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!

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