Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WUOC 2014 Race Recap

     WUOC 2014 was one of my main goals for this season and was a competition that I thought I would be able to perform well at. I was in good shape physically and my orienteering was not even comparable to my orienteering when I arrived in Europe over two months ago. I was very well prepared for the races and new if I could orienteering at my own level and do my own race I would see some good results.

     The sprint started out very well for me as I was running fast but under control. Going to the 7th control I planned on going to the left as soon as I saw the leg but as I was running down the path the right option looked shorter so I changed my mind and went to the right. I did double check the map to see if I could get through and thought I could. It ended up that it was a trap. Looking at the map now I think I just saw the contour line under the black wall and the little tiny dot of white which made it look like I could get through when running at a high speed. That cost me way too much time and I was so rattled that I chose the worst route choice to the 8th control with 45m climb and didn't even see the other option. It wasn't my day and my result (44th) did not show what I was really capable of. 
Looking at #7- can't believe I didn't see I couldn't get through
Photo:Robert Svoboda
Sprint Finish
Photo: Robert Svoboda
WUOC Sprint Route (right click and open in new tab for better quality)
     I started out quite conservative in the middle running at around 70%, basically letting the orienteering dictate the speed and making sure I didn't lose time on the first few controls. I had a few smaller mistakes up until the 19th control where I lost control.  As I left the 18th control I thought I was drifting off my compass going through the green and when I hit the trail I was confused and thought I could be at the trail junction to the NE. I continued to run down the trail until I was sure where I was and then attacked the control from there. I had another big miss at the 21st  control after losing some confidence from the mistake at #19. I ended up with a result that I was happy with (53rd) but I know I have the potential to do much better that I did. My orienteering is slowly starting to become more equal with my running speed but I didn't feel like I pushed hard enough at any point during the race.
Middle Finish
Photo: Robert Svoboda
WUOC Middle Route (right click and open in new tab for better quality)
     The relay was really exiting and the most enjoyable race I have ever run. I had a really great race in general but again it could have been a whole lot better. It was pretty chaotic at the start of the mass start and I was happy that I was able to do my own race so that I went to all the right forkings and not just run like an idiot and follow whoever. I was running very well up until right before the spectator control where I got a bit ahead of myself in planning the final loop after the spectator control and skipped the 16th control. Something just didn't seem right as I was running to the spectator control and then I realized I had skipped #16 and had to start running back to it, most likely swearing the whole time as I crashed through the green as fast as I could. It is a terrible feeling running by so many teams that you were ahead of just because you unintentionally missed a control. I was running in 12th up until that point but dropped to 20th and maintained that position to the changeover and tagged off to Eric who was running second. Eric had a good run and tagged off to Graeme who also had a decent run. We ended up finishing in 18th which is the best result Canada has ever had if I am not wrong.
WUOC Relay Route (right click and open in new tab for better quality)
    Thanks to coach Toni who gave us encouragement, advice and confidence when we needed it for each race and to team leader Jared who let us know everything that went on in the team leader meetings and who kept things organized. Also thanks to my teammates who made WUOC 2014 a memorable experience.

     Next up is the US individual Championships in New York followed by the North American Orienteering Championships in Ontario in early October on back to back weekends. I will now take a bit of time off from orienteering and let the body and mind recover after a long two months of orienteering away from home. It will be nice to get back on a more consistent training plan after racing in Europe which requires a lot of resting to be added into the training plan before the major competitions.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

WUOC Sprint

We got to do a bit of a different style of sprint this year, in that the races started in a zoo(!), was a mixed forest and urban sprint and had 115m of elevation (more than double our middle course the next day…)

Click here for a high resolution map.
The start triangle flag was about 10m from where we got our maps and the first legs were short, so you got thrown into fast decision making mode right off the bat. No room for errors! We then had a mixture of short and rout choice legs before a long leg in the middle that involved a right and left rout choice, but you had to make the decision before leaving the control.  Because it was a long leg (even the winning man took 3.21 mins to complete), you really had to choose wisely or could loose quite a bit of time! I came to the decision control just after seeing Frederic Tranchand taking off,(a top French runner who ended up placing third) and it was reassuring to see him also come to a full stop when making the rout choice. (oh course at the time I didn't know he was looking at the same rout choice I was).

On this leg, not only were you trying to quickly judge which one was shorter you also had to take into account the elevation in the town- not something you always have to for a sprint! I took what felt like eternity deciding and in the end I think I chose right(which was running left…J, although when I was pounding down the downhill cobble stone streets trying to maintain control over the uneven surface, I wasn’t sure...

The end of the course was more basic with rout choices that were slightly less punishing BUT the elevation was enough! I kept having to tell myself “just keep running” on the uphill leg between 8, 9 and 10, telling myself that it was completely inexcusable to walk in a sprint. It was at this point my legs were really feeling running the long from the day before. I think I am going to blame my legs, which  were requiring all the oxygen that I was breathing in,  and therefore leaving none for my brain and resulting in me running right past my 11th control and a 45 second error right before the finish. Although I wished I was able to run faster, (and cleaner) everyone else was hurting too and it ended up being my top result in the week.

Graeme coming down the finish -picture taken by Robert Svoboda
Damian and Graeme also ran the sprint. Both the boys got caught by the fast paced short legs in the beginning and in the unforgiving time restraints of a sprint unfortunately that is all it takes to harm a sprint race.

in quarantine before the start.  -picture taken by Robert Svoboda
As the closing ceremonies happened yesterday we have now wrapped up an action packed week for the Canadian University Orienteering team. A big thank you to Toni, for his helpful coaching throughout the week, to Jared for his help as a team lead, Robert Svoboda for all the fantastic photos and to all the tireless volunteers and organizers who helped make WUOC 2014 such a success!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Team Update

Just a quick update from the team during this packed week of races, with detailed reviews of the races from the athletes to follow.Very exciting news today from Olomouc, Czech Republic, Emily Kemp placed 5th in the middle distance event, narrowly missing the bronze position!

Yesterday was the Sprint which took place just outside of Olomouc in the zoo and surrounding village. The courses started with some short technical legs inside the zoo before a route-choicy long leg, which led onto the steep cobbled streets of the village. Team Canada was represented at the Sprint by Tori, Damian, and Graeme, with the following results:

47. Tori Owen
44. Damian Konotopetz
80. Graeme Rennie

Today was the middle distance race, taking place in Protivanov, about one hour West of Oloumoc. In between heavy downpours the runners carefully navigated through a technical course with areas of thick vegetation which required constant focus. The entire team raced today and along with Emily's 5th place, the team's results can be seen below:

5. Emily Kemp
83. Tori Owen
53. Damian Konotopetz
76. Graeme Rennie
82. Eric Kemp

Post-Race Split Comparison
The final race of the championships, the Relay, will take place tomorrow morning. The men's race will start at 10:15 AM and our team will begin with Damian, followed by Eric and Graeme. The women will race as a mixed team starting with Emily, followed by Tori  and the Australian Lauren Gillis. Their mass start is at 10:00 AM.

But before the festivities come to a close, the much awaited coaches race will test the athletic prowess of the team management, stay tuned for results! Check out these great shots of the Long yesterday, curtesy of the talented Robert Svoboda!

Eric Charging Down the Finish Chute

Emily's Final Control
North American Celebration 

Concentration Down to the Last Second

Thursday, August 14, 2014

WUOC Sprint Relay

The first race of these World University Championships took place in the beautiful city of Kroměříž an hour’s drive from our home base in Olomouc. I haven't run very many Sprint Relays but I was super excited to be able to participate in this one and run the first leg to boot! Unfortunately the announcer counted down in Czech so I really had no idea when we were supposed to GO! Thankfully, in the list of countries Czech Republic is just after Canada so as soon as she took off I was close on her heels!

Me, Emily Kemp, in the mass start.
 In the wise words of Coach Toni, I knew that I was there not for running, but for orienteering. This was key since from the map below you can see how much forking there was. And I can tell you that it was definitely best to keep one's nose glued to the map because there were people running EVERYWHERE!! The majority of the course being in the park meant that visibility was at 100% and sometimes I could see multiple controls at once!

It was a fast paced race but I made sure to always make my own choices so it turned out that I was able to send Damian off in 5th just 40 sec off the leaders!

Damian Konotopetz pushing the pace at the spectator control.
"I was excited to go out close to the leaders but I was still able to do my own race". -Damian
Not only did he do his own race but he did a great race sticking with the countries he had gone out with and sending off Tori in 8th position.

The last meter until Tori Owen passes off the relay to Graeme Rennie.
The long leg in the park was tricky and the stinging nettle hidden in the grass was extra stingy but Tori did a superb job under the pressure of sprinting for your team!

Graeme Rennie finishing off the relay with speed and style!
 Graeme was on last leg which is a tough job in the best of times but even more so when it was his first time running a Sprint Relay! He blasted through the course bringing us into a beautiful 17th position!

Way to go Team Canada!!!!
A happy relay team!!!
All photos are courtesy of the talented photographer Robert Svoboda.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sprint relay & long distance

The first race at the World University Orienteering Championships (WUOC) this year was the sprint relay. This is a mixed-gender relay, with 2 men and 2 women. Emily Kemp started out for Canada, handing over in 5th to Damian Konotopetz. Damian had a great run to bring the team to the next changeover in 8th place. Tori Owen handed over to Graeme Rennie in 15th place, and Graeme brought the team home in 17th! Not a bad result for our athletes. Stay tuned to the blog for updates from the athlete's on their race!

Sprint relay team L to R - Damian Konotopetz, Emily Kemp, Graeme Rennie, Tori Owen. Photo credit: Robert Svoboda

Today was the long distance. On the men's side, Eric Kemp and Graeme Rennie raced for Canada, coming in 70th and 73rd respectively. On the women's side, Emily Kemp came in 18th, and Tori came in 76th. Nice work guys!

There's no TV coverage like with WOC, but you can view live results, maps, and split times on the WUOC website.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is the sprint race. Friday is the middle distance, and Saturday is the relay... pretty packed schedule, but our awesome athletes can handle it! Leave your messages of support for our athletes in the comments! GO CANADA GO!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The 19th World University Orienteering Championships are officially open!

All parts of the Canadian University Orienteering Team have now arrived in Olomouc, Chez Republic. We are staying in University dorms and so far everything has been well organized and close by, which makes things easy for usJ
Model middle map 
This past weekend was the official training weekend and most of our athletes were able to make it onto all of their model maps.

The forest maps here have had nice runnable white forest with some denser dark green sections. In general visibility is pretty good.  Though they present a challenge with intricate networks of ditches, streams and rides, and for the middle an absence of distinct contour features…

Graeme running in the model sprint relay 

We have filled our spare time with resting, mini carting, mini golfing and castle viewing! J

Eric lining up a shot

The super safe mini carts :P

Mini cart track of doom - NB no athletes were injured during this outing 
Last night was the opening ceremonies – The 19th World University Orienteering Championships are officially open!

The first event, the mixed sprint relay, is happening this afternoon. On the Canadian team we have Emily Kemp, Damian Konotopetz, Tori Owen, and Graeme Rennie.

Friday, August 8, 2014

World University Championships (WUOC) ~ Coming soon!

The Canadian Team has arrived in Olomouc, Czech Republic for the World University Orienteering Championships (WUOC)! The four day WUOC training camp has just come to a close, and the official model events begin today and continue over the weekend. The official races will run next week from Tuesday, August 12 to Saturday, August 16.

The 2014 Canadian WUOC Team consists of five athletes. The womens team consists of Emily Kemp and Tori Owen and the mens team includes Eric Kemp, Damian Konotopetz, and Graeme Rennie. Toni Louhisola the Senior Athlete Coach will be coaching Team Canada throughout the duration of the competition.

The schedule for the week and which athletes will compete in each of the five WUOC races is shown below.

Monday August 11 - WUOC Opening Ceremony

Tuesday August 12 - Sprint Mixed Relay
Emily Kemp, Tori Owen, Damian Konotopetz, Graeme Rennie

Wednesday August 13 - Long
Emily Kemp, Tori Owen, Eric Kemp, Graeme Rennie

Thursday August 14 - Sprint
Tori Owen, Damian Konotopetz, Graeme Rennie

Friday August 15 - Middle
Emily Kemp, Tori Owen, Eric Kemp, Damian Konotopetz, Graeme Rennie

Saturday August 16 - Relay, WUOC Closing Ceremonies
Eric Kemp, Damian Konotopetz, Graeme Rennie

We will be posting updates to the blog during the preliminary events and especially during the races next week, so stay tuned!