Friday, June 1, 2012

Team Selection Races

The past two weekends saw the two "especially important" priority selection races for the senior Canadian orienteering team; one in eastern and one in western Canada. The selection for the senior WOC team is an involved process. Team Canada wannabes must attend at least two of five priority races, and at least one of the two "especially important" priority races, listed below (the "especially important" races are bolded). The selection committee then makes their decision based on results of these races, as well as other factors such as training quality and consistency and other significant event results. You can find more info about the selection process in the athlete handbook

The five priority races for the 2012 selection were:
● US Champs and Team Trials, April 13-15, Carrollton, GA
● West Point, May 5-6, Highland Falls, NY
● Ottawa O-Fest, May 19 - 21, Ottawa, ON
● Sage Stomp, May 19-21, Kamloops, BC
● Barebones, May 26-27, Calgary/Canmore, AB

The selection committee, comprising of Magnus Johansson, Brian May, and  Magali Robert, are now in top secret talks to decide which 6 men will represent Canada at the World Orienteering Championships, scheduled July 14-21, 2012 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Due to scheduling conflicts and illness, Louise Oram is the only woman set to represent Canada. She is currently sidelined with a bad ankle sprain, so send her your healing thoughts. We hope that she'll be fit to run in Lausanne! 

Louise sprinting at Sage Stomp, just after she sprained her ankle. She managed to finish the race, even with a double sized ankle. What a trooper! Get better soon, Louise! Photo kudos to Murray Foubister

The eastern selection races were held in Ottawa, as part of Ottawa O-Fest. By all accounts it was an amazing weekend of racing under 30 degree skies! The first race of the weekend was a fun middle course held at the March Highlands. Eric Kemp of Ottawa had a fantastic race, with Sergei Zhyk in second place. Andrew Childs of GMOC had a great run coming in third, with Team Canada hopeful Serghei Logvin in fourth place. 

Patrick Goeres had a great race, but missed control #5 by reading ahead. There was an incident involving one control (control #7 on the men's course) where Wil Smith and James Connell both came back not too far apart from each other claiming the battery on that control was dead. The organizers had decided not to attach manual punches to the SI stands (note to all meet directors, when you cut corners, the unexpected always happens!). The meet directors took their word and re-instated both runners, but discovered later that other people punched the control between the two runners and after them too. Was the battery on the blink switching on and off? It's a mystery! You can find the full results list and for the men's elite race here!

Saturday afternoon saw the sprint race at Tunney's Pastures; a fast paced urban sprint. Patrick Goeres kept up his reputation of sprint guru, beating second place Serghei Logvin by a minute! Eric Kemp did a great job to hang on to third place, but had a 30 second error running past a control then having to run back because he wasn't sure he'd punched it! When you're running right on the edge of technical and physical ability, it's tough to also find the mental energy to remember those little details (but that's why we love orienteering, right?!) Check out the full results and split times.

Eric Kemp on the long course. Photo kudos to Bill Anderson!
The long distance race was held on Sunday. Due to the high temperatures, a number of runners did not complete the course. Eric Kemp held it together and crushed the competition with a time of 1:39:39, nearly 10 minutes over second place Wil Smith! Team Canada hopefuls Nick Duca and Jon Torrance finished 4th and 5th respectively. 

Patrick Goeres was having a great race, until control #15 where a branch in the eye took out his contact lens! Unable to see, he had to bow out gracefully, even though he was leading by over 4 minutes (note - bring spare contact lenses on course!). One of the top US runners, Sergei Zhyk, pulled out after control #7, claiming he'd "run out of gas". He was leading until that point, so maybe went out too quickly? In 30 degree heat you've got to pace yourself! You can view the first and second maps, and see the full results.

Pretty much sums up how runners were feeling after the long! Photo kudos to Stefan Bergstrom

Special mention to Team Canada hopeful Jeff Teutsch, who took on the mighty role of meet director for the Ottawa O-Fest weekend. Great job, Jeff! We've heard nothing but positive feedback from the event (although maybe next time order the weather a little cooler!)

Thanks for all your hard work, Jeff! Photo kudos to Eric Kemp

From May 22-25, junior HPP coach Brent Langbakk held an HPP training camp in Canmore. It was well attended by 9 enthusiastic HPP members. We recommend you check out Brent's blog, as he's going to be posting details of some exercises he offered. You can also read Kerstin Burnett's account of the training camp (sounds like it was a tiring week!) Thanks to Brent and Larry Konotopetz for their hard work to put this camp together!

Last weekend, May 26-27, saw Canmore and Barebones hosting the western selection races. It wasn't quite as warm there; around freezing overnight, getting up to the mid teens during the day. Those who camped definitely had a chilly night!

The first race of the weekend was a downhill sprint at the Canmore Nordic Centre (isn't downhill sprint everyone's favourite sprint?!), with a fun mixture of forest, complex trails, and urban terrain! Patrick Goeres proved for the second weekend that he's a sprint demon, pipping out second place Eric Kemp. Graeme Rennie of GVOC ran a great race and came in third. Other Team Canada hopefuls were Damian Konotopetz in fifth and Jeff Teutsch in ninth. Will Critchley was having a stellar race before he mis-punched; he got caught by an early control on a different feature and mis-read the control number (it happens to the best of us!) 

I love this quote from Eric Kemp "Feels good to be alive when you're bombing down a mountain and spiking your controls". Pretty much sums the race up!

Does it get much better than this? Answer; no! Finish chute for the Sprint. Photo kudo to Graeme Rennie!

Saturday afternoon saw the long distance event, again at Canmore Nordic Centre. This race boasted a variety of terrain, long route choices, and, of course, just a little climb! Check out the route gadget for the courses! Coach Brent Langbakk doled out some great advice ahead of the race - look for wide, safer route choices that avoid all the wiggly little mountain bike trails and minimize the climb! And man were there a lot of wiggly little mountain bike trails! And lots of climb (especially for the last few controls!)

Will Critchley pushed his hamstring injury aside to take the win, just ahead of Patrick Goeres. Jeff Teutsch had a strong race to come in third, with Mike Smith and Damian Konotopetz in fourth and fifth. Due to on-coming illness, Eric Kemp decided to save himself for the middle event the next day! 

The middle distance race at Mount Laurier was held on Sunday morning. This tricky area of incredible contour detail and fabulous open running makes for a true test of fine navigation at high speed. Will Critchley proved again that he's a force to be reckoned with, winning the elite category. Sitting out the long was obviously a good choice for Eric, who came in second. Patrick Goeres showed he's still got it, coming in third. Mike Smith had a strong race in fourth place.

Around control #16 on the elite course, some runners came across two bear cubs! The word quickly spread, and suddenly runners were having to orienteer and shout out to scare the bears away! Running + navigating + shouting = tiring! An orienteer also came across the mother bear standing on her hind legs, sniffing the air ~ we were all pretty sweaty, so I'm sure she smelt us all from miles away (although we were also right beside the landfill, so maybe we weren't that smelly!) To top off a fun weekend, the junior from Calgary had set up a micro-O as a fundraiser. I know I certainly was confused for the first control, having to convert from a 1:10000 map to a 1:2500! Great job kids, it was a blast!

A huge thank you to Adrian Zissos and the Barebone's team for a fantastic weekend of races! Barebones managed to get some local press coverage in the The Rocky Mountain Outlook and the Canmore Leader. The caption on the front page photo is particularly cute! Ottawa O-Fest also managed to get on CBC news! Check out the clip below ~ nice work guys!

Stay tuned for the team selection announcement ~ we have it on good authority that an announcement is coming in the next few days! You'll hear it here first! 


  1. Awesome update Alison! Hope Louise's ankle is better soon.

  2. Eagerly anticipating the selection announcement! Thanks for the great post!

  3. That picture was taken in the finish chute, and technically I sprained my ankle a few controls before that... ;)

  4. Louise, caption updated! Everyone else, thanks! Hope to keep these posts up for the races in Europe!