Monday, December 14, 2009

Course Analysis: Sandra Zurcher in Trondheim

This week's US Team course analysis comes from a training camp for WOC 2010 in Trondheim that Sandra attended this fall together with the Swiss O-Team.

September 1st, 2009

In this training we had the objective to use the swamps as much as possible as navigational help. As this was only the 2nd day in the training camp and the first 2 trainings didn’t go very well for me, I was pleasantly surprised and also relieved to find some flow and confidence during this training. For the most part, I ran well and I felt like I understood how the terrain was mapped. I made a pretty big route choice error (control 6) and a parallel error (control 7), which were due to not being familiar with the terrain yet.

Here is a control-to-control analysis:

Start -1: The start was pretty tricky, because the terrain is really quiet vague. I basically ran on a compass and saw the change in the contours as I headed uphill. I felt pretty relieved to find the control right there where I thought it should be. I would not have had a good concept for relocating, since I wouldn’t have know if I was too far to the left or right. This can be a problem on the hillsides in Trondheim, they are vague and it’s hard to relocate.

1-2: With this initial wake-up call, I decided to run the next leg using the swamps (like we were told to) and therefore having a more precise plan. It was the safer way to run this control, but that turned out to be a good thing. Others had trouble with this one. I potentially could have used the lower swamp and the stream running in the direction of my control.

2-3: The yellow swamps light up in the forest really well and are great objects to use for navigation. I used the small swamp up the hill, out of the control, to the bigger yellow swamp. Afterwards, I used the stream down to the big yellow swamp. Saw the hunting stand at one edge and went along the hillside to the stream. Ran along the stream for a moment and then up the hill on the other side to the bigger swamp and then ran the swamp all the way to the control.

3-5: Straight shot to both controls

5-6: I took a bad route choice. My problem is that I didn’t see the bridge across the big stream just south of the line. I also thought it would be fast to get out to the road, but this actually felt like it took a long time. I guess it was way too distance, especially in this type of terrain, which is really quiet runnable and fast. The 2nd half of my route choice was good, using the swamps.

6-7: Left the control using my compass and seeing the small white patch in the swamp first and than the two green patches later. I must have drifted up a little after the green patches and did a parallel error, mixing up the forest patches, thinking I was running in the lower swamp. This doesn’t make sense in retrospect, because the swamp would have been open to the north, and I ran between two forest patches. I relocated on the two rocks. Nice to have a feature like that, it would have been trickier without them.

7-8: Surfing the swamps. This is when a good phase kicked in and I really “saw” everything I wanted to see.

8-9: Used the swamp to head down the hill and then saw the rock at the end of the swamp.

9-10: Contoured around the small hill and through the yellow swamp. Then went a little further on my compass and hit the small stream, kept going on my compass and the control appeared.

10-11: Used the small swamp running downhill and then used my compass in the forest until the hillside got steeper. Saw the cliff just below me and went around to the left of it and down to my control. The nose was not clear here and the terrain was pretty deep and tough, but everything had been correct up until then, so I just went down a little further and there it was.

11-12: Popped over into the yellow swamp, than contoured in the forest until the next swamp and followed it until I saw the swamp coming up from below and the control.

12-13: Ran the swamp down hill and kept on my compass. Simone Niggli passed me here and I tried to keep up with her running downhill. She is really very skilled at downhill running. I had trouble being as agile and limber. Landed in the big yellow swamp below and ran on the road for a few steps before running in the swamp around the hill. Ran through the big swamp into the woods and to the control.

13-14: Decided to climb a little and run the swamp on top (because they are SO great for navigating!!) and saw the small knoll at the end of the long flat hilltop and well as the vegetation boundary.

14-15: Ran on a compass down the hill, but it was pretty junky, so I got off my compass bearing. Ended up too far to the right and ran along the river back to the control.

Overall it was a good training, and it is really easy to learn from the two larger mistakes as well. I really enjoyed the accuracy and flow I had from 7 to 14. I think (or better said, I hope) that there will be orienteering like this in the middle distance at WOC. I also think that the long distance will have orienteering like the beginning 8 controls.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Course Analysis: Nikolay Nachev at Salmon La Sac

This week's course review is by Nikolay Nachev from a race he ran at the Pacific Northwest Orienteering Festival in June 2009.

Long Sunday June 28

I had a steady and consistent training building up to the Northwest O festival, and felt good during the event. Had a good run on the middle distance on Saturday, and in spite of being a bit sore, felt good Sunday morning on the day of the long distance. Here are the results from the day for reference:

http://www.obasen. nu/winsplits/ online/en/ default.asp? page=table&databaseId=12075&categoryId=0

While warming up I thought about starting with a safe route and not too fast, not to blow up from the start. I did not have any specific tactics how to approach the race or what to focus on, and was just repeating myself to slow down and look at my map as much as possible…Ah, and Oysten was starting 16 mins behind me, and given the many results from the whole spring and summer, it was a stretch goal not to catch me up. The GPS track is somewhat zigzagging too much because (later I noticed ) my Garmin was set to Least Smoothing option that introduces some noise to the GPS track.

Here is my run:

Start – 1. While running on the road to 1 I looked for my route for 2 and did not see the indistinct trail. In the green the black indistinct trail looked to me as a form line and I did not consider this as a route choice at all. Punched and turn back through the start.

1 - 2. Ran on the road as fast as I can, and just before the left bend on the road climbed up through CP15. From there to 2 it was a slow going and I was making sure I follow my compass, then I noticed the big cliff/hill that is on the right of my control and ran to it through the green. The splits show 40” - 60” lost here. What I take from this error is that I still need to slow a bit more while looking at my map. Running full speed on a road does not necessarily count as a quality navigation time.

2 - 3. Took a bearing and followed it as even though short it was “very diffuse” as Tero would say.

3 - 4. Here I looked for some interesting or hidden route choice but did not see anything other than cross to the road and follow the open ridge up directly to the control. Now the execution is another thing… I began running west on the small path until the intersection with the indistinct path going along the semi open. My plan was to follow it NW and pop out in the open woods to the road. I lost the trail and was fighting almost all the way to the road. Not wanting to lose elevation or go on the road 90 degrees to my direction I immediately crossed and started climbing, and from then on it was just that climbing and contouring to the control.

Having looked later for the route choice I again haven’t seen the indistinct path. Going through CP1 and then left on the open ridge looks like a faster route choice. Same take out as for CP2 take some more time looking for a route choice

4 - 5. Here I took a bearing and followed the knolls till the small reentrant with the green and to the control

5 - 6. Control picking leg. Made sure I am going the right direction.

6 - 7. Took a bearing and simplified the leg as having to cross 2 big ridges and then look for a high knoll on the right of my control that’s on the flat.

7 - 8. Took a bearing to the bend of the trail and the fun began. Running downhill past one’s control is what I call living dangerously… hit the bend right on and while running on it decided to go around all the way to the road and go off the road from the saddle. Did that, contoured on the left of the 3 hills and ran down to the control.

8 - 9. Took a bearing and hit 9 directly.

9 - 10. Planned to go through the saddle left of the dark green through the undergrowth, contour around the hill and through the second saddle look for the control. No problems here.

10 - 11. Lost 1 + mins here: Plan was to go through the saddle of the hills in the semi open, then follow in the foot of the elongated hill, and then jump across the control. I did not see the elongated hill and I noticed that I am already in the flat area with all the knolls. Noticed on the right of me the reentrant bottom, and as I was already in the vicinity of the control (not pacing just feeling of distance traveled passed the saddle and the semiopen) I turned left and spotted the control. I guess I got lucky here. Not sure what I could have done better still don’t understand how I missed to see a 3 contours hill right infront of me. And in the semi open as well…..

11 - 12. Decided to go in the right side of the mountain. Took a bearing to the road bend . Followed he roads to the oval marsh and then climbed to the cliff just before the control.

12 - 13. Compass work again. Looked for the big stone on the left before the control and saw it.

13 - 14. Compass to the bend of the road through the saddles, then spaced out running on the road and missed by 20 – 30 m the control.

14 - 15 - 16 - 17. down the ridge and to the road and then on the road

17 - 18. While planning it I thought that this might be trouble with all the cliffs on the steep slope, and sure enough I felt uneasy and approached slow until I make sense of the cliffs. I am really proud of that leg. I slowed so much but because of that I figured out the terrain and directly went to the right cliff.

18 -19. Painful, the split shows it.

19 - 20. Direction to the road, across the open and direction from the end of the marsh. The green was very noticeable.

20 - 21. Did not took the right direction exiting 20 and end up too much to the left. Corrected immediately though. Not much time lost.

21 - 22. Plan was along the marsh on the open and then gradually climb to the control. The bunch of knolls and cliffs should stop me. As it did. Too tired to climb even gradually and apparently did not climbed enough. Did not noticed the small reentrant when planning my route, but As I ended up in it I did use it.

22 - 23. Down to the trail and then pass the junction took bearing to the control.

23 - 24. Here I did not took good direction and missed the path. End up fighting all the way to the road. 90+ seconds lost here. Take out from this do not let go until you cross the finish. It’s as easy to make a mistake for the last control as for any other.

To summarize. I consider this a good and smooth run. Had 2 not optimal route choices costing 1+ min each (didn’t noticing the same trail twiceJ), and 2 execution mistakes costing me another 1 and 1:30 each.

As a take away

1. I already know that my weakest technique is route choice selection and execution (trying to stay focus for the long legs). Need to spend more time when looking for the route choice on long legs

2. Don’t reduce my focus even for a minute.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Course Analysis: Sam Saeger at Bear Hill

Our most recent course analysis is by Samantha Saeger, who analyzes a recent Blue course at Bear Hill. Follow along on the map:

Bear Hill November 8, 2009

Start-1: Ran up the hill on the trail and, actually, got too high and had to come down to the control.

1-2: Down the hill instead of contouring the rocky hillside. Cut in off the trail and could see the control in front of me.

2-3: Around on the trail as I knew the green on this map was thick. I did take a look off the trail as I was running down, but it looked thick enough that going around would be faster. Cut in off the trail and around the bottom of the first cliff to the second cliff and my control.

3-4: I purposefully left the control to the east to avoid extra climb, but I never came back south. Meant to run through the dark green, but as one can see from the track I was slowed down quite a bit by the green. At some point I looked at my compass and the slope down to the swamp and finally turned south. I was then moving nicely along the hillside, but then convinced myself that the control was at the top of a reentrant. So as I came into the reentrant I ran to the bare rock at the top and started looking around. Finally collected my wits and realized that I really needed to be on the nose and ran down to the control. It wasn’t a case of inverting the contours. I think I originally thought to run by the reentrant, but then got the idea of a reentrant stuck in my head.

4-5: Saw Dad coming in as I was leaving. Ran on my compass for most of the leg. Was running up the reentrant at the end of the leg before the last trail crossing. Right at the end I was about to run into the wrong reentrant but saw the control off to my left.

5-6: Ran straight. Saw the reentrant, the fence and then the cliff.

6-7: Made a plan to follow the reentrant up to the large trail, which worked just fine. Looking at it now I should have stayed on the main trail and come in from the back. Instead I thought it was a good idea to go to the top. Misread the rock on top and got on the main top right above the control, even though I meant to cut down sooner. No trouble from there.

7-8: Ran back to the top, thinking then I could run down the nose. Got too far to the right. In retrospect the control is sitting on the side of a small reentrant and that information would have ben helpful. Got too low and checked out a cliff before noticing I was too close to the trail. Had to climb back again.

8-9-10-11-12-13: Dad was again running in as I was leaving 8. These controls were fairly straightforward for me. Run along trails and cut into the control. A little bit of confusion about halfway to 11 with the parking lots, but corrected by looking at my compass to get back on track.

13-14: Disaster strikes. Another similar leg with trail running and then attacking through the woods. I was doing ok, and when I hit the trail north of 18 I turned the correct direction. Unfortunately, at the next intersection I did a 180. The trail stopped making sense, but I figured I would just keep running the correct direction on my compass. I ran all the way around back to where I first started on the small trail between the ponds. The whole time I thought I was running the correct direction on my compass. I knew the trails didn’t make sense so I was just following my compass in the “correct” direction. I was desperately looking for a trail that ran east-west along a pond/swamp, but I was looking too far south for me to see where I was. Frankly, the only thing that saved me was Dad coming out of the woods from 13. I knew he must be on the way to 14, so I turned around and ran behind him as we ran back the way I just came. As soon as we ran around the first corner I realized I was thinking backwards and turned everything around in my head. Ran the trails and cut into the green before the control. Noticed I had to climb 2 contours which led me too far to the right and I climbed the larger hill. Got part of the way along the swamp before realizing there shouldn’t be a big swamp to my left. Turned around and ran back.

14-15: Possibly still shaky from my last control and hesitated a lot going into this control even though I knew I was in the reentrant.

15-16-17-18: Running along trails and relying on contours features as I attack each control. Stopped one hill too early on 17, but immediately figured it out.

18-19: Disaster #2. Again starts off fine, running along trails. When I cut down off the hill to the east-west trail south of the control I somehow thought that I hit it to the west of the junction I was looking for. In retrospect, this doesn’t make much sense, as I would have had to climb down the big cliff. But, I don’t remember crossing the small trail and that contributed to me thinking I was really turning up the trail to the west of the control. I should have also kept my head up and seen the next intersection right in front of me, or noticed the trail was going up a nose instead of a reentrant. Cut off the trail and ran right into 12, but didn’t realize it was 12. Knew it was too soon so kept going, but nothing really made sense. Decided I had gone too far north and I could see the next trail so cut south and came to a large, flat, low area. Couldn’t for the life of me figure out what this was, and so bailed out to the trail and ran it to the intersection. Of course, thinking the whole time I am on the north-south trail to the east of the control. Run back up the trail, pace counting. Then the trail forks and I am momentarily baffled before I mentally kick myself, hard, and go run to, finally, find my control.

19-20: Trail and then good running on my compass down the nose.

20-21-22: Cut off the trail later than I thought which caused me to cut at the wrong angle into 21. Had to pause to relocate. Trail and field to 22.

22-23: Out through the swamp and then very careful to make sure I was cutting off the trail in the correct place. Possibly unnecessarily cautious, but I was done with being lost.

23-24: Trails around the whole way.

24-25: Lots of trouble really figuring out what cliff it was one in the center of the circle. Every time I thought I had it I would go there and then realize I was still one cliff off. Took awhile to get myself to the right spot.

25-26-27-finish: Up the reentrant and following trails into 26. Around the water tower and looked for the nose to find 27. More green at the bottom of the hill and slightly wrong angle led me to take a bad route to the finish.

Planning my exit from the control and my routes.

To work on:

Concentration. I often made mistakes when I saw dad and did something silly. Also I got lazy when running on long trail runs and then made mistakes when I went to attack my control.

Planning the end - Having a firm plan for the entire route and visualizing what it will look like might help me avoid the kinds of mistakes on 12, 19 and 25. I sometimes oversimplified and relied on only one feature for navigation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Course Analysis: Ross Smith at the US Champs

Here is an excellent and very informative course analysis by Ross Smith, CSU, silver medalist in M21 at this year's US Championships in Greenbush, Wisconsin.

-11:03 start time. Patrick Nuss 11:05, Boris Granovskiy 11:07
-4 poptarts (easy to eat) and a mug of tea (superstition) before the race, singing and positive mood.
-Chilly and damp, wore a buff, mesh USA top, trimtex ¾ length pants, underarmour ankle socks, lucky reindeer boxer briefs and inov8 x-talon 212s while running. Bit of a sore back from sleeping funny so took some Ibuprofen 30 mins before start.
-Warm up of running around, up to the start and back a bunch, to the bathroom and back, etc. -Nothing structured or special. Thinking about how I should be thinking about something, and about having a clean 1st control.
-Had felt great at the model the day before, very excited to race. Anticipating that a good race would be a win.

Start - 1
When I saw the first leg I was worried by the green forests. I saw the trail and latched onto the relative security of following a path for a bit and then running through white woods. I quickly cut out to the parking lot and then along the trail… the footing wasn’t great on the trail and I was having a hard time reading the terrain around me as I ran along. I cut into the woods only vaguely knowing where I left the trail because I was feeling rushed and I got lucky to pass over #17. Once again assured of where I was, it was easy to go over the hill, skirt the three pointed depression, and go up over the ridge. Hesitated a little bit coming down to the knoll, as visibility was low.

- 2 first mistake. Left without a clear enough plan, only vaguely aware that I wanted to avoid the darker green. Big problem in viewing the contours to the north of the control as a hill, not a depression. Off by 15 degrees on my compass leaving 1. worried too much about running fast, not enough about keeping contact with the map. Very quickly along the way knew that I was out of contact with the map and then pushed on in hopes of hitting the powerlines and rebounding. Which is what I did.
- 3 just go straight, visualize down, up, down into the control
- 4 just go straight, saw the black ‘x’ then it was down into the big depression, up the other side into the depression on the far rim

4-5, 5-6
- 5 a long leg, and I depended too much on seeing the indistinct path 2/3 of the way along. I didn’t see the path, but did recognize the reentrant just before the path from having come that way before. I once again was fortunate to see control 18, as I was able to quickly adjust my route which had started to drift (unconscious desire to hit the path maybe?). Was supposed to hit trail and follow along until cutting past the hill along the smaller trail. Instead dropped down out of 18 into the round depression, and followed the hillside for a bit and then realized that it was tucked into the green, so cut back over.
- 6 straight, visualized going up steep hill, long reentrant with control at the far end. Don’t remember the ‘X’ here.

6-7, 7-8
- 7 saw the large hill 2/3 of the way as my target, just get there and then follow along into the flag. Knew that it was a big hill and so I aimed a bit off to the left (more than I wanted to) to be sure to hit it. When I saw that I was coming up the little saddle in the hill, I altered my plan and ran along the left side of the hill instead of the right. Then, I went down and up in the last reentrant, because it looked faster than going around. As I climbed the last saddle before the control I had a lot of confidence that the flag would be right on the other side.
- 8 follow along the hill, around the round depression and along the long depression, up and into the green.

- 9 another long leg and this time I again saw the hill I had used for 7 as being a good waypoint. Once I got to the tip of that hill, I just aimed rough compass for 9, aware that there wasn’t much of a backstop if I missed the flag. Saw the black ‘X’ and was relieved again. Down into the green reentrant and up the hill on the other side. Judged the slope of the hill and knew that I needed to go farther north when I got to the top.

9-10, 10-11
- 10 saw the large shallow depression 1/2 way through and wanted to skirt either left or right. Woods were better to the right, so I did that. Saw the large green hill, and contoured around, came down the spur on the other side and saw Ken [Walker] going in to punch the control. Score!
- 11 wanted to get ahead of Ken, and left the control on a rough compass with the idea of skirting below the first peanut shaped depressions. Lost focus a little bit and saw the green hill just before the control before I recovered my place exactly.

11-12, 12-13, 13-14, 14-15
- 12 out to the road, and then I had decided to follow along the ridge and over the saddle into the control. I cut into the forest after the first big depression, but got bogged down a bit in the next little depression. Saw the pair of boulders, then kept to the plan.
- 13 meant to go right of the hill, but the vegetation pushed me left. I had my eyes up, scanning the forest and so when I saw the hill a bit to my right I knew that I just needed to get to the saddle.
- 14 reminded me of a control on the model the day before. Follow along the string of depressions, used the last hill to aim for the pit.
- 15 wind out to the road, came past the triangle hill to the road, so knew where I was. Then I cut around the north at the base of the ridge and into the control.

- 16 the long leg. Scary at first and then I realized that I could use the same big hill as a pole star at the end of the leg. Then there was a ridge that brought me most of the way there, and finally I could take the trail until that ridge. So I cut out to the trail, not really caring which way I went, followed along to the ridge, kept contact as I went down into the depression and up over the little green hill, followed up north to the base of the big hill and here I decided to change my plan a little bit and instead of following the hillside around, tried to cut across the hypotenuse. This might have worked had I not then lost focus and I tried to read a small hill in the flat area as the large hill my control was behind. I checked behind that hill and didn’t see a reentrant, then I charged across to another hill that I saw… still nothing making sense. Feeling very panicked so I started heading back towards the hill to relocate (though my garmin shows me running more south than west) here I saw Clem [McGrath] and that helped me realize that I hadn’t gone far enough, turned around and chased back up to Clem, and finally up over the hill and into the flag.

16-17, 17-18, 18-19, 19-20, 20-F
-17 a bit angry, a bit relieved, I just wanted to be done. Had seen this control before and could recall a bit what the terrain around it looked like. Came down the hill, saw the depression to my right and then knew to turn left and into the flag.
-18 aimed straight at the flag, saw Ken again from when I hit the trail and was able to chase him into the flag. Also had been to this one before too.
-19 around the first depression, then along the side of the big green hill, out the spur and down into the pit on the other side.
-20 out to the road, scanned along the side to see if there was an opening in the green, saw the cairn and then saw a gap. Cut through the field.
-F still had some left for the final sprint.

- Ran very fast. Physically the fastest guy racing that day in those woods. Even the green didn’t slow me too much.
- Able to keep my eyes up, get information and use it quickly to adjust my route
- Able to simplify really tough terrain and find the minimum necessary to navigate

- Did not have a full plan before setting out on some legs. This cost me a lot on 2, but I got lucky on other controls.
- Did not mentally stay focused on the long leg, 16, long enough. Can’t “coast in” to the finish, need to stay sharp the whole way.
- Changed routes trying to save a few seconds. Better to choose the correct route then stick to it.

- Interesting to see how much my drawn track differed from my GPS. Plus the fact that I couldn’t draw the routes in at all for some of the legs. A positive sign of simplification? A negative sign of lazy map reading?
- Won splits at the beginning and at the end. A good sign that I didn’t go out too fast or run out of energy. Did not take any gu or water for the course (80 mins) but the race seemed short.

- 2nd place (80:00), 2:31 out of 1st place Will Hawkins (77:29), 3rd place Leif Anderson (84:02)
7:05/k, for 11.3k and 426 meters of climb
- 11 fastest splits, 6 seconds or less from the fastest split on all but 3 controls (two big mistakes and Erin Schirm was blazing fast to 12)
- WinSplits “without errors” puts me at 73:58 (6:33/k)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Training Camp Update: Harriman State Park, NY, October 8-11

This is an unedited review by Peter Gagarin of the US Team training camp at Harriman State Park that was attended by several French national team runners, including multiple world champion Thierry Gueorgiou and WOC medalist Francois Gonon.
(Note: the US Team coach resigned his position during the preparation stage of this camp, so several US Team members stepped up and made sure that this camp happened. Many thanks to Clem McGrath and Eddie Bergeron for doing a great job with last-minute organization.)

A review of the Harriman training camp.

1. Pre-camp planning.

I'm not sure how long this training camp was in the works, as I'm only marginally involved in Team stuff these days. I wouldn't have had much interest in it, except that I'd heard that Tero was going to be there with a couple of friends, and I was curious to meet him and maybe see him in action. Participating in the camp wasn't appealing in my current state, nor was getting involved in organizing it, but it seemed like offering to hang controls would useful and would be a valid reason to be there. And also might make it easier to meet the French guys. So that's what I did, made my offer a couple of weeks ago.

And then Mike [Waddington] decided that he couldn't come, and was stepping down as coach too. So there was a bit of a leadership gap. But Eddie and Clem stepped up and got things organized, and the camp happened.

The plan was to start Thursday afternoon and run through Saturday afternoon, and then run the Highlander on Sunday. Hard training in the days leading up to the Highlander may not be the best preparation, but the thinking was, the training is more important than the Highlander and if you start the Highlander tired, so what.

Some Team members were coming for the whole thing (Eddie, Clem), some just for Friday and Saturday (Nikolay and Kat, though she only stayed part of each day), some just for Saturday (Cristina, Samantha, Ross, Ali), and some not at all. In addition, there were two promising juniors (Andrew Childs and Hannah Burgess) there the whole time plus a couple of Canadian team members (Emily and JT). And then in addition to that were several others, mostly CSU members. I'm not sure how it happened that they came (it was no problem as far as I was concerned), though I know there was some discussion about which and how many non-team members could take part. I never bothered to try to find out the details.

2. Thursday.

Eddie organized the training for Thursday. I met him there late morning to get enough of a head start to get the controls out in time. First was corridor training. Note that I had the whole map; participants had just corridors maybe 50-75 meters wide to use.

Corridors map.

Following that immediately was a control picking course --

Control picking map.

My timing was just about perfect. As I was hanging the last control Tero appeared. Glad I wasn't a minute later.

Folks arrived after a bit, with Eddie last, having not just run both courses but picked up all the controls in the process! Meanwhile Linda Kohn had arrived, and headed out to hang controls for the middle course for Friday morning. I went out to take care of the controls for the O' intervals for the next morning.

The others went off to our two wonderful hosts for the camp, Alan and Mairead Young, and Bernie and Liisa Breton. Both families were just unbelievably hospitable, including hosting dinner for all of us Friday at the Youngs and Saturday at the Bretons.

But for Thursday evening we went out for dinner, French guys included, at a local diner, and then bowling after that. Very good fun.

3. Friday

Clem had organized the training for Friday, with some help from Sandy who printed the maps. This was the only wet day, raining quite a bit in the morning, not much in the afternoon though the woods were still wet, though it really didn't make much difference.

First up were the O' intervals, to be run in small groups, with forked controls and breaks between each section to regroup and take a short break.

Intervals map.

Then there was a middle course. No route because Linda hung those.

Morning middle map.

Both these courses included sections with a mix of small features and patches of laurel, not at all easy. Other parts were wide open.

Meanwhile Linda and I were hanging controls for a rerun of the middle course from the Team Trials in 2003. We used stands for these to make sure we could get them in the right place (there is a real lack of trees in Harriman for hanging controls).

Lunch was both good and bad. Good because we all drove off to Sloatsburg to get lunch, all together, good company. Bad that it took quite a bit of time, so it was mid/late afternoon before they all started the TT course, and getting dark by the time some were finishing.

Team Trials middle map. Linda hung the 6 eastern controls.

Seems like everyone did all the training. The controls were left out in case anyone wanted to run any of the courses on Saturday.

Wonderful dinner at the Youngs, everyone there and a ton of food.

4. Saturday

The French guys had said they would organize a training for Saturday morning. Tero planned the courses at lunch on Friday and I hung the controls that afternoon, so all of them could run too.

It was a 2-person, 8-leg relay, so everyone ran 4 legs, total distance for each person was 5.6 km. Tero and I went off set up the start/finish while everyone else got a hands-on participatory warm-up led by François Gognon, another of the amazing French guys of the past decade. I gather the warm-up consisted of 10 minutes of jogging, and then 10-15 of running drills (crazy walks), and then a couple of uphill intervals to the start/finish.

The relay was excellent. Serious competition but also good karma. Winning team was Sam and J-B.

The format was two-person teams. Four legs run by each, the first three in varying order, then the last one common. The first three legs are shown in red on the map. That's what the lead-off runner got, but both runners on the team used just that one map for the first three legs each, i.e. the tag was just hand the teammate the map, they'd do same first leg, then both the second, then both the third. Six possible combinations, broke things up nicely. And then the final loop, just 800 meters, shown here in black, was actually on a separate map, again each teammate did it. Tero's time on the last leg was 3:38, Ross next best at 4:02, trying to hang with him, did good except on the uphills.

Relay map.

Back to the parking lot, which several folks pitching in to retrieve all the controls. A short but wonderful awards ceremony orchestrated by the French. Then off to lunch again, except for Ross who ran the morning middle course from the day before and picked up the controls too. Jon Torrance ran the TT course and picked up those controls. And Brendan, suffering from a sore knee, had skipped the relay and picked up the controls from the O-intervals.

Back from lunch, the serious part of the training camp, at least for Tero, was a rerun of the Short final from WOC-93. He was taking it especially seriously because his current coach is Petter Thoresen, who won the event 16 years ago.

Eric Weyman had come up just to set up the course (he was the original course setter). Everyone ran it late afternoon. Tero was 23:20 for the 4.75 km, would have been 3rd back in 1993, though the vegetation has changed some and it's hard to know how much of an adjustment to make. On this day he was way ahead of any of the North Americans.

WOC-93 Short final map.

Then Eric set off to pick up all the controls, and take all the gear back to Sandy (we had borrowed it from DVOA). And the camp was over. Except for another great dinner,this time at the Bretons, probably 30 people there.

6. Observations

-- Mostly it went well, especially considering the last-minute scrambling just to make it happen. As usual, people were willing to pitch in to help, though often not willing to commit until the last moment. There was lots of training done, despite the fact that the Highlander was looming on Sunday. No one seemed to be dogging it on Saturday. The accommodations were superb, and free. The vibes seemed to be very good.

-- So what was missing?

First, this was a training camp where you were given the opportunity to train, but you were mostly on your own as to what you were working on. Other than François's session on warming up, there was no coaching. So I'm not sure how much people got out of the camp. Or how much more they could have gotten.

Second, it seemed a bit of a missed opportunity with the French guys. They were clearly not there to be in any leadership position, they were on vacation. Nevertheless, they offered to organize Saturday morning and that was really cool. But it seemed to me that people were hesitant to make connections. They were with us from Thursday evening on, doing the same trainings, eating and relaxing together. I just think people could have been much more assertive in connecting, and learned stuff in the process.

Note that beside Tero and François, the other two French guys were also very good -- Jean-Baptiste was at two WOCs, 31st in the long-distance final in both 2003 and 2004, I think he is ranked 7th in France, and Matthieu was a little slower but not much. All were very cool, would chatter away in French, but anytime anyone engaged them, they were glad to talk about most anything, and all spoke good English. I really enjoyed having them there. I hope the others did.

Third, again because of a lack of a coach and planning, there were no indoor or evening sessions. I went to a training camp in Hamilton several years ago, where the guest stars were Holger and Sandy Hott, and there were classroom sessions every evening, and very interesting sessions. This camp had none of that. My sense was that everyone was having a good time, but that much more could have been accomplished.

Fourth, if there is a lesson in this it is that planning needs to be done much earlier and more thoroughly. Planning the woods training. Planning the non-woods training. Getting the equipment and the maps. Arranging for e-punching (didn't have that this time). Getting commitments from team members (senior and junior) to come. Getting helpers. Figuring out what policy to have about non-team members (and what to charge them, they got a free ride this time). All this is work, but it makes for a much better final result.

Fifth, as I said, the one real coaching moment was about warming up properly. So then it was interesting to note a couple of things. During the relay Saturday morning, where you were running four times with rest intervals averaging 10-15 minutes, the French guys were continually moving during their rest intervals, staying warm and ready to go. Everyone else was standing around chatting and spectating and not moving at all. And before the WOC93 race in late afternoon, the French guys did a very thorough warm-up (Tero was breathing quite hard as he stood waiting for the start command). Ditto for Jon Torrance and Nikolay. No one else did anything.

At what point do we take things seriously?

And finally, I have a lot of admiration for those team members who had the attitude that they were going to train hard, and then run the Highlander on (very) tired legs, and even flew in from some distance to do it. And not much admiration for those who showed up for the Highlander but couldn't come at least a day earlier to try and learn something. Especially with a world champion there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Relay update

The men finished strong amongst quite a bit of drama in the relay - it looks like 24th and a convincing win against Canada!

Sam opened the women's race with a superb and scintillating effort, 11th place passing off to Sandra.

Sam is ready for lunch now:

Ross rocks the first leg!

Ross stormed through the first leg only 3.5 minutes behind the leaders! Second leg runner Eric started off with over a five minute lead on Canada.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sprint Finals Excitement!

Sam had a whirlwind day today, qualifying for the final in the morning and then running the final in the evening. Her run was not perfect (a goof on the second control, losing about 45 seconds) but we are all excited for her 37th place finish.

This is a great time to note that this year marks an historic first - it's the first time Team USA has had finalists in each of the three individual disciplines. Sandra and Sam and rock stars!

Post race chatter

We've got some catching up to do in the results reporting front, but in the meantime enjoy this entertaining chatter from a few of this morning's sprinters:

Sam Does It Again!

Sam had another great run, finishing 14th in her heat and qualifying for the Sprint final later today. All you North American fans Have no excuse for missing out on the online coverage for an afternoon race. ;-)

Her she is, beaming after qualifying for the second time this WOC:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

So hot right now!

The World Championships in Hungary started today with the qualifier for the Middle distance. The top 15 in each of 3 heats qualified for the final, which will be on Wednesday. As usual, it was really hard to qualify, so lots of congratulations to Sandra Zürcher who finished 13th in her heat and will run in the final!

Summary of results --

Men A
1. Pavlo Ushkvarok UKR 26:40
2. Matthias Mueller SUI 27:01
3. Dmitry Mihalkin BLR 27:04

15. Wolfgang Siegert AUT 29:11
25. Eric Bone USA 32:27
29. Will Critchley CAN 36:41
38 starters

Men B
1. Matthias Merz SUI 25:47
2. Tero Fohr FIN 26:41
3. Ionut Zinca ROM 26:59
15. Jonas Gvildys LTU 29:45

21. Nick Duca CAN 32:01
30. Wyatt Riley USA 37:14
38 starters

Men C
1. Valentin Novikov RUS 26:12
2. Daniel Hubman SUI 27:07
3. Thierry Gueorgiou FRA 27:16

15. Yury Tambasov BLR 31:10
26. Mike Smith CAN 35:12
--- Eddie Bergeron USA mp
38 starters

Women A
1. Simone Niggli, SUI 26:46
2. Helena Jansson SWE 28:30
3. Merja Rantanen FIN 28:57

15. Ilina Shandurkova BUL 33:14
25. Viktoria Brautigam USA 41:29
29 starters

Women B
1. Anne Margrette Hausken NOR 27:02
2. Dana Brozkova CZE 28:05
3. Vroni Koenig-Salmi SUI 28:10
15. Karin Schmalfeld GER 34:37
21. Pavlina Brautigam USA 37:29
25. Louis Oram CAN 44:33
29 starters

Women C
1. Lea Mueller SUI 28:16
2. Minna Kauppi FIN 29:14
3. Radka Brozkova CZE 29:58
13. Sandra Zürcher USA 36:09
15. Irina Maiorescu ROM 37:28
21. Carol Ross CAN 42:58

28 starters

Complete results are at
The women’s map is at
The men’s map is at

And, of course, the proof from the arena:So hot right

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Middle Qual Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the Middle Qualifier, starting at 10am CET - that's 4am for those of you on the right coast, and 7am for those of you on the left coast. You can follow the online commentary at WorldofO, and get links to results, video, and (not free) gps tracking at the WOC 2009 site.

Today Cristina attempted to interview each of tomorrow's runners. She managed to catch them all, in one form or another, but a disastrous disk error has left her with just four "interviews": Sandra, Pavlina, Eddie, and Eric.

Wish the runners happy legs and skillful running!

Friday, August 14, 2009

More Good Clean Fun

What did we do for training today? We'll just let Clem and Sandra tell you all about it:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We're all here, eating jambalaya

With the arrival of Viktoria and Pavlina this afternoon we are now a complete team. In fact, we are complete and really just fabulous in appearance. Best looking team at WOC? Quite possibly.

Today most of the team headed out to Olasz-kapu, on the far side of the Bükk National Park where much of the orienteering takes place for WOC. It was a long drive with some pretty narrow roads. Quite sporty, really. Some parts of the terrain were really great, some not so great, but I think everyone appreciated the fact that there were real controls in the woods. For less formal training we've had to look for little brown stakes in the ground - very hard to see.

Here're Ross and Eddie enjoying a laugh over their map today:

For dinner tonight we all stayed in and Eddie cooked up some verifiably yummy jambalaya. While all of the team apartments are right next to each other, we don't have any large common areas to gather in and eat, so we made do with the hallway:

Remember to keep up with WOC goings on at the WOC 2009 website!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Which way? and Sprint training!

This morning most of Team USA went out for some route choice training. Which way would you go from 1-2? How about 6-7?

In the afternoon it was time for some sprint training. The map and terrain were pretty tricky for the first two controls. Check out the second leg:
Ross, Sam, and Clem discuss the sprint training:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First arrivals in Miskolc!

Yesterday the first members of Team USA arrived in Hungary. Sam, Eric, and Cristina made it to Miskolc with only the slightest setback - Cristina's luggage didn't make it until the next day. We've settled into the nice accommodations at the University of Miskolc and are making ourselves at home. The weather is pleasant enough and we haven't had any trouble getting around - so far!

Today Sam, Eric, and Cristina went out for some training on middle/long qual relevant terrain, Kisfennsík, and got themselves a bit used to the terrain. Eric has been here before for a training camp, and though Sam ran in the Miskolc area for JWOC many years ago, the terrain was essentially new for both women. It was a good opportunity to get eyes and feet on the terrain and get used to the mapping.

Eric had to do a bit of shoe surgery before he could go run:

Sam preps the maps:

Ross, Clem, and Eddie arrived later today, some more jet lagged than others:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sandra and Sam Training in Switzerland

WOC is less than three weeks away, and Team USA is busy training hard all over the world. After successfully coaching the Junior Team at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Italy, Sandra and Sam spent a wonderful two weeks doing some high altitude training in Switzerland. Read all about it and see photos and maps on Sandra's blog.

You can now also follow Team USA on Facebook. You don't have to belong to Facebook to check out the updates and pictures!

Friday, May 29, 2009

WOC Team - Who's Running What

We had the team settled, and now we've got the details!

Team coach Mike Waddington and WOC team leader Tom Hollowell have announced "who's running what" for WOC 2009. Start memorizing and making those big signs!

Middle: Eddie Bergeron, Eric Bone, Wyatt Riley
Long: Eric Bone, Ross Smith, Clem McGrath
Sprint: Ross Smith, Wyatt Riley, Clem McGrath
Relay (in running order): Ross Smith, Eric Bone, Eddie Bergeron

Middle: Sandra Zurcher, Pavlina Brautigam, Viktoria Brautigam
Long: Samantha Saeger, Sandra Zurcher, Cristina Luis
Sprint: Viktoria Brautigam, Samantha Saeger, Cristina Luis
Relay (in running order): Samantha Saeger, Sandra Zurcher, Viktoria or Pavlina Brautigam

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Training Camp Update: Canadian Rockies

Last week, US team member Kat Orekhova flew to Calgary to join the Canadians for a week-long training camp. Here is her day-by-day account, complete with maps and links.

Monday, May 18
I arrived in Calgary airport at 2 PM on May 18th, and spent the next 10 hours hanging out in the arrivals hall so that I could get a ride to Canmore with Jon Torrance. We got in sometime after 1 AM and quickly went to sleep.

Tuesday, May 19
After a leisurely breakfast, our group (roughly 10 people) headed out to Mt.Laurie for some technical training. The rain and snow made the control-pick extra challenging.

In the afternoon, we headed out to Barrier Lake for some fast and furious orienteering intervals. This exercise was done in teams of 2 people and the rules were as follows: one person rolls a pair of dice to get a number between 2 and 12, and must then orienteer to the control with that number, punch, and run back as quickly as possible to tag his/her partner. Then the partner rolls the dice and goes through the same process while the first person gets a break. Whichever team gets all 11 controls first wins. If a team rolls a number they have already been to, they have to run to that control again, a disadvantage which adds a bit of luck to the game. However, if a team rolls the same number for a third time, they are allowed to re-roll. This was great fun and really spectator friendly because the start was at the top of a steep hill and all controls went down from there!

Wednesday, May 20
Today we drove into Calgary and spent the day doing sprint training. First a park sprint, then a series of short urban sprint intervals (made extra challenging by an enormous construction site), and finally a sprint around the university campus. This last one was part of a local orienteering event and therefore had SI timing and a nice, newly updated map. Thanks to Sarah Brandreth (the course setter) for a really fun sprint!

Thursday May 21
In the morning, we drove over to the Canmore Nordic Center to run the permanent middle distance O-course there. A lot of parks have such courses available, but this one is special because it is equipped with SI units, which makes it really easy for Canmore visitors to experience real, competitive orienteering and compare times with some of the best in Canada. Brent had a blazing fast run and set a new course record for the 4.2 km, 165m climb course. I was pleased to be only a few minutes behind most of the guys, despite not racing all-out.

In the afternoon, we drove to Banff for a sprint race. There was some construction going on in the urban section of the course, but the forest parts were just as expected - really open and fast!

Friday May 22
Easy morning training on the Bow Valley map, followed by a relaxing afternoon spent in Calgary watching a movie (Star Trek) and then going out for Ethiopian food.

Saturday May 23
First day of the Calgary Spring Cup (also the Canadian Team Trials). The sprint was held in the morning at Fish Creek Park, in perfect sunny weather. The top three results for the elite classes were:

1. Goeres, Patrick 12:46
2. Sorensen, Oystein 12:57
3. Smith, Mike 13:29

1. Louise Oram 13:14
2. Ekaterina Orekhova 13:47
3. Andree Powers 19:27

The middle distance was held several hours later on the southern part of the Sandy McNabb map. The forest floor was really wet due to recent snow-melt, which sometimes made the marshes difficult to distinguish, but the course-setters did a good job of avoiding bingo controls and the course was really enjoyable. The top results in the elite classes were:

1. Sorensen, Oystein 32:05
2. Smith, Mike 33:41
3. Goeres, Patrick 33:53

1. Louise Oram 32:50
2. Ekaterina Orekhova 39:25
3. Marie-Catherine Bruno 41:18

Sunday, May 24
Second day of the Calgary Spring Cup. There was only one race today, but it was a tough long distance. The first part went through some steep hilly sections, and the second went through the same type of flat, marshy area as yesterday's middle distance. Another great course!

1. Sorensen, Oystein 1:22:03
2. Goeres, Patrick 1:24:18
3. Smith, Mike 1:30:53

1. Ekaterina Orekhova 1:09:17
2. Louise Oram 1:10:34
3. Sarah Brandreth 1:34:23

Full results and routegadget from the weekend can be found here.

And a large collection of photos from the week, taken by Adrian Zissos, can be found here.

This was an incredible week of orienteering and I am really grateful to the organizers for making this possible. Also, a huge thanks to the US Team for their support. I couldn't have done it without you!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A-Meet Update: Buffalo Orienteering Festival

Nate Lyons (ROC) sprinting into 2nd place

Here comes the latest update, this one from last weekend's Buffalo Orienteering Festival. This week's guest reporter is DVOA's Greg Balter.

Last weekend provided us with some interesting competition as our busy spring season of orienteering racing is winding down. Buffalo Orienteering Club hosted us at 3 fine new venues and 3 new maps done by Bulgarian mapper Valentin Vladimirov. Valentin also served as a course designer for this meet and the course setting was done by Jackie Novkov from Buffalo.

In all 3 races presented to us this weekend courses emphasized extreme running speed and tested all in quick decision-making, working with map and terrain on a run with very little time to spare. The middle distance was set to begin in fairly steep erosion terrain with small marshes, reentrants and knolls as control features, exiting later into flatter plateau with rootstocks, trails and vegetation boundaries to deal with. As it is seldom done in US courses followed contour lines rather than crossing them and it opened possibilities for various rout choices (low, high or contouring).

Man’s middle course race was decided between Erin Shirm, Sergei Zhuk, and William Hawkins who started in that order 2 min apart from each other. Sergei’s task was to stay out of William’s sight, and he pushed the pace right out of start gate. By control # 8 Sergei caught Erin and competition between these two pushed pace even higher. William on his side attacked the course early on and by control # 10 he gained 40 sec on Sergei. At the end it proved to be the difference in this race. Will finished in blistering hot 26:57 for the 4.5 km course with 17 controls, showing one more time that his top position in North American rankings is well-earned. Sergei was second: 27:49, Erin was third in 29:43, followed by Canadian team member Nick Duca in 30:27. US Team members Clem McGrath and Ross Smith completed top 6 with 31:25 and 31:36 respectively. Ross had a good start but a 3 min mistake on control #9 pushed him out of contention in this race.

Ross gained nice amount of running speed since last season and must pull his navigational skills up to new level in order to take full advantage his legs.

Ladies and top juniors competed on 3.9 km course with 16 controls, designed very similar to Blue course. Our top juniors Andrew Childs and Nate Lyons showed that they could handle fast running and fine navigation at the same time and finished in 29:27 and 30:28 respectively. Samantha Saeger won F21+ race in 32:09 (two small mistakes on 6 and 15), followed by Pavlina Brautigam in 35:48 and Kseniya Popova was 3-rd in 38:50.

Later same day we faced a super fast sprint at Emery Park North. Buffalo Club provided loudspeaker announcement at the finish. 2.54 km course in the park was featuring somewhat limited woods running (only 2 legs), going over playgrounds fields and finishing down local ski slope.

I was predicting the tough battle between Ross and Erin, and was very anxious to see how it will play in real world. Ross started earlier and finished in super fine 11:29. Lacking orienteering racing this season, Erin lost huge 1 min on control # 1 and another 30 sec on # 2, then settled down and finished in decent 12:48, what was only good for 11-th place. After the dust settled Nate Lyons was second in 11:45, (watch out senior team members for this one in 2-3 years, he is only 17 this year), Hans Fransson finished 3-rd in 11:54. Canadian Junior Team member Robbie Anderson, Will Hawkins and Clem McGrath compiled top six times: 12:02, 12:05, and 12:08.

Canadian phenom Emily Kemp won the females’ race, while competing in M21+ category this year, with fine time of 13:10, with Samantha Saeger in second: 14:31, followed by Kseniya in 15:20.

Sunday morning met us with 27-degree temperature drop and blistering wind. Cool weather (45-50F) and plenty of sunshine allowed us to run fast and drink little. One more time the courses played very fast, may be even too fast: last 2.5 km on Blue and Red felt like a very long finish shoot.

Will Hawkins did not run the race for personal reasons. I guess, Ross had something to prove on 12.3 km course with 25 controls, and he did so well. Posting the only result with pace under 6 min/km, he was in control of this race, and won handily in 71:39. Nice exclamation point at the end of the season, and hopefully Ross will have good training in next two and a half months before the WOC in Hungary. Second place went to Erin Shirm with time of 74:22 – nice result considering that it was his 3-rd orienteering session this year. I hope we will see more of Erin in O-races starting next year. I hope he reaches his ambitious goals as college track runner too, and we will see under 4 min mile race produced by one of our own.

Erin Schirm (HVO) flying through the forest

2 Sergeis – Zhuk and Gnatiouk battled on the course, pushing each other hard - at the end Zhuk finished with 3-rd time: 75:35 and Gnatiouk with 6-th: 77:44. Nick Duca was 4-th yet one more time with 76:17 and Igor Palagnyuk was 5th with 77:08. (On a little trivia note Gnatiouk, Palagnyuk and Balter all started to orienteers in the same town of Chernovtcy in Western Ukraine.)

Emily and Samantha battled it out on a Blue course (girls you have to spare our prideJ).

Samantha had a decent race, still made a 4 min mistake on #12, and was 13-th on Blue with 87:26; Emily was 89:41 and placed next to Sam.

Samantha Sager (NEOC) during the middle distance

One more time Red-Y course battle featured top US juniors in close race, and one more time Andrew Childs prevailed over Nate Lyons and John Goodwin. Nate was very aggressive early on mounting 3 min lead over Andrew and John, but a 8 min bomb on 12 pushed him well back, and we have to give him a credit for clawing back into race: Andrew was first in 59:58, Nate – second in 60:18 and John finished 60:44. This is as close as it gets – after 8.5 km course with 21 controls top three got separated by only 46 seconds. Good going kids.

On the ladies side Pavlina won easily over Yekaterina Dvinyaninova and Kseniya Popova: 65:42, 69:27, 69:50.


M21, 4.5km, 145m, 17c
1. William Hawkins CSU 77 26:57
2. Sergei Zhyk DVOA 79 27:49
3. Erin Schirm HVO 89 29:43

F21, 3.9km, 125m, 16c
1. Samantha Saeger NEOC 82 32:09
2. Pavlina Brautigam WCOC 61 35:48
3. Kseniya Popova HVO 86 38:50

, 2.54km, 50m, 16c
1. Ross Smith CSU 83 11:29
2. Nate Lyons ROC 92 11:45
3. Hans Fransson GHO 70 11:54

1. Emily Kemp OOC 92 13:10
2. Samantha Saeger NEOC 82 14:31
3. Kseniya Popova HVO 86 15:20

Men, 12.4km, 230m, 25c
1. Ross Smith CSU 83 71:39
2. Erin Schirm HVO 89 74:22
3. Sergei Zhyk DVOA 79 75:35

Women, 8.4km, 190m, 21c
1. Pavlina Brautigam WCOC 61 65:42
2. Yekaterina Dvinyaninova HVO 77 69:27
3. Kseniya Popova HVO 86 69:50

Full results:

Maps (Route Gadget):

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A-Meet Update: Return to Boggs Mountain and US Team Trials

The 2oo9 US WOC Team and alternates

This past weekend was the US team trials in Santa Rosa and Cobb, CA. There were about 24 men and 10 women signed up to compete for the 5 spots on the WOC team. Team members arrived in Spring Lake Park in Santa Rosa on Friday afternoon and were welcomed by a steady drizzle. Luckily the new Trimtex uniforms had arrived, brought over from Sweden by Kat Orekhova, and everyone was looking snazzy in the new blue warmup jackets. The sprint terrain was typical park terrain, with a network of trails and roads and point features such as picnic tables and boulders. Although it appeared to be a straight forward sprint, many competitors were tripped up by being able to run at high speed through the terrain. The last control in particular was tricky, as there was a white control further towards the finish line that was more visible than the correct last control. Many competitors, in their haste to reach that line, ran to the wrong last control. Both Viktoria Brautigam and Ross Smith (as the first starter!) crushed their competition by almost a minute in both cases. One result that stood out was from junior Holly Kuestner, who bested current team member Pavlina Brautigam by one second.

After the team trials sprints went out, the rest of the A-meet competitors got a chance to run the same courses. Some very impressive times were run by a strong foreign contingent. Below are the team trial results from Friday. For complete course results from the sprint check here:
Routes can be found at:

Sprint stars Viktoria Brautigam and Samantha Saeger, after the long distance

1 Viktoria Brautigam 14:13
2 Samantha Saeger 15:08
3 Cristina Luis 15:38
4 Holly Kuestner 15:41
5 Pavlina Brautigam 15:42
6 Corinne Porter 18:11
7 Ekaterina Orekhova 18:36
8 Angelica Riley 19:21
9 Karin Gookin Didisse 22:06
10 Sharon Crawford 25:30

1 Ross Smith 14:37
2 Eric Bone 15:21
3 Thomas Carr 15:30
4 Wyatt Riley 15:33
5 Nikolay Nachev 15:45
6 Boris Granovskiy 15:47
7 Eddie Bergeron 15:54
8 James Scarborough 15:59
9 Clem McGrath 16:16
10 Leif Anderson 16:33

The rainy weather following the sprint race encouraged people to disperse quickly, and everyone made their way up to Cobb, CA an hour drive on some scenic and seriously winding roads. For those brave souls willing to venture into the rain there was the option of checking out some model terrain for the rest of the weekend at the Boggs Mountain map.

Saturday began with more rain and lower than expected temperatures. Some people that had planned on camping over the weekend gave up in disgust and found drier accommodations. There was a 2 kilometer walk to the start for the advanced courses which gave runners adequate time to get soaking wet before running. The other courses started from the parking lot and were smugly able to sit in their cars before heading out.
The middle courses for the team trials had many changes of direction and a lot of short technical legs. There were a couple of longer legs towards the middle of the advanced courses that allowed runners to stretch their legs on the trails. Both courses had a long leg with about 20 contours of climb near the end of the race where different routes led to an almost 3 minute spread among the top men and women. The terrain was very steep and rocky in some areas. There was a downhill finish in view of the parking lot for those willing to stand in the cold rain and cheer. Most competitors finished and then quickly jumped in their cars with their heaters running. After leaving the site and taking a warm shower, many found their way to the small coffee shop in Cobb center, which team member Clem McGrath described as “funky.” The local businesses might have been a little overwhelmed by all the orienteers but rumor has it that they were expecting even more of us for the weekend. Somehow they heard that 2,000 athletes would be racing!

Here are the results from the team trials. Cristina Luis again ran a solid race and finished third, showing a marked improvement from last years team trials. See her routes, and others, here. Again, many other elite runners (in particular, Canadian Patrick Goeres and Norwegian Öystein Sörensen in the men's class) also posted some impressive times on these WRE middle courses which can be read here:

1 Samantha Saeger 45:45
2 Pavlina Brautigam 51:10
3 Cristina Luis 52:40
4 Viktoria Brautigam 58:08
5 Ekaterina Orekhova 59:48
6 Holly Kuestner 1:02:04
7 Angelica Riley 1:06:26
8 Corinne Porter 1:06:49
9 Sharon Crawford 1:11:57
10 Karin Gookin Didisse 1:30:10

1 Eric Bone 42:22
2 Boris Granovskiy 42:53
3 Nikolay Nachev 44:57
4 Wyatt Riley 45:08
5 Sergei Zhyk 45:27
6 Clem McGrath 45:46
7 Ross Smith 48:04
8 Eddie Bergeron 49:38
9 Gerald Yip 50:09
10 Jordan Laughlin 50:56

Eric Bone, Team Trials winner on the men's side

On Sunday it was time for the long distance race. As many stared out their window, or their tent flap, in the morning they were dismayed to see that it was still raining. Fortunately, the rain tapered off and had almost completely stopped by the time the first team trialers began. The woman’s race started off rough for many of the team trial competitors, as many had to relocate a few times in order to find the first control. Angelica Riley took a decisive and early lead as she calmly and swiftly navigated to the first control. The men’s and women’s courses had a mixture of shorter more technical legs with longer legs where route choice was important. Eddie Bergeron won the split on the longest leg by running all the way left on the trail. See his route, and others, at . As the sun began to peek through the clouds the first finishers arrived, still soaking wet and exhausted from the course that had more than the recommended 4% climb. Junior Jordan Laughlin had a stand out performance, finishing only 4 minutes behind the team trial winner, Eddie Bergeron. Yet again, many other competitors also posted speedy times on the WRE long courses and their times can be found here

1 Samantha Saeger 1:30:27
2 Corinne Porter 1:33:54
3 Cristina Luis 1:40:15
4 Viktoria Brautigam 1:42:15
5 Angelica Riley 1:43:23
6 Pavlina Brautigam 1:52:37
7 Holly Kuestner 2:01:53
8 Sharon Crawford 2:23:04

1 Eddie Bergeron 1:41:03
2 Clem McGrath 1:42:38
3 Eric Bone 1:43:36
4 Wyatt Riley 1:44:52
5 Jordan Laughlin 1:45:08
6 Sergei Zhyk 1:45:57
7 Leif Anderson 1:49:48
8 Nikolay Nachev 1:50:12
9 Ross Smith 1:51:06
10 Gregory Balter 1:56:13

The weekend ended with sun, watermelon, ice cream and an awards ceremony all provided by the thoughtful BAOC bloc. The US team and alternates for Hungary were announced by Peter Gagarin. The team makeup is similar to last year’s US team with the addition of first time team member Cristina Luis. Cristina surprised even herself with her racing this weekend. She wasn’t expecting to have two races that earned her 95 points and so she wasn’t sure if she would make the 270 point cut-off for sending a fifth athlete. Holly Kuestner had to catch a plane back to the east coast where she was needed to finish taking her final exams and so wasn’t present to hear that she was named the second alternate for the WOC team. Getting this recognition might have helped ease the pain of running into barb wire during the long run.

On the men’s side, Eric Bone again took top honors, showing his dominance in the arena. Boris Granovskiy has declined his spot on the team and therefore Sergei Zhyk will get a chance to represent the US this summer in Hungary. If he goes it will be his first WOC.