Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Post JWOC Adventures

With JWOC finally completed I had the opportunity to travel with the U.S. Junior team to a training camp in Oloumoc, Czech Republic and the Karst Cup in Slovakia.  The day after the banquet and relay, we were off to Oloumoc where we had our first training in the beautiful open forest. For the next three days we had multiple trainings (with S.I.!!) each day on some very unique terrain.

Wet Enough??
I could say this training shown above was the most memorable training but not because of my orienteering. It had more to do with the fact that 90% of the map was covered in either dark green forest or marsh and sometimes both. A particularly 'exciting' moment occurred on the way to the 14th control when I managed to fall/sink into a mud hole up to my waist! Unfortunately no one else was around, so I had to 'worm' my way out. And for all you JWOC and WOC junkies out there, you should recognize which JWOC or WOC race was held on part of this map.

Another training that stuck out to me was on terrain very similar to the JWOC relay, so pretty much vegetable orienteering.
Thankfully I can say this training went much better than JWOC! You have to be very disciplined in using your compass precisely and using strong attack points and linear features where possible. I think this is a good example where I have learned lots on this specific terrain and will be able to use my new found skills on other vague terrains.

On our last day of training we had a sprint in a beautiful garden in Oloumoc. I didn't have the legs to push myself at all but it was a very interesting sprint area that I really enjoyed.

So with the training camp finished, everyone is completely exhausted (hadn't had a rest day since half-way through JWOC!) before we headed out to Mosovce, Slovakia for the Karst Cup. Surprisingly there wasn't much karst terrain but rather lots of continental European terrain. I was actually quite happy about this because I have had a little too much trouble on continental European terrain and some practice on it was very much welcomed. It was a four day event with the last day being a chase start. The first two days were long disciplines but they cut back on the distance therefore both of them were about 7-8km with 200-400m of climb. On the first day I definitely blew some legs and lost lots of time due to not thinking through my entire leg (attack points are useful!) and being distracted by other runners. The next day I was very composed and focused and was able to have a much better race.
Which way to 8??
The third day was a middle distance which was a rollercoaster. Ups and downs throughout the entire race. I managed to surprise myself in both the good and bad ways. Trying to be optimistic, I managed to win a split!

Fastest man at 1:22!
Being completely honest, I am surprised I finished the chase start on the last event. It reminded me of my JWOC long where absolutely everything went wrong. However I wasn't the only person having trouble because I managed to keep my 7th place position!

The thing I love the most about these 'smaller' competitions (there were still 600 people) is how carefree I am about the results which allows me to be more focused on the orienteering and how I can improve for the next day. I think this shows that I have to do more psychological training for the big competitions so I can treat them like these smaller competitions. Just before heading home, I spent two days with the U.S. juniors in Vienna for some R & R.  Finally a big thanks to Barb Bryant who organized this entire trip. I feel as if I learned more in that one week than I have in this entire summer at home and none of that would be possible without Barb!

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