Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Canadians in Portugal

Like many other orienteers, I headed to Portugal in March along with my family and Emily Kemp to kick start the orienteering season. The Portugal Orienteering Meeting (POM) has made a name for itself as the winter orienteering destination, promising fast technical orienteering while Northern Europe is still snowed in.

POM is attended nearly 3000 people including top orienteers such as Simone Niggli, Minna Kauppi, Theirry Gueorgiou and others. It's actually a great chance to be able to compete against the best.

The terrain in the Alentejano region makes for really fun orienteering. It's super fast and open cork forest with lots of technical rock detail to keep you on your toes! We also had a night sprint in the town of Portalegre; I love sprints in European towns with small twisty streets! One day the event was at the famous Alter Real horse stables and another day the finish was at a winery! All my maps are available on my DOMA.

After POM we moved to UNESCO world heritage site Evora for a second weekend of races at the Meeting Internacional de Arraiolos. There we had an amazing long distance course, with super technical rocky green controls followed by a nearly 4km long leg!

So our trip to Portugal was a great start to the season with fast running, technical orienteering, catching up with o friends and generally getting psyched for all the races coming up!

Here are a few photos from our trip:

This photo of Emily Ross doing the trail-o gives you an idea of the terrain.

Emily Kemp sampling the local specialties. Notice the 8kg buckets of olives for sale below the table!

The Canadian girls working our French connections and posing with Thierry Gueorgiou.

How's that for a finish chute? Splash!

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