Monday, February 27, 2012

Will and Louise win first Canada Cup Elite Series of the 2012 season!

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

Musings on Elite Orienteering in Canada

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.

As a bit of background, Emily Kemp, is a fellow orienteer from Ottawa, now studying and training in St. Etienne, France, with the French national team, who, with one year of JWOC left has already to 13th places at JWOC and competed at WOC last year.

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.

Thanks to Margo and Chris for the photo from the Sprint Camp Farsta.
I was truly looking for a photo from intervals the day before where a large group of elites (5+ Canadians, 2 Americans, 1 Norwegian, 1 Italian) were running head to head but this will do :) It`s not everyday you get competition like that!

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

Jeff Teutsch

Monday, February 20, 2012

Portugal Orienteering Meet ~ Solid Performances by Emily Kemp!

Emily running the middle distance on Day 2. Photo: Cristina Luis

Emily Kemp was at Portugal O-Meet (POM), running for her home club, Ottawa Orienteering Club. The popularity of POM has grown, attracting an increasing number of world class orienteering athletes, along with a number of Canadians who have chosen to escape the cold clutches of winter for 4 days of really sweet orienteering!

Emily has been training for the past year with French elite training group, Le Pole. Her training paid off this week with a fantastic set of solid races for Emily, with the bonus of some great results! From the splits, you can see that Emily has been very consistent, with minor (and some not so minor!) mistakes. Orienteering at the elite level requires a fine balance of running on the edge of being in contact with the map, and completely losing contact. Emily said that "most of the time it {being in control} has worked out but I have also gone up in flames at a few controls".

We look forward to cheering Emily and the big smile on her face for the 2012 season!

For full races results and splits, check out

Friday, February 17, 2012

Kicking off the season, real real fast.

The Vancouver sprint camp is unique opportunity to split of the 6 month dark period that Canadian orienteers experience over the winter. At least, from 6 months to 3 months. It is a helpful time to test early season fitness, and brush the plaque off your navigational chops. You are now welcome to slow clap that amazing metaphor (here's a video to learn how).

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.
My impression of the sprint camp is that it mostly a 'race camp' rather than 'training camp'. I suppose as sprint is concerned, the best training is ridiculous fast training, and there was ample opportunity to do so this year, with 7 race, one "tempo" race, and 2 trainings, which simulated race situations. If you weren't ready to keel over by the end of the weekend, then you probably weren't running hard enough.

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 for all the information. Or visit this link to watch dueling head camera videos of one of the mass-start races: . You'll either find it interesting or nauseating.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

High Performance Program Athletes Announced!

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!

Alison Price

Communications Assistant

High Performance Committee

Talent + Dedication + Support → Performance + Growth

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

World Cup 2012 Ski-O

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!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Video from Lake Tahoe!

Check out this video of Marie-Cat at the Ski-O World Cup in Lake Tahoe. The audio isn't great, but if you listen carefully you can hear the announcer talking about the race!

Too see the video on You Tube, click here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ski-O Tour Update ~ Days 1 and 2

The World Cup, US Champs, and North American Champs in Ski orienteering are currently being held in Tahoe, CA. This is the first time the Ski-O World Cup has been held outside Europe! A lack of snow at Bear Valley lead to some last minute changes in the race schedule, but no championship races have been cancelled.

Canada is represented by 6 athletes: Marie-Catherine Bruno (Sage) (Silverstar, BC), Marta Green (Sage) (Vernon, BC), Carol Ross (ONB) (Truckee, CA), Mark Tarnopolsky (GHO) (Hamilton, ON), Mike Smith (ONB) (Prince George, BC), and Nick Duca (Stars) (Kitchener, ON).

The World Cup and North American Long Distance event was held on Monday. Sweden dominated the women's podium, with Tove Alexandersson taking the gold with a clear 2 minute lead over second place Josefine Engstroem. Polina Malchinkova of Russia rounded off the podium. Skiing for Canada were Marie-Cat and Marta, who placed 18th and 20th respectively. Alison Crocker of the USA had a fabulous race, placing just off the podium in 4th place.

The men's field was much tighter, with a minute separating the top 4! Andrey Grigoryev of Russia clenched the top spot with 30 seconds over second place Hans Jorgen Kvale of Norway, who pipped fellow countryman Lars Hol Moholdt to silver by only 5 seconds! Canadian Nick Duca came in 33rd place.

The middle distance North American Championships were held on Tuesday. Today the men's race was dominated by the Lithuania team. Vitalius Petrulis was just under 3 minutes ahead of team mate and second place finisher Regimantas Kavaliauskas. Jiri Bouchal of Czech Republic came in 3rd. Mike Smith and Nick Duca of Canada finished in a solid 10th and 11th place respectively.

In the women's race, Helena Randakova of the Czech Republic beat second place Ramune Arlauskiene of Lithuania by a mere 7 seconds! Alison Crocker of the USA placed 3rd! Racing for Canada were Marta, who finished in 6th place, and Marie-Cat, who mis-punched.

Today (Wednesday) is the World Cup and North American Sprint Distance. The race is still ongoing at time of writing, so we'll post further updates later in the week!

You can follow the live results at this link. Photos and race information are available at the Ski-orienteering World Facebook group, located at this link.

We want to hear your cheers! Show your support of our Canadian athletes by leaving comments here or on our Facebook page! Go Canada Go!