Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Training Camp in Stromstad, Sweden

Monday July 13th, 2015

I took the bus from Halden, Norway to Stromstad, Sweden in the morning and met up with Brent Langbakk and Jeff Teutsch at the bus station. Brent would be our coach for the training sessions at Stromstad. After getting a bit of delay settling in we headed off for training. It was about a half hour drive to the map. The focus for this training was to treat it like a model event map for the first half hour and then run the course that Brent had set. The map had large bands of cliffs running though them. These were very slow to pick your way though. In fact anywhere there were cliffs was generally slow. The green was also very slow running especially when it was combined with cliffs. There were many cliffs that were not mapped but were large enough that you had to pick your way around them. The large rough open areas were slow to run through because most of it was clear cuts from logging and had a lot of brush and undergrowth on it. The only places that were decent running were the hill tops with the small clearings. Even these though had blueberry bushes on the ground which slowed down the running, especially when you stopped to pick berries. Also the trails were very indistinct and in some places unnoticeable. Overall it was a slow map for running and I found it technically challenging especially around the cliffs.   

Tuesday July 14th, 2015

Left for training at 10 am and went to a map called Kasen. It was again about a half hour drive from our accommodation. The focus for the training was simplification. The start was on a small indistinct trail near a field. Most of the course went ok but I definitely made some mistakes. These were often due to not having a clear picture of what I was looking for or not having a good attack point. I found it a good exercise because it forced me to try to not worry about all the little features that are not important to the leg. One important thing worth mentioning is that the marshes were not indicated on the map for some reason. They definitely  could have been useful if they were on the map. About halfway though the training a thunderstorm started and it poured with rain for the rest of the run. We were originally going to stay at the map area for lunch, however we were all soaking wet from the thunderstorm so we decided to go back to the lodge for lunch and to dry out.    

In the afternoon we went to a different map that was back out the same direction. The map was called Nasinge V on an area called Skala. The map says 1/15,000 on it but it was actually a 1/10,000. This training was focused on precise compass. This area had some sections where being very precise with your compass was important.  Micro route choices were also important as there was a mixture of bare rock which was fast running and the little sections between the open areas were soft and had a lot of blueberry bushes and other vegetation which was slow and tiring to run through. If you could sight ahead and even avoid a little bit of the bushes you saved time and energy. I find in general I stare at my compass too much and so the micro route choices not only saves time but also forced me to look up more.    

I found the training camp very useful and learned a fair bit about how to orienteer in terrain like that. There were a lot of features that I would come across that were not mapped but were big enough to confuse me. I found the cliffs especially hard because you would run through an area with none or very few mapped and there would be many cliffs a lot of which were still big enough that you had to either pick your way through very slowly or go around. There is just too much detail for it all to be mapped. Also several of the trainings were on a 1/15,000 map, so on the detailed sections a magnifying glass would have made it easier to read as I had to stop sometimes to see what was actually going on.

Thank you Brent for doing the training camp, it was very helpful!

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