Following two highly successful series since the Covid-19 pandemic began, with over 500 participants from all over the world, TORUS is back in a special seasonal format! This new series of the Virtual TrailO competition comprises 24 events and begins on 1st December, with Basic and Advanced classes; the best 18 results count. If you haven’t tried TORUS before, a few standard questions are answered here, to help you get going.
- What is the TORUS Advent Calendar?
The TORUS Advent Calendar is 24 small Virtual TrailO events in TempO format, a new one each day from 1st to 24th December. Rather than the previous 6-8 stations per event, all events here will have 2-3 stations only: short and sweet each day! TORUS (TempO Online Races Ultimate Series) can be found on the website http://torus.yq.cz.
- Who have planned the courses for the Calendar?
The TORUS Advent Calendar is planned by some of the world’s best and most experienced trail orienteers from Finland; it counts also as the International Finnish eTempO Championships. Course planners and controllers include Lauri Mäkinen, Antti Rusanen, Juha Hiirsalmi, Pinja Mäkinen, Mia Hiirsalmi, Esko Junttila, Juha Villikka, Sami Torstila, Petteri Hakala and Ari Tertsunen.
- Who can participate?
Anyone can participate, and it’s free of charge. There are two classes, Advanced and Basic. There is no ‘qualification’ for participation in any class, you choose yourself. The A-class demands advanced map reading and terrain interpretation skills coupled with high-speed decision-making, whilst the B-class has more basic tasks – though still requiring good experience with O-maps (both forest and urban) and the way that quite complex terrain is portrayed on them.
The A-class winner will be lightning fast, with a sharp eye and fantastic terrain judgement and map-reading skills; the B-class winner too can be expected to solve a big majority of the tasks correctly in remarkably quick time.
- I haven’t tried Virtual Trail-O and the TempO Simulator system, can I practice?
If you are new to the game, there is a big range of training events on the TORUS website to get you up to speed before you start competition in earnest. They are the past TORUS events, plus others that have been planned as training events, at various levels of difficulty. It is important that you get used to the picture and decision-making format, and how the zoom facility works, before you start a competition. All the training events are easily accessible on the website, once you have registered.
You have the best conditions for competition when using a computer with a big screen. Smaller screens are also OK, but you cannot adequately interpret the smaller detail using a tablet or mobile phone.
- How do I register and create an account?
To participate in TORUS events, you need to have an account in the TempO Simulator first. To create a TempO Simulator account, you first send an e-mail with an informal request to Libor Forst: email@example.com. You will receive an answer within a short time with a text form that needs to be filled in (name, club, nation, class chosen) and sent back. As soon as the form is processed you will receive an account creation confirmation. Then you can visit the TORUS or Simulator pages and log in. After login you are able to compete in training and TORUS events. Your account data will only be used in the publication of daily and accumulated results.
- How do I compete?
For each competition there is a 23½-hour time window to compete. Each day, the competition start time is 00.00 (midnight) CET, and the day’s competition closes at 23.30 CET. During this time window you:
- Go to www.torus.yq.cz and log on (username plus password). On this Home Page you have access to previous TORUS events and other training events.
- To compete in the new series, first click on Calendar View in the Advent Calendar headings box.
- Now click on the correct competition day window (1 – 24; same number as the date).
- Start when you are ready; once started, you can’t go back!
On the Calendar View you can also click on a Race List to see the full programme for the 24 events.
Each event in the Advent Calendar consists of 2 or 3 TempO stations, which means up to 15 tasks overall. It will take you only a few minutes every day. On the TORUS website you can find a more detailed explanation of how to compete.
- Where are results displayed?
During competition time there is a continually updated results display on the Race List page, showing just name, club and position, so when you have finished you can quickly see how well you have done compared to others who have already finished. Full results showing answers for each station are posted only after that day’s competition has ended: these include your time, your mistakes and your score for the event.
As in real orienteering, you will find yourself analysing your mistakes, comparing yourself with your friends’ and club-mates’ split times after the race, and already looking forward to the next one. But in this case it is completely contact-free, and without any travel time – and definitely without any rain or snow soaking your clothes during the competition!
Cumulative results covering all days completed, together with combined club and country rankings, are also displayed on the TORUS Home Page.
- Are there any prizes?
Only glory for the winners, but there will be prizes (Virtual-O licenses) for 6 competitors, drawn from all participants on Christmas Eve.
It’s fun and it’s challenging!
You can contact the TORUS team via firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Is it fun, and is it a serious challenge of orienteering skills? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding YES!