Saturday, November 13, 2010

PWT: China Part 2 – Because if TV shows can draw a story out….

Post middle-distance race, we had a day off. Well, sort of. In theory we were all supposed to go and race at the China 100m orienteering championships, but it appeared to be decided that we would show up, but weren't going to do it. I was actually a little bummed, I’d seen a map of it before, and I wanted to do it! But, I was the non-vocal minority, so, we all showed up in jeans ready to watch, cheer, and then proceed to the Forbidden City to do some sightseeing. We were then informed that yes, we were definitely racing. To be completely honest, considering twice on this trip we had anticipating doing/not doing something and the complete opposite happened, so I actually brought my running stuff, but no one else did, so I didn't want to be the only one rolling up to the start line actually prepared. As you can see by the photo, it’s some of the world’s best ready to rock this race, completely unprepared.

I should touch on this race because while many of the Europeans were less than impressed by it, I thought it was a really great race idea. It was a super short race, about 800 metres, on a really small scale map. It took us about 3:40. After a qualifying round which appeared to take the top 24, they then had 2 mass start heats of 12 which appeared to be an A final and a B final.

Obviously there were several butterflies, and a bunch of changes in direction. It was not super difficult; I had some issues with figuring out which number to go to next, since one had 9/11/17 on it. Counting is hard! As a bonus, all of this was done in the shadow of the Bird’s Nest Stadium, a really great place to hold something like this. Anyway, I think with a little creativity with course making, you could make a great super-sprint a la skiing, with Top 30 qualifying, and then quarters, semis, and finals. It could be done in a particularly small urban area. Yet another possible way to make orienteering (albeit quasi-) seem a little cooler in our country. Check out the neat photo Murray took at this race here: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GVHvMioVmgQ/TMpz5uxjbTI/AAAAAAAAAgI/3Hap3mwKfSI/s1600/SDC10911.JPG. Post race I did about think I spent about 20 minutes signing autographs, again I assume because I’m just really tall.

Afterwards we did the world’s fastest tour through the Forbidden City, somewhat to my chagrin, and then popped over to look around Tiananmen Square and related sites, got accosted by more “students” who want to show us their “school”, which is really just an attempt to sell us their paintings.

Sadly, our trip was nearing its end, but we still had one final race. Apparently it was originally supposed to again around the Olympic Stadium, but something happened and we went back to the Summer Palace to race there. There is no shortage of cool places to race in Beijing. Well, it was my first time in China, so its all cool. Except the bathrooms. Not cool at all. The race was basically held at the foot of a relatively round, though large, hill, with some nice buildings on top. If you’ve seen the map of the race from the PWT website (found here: http://www.pwt.org/download/maps2010/China2010_3.gif), you can see we ran above the palace. The race was probably my favourite of the year, simply because of the neat location we were racing in, the sights along the way, and the different challenges we encountered during the race. It had a little bit of everything, and really felt like an adventure of a sprint race. I had a great time. I would have liked to be a bit faster, I made a bit of a mistake going from one to two as I followed the creek and saw a tunnel but read the map to mean it was blocked off, though on closer inspection later, it wasn’t, and I could have run right through it, instead of going back and around. Still, I beat some fast people, and was very close to other fast people, but still my typical 1:45 behind the winner. Curse you, 1 minute and 45 seconds! Here’s a photo I took in the style of Magnus’ photo from Trondheim (though photoshopped from two photos), looking towards the route from 8 to 9 and the tree where 9 used to be.

Eventually, it was time to fly back to England, but I, and everyone else, was immensely satisfied with the trip. We all had a lengthy discussion about how coming to China should be a more regular occurrence, that we would be willing to be more involved, perhaps by doing some map making or some coaching. Its worth noting, too, that I chatted with a bunch of the group (including a certain World Sprint Champ), and they all said they’d be super keen to come to Canada to do some orienteering. They were all very understanding of the budgetary constraints we face and couldn’t quite mimic what China has done, but they mostly came on the trip because it was a really great way to end the season anyway. Do some travelling, some racing, and just have a good time. I think that if we came up with some sort of two week mini-tour of Edmonton-Calgary-Canmore-Kamloops-Vancouver/Whistler which involved some racing, some sightseeing, and volunteers with beds along the way, we’d have some solid interest. I’m sure the same thing would be possible in the east as well. Let’s make it happen!

I’m happy to have checked China off my list of countries to have orienteered in. I ate more rice in a week than I think I have ever had in my entire life, and sampled many meats of which the source was entirely unknown. I can't count the number of times I heard "Hey beautiful man you want jacket I give you cheap price?". I think my lungs are significantly more charred after a week of breathing the air. We spent an inordinate amount of time on a bus stuck in traffic. Or in a taxi stuck in traffic, or shoulder charging my way onto the subway. Or hitting my head on everything. BUT, if the opportunity comes up again, I will be the first to book a flight. And you should come too!

And, of course, a big thanks to the Park World Tour, and Nordic Ways, a sports company that brings nordic sports to China. What a great idea! I wonder if they're hiring?



Friday, October 29, 2010

Park World Tour: China-licious!

When I was in Scotland for my first PWT (or, oft referred to by the Euros as the PVT) event in September, at some point during the banquet, the organizers said that there might be another PWT this year, possibly in China. I leaned to the person sitting beside me and said, “If that happens, I’m totally going”. Though I had some steak and kidney pie in my mouth at the time and he may not have understood what I was saying, the point was, I didn’t care what I was doing, if I could orienteer in China, I would drop everything and do it. 6 weeks later, and I did! Despite moving halfway across England (think… Edmonton to Calgary!), starting an internship and having an exam the day after I get back, I hit China as the lone athlete from Canada to provide my unique brand of orienteering (Start à Get Lost à Repeat).

I arrived in Beijing to exactly what someone might expect from China, with very very low visibility due to presumably a combination of cloud and smog. The adventure immediately started when my friendly pick-up from the airport dropped me off at a building at the Beijing Sport University, lead me to the lobby with the smoking security guard, said “goodbye”, and left. Turns out there were people waiting for me down a couple of hallways, but there was some brief minutes of extreme concern being left in a random place in a country where absolutely nobody speaks your language. And, as it turns out, China is an extremely foreign country.

Once all the dust settled I found my place to stay; rooming with the Czechs, who were cool guys. For the next couple of days we had some opportunities to do some training and some sightseeing around town.

The second training was in conjunction with what appeared to be the school relays of the Chinese Championships at the Olympic forest, a fully man-made park just North of the Olympic venues. Looking at Google Earth its actually much bigger than we experienced, it’s a shame we only used such a small area.

Anyway, the event was an impressive sight, tons and tons of school children running around, all super keen about orienteering.

Many of them were pretty fast, but tended to lose time because they all employed the time tested strategy of “run really fast. Stop. Run really fast. Stop.” Still, it was a sight to behold, and the Chinese did really well with making the start exciting with a big mass start with a long run out before hitting the start triangle. It meant everyone basically left the stadium running. I took notes.

The next day it was our turn to compete as part of the Chinese National Championships sprint. It was in the same area, using part of the same map as well a new part. It was unfortunate because despite being a potentially fun and confusing area, it was probably not used to its maximum because the course was relatively easy. Naturally, I found a way to drop the ball on number 10, but despite that it was largely a runner’s course. I ended up 11th, but that was okay because of the caliber of runners that were there. As an “elite” orienteer, I probably had no business being there! I finished my standard 1:45 behind the winner, who happened to also be the sprint world champion. Unfortunately it also seems like the world ranking numbers didn’t think he tried very hard, and I didn’t get nearly as good world ranking points as I would have hoped.

Here’s the map of the race http://www.pwt.org/download/maps2010/China2010_1.gif . Legs 4-5 and 5-6 are indicative of the less than ideal course planning. But, regardless of that, it was still super fun, there were tons of people, and the Chinese deserve mad props for the event. Post-race, we all gathered on stage and stood around while several gazillion pictures were taken of us as a group, and we spent another 10 minutes taking pictures with people. I think my main attraction was that I was two feet taller than everyone else.

After of day of re-hydrating and visiting this…only kind of impressive wall-like structure in the middle of China, we had another race, a middle-distance-ish race at Bei Gong Forest Park, north of town. The first thing we did on race day was get stuck in traffic. For two hours. This also included missing the turn to the race and getting the bus stuck on a powerline. It should also be noted that the trip home took about 25 minutes.

The race itself was really fun, as per usual it took me three or four controls to get the hang of things, so I try not to look at the results list. Instead, I’m pleased about the fact that I hung on to the two Austrians that caught me, lead them for a couple of controls, and managed to drop them on occasion. Scratch the waste and I would have dropped a solid 3 or 4 minutes. The terrain was a kooky little mix of brush and open terraces. Here’s the race map: http://www.pwt.org/download/maps2010/China2010_2.gif.

There were holes everywhere which for most of the race I was convinced with graves, which made me terrified to fall in one. You’ll notice that there are graves marked on the map, so I was convinced all the other holes were empty graves too! Turns out they are apparently holes for new trees. But, at the time, definitely graves. I had to detract my mental opinions that I thought it was highly inappropriate to put a control on the dirt knoll that was made from digging a grave. Sorry China, minor mis-understanding. Also of note were the remarkably aggressive thorns of the Chinese countryside. The picture shows the size of the two thorns that were just about 80% into my leg. I had to stop after getting hit by one of them because I thought I'd just be bitten by something. Youch!

Post-race, I went for a jog up the mountain with Murray and got a solid view of the city. Now that the weather was finally clear, we got a fantastic view of the city, and it is very impressive. Rather than word it, here’s a picture:

At this point, there was still one more day of sightseeing, which included a fun little event which I think we should do sometime, a visit to the forbidden city, and the final PWT sprint at the Summer Palace. Part 2 will happen when it happens!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Adventures in France, Continued.

I've been in France for nearly three weeks and each weekend has been packed with orienteering. The first two weekends held the World Cups in Annecy and Geneva, which you can read about below. This past weekend was an action-packed two days hosted by the St-Étienne club NOSE.

The adventure started with a winding drive through the Parc Naturel Livradois-Forez. In contrast to National Parks, a Parc Naturel is intended to protect not only the natural setting but also traditional ways of life. You could really see the need for this protection as we passed by many boarded up buildings in villages in danger of extinction.

The orienteering started with a middle distance in some tricky rocky terrain at the Chalmazel Ski Station. This was a great event and we even had gps tracking for the elites! You can see the map and some embarrassing gps tracks here ;)

Shortly after the middle finished, it was time for a night-0 on the same map. Using my connections (i.e., Emily), I was able to stay with NOSE (plus Theirry Gueorgiou, Olav Lundanes and Johan Runesson) at a ski lodge right on the map. The club provided amazing food: roast duck, stuffed pork, yummy salads, lots of cheese and fruit! Everyone was so nice and welcoming.

Sunday morning we woke up to snow! People did not believe me when I said it was probably warmer in Canada. However, a fun relay made it worth getting out of our warm beds! And that was that, another great orienteering weekend close to my new home :)

View from the spectator control down to the ski area.  Photo: Loic Le Goff

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Athletes' Rep Report

The AthletesCAN Forum is coming up at the end of the month. I am really excited to participate again this year. Last year, Patrick Goeres was able to step in for me as my son, Stian, was due right around the Forum date. This year, as it is being held in Gatineau, the COF has chipped in for locals, Eric Kemp and Jeff Teutsch, to take part. Jeff will be helping in the KidsCAN School Day, too.

In preparation for the Forum, we were asked to reflect a bit on our role this past season. I thought it would be worth sharing my thoughts. You can check out the Athletes Rep Report to see what the High Performance Committee and I have been up to this past year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Canada represents at World Cup races

After an eventful September, with half the Canadian Women's Team relocating to France, Carol Ross and Emily Kemp have burst onto the World Cup scene... well at least we're finishing! Let's just say that World Cup events here are just a smidge tricky ;)


Our debut started in the beautiful French Alp town of Annecy. Day 1 was action packed, starting with the Orient-Show. This unique event took place in an arena with a fence maze and lots of snazzy blow up features. Everyone ran 3 three-minute races and then the fastest runners qualified for the semi-final, and if they really were fast enough, the final! It was pretty darn exciting to watch and the media was there in full force interviewing Carol on French radio... in french!!!

Orient-Show amazing-ness!!


By the time all of the buzz from the Orient-show had died down, it was already time to start warming up for the sprint in downtown Annecy. Fortunately, those who missed the memo about it being a night sprint were able to exchange their passport for the use of a petzl headlamp. Phew!


Carol tearing up the field!


Day 2 held the major event of the weekend... the grueling 9km long distance. This was real orienteering; crevasses to evade, hills to trudge up, and enough contours details at a 1:15000 scale to make you cross-eyed. We suggest that anyone who has WOC 2011 on their calendar should brush up on their magnifier skills.

With only 5 days of recovery, we were right back in amongst the company of Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou except this time at the World Cup Final in Geneva, Switzerland.


We started out with a 5km middle distance course which was quite refreshing after our adventures in Annecy. The terrain was, again, very physically challenging with some real Swiss style climb... up and down.

Is it a Dane? Is it a Czech? No! It's a Suisse!! It's Daniel Hubmann!!!


The elite runner’s season came to a spectacular finish on Sunday with the PostFinance Sprint. The race was set up so that spectators were able to see runners hot off the starting ramp, then again as they surged through the map exchange, and finally when they blazed into the finish. Lots of excitement going on everywhere!!



My goodness, those were two pretty hard core weekends but with some great company all-round!! Even though this World Cup season is over we've already put next season's World Cups on the horizon! You never know, these two Canadians may make top 40 ranked next year and you'll see us on the starting list for the PostFinance Sprint alongside Simone Niggli and Helena Jansson! ;)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Turkey Trot 2010

Last weekend Eric K. and I travelled from Ottawa down to Toronto for the annual ‘Turkey Trot’ event. The event was a good chance to get some more racing in on different terrain, and to act as a warm-up weekend ahead of GLOF and the US Champs in October. In addition, a very generous $100 prize was on the line for the best overall Male and Female runners, which was very enticing.

The weekend started off with the Middle distance at York County Forest, north-east of Toronto on the Oak Ridges Moraine. My race was pretty sloppy as I wasn't focusing on the map well. The course wasn’t very difficult, yet I made several small mistakes of 30s to a minute. I attribute some of this due to the fact that I assumed the map scale was 1:10000 when it was in fact 1:5000. Needless to say I was over-running controls the whole course. Rookie mistake! I ended up in 4th place, approximately 5min behind the winner, Nick Duca. While I was fairly far back after just the first race, I was optimistic that my next races would go better and that I could still be in contention for the $100 prize. The map with my route and the results can be found below.

Middle Results

Middle Map

Middle/Sprint Terrain

Fast, open woods

On Saturday afternoon the sprint race was held on the same map. I was looking forward to improving on my morning performance and getting my technique sorted out. I had a clean race and was running fast throughout, and managed to get 1st place. I lost 20s on a routechoice mistake to control 10, but that was the extent of my time lost. Eric also had a good run, and ended up in 2nd place, 30s back. I managed to make up 3min on Nick Duca in the sprint, however I found out afterwards that the overall prize was based only on the middle and long, meaning the gap was still 5min going into Sunday.

Sprint Results

Sprint Map

Poison Ivy... :S

The long race was held at Eldred King Forest, in similar terrain to Saturday’s races. My aim was to run really hard the whole way and hope I could hold on technically. The first two thirds of my race was really good, I was moving really fast and smoothly and had lost very little time. Unfortunately things started to fall apart in the last part of the course, highlighted by a 2.5min mistake to 18. I came into the finish in 2nd place, 5s behind Eric! I was satisfied with the race but had no hope that I had made up any time on Nick. To my luck though, Nick made a large mistake on the second last control, in a vague area, and came in over 5min behind my time. I had won the $100! (Sorry Nick)

Long Results

Overall Results

Long Map

Overall it was a great weekend and it was really exciting to see Ottawa OC at the top of the results in both the sprint and long races. A very big thanks to TOC and UKR clubs for organizing the event, and for donating such generous prizes.

F21 and M21 medalists. F21 winner was Elena Logvina of GHO (far left) .

Eric and I with our 'loot'

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Washington, DC Update


A dispatch from, as far as I know, Ottawa Orienteering Club's most southern member.

Not counting a couple of small street-O/social events, the local fall orienteering season in the DC area kicked off on September 19th with a National Orienteering Day score orienteering event at Lake Accotink, a smallish park just outside the Beltway in the Virginia suburbs. It was a lovely day and an unusually well-attended event for the venue with about 115 starts on a map where QOC (Quantico Orienteering Club) has been accustomed to getting barely more than half that. Hopefully, a good omen for the orienteering season to come. But I and a number of other QOC members were busy elsewhere that morning at the Bushwhacker Adventure Running Race - not what you might expect if you're familiar with GHO's adventure running events but a nominally 10 mile trail race through parkland along the Occoquan River with off-trail shortcuts permitted and only three obligatory e-punching checkpoints enroute. The race has been held three times in the past but scheduling conflicts kept me away. This time I made it along with five other QOC members and, unsurprisingly, we did pretty well against a field of runners and adventure racers - I won overall by about 7 minutes, Peggy Dickison won F50-55 thumpingly by finishing third female overall, and the other four orienteers grabbed the first four places in M45-49. Somewhat like shooting fish in a barrel, perhaps, but a banner day for QOC nonetheless. As the newly minted QOC president, I'm particularly happy that most of the orienteers running wore either their QOC orienteering uniform tops or the new QOC running singlet, which I model in the picture above.

I think I caught the photographer by surprise - he seemingly managed to get frontal shots of all the racers behind me. In any case, I can hope that contributed a little bit to raising the profile of orienteering locally. If we're really lucky, whatever the freelance writer I talked to who was there on behalf of Runner's World writes will actually make it into the magazine, which might inspire others to try similar race formats and incidentally raise the profile of orienteering more broadly, even if only slightly.

I followed that up with, since I was stiffening up noticeably, a less than full speed run of the score-O that afternoon and some control pickup. A day well spent and, with NAOC, WOC and COC behind us, a good beginning to the no particular pressure, just have fun and the results will be what they will be but it would be nice to make it through to winter without serious injury fall phase of the orienteering season. That means, in addition to a fairly heavy schedule of local QOC events, the Hudson Highlander tomorrow, the Golden Leaf O Fest next weekend, the US Classic Championships the weekend after that and DVOA's Hickory Run event the first weekend of November. Plus, of course, the fairly heavy schedule of local QOC events. Hopefully, I've recovered well enough from August over the course of a month of mostly cross training to get through all of that without this season's nagging injury - a chronically tight and fragile feeling left hamstring - flaring up into something debilitating that would compromise winter training.

So, a busy fall of orienteering awaits. Which is nothing new, in contrast to the position as QOC president to which I'm still adjusting. Fortunately, the QOC Maryland and Virginia Vice Presidents and others in the club are perfectly competent to keep our local event schedule ticking over with little, if any, help from me other than to keep my powder dry to design courses in the event that they have trouble recruiting a course setter for a local event. Nevertheless, it's a big change from my previous fairly high level of involvement in club affairs that everything is now my business and that promoting orienteering is now my job rather than just a hobby. To date, that's largely meant a fair bit of effort over the summer and the first couple of weeks of September assembling a new QOC web site. So far, it's mostly an aesthetic and organisational improvement over what preceded it, though we also tried to to make it much more helpful to beginning orienteers in terms of content describing orienteering and orienteering technique, but the plan is to roll out much more interactive functionality in the year to come, much of it integrated with similar changes to the Orienteering USA web site, which is also undergoing a Web 2.0 redesign. Hopefully, having a web site that doesn't look several years out of date alone will have at least a marginal effect of making QOC more attractive to prospective new orienteers.

Beyond the web site, keeping the club ticking over and working towards our next A event (timing and venues still TBD and therefore on the agenda for the next Board of Directors meeting), I get to try and dream up other ways to attract and retain new orienteers. Mostly attract. Not to say what QOC offers is beyond improving but I tend to think there would be a lot more orienteers in North America if everyone who would like it if they tried it had heard about it and tried it. So I'm focusing on raising awareness of the existence of orienteering generally and QOC in particular. The new singlets were one effort in that direction that I was involved with last year - you can't see much of it in the photograph above but they have "QOC ORIENTEERING" printed quite boldly on the back, sending the twin messages "Something called orienteering exists" and "There's an orienteering club in this area that you could check out". I don't expect a rush of new participants just from that but it can't hurt. It was also nice having them in time for last season's annual meeting - we gave one apiece to the juniors who showed up regularly for training sessions in QOCs small junior program in recognition of their dedication.

I've also been toying with the idea of having QOC host a trail race, no navigation involved, on the theory that people interested in a trail race may be relatively good prospects compared to dedicated road runners and that having an event we could put on local running event calendars without the intimidation factor of off-trail navigation being involved could also serve to raise our profile and drive some traffic to our web site that might notice the rest of our schedule while they're there. I've been shot down by one possible venue, a national park conveniently close to DC but with apparently an inconveniently extreme level of concern for the state of their trails and the impact a running race might have on them, so it's back to the drawing board as to where we might try this and when. In the meantime, we've just been approached by a local running club planning a new 50K trail race in one of our mapped parks about whether we could customise our map for their purposes so we may be able to realise some of the same benefits I was envisioning from hosting a trail race by negotiating to do that in exchange for some publicity in the form of our brochure in the race packets, fairly prominent attribution of the customised map to QOC, and the like.

Hopefully other and perhaps better ideas will come to me - suggestions are welcome. I certainly shouldn't have any trouble finding things to think about during long training runs this winter under the new dispensation.

No doubt many of the likely readers of this are coming to GLOF in Hamilton next weekend. See you there.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ottawa Update

The orienteering scene in Ottawa is awash with strong orienteers and large collection of amazing event organizers. This fact was well proven at the Canadian Orienteering Championships this summer with the Ottawa Orienteering Club snatching 31 medals, 11 of them gold, to say nothing of the quality of the event itself. While hosting the COCs has exhausted everyone involved it has also inspired a lot of confidence in many of our event organizers and hopes are high for next year’s Ontario Championships, to be held in Ottawa. There is also some talk of bidding for the 2012 North American Orienteering Championships, and, assuming it actually happens, I wouldn’t hesitate to bet on it being a good one.

Canadian middle distance medalists: Mike Smith, Robbie Anderson, and Magnus Johansson, with event director, Richard Guttormson, bottom left.
(Photo thanks to Wil Smith)

On top of all that, the club has recently set up club running training sessions. These sessions occur every Wednesday evening and are open to everyone who is interested in dedicating time to improving their running technique and speed. We are very lucky to have a certified track coach – Francis Kawam – in the club and he has graciously stepped forward to lead these sessions. Better yet, in a fantastic show of enthusiasm, he is working with each of us to create tailored training plans! Thanks Francis!

The training program started last Wednesday with an interval session on trails in a city park. Supposedly it was a lot of fun and I’m sad I had to miss it. I should be there starting this week though and I’m looking forward to training with the group! I met with Francis at a local meet this morning and we quickly decided on a basic training plan for me for the near future. The week will start with a 1 hr LSD run on Monday and my bike commute to and from school (roughly 25 min each way). Tuesday is just biking to and from school, Wednesday is the group interval day and will also include biking. Thursday is listed as 35-45 min of running with strides and Friday is another biking only day. Saturday I’ll be doing a long warm up to stay loose and Sunday mornings are local races. Hopefully that won’t be too hard to balance with my school work and I’ll be able to graduate no problem next spring without having to sacrifice any training. The next tests are the Golden Leaf Orienteering Festival in Hamilton and the US Champs north of Albany, New York. My hopes are high, and I’m excited to be in Ottawa at the moment with all the promising things going on!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sass Peepre Junior Camp

Today I returned home to Whitehorse after a wonderful week of orienteering in the national capital area. The Sass Peepre camp started out with a race in the Gatineau. Day one of the camp came with a massive rain storm. Personally I have never orienteered in rain like that before so footing was very important. The Farsta race was one of my favourite events of the week along with the Chase sprint at Carleton University. My course had two loops with different forking, so there were people running around in all different directions. The map itself wasn't all that big making it even more exciting because there were always people in your vicinity. Much like most Canadians, the majority of my orienteering has been done alone, well what I means is during my average orienteering meet I don't see very many people out on the course. So for me it was challenging but great practice to be able to have to orienteer with all the people running around and acting as distractions. One of my focuses for the race was to run my own race and not to be led astray by other runners and this, I did. The Farsta was a really cool race and a great start to the Junior Camp.

During the camp we were all very fortunate to have such wonderful parent volunteers who prepared meals for us after our races and training sessions. Day 2 was a Classic race put on by the neighbouring Loup-Garou Orienteering Club. Unlike the day before, Monday was sunny and warm making it a perfect day for an O-Maze on the beach in the afternoon. Juniors and coaches battled against each other through the intricate maze.The day's festivities were not yet over though, in the evening we all ventured across the locks to the Arboretum. Most of us with our headlamps but not all. A few of the older guys tested their orienteering skills and did the night-O course with only the light of the moon.

In this year's camp there was no wasted time. There was no race on Tuesday but that only meant more time for training. After being put into groups we were out for 2 morning sessions and then 2 more after lunch. I learned a lot during these training sessions and it was wonderful for all the athletes to have different coaches working with them.

On Wednesday morning the camp was drawing to a close. As per tradition we had the amazing relay race. My team with Magnus and Scott did very well but sadly we wound up just short of the podium. Next year. Then there was the final race of the camp THE CHASE SPRINT. This race I have crowned my favourite race of the summer. I love urban sprints to start with so this event was great because it had the extra excitement component added to it. After the prologue the real fun began. I started out the Chase part as the rabbit being chased by everyone else. It was nerve-racking and exciting at the same time. After our race was over we were able to become spectators and watch the close finishes between the elite men. This finish was great to see with multiple runners in the finish shoot at the same time.

The Camp was amazing and I can't wait until next year's junior camp. I would like to thank Anne Teutsch for all the time she put in to organizing the camp as well as all the other volunteers that helped make it such a success.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

JWOC Debut

Finishing the JWOC Long in Aalborg, Denmark

Hello! I’m Emily Ross, 18-years-old, and from New Brunswick. This past July I had the great opportunity to attend the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Aalborg, Denmark as part of Team Canada for the first time. At first I was a little hesitant and nervous about competing at such a high level, but it turned out to be a fabulous experience that made me even more excited to orienteer!

As you may know, athletes get to run all the races at JWOC, which made it very orienteering-filled. The first race was the sprint and even though I made a mistake I came back so excited and pumped for the rest of the week. I did not have many goals results wise, so I just focused on trying my best and having fun—something I feel that I accomplished. It was pretty amazing to run the same courses as these orienteering superstars that you hear about. The level that these athletes are at and the dedication that they have is inspiring. At the same time, I feel I had my accomplishments as well, such as finishing the long! And keeping up with Emma Kligenberg from Denmark for a few legs in the middle qualifier (but I made sure not to get distracted when our legs were forked). I found that while I’m not at the level of some countries there are still several runners that I can compare and compete with. Plus, I have new goals and higher hopes for next year.

The atmosphere at JWOC is also pretty unique. Everyone is the same age as you and loves orienteering just as much, if not more. While things are serious, there is also time for fun like playing ultimate Frisbee with the Brits and Australians or watching the World Cup soccer games with the Spanish (whose team was in the final). What is also neat is that you run into these orienteers at other large events in the summer, such as O-Ringen. Plus I became a lot closer with the other members of Team Canada, which I feel is really important for fostering the orienteering community within Canada as well encouraging each other with training throughout the rest of the year. And last but not least, running for Canada was pretty incredible and empowering. At the end of the sprint one girl asked me for my autograph (I originally thought that she had confused me with Emily Kemp, but it turned out that she just really liked Canada) and I could hear people cheering for Canada while running through spectator controls and to the finish.

Hopefully I’ll get to experience JWOC again next year with even more girls running for Team Canada! I’d like to especially thank Randy Kemp and Jeff Teutsch for their work as team leaders (hopefully we didn’t get into too many shenanigans), Magnus Johansson for his work as national team coach, and Charlotte MacNaughton for her work as COF president. There were so many more who helped me and the team along the way—I truly appreciate everything you did for us! Finally, I highly recommend JWOC for those up-and-coming juniors who want to pursue orienteering. It’s a unique experience and one that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Emily on TV

Photos from WOC 2010 in Norway

Here are some photo albums from the World Champs. Click on the thumbnails to see the album.

Sprint Qualification album







Middle qualification album



Middle final album


Relay album

WOC Wrap-Up: By Adrian Zissos

A fantastic World Orienteering Championships is now over. The last day of competition, as always, was the women’s & men’s relay. These races were filled with great performance, high drama, and a few tears.

The women were first and Canada did fantastically well. Carol Ross, showing she is maturing quickly ran a strong first leg, keeping her head in the chaos of the mass start. She handed over to Louise Oram in 17th position. Louise showed her growing confidence in her abilities with another strong run (following her great 28th place in the middle distance final) and handed off to Sandy Hott, still in 17th. Sandy, running on almost no sleep thanks to a feverish baby, ran an astonishingly fast race and pulled the team up two positions into 15th. A great result for the team, that will only get stronger as the confidence and experience continues to grow.

At the head of the women’s race it was high drama, with Finland and home-team Norway dropping the rest of the teams on the last leg and battling it out to the final control where finally the Finnish runner escaped with an unmatchable final sprint – to win with just a few seconds.

Then it was the men’s turn. Canada was led out by Patrick Goeres who ran just 5 minutes slower than the first place teams – handing off to Mike Smith in 22nd place, just in front of Brazil, New Zealand, and USA. Mike ran another good leg for Canada, but was passed by the Irish, Spanish, and Belarus teams, dropping Canada to 25th. Nick Duca ran the anchor leg for Canada, dropping two more spots to Brazil & Belgium, but most importantly keeping in front of the USA to make it a double victory in the relay for the Canadians over the USA!

At the front of the men’s relay it was again high drama. The final leg saw seven teams starting within a few seconds. The French were first off, with the Russians just one second behind. The Norwegians, Great Britain, Switzerland, Czech, and Swedish teams were all chasing, less than 15 seconds behind. Gueorgiou for France was pushing hard and soon the lead pack was just France and Valentin Novikov the Russian. They had built a small gap over the chase pack. But just as they approached the stadium the “Curse of Henri” struck unexpectedly – just when it looked as if the French were in control we could see something was going strange on the tracking. Gueorgiou was taking some crazy route to control 17. Then it became too crazy and we all realized he was not going to #17. He had not seen this control and was in fact running toward control 18. A hush fell over the arena as the speaker had to be more silent so that he would not alert the Frenchman to his mistake. Finally Gueorgiou realizes when he does hear the speaker, but by now it is too late – he returns to punch the control but now can do no better than 8th place, while Novikov finishes comfortably in first place. The battle for the other medals is won by Norway, and with Merz out-sprinting Fraser (GBR) to win the bronze for Switzerland. For the fans it was tragic to see Gueorgiou miss a relay medal again – the third time running. Two years ago he was stung by a bee when he was leading with just a few controls remaining; last year (I hope you all remember) he lost a medal when he stopped to help an injured competitor, and now for the third time in a row something bizarre stops him from winning. As the arena announcer said, “Perhaps WOC Relay is not Gueorgiou’s cup of tea”.

Congratulations to the organizers and to all of the competitors. It was a tremendous week for orienteering. The event set new standards in live coverage, and the atmosphere was superb everywhere. And for me it was very inspiring – I had a blast running in the public races. What a great sport when I get back from my own race, bleeding, sweating like crazy, and covered in swamp mud, and all I want to do is go back out for some more!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Middle F - Louise breaks into top 30!

Louise Oram ran a scorching race today in the Middle Final to finish tied for 28th! On the live tracking we could see that she took the first three controls very quickly and it looked as if she was about to catch up to the French runner who started two minutes in front. But then it seemed that Louise was fighting with her compass, and so instead of catching the runner in front of her, instead she dropped some time and was caught by the Polish runner who had started two minutes later. At this point things could have gone either way - but Louise seemed to settle in, and she had a fabulous middle section of the course, storming around the rest of the course and moving up into the top 30.

A truly superb performance – and still room for improvement! In the photo you can see Louise running in towards the arena for the spectator loop.

The atmosphere in the arena was fantastic again. Amazing coverage on the big screens, TV splits from the terrain and continuous GPS tracks kept the excitement up throughout. In the women's race we could see Simone Niggle make a critical mistake on one of the last controls on the GPS and how Minna Kauppi explored the opportunity and took the Gold. For the men, it was a breathtaking battle of seconds, where Carl Waaler Kaas from Norway beat out Peter Öberg of Sweden with 7 seconds. Here is a little video clip showing Kaas run in the finish chute.

Tomorrow is the relay and Canada's teams are:

Women - Start at 11:30 am local time:
-------------------------------------
Leg 1: Carol Ross
Leg 2: Louise Oram
Leg 3: Sandy Hott

Men - Start at 1:15 pm local time:
----------------------------------
Leg 1: Patrick Goeres
Leg 2: Mike Smith
Leg 3: Nick Duca

It's going to be an exciting day!

Friday, August 13, 2010

WOC Middle Final: Time to Rock and/or Roll!




Tomorrow Louise Oram steps on to the forest of battle to show those Euros a thing or two about how to orienteer. The weather is anticipated to be deceivingly warm, around 20 degrees with a strange tendency of the clouds to never cover the stadium, which my massive sunburn can attest to.

Louise starts at 13:22 Norway time, which is in the +1 GMT timezone. She starts mid-pack, a great place with plenty of people in front of her and strong contenders behind her. Live tracking and streaming is available for 90 NOK from the WOC website, or live results for free also at woc2010.com, just click on "live centre". We also recommend worldofo.com's live blogging, get in to the action and chat with other O-fans, or hit attackpoint's discussion on the race.

The Canadian team will be out in full force and we know Louise will do really well and make us all proud, and hopefully, more importantly, herself proud.

My final words of advice were:
1) Kick Ass
2) Take Names.

Words to live by. Go Louise!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Long Q - Close call

The Long Qualifier took place late this afternoon, again at the Jervskogen ski-stadium. As the race started, the men's course was shown on the big screen in the stadium and we could see that the runners would face some serious challenges out in the woods. Courses started with some difficult controls in the green, just like yesterday, followed by some fearsome looking long route choice legs, steep climbs and detailed navigation. First out for the Canadians was Sandy Hott with a very early start. She was reported from the intermediate time as having lost some time to the leaders, but when she came in at around 55 minutes there was a feeling that she might have a shot. Sandy reported that she had a pretty good race, but had struggled a bit to keep focus and direction on the long legs. After a long wait for the entire field to finish, it was finally clear that Sandy barely missed the final again with a 16th position. This time only 13 seconds out... Carol Ross and Louise Oram both ended up with a time of about 62 minutes. Carol had some trouble early on the course, leaving the first control in the wrong direction, forcing her into a much slower route to the second. Louise was hanging on to the last qualifying position halfway through the course, but lost her direction when attacking a control and lost too much time relocating.

On the men's side, Nick Duca started early, and came to the finish reporting some hooks and hesitations early in the race. Mike Smith had a bigger mistake at the 3rd control, dropping around 4 minutes, so the last hope for Canada was Patrick. He started second last and we were waiting nervously at the finish as the clock was ticking. Patrick came charging in to the last control as his time was running on 68 minutes and he was a few minutes on the outside, even though he had the best time of all the North American men today.

The Canadian team will now recharge for the weekend action, running some public races and watching the Long Final on Thursday. Louise is running the Middle Final on Saturday and then there is the Relay on Sunday. Stay tuned in!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Middle Q - Louise made the final!

The Middle Qualifier took place this afternoon at Jervskogen, about 45 minutes east of town. The arena was at the ski stadium and the big-screen coverage was pretty sweet, with GPS coverage of the women's heats. The finish chute was a steep downhill bank right in front of the spectators.

It was clear right from the first finisher, a Norwegian runner, that the times were very fast, about 23 minutes for the fastest men. However, there were also big mistakes being made. The courses started up across a bland green hillside which caused plenty of trouble and then went up high to some open forests with marshes and detailed contours.

Louise had a very steady race with only some small hesitations and little hooks and come in on a very good time. We had a feeling right away that she was going to make it and it turned out she qualified in 9th. Super solid! Unfortunately, margins were on the wrong side for Sandy, finishing in the dreaded 16th spot, less than 30 seconds out. Carol had a mistake on the first control in the green and had a few more problems out on the course. She finished outside of the final spots, but was not too far off anyway. She would have qualified with a cleaner race. The running speed is there!

For the men, it was a difficult day. Wil had a pretty good race technically, but felt he was too cautious in the beginning and lost too much time in the running. Mike had the running speed to qualify, but dropped around 6 minutes in mistakes, which pushed him out with no chance. Patrick also had a hard time and decided to abandon his race.

But the next chance is already tomorrow in the Long Qualifier! The Canadian team is Nick Duca, Mike Smith, Patrick Goeres, Sandy Hott, Carol Ross and Louise Oram.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sprint Q

The Sprint Qualifier took place this morning at Sverreborg, just outside downtown Trondheim. This was a very cool place for a sprint, with an old ruin "fort" from the days of the vikings, mixed in with some forest, village of old wooden houses and some modern residential areas. The start was right next to the arena and it was interesting to see the different route choices to the first control for the different heats. Many runners got pulled off towards the wrong fork right at the start triangle!

The Canadian team did not have the best day. No runner qualified for the final, taking place in downtown Trondheim this afternoon. Will Critchley had a strong run in Men's heat B, only about 50 seconds out of the qualifying time with a fairly clean run. Louise Oram also was about 50 seconds out with a good run. Just a little bit of speed missing. Carol Ross had a great start to her race, but made a bigger mistake just at the end of the course. Patrick Goeres also had a bobble on a control in the forest, but his speed probably wasn't enough today. Jon Torrance also had a good race technically, with only a route choice mistake, but the speed was not quite there.

It's now time to recharge for the Middle Qualifier tomorrow! The Canadian Team is Louise Oram, Carol Ross, Sandy Hott, Patrick Goeres, Mike Smith and Wil Smith.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ready to go!


WOC in Trondheim is about to start and the Canadian Team has settled into our luxurious downtown residence. Today was the Sprint Model, literally one block from the hotel. Everyone is in good shape, well rested and itching to go.

You can follow the live online coverage here: http://live.woc2010.com/

The Canadians have the following start times (local time):

Louise Oram - 9:11
Carol Ross - 9:29
Will Critchley - 10:06
Jon Torrance - 10:16
Patrick Goeres - 10:34

Stayed tuned to our blog to follow the progress during the week. Sunday is the Sprint, Monday is the Middle qualifier and Tuesday is the Long qualifier.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

O-Ringen Day 4 and 5: Its O-ver!


I thought it necessary to do one final quick blog post about the last few days of O-Ringen. WOC will be starting up soon, so there will be plenty more news come tomorrow and in the future, so this is the final wrap-up on O-Ringen.

Mother Nature clearly felt that everyone was enjoying themselves too much, what with the nice weather for day 3 and the rest day (illustrated by the impromptu ice cream party with Ireland) and decided to bring the rain back for Stages 4 and 5. The campground rapidly turned into a swamp, and everyone finished soaking head to toe, not necessarily from the rain but from the very damp forest.

Day 4 was long-ish middle distance style race, in a very nice pretty fast forest, with some steep steeps and some flat flats. Everyone had a generally solid race in this terrain, so, oddly enough, there's not much to say about it. Perhaps Swedish terrain is now becoming old hat for us all! And the rain, well, we were all pretty much resigned to it at this point.

Day 5 brought a nice respite from the rain for racing time. The sun briefly came out, with some occasional showers. The evidence of rain was most obvious today, as the small blue lines marking streams on the maps were full blown rivers, marshes were more like lakes, and I can personally say I was hip deep at one point. I daresay if Carol found this particular marsh she may need a life jacket. However, this deep deep water clearly didn't affect Carol much, as she pulled out the performance of the week, placing third on the day in D21, running alone most of the time and destroying several hundred Swedes.

Robbie Anderson also had a great final result, finishing 24th overall in a massive H21 class. Overall, everyone did pretty darn amazing, and had at least one or two good races, and I'd say we all did Canada proud. If you've never been to O-Ringen, I highly recommend you do it at least once. It feels like a fundamental experience for any orienteer.

And, we'll leave you with Carol's final thought of the week: "I love orienteering in Sweden! Though I would appreciate it if it would stop raining."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

O-Ringen Day 3: Grey Skies Are Going to Clear Up...

There was a notable change in mood today in Orebro, because the rain has stopped, the sun is out, and the weather was glorious. Today's stage took us back to the terrain of Day 2, for a long-ish race, not quite as long as a long, but on a 1:15000 map, and all the navigational chaos as yesterday. Everyone came back saying that the terrain and map were really great, but all had quite a tough time. Carol noted at one point that she relocated off a moose. Emily Ross and Graeme Rennie were the sole Canadians today who rose up in the overall standings, Emily vaulting to 86th and Graeme jumping 5 places to 74th. Even now, every day is as important as the one before it, small mistakes of 30 seconds can mean 5 places. No one is too far out of a battle!

My sprint in the evening was a very exciting experience! Held in a park near the centre of town, it was a high speed, and high crowd sprint. Each day I say that O-Ringen can't get any crazier, but when I turned the corner of the building and saw the crowds milling around the hill top that I was about to run over, I was again astounded. At control 5 we flipped our map over (to the confusion of some runners, in fact!), ran underneath the BIG screen, and headed out for another loop. The sprint concluded with us first running across a fake bridge created solely for the race, and then up the stairs and finishing right on stage! I was a little disappointed, though, I made a few poor route choices and decisions which probably cost a solid 30 seconds of errors, I could likely chalk that up to my inexperience in such.... experiences. I think I was mostly spectating myself while racing, because it was just so exciting.

It was unquestionably the most fun race I've ever done. It was apparently broadcast online, so hopefully there will be a replay of it posted somewhere I can post a link. I will also attempt to post some pictures later.

For now, though, its our day off! Tentative plans include locating an alleged beach, or perhaps going to see a movie. Robbie and Eric are also competing in the orienteering biathlon at 4PM, so we may all go and attempt to distract them while trying to shoot.

Monday, July 26, 2010

O-Ringen Day 2: Rough Day at the Office

Day 2 opened with, you guess it, rain! But, its not as bad as it sounds, the rain has petered out, less of a downpour and more of a drizzle. You most definitely came back wet, but this time around your stuff wasn't soaked when you got back. A pleasant change, nonetheless.

Today truly displayed the chaos that is O-Ringen. While yesterday had plenty of people, it was a long distance, and on a 1:15000 map, so people were more spread out. Today, being a middle distance, was madness like I'd never seen. There were people everywhere. The most difficult part of it was the fact that elephant tracks so readily appeared that looked like genuine trails. The actual trails on the maps turned into 2 metre wide highways, while single-track trails appeared everywhere, making it extremely confusing.

I had the (possibly unfortunate?) opportunity of wearing a GPS for the first time in this race. Unfortunately it was middle, which is not my strongest, and was unquestionably the toughest middle I've experienced in my short career. If you're the kind of person who likes to learn from other people's mistakes, then look up my GPS tracking and take notes. Catastrophic! However, I am still leading the North American battle for not last place in H21 elite, and am within 15 minutes of a European, so there's hope for me yet!

But, its not all doom and gloom! Once again, Carol Ross is whipping out awesome race after race, placing 12th today, bringing her up to 24th overall in D21. Robbie Anders(s)on also clearly has a grasp on this terrain, placing 12th today to bring him to 11th overall in H21. Also, there are 265 runners in H21 and 149 in D21. Madness! And also mad Canadian dominance.

Tomorrow O-Ringen is back to the same arena tomorrow, for a longer distance race, and I'm getting the morning off to race in the evening at the event I've been most looking forward to, the downtown sprint. Its really the main reason why I entered H21 Elite to begin with, so I'm very excited and hope to do myself proud.

Remember to follow live results and video feed at oringen.se, and the evening elite sprint may be broadcast as well, so keep an eye out for that!

Finally, if you're wondering, the reason I (Will Critchley) am the only one posting about O-Ringen, its because I was very lucky and am staying in an apartment of a friend of a friend of my Swedish Roommate, so I'm the only one with internet, electricity, heat and.... not rain.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

O-Ringen Day 1: Rain. Just, rain.

Post-WUOC, the Canada crew has taken the two hour trip over to Orebro for O-Ringen, meeting up with fellow HPP members Graeme Rennie and Emily Ross. Essentially everyone's reaction was one of awe in the sheer numbers and the size of the event (except for Magnus, for whom O-Ringen is old hat!). Today was Stage 1, a long distance, results can be found the o-ringen website, just sort by country and you'll find everyone (except for me, who has been lumped in with the Brits, not quite sure why). Notable shout outs to Robbie who is 24th and Eric who's 35th in H21, and Carol who's 36th in D21.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to speak to much of the team in regards to their race, because the weather has been atrocious! It has rained solidly since last night and became a torrential downpour at occasions while the crew was trying to get ready. And, in addition to everyone's entire possessions being soaking wet, the entire world appears to have turned into a mud-pit! The walk to and from the buses is immensely muddy, and apparently the camping area is rapidly transforming from firm ground to soft ground to.. whatever happens after soft ground. And at the moment, its still raining! In fact, the front page of several Swedish newspapers exclaims about the big weather front that's coming on, so this could be a long week!

If you're a nightowl or just can't sleep, you can also follow a live video of the race, just head to the O-Ringen website!

Friday, July 23, 2010

WUOC Relay


The grand finale of WUOC was the relay today in the same arena in Gustafs. This was a great race to follow as a spectator. Ultra fast terrain, with some negative topography and many trails. Radio control from the forest and spectator loop towards the end with less than 10 minutes running remaining. Robbie was running first leg for the Canadian team and Carol was running the first leg for a mixed team together with Denmark. The men started first, and they were unbelievably fast! Frederic Tranchard of France came in first and he did the 8.2 km course in under 40 minutes. Robbie was fighting it out with Jordan on the US team and Jordan had the last word and came in about 1 minute ahead. Carol had an amazing run on her leg and came in just over 3 minutes after Sarka Svobodna of the Czech Republic.

Eric Kemp went out fast to chase down the American and succeeded! Check out this great picture of Eric's fighting face. Jeff Teutsch also had a great run on the second leg on a mixed team with the US, coming in only a few minutes behind Eric. Will went out about one minute ahead of Leif and they kept trading positions out in the forest, but when Will made a little hook on the control just before the spectator control, Leif could create a small gap that he was able to hold all the way in.

After the relay was over, the day ended with an exciting VIP race for coaches, officials and other guests. This was a mass start in full race speed without forking. Samantha Seager continued the US dominance over the Canucks outrunning Magnus with over 2 minutes, despite a pretty clean race for the Canadian coach. Looks like Sam will kick some ass in Trondheim! Andrea had a fight with an Austrian team leader and clearly outrun the head FISU official.

Here is the team picture! Now we are all off to O-ringen tomorrow!

WUOC Middle


The WUOC Middle distance was held just outside the village of Gustafs, 20 km south of Borlänge. The day started out with gray skies and rainfall for the early starters, but towards the end of the long start window, the sun came out and it was hot. The terrain was rather hilly, with rocky slopes and a fair amount of green. The courses were excellent, with a couple of great route choice legs and some control picking in between.


First out for the Canadians was Jeff Teutsch, who had a pretty good run in the rain, but had some trouble with the 3rd control. A story that would repeat for all men on the Canadian team! There was a small trail in the terrain, with a mountain bike jump on it, which was not marked on the map. This trail was just outside the circle of the control and threw many runners off. Robbie, Eric and Will all came back with similar reports of a few difficult controls. Robbie was the fastest Canadian, just under 45 min. Again, Carol had the best run of the day, despite making a large 5 minute mistake on one control. Without this mistake she had a top 20 time in sight!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

WUOC Sprint


Yesterday was the WUOC Sprint day in the town of Borlänge. The start was in the middle of downtown and the course then worked it's way through residential areas and finally ended up in the historic village and a slope of gullies down to the river. This last part of the race was absolutely brilliant for spectators. There was plenty of route choice through the buildings, the fences and steep re-entrants. Those who had not been able to plan this last section ahead got into trouble, and it was in view of all the spectators and race announcers.

Carol again had a good run with a finish in 46th place. She did drop a few positions in the very tricky last part of the course, but was holding good pace and ended up 2:31 behind the winner, Amelie Chataing from France. Will Critchley had the best result on the men's side in 58th, also holding good pace and dropping a few positions in the final stages of the course. Robbie Anderson was not too far behind Will, but had some smaller troubles earlier on the course.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WUOC Begins!


This is the Canadian team reporting from the World University Orienteering Championships in Borlänge, Sweden. There are five runners on the team: Carol Ross, Eric Kemp, Jeff Teutsch, Robbie Anderson and Will Critchley, while Magnus and Andrea are our team leaders.

Today was the first race, the long. The terrain was open white forest with lots of swamps and spongy moss, making running tough. Carol finished in an exciting 41st place, out of 90 women. The men also finished ;)

We're all looking forward to the sprint tomorrow (Wednesday). If you'd like to follow our race, there will be live results. Today there was even a webcam of the finish. Sweden's time zone is CEST which is five hours ahead of AST, nine hours ahead of PST. Our start times are:
Eric 15:58
Robbie 16:16
Will 16:42
Carol 16:37:30