Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Although the initial fervour of this year's WOC is slowly dwindling (though some debates rage on - see AttackPoint), its time to start looking forward again. And, it just so happens that NEXT year's WOC is a scant 150 km for this year's WOC!
Monday, August 22, 2011
A very intense WOC week is over! This year our team was battling with sickness, stress, crammed accommodations, crazy logistics, broken internet and to top it all off the weather Gods threw in a relentless heatwave...
But our athletes produced great results all week and we felt better and better as we approached the last day of the program with the Relay on Saturday. We talked already from the first day that our big goal this year (and coming years) was to produce one top-16 result (top-half if less than 32 participants) and we knew that our best chance was the Women's Relay.
Carol Ross took the first leg and her job was to repeat her great relay performance from last year and that's exactly what she did! She kept mistakes to a minimum in the very difficult terrain and came in with a pack of runners only 7:30 down from the leaders.
Emily Kemp went out on the second leg with a focus on her own run and to let the other teams make mistakes. She put in one of the best performances in Canadian WOC history, losing only 40 seconds on the lead, moving the team up to 11th position and giving Louise Oram a huge gap down to the chasing teams.
Louise's job was again to focus on a clean run and she did that brilliantly. She did not stress and always made sure she was on track and she was able to bring the team home with a first ever top-half result for the Canadian Women at WOC. A fantastic team effort!
This means that Team Canada is starting to get on track for Sport Canada Elite funding, which would mean a huge step forward for the High Performance Program. We need a few more years of these type of results, but it is clearly within reach!
Thanks for your support this year and keep checking this blog for team photos later this week (and perhaps one or two pictures from the banquet and party as well)!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Louise Oram finished 37th in the sprint final today and Will Critchley finished 38th.
Today was the first final event so it was nice to finally see the big screen at the arena today. The start and finish were also right there. Here's a pic of Will on the screen just before his start. And you can see Will in the bottom right of the pic.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Yesterday I tried to make sure I was on the right side of the top 15 cut-off, no matter what heat I ended up in... all I could think of when I hit the road to punch the last control and run down the finish chute was that I did not want to end up on the wrong side by 16 seconds again. This resulted in some 'lovely' finish chute pictures, which I will not post here ;). Instead here is a picture of me approaching control number 6:
Quasi race/route description:
I started in the last set of three, with only one German girl two minutes behind. I had a good first two controls (some hesitation leaving the trail to the 1st), and read ahead to have some idea what to do on the longer legs when I came out to the trail to go around to control 3. I hesitated once in the woods near 3 when I suddenly found myself in an area with several other women (it was a forked control for the different heats but all three controls were near each other). I then went the right direction to the next control, but misread the contours in the circle and botched the attack. By then I was running with Niamh from the Irish team and a Serbian. I took the route along the smaller trail slightly to the left of the line towards 5. Niamh went right in the last depression, but the Serbian stayed with me. I got to the control slightly before the others. After that it was out to the clearing and crawling up the hill to 6, where a several photographers were positioned. I took the straighter route hopping from small trail to trail towards control 8; I had wondered if it was better to go north to the trail when initially looking at the leg but opted for the more aggressive route.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
12:00 Carol Ross
12:42 Louise Oram
13:28 Damian Konotopetz
14:16 Will Critchley
14:37 Wil Smith
Monday, August 8, 2011
Each time I come to a new place to compete, I resoundingly declare it couldn’t get any crazier than that. First it was Sweden with and O-Ringen with 16,000 people competing in the forest at once. Then it was the London City Race, running around downtown London, dodging tourists and discovering all the side streets and passageways of London. Then it was the middle of Beijing, island hopping at the Ruins of Yuanmingyuan. However, the Czech Republic definitely seems to have taken the crazy cake.
I got into Prague on Thursday afternoon to race the last three days of the Bohemia 5-day event in Novy Bor, GVOC member Andrea Balakova’s hometown. It’s a cute place, lovely scenery, nice houses, and cheap ice cream and beer available with these simple tokens that cost about $1.15 (Andrea says its actually a 20 crown piece, I’ll stick with ‘ice cream token’).
Friday morning was my first race and first experience in this sandstone terrain. After two days of long distances, this race was a shorter one, with M21 Elite doing 3.8k with just under 400 metres of climb. This race was touted as being in the ‘city of rocks’. I scoffed since I’ve seen rocks before. How hard can it be? Well, I picked up my map and ran towards the start triangle, and HOLY CRAP LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THOSE ROCKS. Any initial plans I made in those first 30 seconds went completely out the window after discovering that little cliffs on the map were 4-5 metres high, controls were located on single rock features that had measures like 8 metres, and controls were located in narrow passages between huge rock faces. And you think all of those things would be pretty distinct, but there’s also several thousand of them. Everywhere. And there were people looking around every rock, having discussions, shouting to each other, it was O-Ringen madness in a very small area.
Oddly enough, during stage 4, I discovered that I would rather be in the rocks than in flat forest. It was a brief respite from the craziness, but I made more mistakes looking for my arch-nemesis, the cup depression, than I did looking for a 2.3 metre boulder in a sea of boulders.
There’s no doubt that doing all 5-days of this event would have been absolutely physically brutal. The Men’s Elite did a total of around 40k and 1700 metres of climb. Magnus marched in for Stage 4 and 5, finished second in H35 on 4 and de-throning the “Russian Rocket” in the final stage. That guy was so far ahead only one other person made the 1 hour cut-off to participate in the chase start. Andrea managed to get through all 5-days alive , and actually pulled out her best performance on Day 5 in D21A, climbing from 11th to 8th in the pursuit start and having the 4th fastest time on the stage. I believe she’s going to propose next year it become a 12-day event, because then she’d definitely win.
The Bohemia 5-day happens every second year, and I have been assured there are more rocks. Many more rocks. Results, the elite maps, and route gadget are all available at http://ok-bor.cz/bohemia2011/?lang=en