Thursday, May 22, 2014

My orienteering adventure commences

Well here I am in Uppsala, Sweden - an orienteer's haven - how did I get here, you ask? Well, you see, first I graduated university and got a job at a hospital (I am told that is the proper trajectory for a new nurse). I was full of hope that once I graduated, I would be able to train and travel for orienteering till my hearts content for, after all, I wouldn’t have practicums or late night studying, and my new job was casual (meaning I booked all my shifts so if I didn’t want to work I would say no).

Once I was actually working reality hit: a) when you are new, and you want scheduling to keep calling you with shifts -so you can work and in turn eat – you do need to say yes to every shift you get called for and b) shift work sucks, trying to train while switching between 12hr days and 12hr nights sucks even more.

I realized that if I actually wanted to get better at orienteering I might need to do something differently. So I started thinking. If I wanted to go to World University Champs this year (my last year to be eligible from my undergrad) what better way to prepare than spend the 3.5 months leading up to it training and racing this being an alternative to the sleep deprived half training I was doing. At some point during the year (most likely after working a 12hour hectic night shift with no breaks), I thought ‘why not!?’ and committed. So I emailed my managers stating that I was not going to return to casual in May (after the temp line I had taken was up) -most likely not part of the ‘proper trajectory of a new nurse :P -and I started planning. 

I ended up choosing to come to Uppsala, Sweden which is about an hour north of Stockholm and is where Kerstin has been going to school for the last year and is the club Emily K also runs for when she is in Sweden. So lots of Canadian connections!  I have been here since early May and will stay for a mouth and a half, before I start traveling around to other competitions. I have been staying with an orienteering family here who have been wonderfully hospitable and have introduced me to the local orienteering club! The club here is OK Linné. They have organized trainings at least three times a week and well as an open planning page of their website where people post if they are doing a training to see if anyone wants to join. The other days of the week are filled with races (THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS!) or individual trainings.
Stockholm city cup #2
 I am having a hard time saying no to any of the trainings or races which resulted in me racing five days in a row last week…  :) My orienteering ability leaves something to be desired at this point (hopefully will get better!) but it has been amazing to be on a map 5 or 6 times a week and to be around so many other people who orienteer. I have been able to be on a wide variety of maps (see photos) and am excited to see where my orienteering will go!  
Middle distance, sorry about the quality of the picture
The biking lane beside a connecting road.

When I am not doing orienteering related things I have been enjoying all that this lovely bike friendly town has to offer. I am taking Swedish lessons, although my Swedish is currently limited to “Hej, jag heter Tori. Jag kommer från Canada” which I am sure you can guess the meaning of. I think my  favorite word so far is ‘Fika’ which is kind of like coffee break time and always involves coffee/tea and baked goods! :D The best! 

Happy training everyone!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Introducing Raphael Ferrand ~ new volunteer Canadian National Junior Team Coach!

Orienteering Canada is delighted to have appointed Raphael Ferrand as the volunteer Junior National Team Coach. Raphael will work with the junior High Performance Program athletes for the 2014 season; focusing on preparation for the upcoming Junior World Orienteering Championships in Bulgaria in July and the North American Orienteering Championships in Ottawa in October. 

Raphael comes to this position with extensive coaching experience across Europe and South America. Raphael currently lives in France, and will be working with the athletes via email and skype. You can learn more about Raphael on his Coach Profile

In his own words: "I have been in the French Orienteering group a few years. I went to university and studied sport coaching, and I have coached many top level young orienteers. I am looking forward to working with the Canadian junior athletes."

Raphael has been sending weekly "Road to JWOC" letters to the athletes. You can view "Road to JWOC #1" here and #2 here.

Please join us in welcoming Raphael!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WUOC & JWOC ~ Final Selection Announcement

As per the selection criteria for JWOC and WUOC, a final selection announcement was due this week. There have been no additional athletes selected for each of these teams, and therefore the teams are the same as in the initial communications. 

The World University Orienteering Championship (WUOC) team is:
Emily Kemp (Ottawa, ON)
Tori Owen (Calgary, AB)

Robbie Anderson (Ottawa, ON)
Eric Kemp (Ottawa, ON)
Damian Konotopetz (Winnipeg, MB)
Graeme Rennie (North Vancouver, BC)

You can read the full selection announcement, along with who is running what race, here.

The Junior World Orienteering Championship (JWOC) team is:
Pia Blake (Whitehorse, YT)
Emma Sherwood (Calgary, AB)

Alexander Bergstrom (Ottawa, ON)
Trevor Bray (Whitehorse, YT)
Robbie Graham (Ottawa, ON)
Michael Svoboda (Calgary, AB)
Adam Woods (Coquitlam, BC)

You can read the full selection announcement here

Congratulations to all of our selected athletes. You can follow the athletes on the Team Canada blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Alison Price
Orienteering Canada's High Performance Committee

Connect with Orienteering Canada:

Talent + Dedication + Support  Performance + Growth

Friday, May 9, 2014


This past weekend I went to Tiomila for the 1st time. I ran the last (5th) leg for Nydalen's 2nd team. This was the longest leg of the women's relay, the 1, 2 & 4th legs are of similar lengths, and the 3rd leg is shorter and unforked. I had an ok, but not excellent race (larger mistake on #6) and a few other areas where I was unsure.
I also watched some of the men's relay, before getting really sleepy... There were swivelling spotlights when the lead packs came in (and a short spurt of fire on either side of the bridge they had to run over into the arena). Also, as there usually is at larger European events, there was a large screen or 2 (one can just be seen on the far left of the image below). 


As the orienteering season is starting and from now on blog post are most likely to be all about that sport we know and love, I thought I would post one last one about an interesting race I did a couple weeks ago. It is a tradition for the outdoor club at my university to enter teams in a relay race at the end of the year. The race is called Ski2sea and starts up at Big White ski resort, with the first leg being a down hill skiing section. This person has to run up (yes, UP-carrying their skis, poles and helmet) most of a downhill run and then ski to the bottom to tag off to their cross-country ski partner who skis a loop (about 8km) and passes off to a mountain biker. The mountain biker bikes a bit down the road (about 28km) and hands off to a road biker who rides their leg (around 36km) and hands off to the runner. The relay is now in Kelowna and the runner runs (about 14km) to the lake where the last leg of the relay is a canoe across the lake and back. This being our last year my boyfriend and I decided to do a two-man team and alternated the legs (normally it is a 7person relay).
 Okanagan Sport did an article on the race bad my technique looks so bad... 

To being the day, my roommate (our shuttle driver) and I, dropped Jared of to take the lift up to the start of the first leg. Meanwhile I was to get warmed up for the cross-country leg. First problem: the skis that I had beautifully waxed, scraped and brushed were sitting at home and a pair of classic skis that I had summer waxed were in the ski box with me at big white. They also still had grip wax on them… So here we are 5mins to start, sitting in the parking lot scraping my skis with credit cards to get the glide wax off. Jared came in fast from the downhill and we were the 6th team at the first transition. My skis actually weren’t that bad (considering I was skating on poorly scraped classic skis with grip wax :) ) thankfully the snow was cold and I was gliding well. After the cross country to mountain bike handoff we discovered our second problem: somewhere between loading the bike in the morning and the bumpy drive up to Big white my road bike had gotten a flat. So we were now racing Jared down the access road in the car to get to the transition in enough time to switch my tire. It was a great race to practice crisis management :P Jared says he only waited a couple minuets ....J I was a bit outclassed on the road bike as Kelowna has a very large triathlon community and there were quite a few fast men on 5-6000$ bikes and me and my little old LeMonde just weren’t very good competition! I was thankful that I was not required to run the 14km course and happily waited in the canoe for the last leg. Although neither of us have canoe raced, the last leg was fun as we could catch up on what had happened in each other’s parts of the relay. It was a really fun day and reminded me once again the benefits and sense of community that comes along with sport. Jared and I were 1st in the open mixed category and 19th team overall BUT most importantly we were the first team from the outdoor club to cross the line!
A group of the outdoor club teams - It is also tradition to wear some sort of costume