foot on center.
6 cones 7.5 foot on center with 6 inches of offset
move over 3 feet and down 4 feet and set a step over of 5 cones
Now three wider offsets 9 foot on center with 2.5 feet of offset
5 Straight cones of varying distance
A step over to the other side of 7 cones
Mixed offsets with straights to a series of 5 straight cones 6.5 feet on center with the final 3 cones being 6.0 feet on center.
-------------------------------------------

Things to note don't try and force a "blue Square slalomer" to set a "Black Diamond course"-----------------------------> make a more experienced higher level slalomer set high level courses. Certainly you wouldn't expect Martha Stewart to set up a race course for Emerson Fitipauldi or Emerson to decorate Martha's house.

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