Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sage Stomp 2017 V2

Hello all and welcome back to the blog.  Your authors today (David Bakker and Rachel May) have switched sides of the table, and as brand new HPP members have switched from reading to writing the blog.

So to business then. The Sage Stomp weekend started off bright and sunny with temperatures in the mid 20s for nearly the first time all year. This was a nice change from the rain and cold of the previous few weeks. The event took place on the Sabiston map just past Savona, where the WCOC's took place in 2014.

Thompson River Valley from below the event site

The schedule for the weekend was a more training oriented 4 course middle on Saturday morning, followed by a middle race in the afternoon, and a long on Sunday.

Middle Training (Saturday Morning)

Although it was only described as a training race, this was probably the hardest race of the entire weekend.  Using the most intricately contoured section of the entire map (those who went to BCOCs in 2015 will remember them well), it through a number of people for a loop.  In addition, the difficulty of the training courses was somewhat skewed with the Easy course being, true to its name, easy but the other three courses were of very similar technical ability. This caused some problems for people hoping to run the course 2 level, but everyone made it back alive and in time to the afternoon’s event.
Rachel and Murray (one of the organizers) post-race

Middle Race (Saturday Afternoon)

This can only be described as very hot.  Fun courses, nice map, awesome terrain, but overwhelmingly hot. This was a very nice course in some more technical terrain with fewer trail options than in the morning. The woods were fairly open making it, once again, hot to run. Many open rocky hilltops made for some difficulty in maintaining contact with where on the tops you were. I, personally, had trouble with control number 6 that was tucked in a small grouping of hills. I made a parallel error losing track of where within the hills I was, causing me to lose quite a bit of time. Other than that control, the main struggle was finding the energy to run, especially on the uphill, rather than navigational issues.

Middle Course 6 Map

Unfortunately, I (David) was doing the timing for the entire weekend, and had forgotten my computer charger.  So by the time we got around to the afternoon race, my battery was at a measly 17%, nowhere near enough for the afternoon.  So, we went back to old school manual and just printed out two copies of everyone's splits, one for them and one for the organizers.  We also hid every single clear control near the finish, and told everyone to bring their SI to the banquet, where we would have a secondary computer so that people could download and we could get everyone's splits.

Banquet (Saturday Evening)

There is definitely something to be said for having a potluck banquet that costs nothing, that everyone attends, and is right next to a beach that is perfect for swimming, if jumping in and out of the lake at top speed can be called swimming.   Also, the burgers that were served were delicious!

So back to the timing issues.  We got the secondary computer and everything set up, it was working great, we were downloading times as people got SIs from their cars, and then on the 13th person, our SI readout control starting screaming (well, really it was just beeping, but it was pretty traumatic) and died.  CPR, mouth-to-mouth, reprogramming the unit, none of it was enough.  The readout control was dead.  On the brightside, we had a backup readout control in Kamloops, and planned to bring that in on Sunday morning to get the rest of the SI sticks read.

View of Kamloops Lake from the banquet.  The event center is on top of the hill on the right under the setting sun.

Camping (Saturday Night)

After the banquet, most people camped up on the map in one of two locations: the one without a porta-potty, but with a better view and no cows, or the one with a porta-potty but lots of cows and more mosquitoes.  Take your pick!

The Campsite without the porta-potty.

Long Race (Sunday)

After packing up the campsite, having a breakfast of pancakes, and watching several herds of cows struggling to find the finish control, the day got underway.   
Finish control on left, cows on right.  No finish chute = complete confusion!
Our secondary readout conrol arrived from Kamloops, worked perfectly, and of the 100ish people attending, we got all but 5 to download before they cleared their SI and went out on course to do the long.

It was a fun course, taking up most of the map.  Unfortunately, the weather was once again searing hot, and only got hotter throughout the race.  Every single leg felt like uphill, and even the beautiful views of Kamloops lake were not much of a comfort.  The 150m climb from 11-12, and 12-13 on course 7 was particularly brutal in the semi-open forest.  Fortunately, there was water out on course in two locations which made a world of difference. 
Long Course 7 Map

Long Race Finish Chute

A big thanks to everyone at Sage who helped out to make this a fantastic weekend!  Results and course maps for all races are posted over on their website here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Canada at Finland World Cup

The 2017 World Cup season is gets underway this week in Finland.

Canada is represented by: Emma Waddington, Will Critchley and Emily Kemp

Here's how the week looks for the Canadians:

- sprint relay: Emma Waddington, Will Critchley, and then two other runners to make up a mixed team

- sprint: Emma W and Emily Kemp

- rest

- middle: Emily Kemp

- long: Emily Kemp (start times are based on sprint, and middle results)

Helpful links: