Monday, February 27, 2012
As I'm sure most of you know, the Vancouver Sprint Camp went on holiday to sunny Victoria a couple of weeks ago! And as on any good vacation to a new exotic paradise, there was lots of excitement, new maps and positive energy. If you somehow missed Will's post on this blog about the event, scroll down and read it now!
What was less talked about was the fact that the first Canada Cup race of the 2012 season was the World Ranking Event at Layritz Park on Saturday morning. Will Critchley and Louise Oram won the overall Elite Series in 2011 and kept that trend rolling into the 2012 season. A good indicator that the winter training is going well so far!
Here are the standings after the first Canada Cup Elite Series of the 2012 season.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I was sitting in the Vancouver airport last Thursday waiting for my flight home from Sprint Camp when I saw one of the other high performance program members had posted this online: “off to portugal in 3hrs!!!!!!!!! eheheheh!!!!!!!!” It was at that point that I thought, for the briefest of moments, of getting out of my chair, walking back through security, cancelling my flight to Ottawa, and boarding a plane to Portugal to join Emily Kemp (for who else could have posted that message?) at the Portugal O-Meeting.
It makes me wonder though… does one have to spend the money and effort to travel to / live in Europe to reach that level in orienteering? Emily after all, was 13th in the JWOC middle in Denmark in 2010, before having moved to France. Granted she had already spent a few summers training and competing in Europe but still… she was a very good orienteer long before having moved to France to train with the best. And while in Ottawa she would regularly run in the men’s elite classes while a female junior! She could run those courses because she was good but she was also good because she ran them. This allowed her to compare herself to tougher competition and push herself harder.
Robbie Anderson, again from Ottawa, recently moved to Sweden to enrol in a master’s program, and train. Again he was good before he started but it seems he’s been improving quickly thanks to more regular chances to get onto new maps and train with and race against tougher competition. Several of the top American orienteers have also moved to Europe to train.
There’s nothing wrong with that from a personal perspective – it helps them improve and reach their goals so power to them. On the other hand it further lowers the competition at North American events for those of us that have, for whatever reasons, chosen to stay on the continent.
The West coast, having just come from a training camp there, is lucky. They regularly get overseas students studying in Vancouver that train with GVOC and provide high level competition to local orienteers on a regular basis.
So here’s my question for you all: What is it the rest of us can do to help develop strong competitive programs in North America?
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Provide incentives for Elites (HPP / US Standing Team) to travel to your events
- More regular cheap training camps hosted in a variety of areas (there’s only so many times we can get benefit from running on the same maps all the time)
- Attract overseas orienteers to our clubs and events (how?? via university and off-season events?)
- Have regional training centres
Monday, February 20, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
This year, the sprint camp crossed the pond (no, not that far), over the Vancouver Island to visit BC's capital, Victoria. From what I understand, there was some initial trepidation over this decision, perhaps due to the lack of good terrain, or the concern of lowered interest from participants. Now, after having done the event, I can say assuredly that those concerns were entirely unfounded, and those that didn't attend have most definitely missed out. There was still a large contingent of orienteers, from across Canada and the US, even Team Mexico showed up (there was even a Kiwi and a Brit there, at least, I'm pretty sure that's where they were from). Add those always irritatingly talented Norwegians and it totalled up to an impressively competitive weekend.
The terrain in Victoria is distinctly different than that found in Vancouver. It seemed the most significant addition is the presence of open hill tops that feature interesting bare rock as well as small cliffs and boulders. It was a unique addition to the standard terrain found in sprints, especially because one could encounter this terrain in the same race as having run through an urban area, as was evident in the Layritz race.
|Try and count how many people are actually looking at their map.|
By the end of the weekend, I was actually feeling pretty good (!). My current foot problems aside, the legs felt brisk and the brain was still functioning at my standard 30% capacity. Admittedly, my enthusiasm for warming up and cooling down waned significantly as time wore on, but mid-race still felt strong. I can say I was modestly pleased with how all of my own races went. I can definitely think of times when I felt the fitness was lacking, and there are seconds to be had out there everywhere. And this is sprint, you NEED those seconds.
|It was all going swimmingly until I took the scenic route at 14.|
I think that after this sprint weekend, Victoria and its surrounding area should be upgraded from a relative unknown to an undiscovered gem of possibility. There was vast agreement that the maps and the train were fun and unique, and there's a huge amount of island that's ripe for exploring and development for orienteering purposes. VICO jumped into the game in a big way with hosting the sprint camp, and should be commended for its success. Hopefully we'll soon return and race some more.
Maybe the sun will even come out.
If you haven't seen results or map, visit http://sprint.whyjustrun.ca/index.php?year=2012 for all the information. Or visit this link to watch dueling head camera videos of one of the mass-start races: http://youtubedoubler.com/3fsB . You'll either find it interesting or nauseating.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The COF's High Performance Committee are proud to announce the successful athletes for the 2012 High Performance Program! These athletes represent orienteers from across the country that show potential to represent Canada at the World Championship level.
Junior Athletes (Coach - Brent Langbakk, Whitehorse, YK)
Adam Woods (Vancouver, BC)
Alexander Bergstrom (Ottawa, ON)
Trevor Bray (Whitehorse, YK)
Emily Kemp (Ottawa, ON)
Emily Ross (Moncton, NB)
Jennifer MacKeigan (Whitehorse, YK)
Kendra Murray (Whitehorse, YK)
Kerstin Burnett (Whitehorse, YK)
Laura Teutsch (Ottawa. ON)
Molly Kemp (Ottawa, ON)
Pia Blake (Whitehorse, YK)
Senior Athletes (Coach - Magnus Johannson, Vancouver, BC)
Damian Konotopetz (Winnipeg, MB)
Darius Konotopetz (Winnipeg, MB)
Eric Kemp (Ottawa, ON)
Graeme Rennie (Vancouver, BC)
Jeff Teutsch (Ottawa, ON)
Jon Torrance (Ottawa, ON)
Nick Duca (Waterloo, ON)
Patrick Goeres (Winnipeg, MB)
Robbie Anderson (Ottawa, ON)
Serghei Logvin (Oakville, ON)
Will Critchley (Edmonton, AB)
Carol Ross (Moncton, NB)
Louise Oram (Vancouver, BC)
Tori Owen (Calgary, AB)
We asked Brent, Magnus, and Patrick Goeres (Chair of the HPC) for their thoughts on the HPP athlete selection for this year. Here's what they had to say:
Brent Langbakk ~ "The junior athletes in the HPP have two completely different groups. The women are very experienced with several members having participated in multiple Junior World Orienteering Championships. The men's side is undergoing a bit of a rebuilding phase. This season we want them to gain experience so they can be competitive in the next two or three years.”
Magnus Johansson ~ "The senior athletes in the HPP had a strong year in 2011 with improving results at the World Championships. The goal for 2012 is to continue to build on this trend! We are currently especially strong on the women's side, thanks to a few dedicated individuals. For the men, there is a wave of young and motivated athletes training hard. The competition to make the national team is tougher than ever and we expect this to show in the international races this year."
Patrick Goeres ~ “The HPP athletes have made some great progress in the past year and we have a particularly strong, young cohort right now. I predict some ground breaking results in each of the Junior, University and Senior World Championships this year.”
Want to find out more about our athletes? Want to pass on messages of support? Find us online!
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Please feel free to join in the conversation - comment, cheer, and show your support for our Canadian Orienteering Athletes!
High Performance Committee
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The 2012 Ski-O World Cup season started this year with one week of events near Lake Tahoe- California. It was the first time this even has been held in North America. I decided that I wanted to go as it gave me the chance to expand my ski-o experience and compete against the best in the world. A very small field of athletes made the trip, but they were truly the best in the world. 16 of the top 20 ranked ski-o athletes were present in the men’s class. Many arrived five or six days before to adjust to the altitude and brought five or six pairs of skis pairs with them. I arrived only two days before, and had two ski pairs with me which is double the norm for me.
I competed in 3 events while in Lake Tahoe: two World Cup races and one North American Championship. My first race was the World Cup 1 – Long Distance mass start. I completed the 27km course in over two hours to get my first ever World Cup points. I was not happy with my performance for that day as I made too many small mistakes. The main reason was a lack of specific ski and ski-o training this season.
I was more satisfied with my performance the next day during the Middle Distance North American Championship. Since most of the Europeans had a rest day, I was able to win a Bronze medal, behind Nikolay Nachev of the USA and Canadian teammate Mike Smith in his first ever ski-o event. I was happy, but tired after that event.
On the third day I had my best ever performance at a Ski-O. I made less than 15 seconds in mistakes and I was six minutes behind the winner Andrey Grigoriev of Russia. I was the fourth North American to finish and earned two more World Cup points. I also received some good pointers on how to improve my performance. Besides more ski and ski-o training, better equipment would help. Feeling good about my performance, I went to a “pro” ski shop and upgraded my poles, boots and a brand new pair of Atomic World Cup skis. I look forward to using them next time at a future ski-o event hopefully in Canada!