Saturday, October 6, 2018

NAOC on home turf


When I heard that NAOC was going to be in Whitehorse, I was ecstatic! I was super excited to show everyone my home terrain and what Whitehorse has to offer. As it got closer to the day I got more nervous by how many people signed up - where are they all going to stay!? Turns out we can accommodate over 570 athletes.

Okay enough about logistics, let’s talk racing!  The first race on the agenda was the Long. I am pretty darn happy that was the first race, as doing a long 2-3 races in is very gruelling. I made a few bobbles right off the bat but figured it out after that, for a while. I always tell myself take the first 2 controls slow, get used to the terrain, but sadly I don’t always listen to my advice.  To make up for my first two mistakes I made sure to take the next control (the long leg) very easy, safe and smart. Everything went to plan! I had a route, attackpoint and a catching feature.

Thanks to Jim Hawkins for catching a finish smile!

The rest of the race went okay, mistake here, overshot there, but otherwise steady. Then I got to 17! I still mentally kick myself for that control, ahhhh! I navigated 13-16 without a hitch but I didn’t have a strong attackpoint and I started to second-guess myself. I relocated twice and both times I found the men’s elite control. When I was bailing for the 3rd time I finally figured out where I was and found it.

After a not great start to NAOC and my cold getting worse, I changed my strategy for the middle, slow and steady - because you can’t physically push. I messed up 1 again but the rest of the race was a lot smoother. For the first 5 controls I was running with Emily Ross, but we took different routes to 6 and didn’t cross paths again. I caught up with two other women for a while around 13 and ran with them to 14. Coming out of 14 I knew my route and the ladies were a little in front of me (hard to push up a mossy hill when you are coughing up a lung)! When I finally got up the hill I was super confused because I should have seen them but they were nowhere to be found. This made me second-guess my self and my route but I kept going and double-checking everything. The rest of the race was good and slow.

The National teams lined up for the mass start
The 3rd race of NAOC was the team relay, I was feeling really sick but I still wanted to race. The map used was the local Biathlon range and trails; this is a special map because of all the animal statues out in the forest and lots of trails. My team was Kendra Murray, Tori Owen and myself. Ken was first, me second and Tori was last. To make things more interesting the club relay was running at the same time so you had people running everywhere. I ran a pretty clean race just couldn’t push it. USA 1 was 1st place, Emma, Pia and Emily were 2nd and we came 3rd.

Tori finishing strong during the relay
The final race was the sprint in the lovely town of Carcross, I hope everyone enjoyed the mayhem in Caribou commons because I did! This was an interesting sprint because it started in the forest, then went urban and finished in the forest again. We had fun obstacles of tourist, dogs and railway crossings.

I had a lot of fun racing in my hometown and really appreciate all the long hours that everyone put in to make it happen!

-Jennifer MacKeigan

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Oringen


I got a bit of sense in the stage arena of the scale of O-Ringen but it wasn't until I started that I really understood how big it is. After coming from JWOC where I’d be starting with one other person (of the opposite gender) it was very different to be packed into the start box with up to ten other people. What really drove home the size of the event though was the first couple of minutes of leg 1 where people everywhere. I had a very difficult time concentrating on my own race as I was in the midst of people going in seemingly every direction. This distraction lead to a slow and sloppy execution of the first control.

The second control also had a shock in store for me as I had forgotten about route choice. About a third of the way in I realized my plan was just to go straight and that I hadn’t considered anything else while planning it. As well I hadn't even thought about how much climbing there would be. Both of these, I believe, are from my 2 weeks spent in Hungary. Elevation change there was so little it wouldn't be put in the race info and most of the time the correct route choice was straight. This realization led me to later in the race remind myself to look for route choice that weren't strictly straight.

One thing that I was expecting though was that there would be lots of elephant trails. There were definitely many tracks out there but to my relief they were nowhere near as pronounced as I thought they would be. Going in, I was slightly worried the elephant trails would be so worn in that they would essentially lead you right to the control. I definitely saw tracks out there, but they were mostly confided to areas with undergrowth and large swaths of the terrain was rock. This meant the orienteering was still a challenge which is the fun part :)

Random Extra Note:
I also just want to say that one of the lakes on the day 4 map had a little fish icon in it. I think this cool. 🐟

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

WOC 2018 Guide

The World Orienteering Championships (WOC) in Latvia are fast approaching!

We have 4 Canadian athletes competing this year: Jennifer MacKeigan, Will Critchley, Damian Konotopetz, and Graeme Rennie. Both Damian and Will have competed at several WOCs previously while this is the first year for Jen and Graeme. Raphael Ferrand is returning as the coach. Nevin French is the team manager. There are 345 athletes from over 49 countries competing! 

The schedule is:


Date
Race
Race Time (local time)(7 hours ahead of Eastern time, 10 hours ahead of Pacific time)
Canadian Runners
Saturday, August 4th
Sprint Qualification
9:00 – 11:30 (2:00 - 4:30 Eastern, 23:00-01:30 Pacific the day before)
Jennifer MacKeigan, Damian Konotopetz, Graeme Rennie
Saturday, August 4th
Sprint Final
15:00-17:00 (8:00-10:00 Eastern, 5:00 - 7:00 Pacific)
TBD (top 15 from each qualification heat race)
Sunday, August 5th
Sprint Relay
17:00-18:10 (10:00-11:10 Eastern, 7:00-8:10 Pacific)
No Canadian team
Monday, August 6th
Rest Day


Tuesday, August 7th
Middle Distance
12:00-17:30 (5:00-10:30 Eastern, 2:00 - 7:30 Pacific)
Jennifer MacKeigan, Damian Konotopetz
Wednesday, August 8
Rest Day


Thursday, August 9th
Relay
14:00-18:00 (7:00-11:00 Eastern, 4:00 - 8:00 Pacific)
Will Critchley, Damian Konotopetz, Graeme Rennie (running order TBD)
Friday, August 10th
Rest Day


Saturday, August 11th
Long Distance
12:00-18:00 (5:00 - 11:00 Eastern, 2:00 - 8:00 Pacific)
Jennifer MacKeigan, Will Critchley

The sprint races are in Riga--Latvia's capital city. The forest races are 50 minutes away in Sigulda. 

You can follow along during the week on the event website. They will have live results, blog, TV, and GPS tracking (purchase may be required for live TV and GPS--it looks like it is 20 euros for the entire championships or 6 euros per race to use LiveOrienteering.com's services). You can also find old maps and the terrain description for each of the event on the event website. 

It's always an exciting week to see the top orienteers around the world compete! The organizers have a hashtag #WOC2018Latvia, and have a Twitter and Facebook account. World of O often has excellent coverage as well. And of course, follow along on Orienteering Canada's social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and cheer on our athletes. Go Canada go!