Monday, July 16, 2018

WUOC 2018

Team Canada has finally all arrived in the small lake-side village of Kuotane, Finland, and we are all gearing up for the first race tomorrow!  We've been arriving steadily over the last few days, and with Emma and Tomas flying over fresh from JWOC, the team is complete.  Unfortunately, Michael Svoboda injured his knee at JWOC, and so is unable to compete this year.  We all wish him a swift recovery!

Today, most spent the morning on the model map figuring out how things are mapped, and what the best strategies are.  With temperatures hitting the 30s, most of the marshes are dried up, and the forest is mostly white, although hummocky underfoot.  2.5m contours and rocks galore make for some wonderfully technical terrain that is also quite speedy.

The model map

In the afternoon, Adam, Michael, Robbie, and Marg took the bus into Seinäjoki to check out the sprint relay and sprint areas, while Tomas, Emma, and I (Pia) inspected the terrain via google from our accommodation.  Their return confirmed what we suspected - the sprints promise to be fast and flat, with a few more complicated bridge and housing-complex areas.  Will Critchley and Graeme Rennie also dropped by on their way back home from the FIN 5, giving us insight into the terrain they had been running on, as it is adjacent to the middle.

Finally, WUOC was declared open this evening at the opening ceremonies. 

L-R: Michael Kondro, Emma Waddington, Adam Woods,
Pia Blake, Robbie Graham, Tomas Graham

Tomorrow begins with the sprint relay, with a starting time of 16:00 local time, 06:00 PDT and 09:00 EDT.  Running order is:

  1. Emma Waddington
  2. Adam Woods
  3. Michael Kondro
  4. Pia Blake
Go Canada Go!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

West Coast White - WCOC's 2018

The Western Canadian Championships wrapped up last weekend in the surprisingly sunny Vancouver BC area.

The Sprint started the weekend with a park sprint that challenged races by frequently switching between open grass lands and full white woods. But the weekend really ramped up with the middle on the new Ioco map. The map featured the nicest running I've had without going hours from the coast, and some serious detail:
Details, details.
Don't be fooled though, these are still some serious features, my route, east then south, to three became an exercise in rock climbing quite quickly. Personally I started too fast and had issues in the control circle for 2, 3, and 4. Navigating to the circle and hoping to see it certainly wasn't going to work here. I cleaned it up after 5 and started to navigate mostly off of the large ridges visible at a distance. The race went well after that; enough to net me 2nd place to Thomas Nipen, a GVOC expat visiting from Norway. HPP members Adam Woods and Alex Corbett picked up 7th and 10th respectively. While Tori Owen took 3rd for the Women.

The real lessons (and adventure) came in the long. I think as orienteerers we can all do with a humbling once in a while, a race that makes you remember just what can happen if you don't make a good plan. My undoing was the first long leg, 3 to 4:
How would you do it? Could you read it at 1:15,000?
I left 3 hard and with only half a plan. I ran as though I could afford to lose touch and I could grab myself again. It turned out that despite having large ridges and hills on the map they all looked the same, and they are all covered in small cliffs. I ended up south of 4 and had to climb considerable back up to it. Interestingly the leg defeated most runners that day with only 2 people having times around 10 minutes and an astonishing 12/17 M21 runnings having times greater than 15 minutes, including myself, Thomas, and Adam. A similar leg got most of the women's runners as well, sparing only previous HPP members Lousie Oram and Emily Ross.

It was tough terrain and should have been approached with more caution than the running allowed. Great challenge and wonderful to have a high class map and event so close to home for Vancouver HPP members, Adam and myself. Great training before we both head off to Europe for WUOC and WOC respectively. Full results here

Graeme Rennie

Saturday, July 7, 2018

2018 JWOC Guide

The Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) are the first championship event of the summer! This year JWOC is in Hungary. We hope that you're getting excited to cheer our athletes on.

The following athletes are competing:

Female: Emma Waddington, Rachel May, Sianna Dorsey
Male: Jan Erik Naess, Graeme Farrand, Michael Svoboda, David Bakker, Christian Michelsen, Tomas Graham 

Jeff Teutsch is the team coach and Meghan Rance is the team manager.

The schedule is:

Sunday, July 8th: Opening Ceremonies
Monday, July 9th: Long (first start at 9:01am local time)
Tuesday, July 10th: Sprint (first start 2:01pm local time)
Thursday, July 12: Middle Qualification (first start 10:01am local time)
Friday, July 13th: Middle Final (first start 10:01am local time)
Saturday, July 14th: Relay (starts at 12pm and 1:15pm local time)

Hungary is 9 hours ahead of Vancouver, BC (PST) or 6 hours ahead of Ottawa (EST).

You can get live results on the JWOC website throughout the week. Although there is nothing up yet, World of O often has excellent coverage of the event and does super cool map analyses.

Stay tuned to this blog, Orienteering Canada's Facebook, and Orienteering Canada's Instagram for more updates through the week. Go Canada go!  

Friday, June 29, 2018

Finland, Norway and soon Hungary

After visiting my family for the month of May I traveled back to Europe for the summer race season. I would be running for my club Fossum IF at Jukola, a few days later racing at the Norsk O Festivalen: Norway's largest weekend of orienteering races, and then head to Hungary to compete at the Junior World Championships (JWOC).

To continue reading click here:

JWOC Updates will be coming in the following weeks so stay tuned!

Thank you for reading! 😄
Jan Erik Naess

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Howdy from Hollola!

41st Venla Relay

For Finnish orienteers, Venla and Jukola is the highlight weekend of the entire year! Discussions about the team order have been taking place since the year before and “jukola trainings” have become more and more frequent as J-day approaches.

Running for a Finnish club means that there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of nervousness and a lot of expectations for performing as a team. I’ve been running with the girls from Angelniemen Ankkuri for four years now and we have worked hard to learn how to support each other as individual runners as well as part of a team. In the changeover, no matter what has happened, I am always so proud of the girl handing off to me because we know that we have all done our best.

This year, I was running second leg; a new relay leg for me with the added excitement of being sent out in 10th position! In the recent months, I haven’t been able to train as much as previous years which is very apparent when comparing my physical level with those in the top of the field. Good thing this year’s terrain added some spice to the technical aspect of the orienteering!

It was a fight from start to finish but I knew that I just had to focus on choosing routes, executing them the best I could and knowing the exact control placement in the detailed terrain. One control, after the other, after another and all of a sudden it was only empty field between me and my next leg runner, Sanna! After the race, Sanna told me that when she could distinguish my face behind the map that I was barely holding up while running towards her, she knew that it had been a tough go and what was waiting for her out in the forest.

Sanna's mandatory hug after finishing her leg!
We all fought our hardest and did our best with what we had on the day. There can be strong disappointment felt when one doesn’t accomplish a goal but that should be only fleeting when one has amazing teammates to lift each other up and strive for even better next time!

70th Jukola Relay

As the mosquitoes came out and the night got (somewhat) darker, the first leg Jukola relay runners headed off at 11pm! This year, there were roughly 1900 teams registered for this 7 person relay - over 13 000 people!

I (Emma) was running with Team OUSA on leg 4 - my first race in the Jukola relay. This team was made up of mostly Jr runners, and even some who had only orienteered in Finland once before.

After getting a decent rest after the Venla mass start in our lovely military tent with a large hole in the dirt inside (very home-y) I started getting ready for the second race of the day. I forced some contact lenses into my eyes that were still full of dust from the mass start and stabbed myself while putting on my bib in the dark, and then finally headed over to the warm-up area to wait for Thomas Laraia to run his 3rd leg. 

The start area was crazy, there we so many people running around and waiting for their teammates for the handoff, something that I had not experienced before in the mass start of Venla this year and last. It was chilly out at 4am, but the sun was rising quickly. I got the map from Thomas around 4:30am or so, and headed out on the 8.8km course.

The course started out in the same direction as the Venla leg 1 course did, so I was sort of familiar with the area. However I didn’t really get fully into the map by the time I approached control #1 and I ended up visiting some of the other forkings before my own. You can see the 4 forkings at the bottom of this image (140, 119, 131, 103). I had #140, what would your route be?

The rest of the course was a combination of mistakes and a few good controls, but veering towards the mistake side of things. I was feeling sort of flustered after a particularly large mistake at #7 and #8 so I really tried focusing in again and after that things started to pick up  and I was navigating well for a while. I took a very bad fall to 10 and ended up bruising my knee pretty badly. That took about a minute to feel okay and I could run faster again, but it got tight after a large mistake at the second last control.

Despite feeling a lot of negative things towards my performance in this race, I do think that there are some good points as well. The last third of the race was fairly solid and I was executing some things I wanted to work on such as looking up on my compass and visualizing. These were two things that I realized needed work after a training session on Friday, since I struggled with seeing if the contours were going up or down at times. You can see the squiggly mess of contours here: 

So overall, an okay run, but I was much happier with my Venla race. Though, with the sun rising over the pines, it wasn’t so bad to be out there a second time! I even managed gain some places. If only the chocolate-licorice protein bar given at the finish line actually tasted good! 

You can find all you need to know about the Relay here: