Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scottish 6 Day

My big race this season was the Scottish 6 Day event which turned into 8 days because I signed up for the two sprints as well.  That meant 8 days of racing with no rest, man did I feel tired at the end. The day after I was done racing I was in Edinburgh trying to go up the stairs to Calton Hill and I had to stop and rest because I was so tired and sore. I also learned that when you come to these big events, you need to remember to pack a Canadian flag and a stool!

The first race for me was the sprint in Nairn, which was right after the WOC Sprint Relay. It was really exciting to spectate for this race, the organizers put a lot of effort to make this race spectator friendly and I think they did a pretty good job. After the WOC racers were down we got to go out on the map in a shorter version of the race. We ran through sand dunes, a really fun part of the town and park. We even got to run the same spectator and finish shoot as the WOC runners.

The first official Scottish 6 days was on a map called Achagour. When you look at this map it seems like a mix of different terrain but it is all WET and MARSH! I forgot how marshy it can be in the U.K.. I also found that if it is yellow on the map it is not nice and clear open like I am used to, it's open from you waist up with lots under your feet. Also if you are going to try and run along or through a marsh be prepared to fall in waist deep at any moment. My race was pretty good, just slow trying to get use to the terrain. One thing I remember from the race is on the last half everyone had at least 20 black flies flying around their heads, which was fine if you kept running. 
Day 1 map

Day 2 was at Strathfarrar, man was that a hard day. I had a horrible race that day, I didn't finish. I spent almost 30 minutes trying to find my 4th control and probably the same time on the 5th until I gave up. I am not good at orienteering on precision compass and I definitely needed it for this race. It's really hard to see contours or features when it is just covered with chest high bracken (tall ferns) the whole time, I was surprised I wasn't covered in Ticks. 
Day 2 map

Rest Day was a rest day for some and a sprint day for others. The sprint took place in Forres. This was a really fun sprint race. There were little traps and you had to make sure you stayed in contact with your map. I thought the course planner was a little mean with the last 5 controls. They put 4 controls on this big hill that was very runnable if you weren't tired or not slipping around because of all the dead leaves on the ground. Afterwords I went to spectate the WOC middle and cheer on the Canadians.

Day 3 and 4 were at Darnaway. I really enjoyed this map! It was closer to what I am used to, lots of runnable forest with negative topography. I had a pretty clean race on day 3 and made two very stupid errors on day 4. It really takes it out of you when you run one of your long legs and a half. The WOC Relay was also in the same area on Day 3 so it was really easy to cheer on team Canada!
Day 3 at Darnaway. I couldn't get all the cars in and even kept flowing in.

Day 3 map

Day 5 and 6 were at Glen Affric. So this was kind of in the same area as day 2 and I let it get in my head on day 5 and it effected my race. I did better then the second day but I had another unfinished race. At the end I had 3 controls left and I just couldn't find my 22 control. I kept relocating and it just didn't work. I finally threw in the towel because nothing was making sense andI was getting really dehydrated. The last race was the longest with the most climb and I was feeling pretty nervous because of the previous day but then I decided to race how I like to race and enjoy it and I finished!!! I also had a pretty good time during this race.

Day 6 map


I had a great time at Scottish 6 days. I got to see some orienteers I haven't seen in awhile. I got to race in new terrain and learn some valuable lessons in my opinion. I learned if you sign up for W21E you are going to get your moneys worth and as I mentioned at the beginning bring a stool and a Canadian flag. I also learned that I really like 1:15,000 maps more then 1:10,000.

Friday, August 7, 2015

WOC Long

The WOC Long took place at the remote Glen Affric. The forest was a mix of runnable areas and fallen trees, with some complex contours and few paths. People likened it to some Scandinavian terrain. The men's map is here and the women's map is here. And, as is the case with most longs, it was physically very tough and athletes did not seem confident that they were picking the best route choices.

Team Canada had a good day of racing today. On the women's side, Louise Oram steadily pick up places throughout the race to finish 33rd (which I believe is tied with her best WOC long result from 2012 in Switzerland). Emily Kemp came in 20th, an improvement on her previous best of 25th in the long. This is also the best Canadian result since the long format was introduced (previously it was a classic race). Based on their strong performances today, both are pre-selected to the Long for next year's race (any Canadian athlete in the top 40 is pre-selected).

For the men, Will Critchley had a top 50 result coming in 49th. Robbie Anderson improved upon last year's placing of 64th by finishing in 54th. Well done! Official results are here and live results can be found here.  


Place
Name
Country
Time
Time Behind
Women
1
Ida Bobach
SWE
75:35

20
Emily Kemp
CAN
87:45
12:10
33
Louise Oram
CAN
94:58
19:23
Men
1
Thierry Gueorgiou
FRA
99:46

49
Will Critchley
CAN
129:40
29:54
54
Robbie Anderson
CAN
139:33
39:47

Canada should remain in the same divisions for next year's WOC which means 2 female spots for the individual forest races, and 1 male spot. This year there were two males because Robbie and Brian won individual spots as regional champions at the North Americans.

That's a wrap on WOC 2015. Congratulations to our athletes for a solid week of WOC racing and thanks to the team leader Meghan Rance, coaches (Raphael Ferrand was on the ground, but athletes may have other coaches throughout the year), and supporters. We look forward to cheering you all on again next year in Sweden, and we'll see some of you soon at the Canadian Orienteering Championships!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

WOC Relay

What an exciting day! The WOC relay was in Darnaway again, but this time the terrain seemed much faster than yesterday's middle. The map can be found here.

The Canadian women's team put in a very solid performance. Louise handed off to Tori in 21st place. Tori passed off to Emily in 23rd, and then Emily had a stellar race to come in 19th. The Canadian women seem to have a thing for making every second count in relays as Emily out sprinted USA's Ali Crocker by 2 seconds in the finish chute. This is the first time since 2011 (if my memory serves me correctly) that the Canadian women's team has beaten the US team.  The Danish team dominated the relay to win gold. The women's results can be found here (live) and here (official).


Leg
Place
Name
Country
Time (Total)
Time Behind
Individual leg placing
1
1
Maja Alm
DEN
35:40


21
Louise Oram
CAN
45:18
9:38
21
2
1
Ida Bobach
DEN
70:1


23
Tori Owen
CAN
100:47
29:56
24
3
1
Emma Klingenberg
DEN
109:06


19
Emily Kemp
CAN
141:07
32:01
6

There was also excitement on the men's side! Damian appeared to have some trouble near the beginning of his course, but Will shortened the gap to the US team on his run. Then Robbie ran very well on the anchor leg to come in about a minute behind the US team. They placed 30th, which is one spot better than last year. Switzerland was the clear leader throughout most the race, and there was a fight between Norway, France, and Great Britain for the rest of the medals. The men's results can be found here (live) and here (official).


Leg
Place
Name
Country
Time (Total)
Time Behind
Individual leg placing
1
1
Fabian Hertner
SUI
33:33


31
Damian Kontopetz
CAN
50:50
17:28
31
2
1
Daniel Hubmann
SUI
66:59


30
Will Critchley
CAN
92:59
26:00
28
3
1
Matthias Kyburz
SUI
101:40


30
Robbie Anderson
CAN
135:14
33:34
22

There is a rest day (for athletes and spectators from afar) tomorrow. The last race of WOC will be the long on Friday, August 7th. Louise Oram and Emily Kemp are up again for the women and Robbie Anderson and Will Critchley are racing for the men. Start times are between 10:00 - 14:15 BST (2am - 6:15am PST, 5am - 9:15am EST).

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

WOC Middle Final

The Middle Final took place today in Darnaway. The terrain seemed to be quite varied (rough with poor visibility in the beginning and more runnable near the end). Lots of athletes were making mistakes, and were saying it was trickier than expected. The maps can be found here (women's) and here (men's)

Men's Map

Damian Konotopetz and Brian May were running in the men's race, and Louise Oram and Emily Kemp were running in the women's race. The official results can be found here, and splits can be found here.  We haven't heard from the athletes yet about their runs.



Place
Name
Country
Time
Time Behind 1st
Women
1
Annika Billstam
SWE
35:46

36
Emily Kemp
CAN
44:41
08:55
42
Louise Oram
CAN
46:42
10:56
Men
1
Daniel Hubmann
SUI
34:23

64
Damian Konotopetz
CAN
54:17
19:54
65
Brian May
CAN
56:57
22:34

Next up is the relay tomorrow in the same area. The women's mass start is at 13:55 BST (5:55am PST, 8:55am EST). Emily Kemp, Louise Oram, and Tori Owen will be racing. The men's mass start is at 16:00 BST (8:00am PST, 11:00am EST). Damian Konotopetz, Will Critchley, and Robbie Anderson form the men's team.  Go Canada go!

UPDATE 2 (the women's running order changed from the first posting): The running order for the women will be: Louse, Tori, and Emily. For the men: Damian, Will, and Robbie.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

WOC Sprints - Athlete's Perspective

You've seen the results, the maps, the GPS tracking, and this blog (of course), but what was this year's World Championships Sprint & Sprint Relay experience for the athletes like? Here's a bit of an update from Canada's athletes.

The Sprint

British housing estates. A community of houses that look exactly the same, designed in mildly illogical ways with pathways, passageways, parks, playgrounds and.... postboxes? The sprint qualifier was held in one such housing estate on the west side of the town of Forres. It was expected to be a very fast but potentially tricky sprint, given the similarity of the features and the multiple route choices for almost every leg. Throw in the variable of some wet grass and things were surprisingly tricky, particularly for a sprint qualifier.

Speaking about the qualifier Tori said, "It was a memorable occasion. As I lie awake at night, the visions of my race dance vividly in my mind like it was yesterday. Come to think of it, it was yesterday."

- Editor's note: The above quote was entirely fabricated as an incentive to receive real quotes from the athletes.

"There was a couple of route choice legs that you needed to decide on ahead of time, which proved to sometimes be difficult due to the intensity of the navigation and the speed at which the features came up while running. It was really important to stay on top of where you were because of how similar the buildings were. Unlike in North America, these neighborhoods are certainly not on a grid system, so it is a major adjustment from what we are used to."

Robbie also mentioned that "I wore my new wellies during the race today, and, in addition to being a great performance enhancer, they also looked way stylish. Everyone thinks I'm local"

- Editor's note: Possibly also not a true statement.

Robbie dominated the vaulting of the sketchy hay bale fence stairs that were featured in the sprint qualifier.
Every year, getting to the final of the sprint at the World Championships gets tougher and tougher. The caliber of the competition is getting so high that one has to be at the top of their game and be almost flawless in their execution. Although the team may not have had their best results this year, they plan on taking what they learned this year to try and improve for the future.

Emma made a solid WOC sprint debut!

Sprint Relay

Redemption time. After a less than optimal sprint the day before, the sprint relay was an opportunity for the team to try to improve on last year's result, with the same order as in Italy - Louise, Will, Damian, and Tori as anchor. The team is now significantly more experienced at Sprint Relays since 2014, having increased their international race experience from 0 to 1.

The sprint relay was held on the seaside town of Nairn. The start sent the runners straight out onto the beach for a quick and intense jaunt onto some mini sand-dunes before a complex town network with a few artificial fences in the mix. Another jump into the dunes and a bit of park as well made it a surprisingly varied sprint challenge.

Louise went first, and post-race said "I would have had a great start to the race, but the idyllic beach setting and my love of the movie "Chariots of Fire" forced me to run in slow motion for the entire beach leg."

- Editor's note: This one is plausible, but also not true.

[D-flat major] Dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun (Photo by Ethan Childs)
"It was really cool to see how many people were out spectating, even in the random parts of the town. I did make a mistake in the first part of the course, where the intensity of the race and the forking made for some really difficult navigational challenges."

Damian, the team's third runner, had an especially strong leg, clawing back time on both the Australian and British teams, enough to make the stadium announcer refer to a "battle of the commonwealth".

"It was fun running with the Aussies and the Brits, and running with such strong teams is a great motivator to push that extra bit harder. The fake fences also added some interesting route choice options and I was pleased that made smart choices when they came up. It was a good mix of terrain between the dunes along the ocean to the tricky streets and the open parkland."

In the end, the team jumped four places from their 2014 result and were two minutes closer to the winner. This is an resounding improvement over last year and after the race enthusiasm was high for continuing to work hard to get better for next year. The sprint relay in Nairn was definitely an exciting event with great enthusiasm from all the spectators, a fun and interesting course, and fantastic scenery.

Damian and Will hammering. (photos by Ethan Childs)

Also, it didn't rain. Except for a bit in the warm-up. And for about three hours before the race. And after the race. But for that brief, shining hour....

Photo from WOC2015 Facebook Page

Saturday, August 1, 2015

WOC Sprint Relay

It was an exciting day in Nairn! For the sprint relay, each team has 4 runners (2 male and 2 female). The map was a combination of tricky sand dunes, lots of parallel streets, some added fences, and important route choice legs.

Team Canada improved upon their 26th placing last year to come in 22nd! There was a particularly exciting finish with Tori Owen outsprinting the German team by one second. Full results can be found here and here.

Leg
Place
Name
Country
Time (Total)
Time Behind 1st
Individual leg placing
1
1
Emma Klingenberg
DEN
15:15


22
Louise Oram
CAN
18:13
2:58
22
2
1
Tue Lassen
DEN
30:38


21
Will Critchley
CAN
34:22
3:44
16
3
1
Soren Bobach
DEN
46:12


21
Damian Konotopetz
CAN
50:45
4:33
17
4
1
Maja Alm
DEN
60:54


22
Tori Owen
CAN
70:04
9:10
25

The Sprint Final is tomorrow. The next race the Canadians are in is the Middle Final on Tuesday, August 8th. Start times are between 11:54-16:15 BST (3:54am - 8:15am PST; 8:54-1:15pm EST). Emily Kemp, Louise Oram, Brian May, and Damian Konotopetz are racing. Let's go Canada! 

Friday, July 31, 2015

WOC Sprint Qualifier

Today, our team raced in the sprint qualifier at Forres. There were a couple of tough route choices, and lots of opportunities to lose track of where you were in tiny alleys. The top 15th from each heat on to the Sprint Final, which is on Sunday. The results for our athletes are below. Notably, Emma Waddington had a solid WOC debut, and Will Critchley was 20 seconds out of the final.

Heat
Place
Name
Country
Time
Time Behind 1st
Time Behind 15th
Men 1
1
Yannick Michiels
BEL
11:48


15
Hakon Jarvis Westergard
NOR
12:41
00:53

25
Damian Konotopetz
CAN
13:43
01:55
01:02
Men 2
1
Kristian Jones
GBR
11:44


15
Helmut Gremmel
AUT
12:38
00:54

24
Will Critchley
CAN
12:58
01:14
00:20
Men 3
1
Jerker Lysell
SWE
12:28


15
Tomas Hendrickx
BEL
13:17
00:49

31
Robbie Anderson
CAN
15:37
3:09
02:20
Women 1
1
Maja Alm
DEN
12:44


15
Imogene Scott
NZL
14:29
01:45

26
Emma Waddington
CAN
15:45
3:01
01:16
Women 2
1
Tove Alexandersson
SWE
13:31


15
Mariana Moreira

15:15
01:44

30
Tori Owen
CAN
17:05
03:34
01:50

More detailed results, including splits, can be found at the WOC website, along with the men's map and the women's map.

The Canadians are not done sprinting yet though! Will Critchley, Louise Oram, Damian Konotopetz, and Tori Owen are racing in the mixed sprint relay, which starts tomorrow at 18:05 BST (10:05 PST, 11:05 EST).