Thursday, June 27, 2013

JWOC training: middle and sprint


Still in the routine, waking up at 7:55 getting ready for breakfast and for a long day of training. Ready to be ready at 9:30 for training. Once again PARTY RIDE! We play our iPods in the Bluetooth of the car and listen to different sorts of music.

Today we were divided into two groups for training, the middle and the sprint. I was put with the sprint group. As soon as we got into the car we started playing music!

We were informed about our training for that day. I was put into a group that had the day off. So instead of training for the middle a couple of people and I went on a hike around the park. We pretty much just went sight seeing the whole time. When we got back from the training we went upstairs to our hotel rooms and played cards all night.


My JWOC experience up to this point has been pretty much all I could ask for. The actual training was frustrating at first because I simply could not have a clean run, but that seems to have been changing these past few days. First, allow me to summarize the non-training parts: food is precious when it consists of something that does not include chicken or potatoes. The only meal we're served which is not almost entirely chicken and potatoes is breakfast, but come to think of it that's actually buffet style anyway. Fortunately, there's a store just a couple minute's walk away where we can purchase food, but people are still eager to eat anywhere except the hotel if given the opportunity.

The hotel itself has been a largely positive experience, though. My greatest joy so far is probably the refrigerator we have which has allowed us to keep cold drinks and even small amounts of ice cream! The rooms are also actually a reasonable size and not the tiny two person rooms that three people need to somehow cream into. It puts my college double to great shame. Unfortunately, there was a bit of an accident today when wind blew so strongly through Nate's and my window that an inside door slammed and caused glass to shatter everywhere. It's all cleaned up, now, but we still need to keep an eye out for glass shards in our room.

Socially this trip has been a very new experience as well. In the past we've usually only needed one van for JWOC, but this year we have two vans and two cars. There are simply so many juniors getting pumped about being in Europe that it hardly feels like I left home. The best part is that we all seem to get along very well, too, so there's no stress related to social life! There is always something going on with some group, and everyone is welcome to take part. Boredom is something few of us have been exposed to on this trip.

Some days we simply didn't have the time to be bored anyway because we were training and traveling so frequently. So far there has been an excellent distribution of training exercises and terrains which we've practiced on, and each day has generally brought something completely new. Here's the basic overview of what I've learned so far: the long (said to have a crazy large amount of climb) will also have many route choices which involve less climb but greater distance, and the terrain itself is VERY general. I think vegetation might have almost as large a part to play as contours on the long course.

The middle is only a slightly different story. We've only been on one middle map a couple of times, but it has a very good distribution of technical challenges. The rocky areas can be extremely cluttered, the contours are general at times and useful at others, and the vegetation is more or less just annoying. It's also fairly step when there is climb, but that might just be the one map. Usually contours in the Czech Republic are never far from more contours.

However, the relay is a great contrast to that. The woods are very fast (same as the other two), and navigation will probably be seventy percent by vegetation. There are many green patches of varying densities which are very distinct, and so a strong compass and a swiveling head is most of what you need. The terrain is also almost perfectly flat, so I expect the relay to be a pretty crazy race.

As for the sprint... It's not my favorite race, but I don't think it will be any more interesting than it has been in the past. Once in a while there will be secret little passages and complex route choices, but ninety percent of it is simply asking yourself if you go for the right route or the left one, and then you simply run fast. There is no doubt it will be a runner's race, but I hope they find some tiny alleyways and small gates to make things a little spicier.

Up to this point, that's pretty much all I have. My energy levels are fairly high, so I'm very eager for the competitions to begin, but for now I'll keep focusing on the trainings as best I can. It's exciting, though, and only a handful of short days until the big races begin. Wish us luck!


Although I've only been here in the Czech Republic for two days, lots has happened. My sister and I arrived late on Tuesday night but we were happy to see Barb waiting for us in the hotel lobby. The next day we woke up at 7:30 and although we were tired, we knew it would be best to get up and go training, so that's what we did. That day the training was slow for me because I was very tired, but with that I had minimal mistakes. We got back to the hotel and walked around the town and then played card games. It was fun. Today we split up into two groups, one group did middle training while the other did sprint. I went to the middle training and it was good to get a feeling for the terrain. We did two fairly short courses. my first one went very well, I felt like I had "flow" which is what Erin always talks about. My second course, not so much. I made a lot of small mistakes, which after a while start piling up. I have to try to avoid that. There were lots of big boulders and cliffs which were good if you kept map contact. My legs are sore so I would say it was a great day of training.


Today I did some urban sprint training which was lots of fun. I personally love sprints and today's objective of working on flow was a great idea. If we had to stop when we got to our control you had to go back and re-run it so that you knew where you were going to go next. I had great flow through the controls but for a few controls my route choice could have been better. Overall today's training was great and my confidence in sprinting definitely went up, also the weather was not too shabby which made me a happy girl.


Today our group split up; some of us went to do sprint training while others went to do some middle training. The group of us that did sprint training went back to Jaroměř, which is where we did our second sprint training a few days ago. When we got there we did our warm up and then did two different courses that Erin drew for us. The maps we recycled, so now that they had three different courses drawn on them it made it kind of difficult to read it at times, but I just saw that as an extra challenge.

I was able to run the courses pretty smoothly with good flow. Between the two courses I only made one mistake on a section of the map that had all three courses criss crossing over it. After our cool down we drove home and then heard about the awesome map that the rest of the group ran on. They described to us how there were tons of awesome boulders that reached up forty feet high, and they were everywhere. It sounded like a climbers paradise. Then to add to that they saw the South African team. I have been waiting to run into them since I arrived here (I spent the past semester studying in South Africa). Luckily we will be going back to that map tomorrow to do some more middle training, but I guess I will have to wait until Saturday to see the South Africans.

In the afternoon we did a pacing exercise. We went to the track and tested out different paces walking/jogging a hundred meters of each. We started going at ten minutes per kilometer and then went down to three minutes per kilometer. I was very surprised how slow some of these paces were. Even though running at six minutes per kilometer in the forest might be fast, on the track it was pretty slow.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

JWOC team news


Hello Orienteering Fans!! My name is Barbara Ziolkoski and I get the honor of writing a blog tonight. I want to start off by thanking The young kids who sent us that long poster. That was really awesome and it has really motivated me to train harder. The Czech Republic is a very beautiful country and if you ever get the chance to visit Prague I definitely recommend that you take the opportunity. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We are currently staying in Trutnov which is a pretty small town but it is nice. There is a shopping plaza, a gas station, and a Lidl store which is a mix of Sams Club and Aldi. The hills we have been running on are more like mountains. The sprint training we have been doing has been my favorite. We went into a town where they were having a rennaissance fair. If you look up my name on facebook you can look at all of the pictures I have put up from this trip.

The other day when we were doing a middle course I was having a series of unfortunate events. Not only did I mess up on almost every single point but while I was heading to my second to last point there was a person with a dog, not on a leash, and I tried to go uphill and around them but the dog saw me and started to chase me. I started sprinting without thinking and when it got close behind me I just stopped and prayed that it would not bite me because there is no way I am going to a hospital especially in a foreign country. Luckily it did not bite me and the owner managed to call it back. As soon as the dog went away I sprinted straight to the finish. So far that is my most exciting and scary story. 5 More days till JWOC!!


Erin frequently asks us to picture going through the day backwards as a mental exercise. So here is my day yesterday backwards:

Last night I fell asleep listening to the steady drip-drop of my clothes slowly drying. I had spent over an hour scrubbing at my disgusting, muddy clothes in the hotel sink before hanging them up on every available hook and clothes hanger. My roommate was complaining that I was airing out my shoes on her side of the room, so I moved them. Before that, I played a couple of rounds of Word Bandit, and as usual there were multiple discussions as to what qualified as a word. During the team meeting, we talked about the course we ran and its associated triumphs and challenges. For dessert, I ate a nectarine. Dinner was chicken and potatoes, nothing all that surprising. Meg said the soup looked like brains, but I ate mine anyway. Before dinner we played a variety of games. I triumphed over Izzy in Egyptian Ratscrew and learned a new card game from Erin. We did our conditioning exercises in the hallway to avoid the cold wet weather outside. It must have sounded like a stampede of elephants to the floor below. There was a heated discussion as to whether Missouri was part of the South or not. I noticed some of the boys didn’t eat as much as usual at lunch. On the way back from training, Marianne’s car stopped at a McDonalds. After training, most people changed into some dryer clothes. During the race Erin set up, I feel like I had a clean enough run. Overall, I think I’ve improved in my accuracy some over the past week of training. I had some problems with some of the controls where I was extremely close, but just didn’t see them. Luckily, I was able to recognize my attack point, realize I was close, and slow down. Having real control flags out there instead of streamers, and a clue sheet separate from my map will probably help. Before the race, we warmed up in the cold, rainy weather. The drive to the training was mostly uneventful. We listened to a Czech radio station, and tried to guess what they were saying in the ads. I was sleepy at breakfast, and quietly ate my food and sipped hot tea. At 7:45 I rolled out of bed after an hour of being awake.


After 5 days here in the Czech Republic, I am starting to know the drill. When we wake up, we go to breakfast. At 9:30, we head to the vans and go to the training for the day. All of the trainings so far have been lots of fun, and really helpful.

Michael and I flew into Berlin, unlike most of the other juniors. We had to take a train from there to Prague. That day was super exhausting, seeing as I had only slept 6 hours from the time I left to the time I went to bed 2 days later. When we arrived in Hradec Kralove for the training that day, I was pretty tired. We only did one training that day, a group course against the rest of the team.

Since we arrived, I've done numerous courses and made a lot of new friends. One of the most fun days was when we went to Prague for the day. We took a 3 hour train there in the morning, at 6:40 to be exact. When we arrived there, Duncan immediately wanted to go. But after acquiring maps, and using the bathroom, we were finally ready to go. The one thing we didn't want to miss was the changing of the guard at the castle. Keeping that in mind, we more or less zoomed through the city, heading directly towards the castle. We arrived in time for the ceremony, and then walked around the castle and its church. On our way back to the train station, we had more time to slow down. We saw the Lennon Wall, crossed the Charles Bridge, and had a yummy but expensive lunch. We meandered back to the train station, stopping to buy some souvenirs and candy from the stands. Finally we were back on the train, concluding our journey.


My trip to Prague was quite an interesting experience. Will and I started on Wednesday 6/19 from Newark. We flew to Boston, Frankfurt, and finally to Berlin. That was by far my favorite part of that trip, because of how awesome my mother country is. But there's time for that later, because Berlin is where our trip started to get interesting. After managing to catch a bus to the train station, we still had over an hour until our train left. We bought tickets from a ticket machine and went down to the platform to hang out until the train arrives. That's when I realized that we hadn't reserved seats on our train. So with 8 minutes left until our train was scheduled to leave, I run upstairs to the information desk, wait in line for a few minutes, and talk to the lady at the desk. She tells me she can't really do anything about it, and that I should probably go back down because the train is about to leave. I run all the way back down the three flights of stairs to the underground platform, and freak out because a train is waiting. I look up and down the platform, see neither Will nor my bags, and somehow decide that it's a good idea to get on the train. Turns out that was the express train to Köln. Great. I got off at the next possible station, and took the next train back. This one wasn't an express train, so it took me three times as long to get back. Obviously we missed our train. In my haste I went down to the wrong platform coming down from the information desk. Thankfully there was another train an hour later, so my downright stupidity didn't affect our travel plans too much.


Man of Steel came out recently... and I really want to see it! We all wanted to see it for Addison's birthday, so on Tuesday we drove twenty minutes to a theater that was supposedly showing it. When we got there ticket lady said that the only movie playing was a children's cartoon in Czech. In fact, Man of steel wasn't even on the list of movies posted outside the theater. Whoops! With the help of the ticket lady we tried to find a different theater but eventually decided to see it on Wednesday when we would be in Hradec Kralove. BUT on Wednesday it was pouring and nobody wanted to go after the training so... the current plan is to see the movie on Saturday (rest day). Hopefully it works out. I really want to see it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday June 24: Long training


The chilly morning breeze blowing in through my cracked window made me extremely reluctant to leave the warmth and comfort of the hotel bed. Not even my persistent alarm clock was enough to get me up. Thankfully my roommate was kind enough to jumpstart my day by threatening to take my warm sheets away from me. I opted for getting up myself and we went down to breakfast together.

It was colder today than it has been all trip and after winding our way through the twisting roads of the Czech Republic to get to the morning's training location, it began to rain. This didn't bother me in the slightest since I come from the Seattle area where rain is a frequent occurrence at local orienteering meets. But unlike Western Washington, the woods of the Czech Republic are open and devoid of any underbrush that might trip you. It's unfortunate that such easy to run in woods had to be located on top of a network fo steep spurs and re-entrants. These hills made for interesting route choices involving a direct path that had you climbing and dropping numerous contours or the long way around that avoided unnecessary hill combing.

I felt very strong during today's training. The contours were easy to read even if they were hard to climb. There was a large logging road that wasn't mapped that caused me some confusion but beyond that I ran a fairly solid course. Afterwards we got changed into dry clothes and headed back to the hotel for a late lunch.

We ended the day with a rowdy game of Word Bandit.


Sprint training on Saturday was fun, and fast. We woke up, went to Kuntahor. When we first got there it was an old classic medieval town. There was a Renaissance Fair going on; I tried not to let that distract me, and instead focused on our work ethic. Erin was putting tape out, so he put me in charge to warm everyone up and get things going. Our first exercise was the sprint intervals; that was pretty successful. I either held everyone off or caught the people in my group. It was a nice change of pace from running in slow forest to running in fast urban area. Then we did left and right decision making and map memorization. It was very successful. We were shown the map briefly at the beginning of each leg, and I made quick decisions before the 3-5 seconds was up . I nailed the one control that no one else got. On the final leg I had a good route choice and executed real well. Then I introduced Duncan and Jake to kebobs.

In the afternoon we headed off to the next sprint map. After making a couple 180 detours we arrived an hour after everyone. I went at a medium to hard pace, with quick route choice, and nice flow. I had a few controls I wasn’t happy about but adjusted quickly and kept going. I made some interesting route choices through construction, and kept going pretty hard; I actually lost Michael. We had a nice cool down; it was a good day. After these trainings, I felt better about the sprints. Last year I had 30-40 seconds of mistakes on the sprint; it’s challenging, especially when both the terrain and competition are fast.

Friday, June 21, 2013


In today’s training, there was a lot of focus on the challenge of seeing other people out in the woods. The critical lesson from today was knowing when other people can help you by leading you into a control, and knowing when other people can lead you astray by making mistakes or distracting you. This morning’s “warm-up” course was actually quite fast-paced. Erin had us run together, specifically to practice this critical aspect of competition. I managed to stay in contact with the map for the first few legs before I realized that I had lost contact with the map. I slowed to read the map, not wanting to follow my teammates completely blindly but in the process fell behind. I was then left in the woods, unsure of my location and separated from the herd I hadn’t realized I was relying on so heavily. I relocated after a helpful tip from Danielle to “check your compass!”, and continued the rest of the course mostly alone.

I had a second chance to practice this later in the day. We split into groups and were assigned different controls to run to together. Meanwhile, Erin, Anna, and Barb were the “rabbits” and/or “turkeys” that would try to distract the teams. This exercise went well for me. My teammates set a pace that was faster than I usually orienteer and comfortably navigate at. The entire time I felt I was on the edge of being able to read the map and continue moving along quickly. This time however, I managed to stay in contact with map for the most part, and was able to point out if I saw my teammates go astray, or pose a hypothesis if we all ran to the wrong spot. I also recognize that had I been on my own, I probably wouldn’t have been able to take a bearing that fast or plan a good route as quickly. The final lesson: I did benefit from my other teammates, and having them running to the same controls helped me find them faster. I also realized how important it is to maintain a certain amount of independence, so that were I competing as opposed to collaborating with other orienteers in the woods, I would be able to recognize when I needed to forge my own path.


Today started with a punch in the face because it was raining hard; all the stuff we had on the clotheslines to dry are soaking wet again. We woke up a little late for breakfast. Carl and I had cereal. He had this concoction of a strange sandwich that he made with eggs, ham – it looked disgusting but it looked good at the same time.

Barb and Marianne were late to leave because of figuring out whether to take Addison to the doctor. Erin suggested we have them do pushups, because having people do pushups when they’re late is a thing here.

First was the “warmup” exercise. It felt fast. It was very flat, so it was a breath of fresh air after all those 90-degree slopes. (Exaggerating.) The woods were very white, but when they were green it wasn’t too bad; you could still make it through, with a few scratches and bruises. You could read the vegetation out there like contour lines. It was very noticeable and the map was very accurate. We got back quickly. Everybody kind of overdid it but we still had plenty left to give.

We started our second training. Erin told us that everything was taken off except for a few big roads, some fences, and vegetation. When I was halfway to 2, I was on this hill, and I looked at my map to look for it and I was thinking, it’s gotta be on this map, what’s wrong? So I freaked out a little; it took me a few seconds to remember that contours had been taken off the map.

After that everyone headed back. We had lunch.

Marianne told us the story about being yelled at by a Czech man – again – for the 4th time on this trip. At the end of his sentence, Marianne just closed her eyes and shook her head and said, “I can’t speak Czech.” The guy said, “Oh.” Long pause. “No parking.” After Marianne tried to explain that she wasn’t parking, she was waiting for everyone and staying with the cars, he just said “No parking.”

Then we left for the second training. We had no idea what to expect. We saw an American store on the way there and some people wanted to shop there. We arrived at the next training site and got ready to go. Everybody was taking so long, so my team decided to leave before the others. To the start we took the correct path. Erin and the others had a little navigational trouble getting to the start.

We started the relay. My team was determined to beat Erin. We were doing great, then everybody except Erin, Anna and Barb had trouble on 49. We were a perfect team. Too bad that we won’t be able to talk to each other and help each other in the actual orienteering relay. Near the end we beat Erin by a little bit. We waited for the others. Then we wandered back to the car and decided to go for a swim. Once we started driving the van, everybody was yelling at Marianne, “Hey, wait, we want to go back to the American store! We wanna go shop!” But we didn’t go.

We made it back and I went to the grocery store looking for an ATM, but didn’t find one. So I came back, had supper, which was chicken, potatoes, 1 cucumber slice, and one wedge of tomato and some cabbage, which I didn’t eat. I had some soup, and pineapple dessert. Immediately after dinner I left for town. I memorized the route we took back when Ethan was looking for an ATM. I found the ATM, but unfortunately I do not know my PIN. I thought I knew it, but I don’t. So I just kind of wandered back, and when I got back, the meeting had already started.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Today was pretty fun.

Jake and I on our 4th day here awoke to the wonderful sound of nature outside our window. Beyond the American flag flowing in the morning wind trumpeted the beautiful sound of birds and the river below…oh wait…NO WE DIDN’T. BAM! I slammed shut our windows to block out the impromptu weed-wacking at 0600…I flopped back down on my blissful bed and slept in till 8. Jake and I then when to eat breakfast and before you knew it we were back in our smelly O-clothes ready to train with the rest of the team.

After travelling up a windy road that comfortably fit 1.5 cars on it and then struggling to park due to our inexperience with our large stick-shift van we arrived at our training area. The morning consisted of two training exercises. One exercise was an Island-O and the other a Memory-O. The purpose of the first was to focus on features close to and within a control circle as well as precision compass and continuous attachment to what the compass is doing. Majority of the map was white except for islands of mapped terrain around control circles. The latter of the two exercises was centered on map memory in order to allow quick movement after coming into a control as well as a better connection with what you see. The course was star cluster in shape with the rememorization start/finish in the center.

I struggled with one of the Island controls but spiked most of the rest. I felt my compass skill increasing and really started to feel the flow of Orienteering a lot more than I usually do. The Memory-O went really well. I being more of a runner loved not having the distraction of a map. Memory and recall is something practiced at West Point daily…so naturally the Memory-O basically became intervals for me. Run…get the control…run…rememorize…repeat.

Happy Birthday Melanie! Glad the team got to go out to eat for your B-Day…I mean I love chicken, rice, and potatoes…but having steak wasn’t too shabby. Oh…and it being the day you were born is pretty cool too I guess.

But that wasn’t even the best part of the day. I am not sure if any of you readers have been to the Czech Republic but if you have…you know about the flies. One foot in the woods and you make a lot of friends. So many in fact…I don’t understand why anyone would want to leave! It is amazing. If you’re lonely…come here. You like bugs…welcome to Czech. If you like some protein while breathing and shooting an azimuth…pack your bags and take a hike cause the flies are here for you…waiting…patiently. I can almost say I have been in a tornado now due to the swarming wall of black dots around my body. But hey! It makes you run faster…let us just hope in the right direction.


Well today started out at 7:30. The usual groggy hotness followed the morning routine. My roommate Barb and I headed downstairs to enjoy the usual toast with fluffy cream cheese and warm orange-flavored drink. Sounds of "Good Morning" and "Happy Birthday" were heard in the hotel dining hall, since today was my 17th birthday. As the day progressed on and as the training continued, I began to realize how much everyone cares for each other. For example, about 5 people were hopelessly wandering around the woods, looking for a control, when all of a sudden, one of us finds the marker. She then began to explain how we ended up at the point and what we had to look out for the next time we went out. I love this little family we've created. I'll be extremely sad when the time comes to part us all and send us our different ways.


I have never run an island-O before. To be honest, I generally shun the compass during courses and use it only when I've grown so completely lost that I can no longer rely on my map at all. Those are not the strategies one should employ on an island-O. One can get a good idea as to the general features of the terrain between two points as long as the two are close together. It's in the details where things get complicated and on a broad Czech hillside details are important.

After taking a rough-as-I-could-possibly-make-it bearing to the west, I tried to navigate to the first control by inference. This did not work. My navigation to checkpoint 1 devolved quickly into flailing around trying to get to a feature on one of the "islands". Fortunately, my initial bearing wasn't too terrible and I managed to find my way. I didn't learn this lesson quickly, though, as the run progressed, so did my slow acceptance of the compass. Initial routes involved lots of guesswork, which tended to be as inaccurate as one would think. On later points, though, I grew more able to draw bearings and follow them accurately. I could still contour when necessary or pick out obvious features, but my routes got more stable and overall I feel like my navigation's improved.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 2 of Training


Today was the second full day of training in Trutnov. I woke up and walked out to the balcony to see that it was another beautiful, sunny day. I was also greeted by the sight of my disgusting O-clothes; the balcony makes an awesome place to dump my sweaty, mud-ridden shoes and clothes, but doesn't make them any cleaner. One day I'll probably have to do laundry, but I'm trying to put it off as long as possible.

This morning was a track workout. Conveniently, there's a track a minute away from the hotel, so all we had to do was walk out the back door, and, after a 15 minute warmup and some stretching, were ready for the workout. After each interval we looked at a map with a partner and talked about the legs of the course. The downside to the beautiful day is it was also quite hot. I was, impressively, drenched in sweat before we even started the workout, and by the end, felt like I had just taken a plunge in a pool. I was only too glad to get back to the hotel and take an actual shower before lunch.

In the afternoon, after an ice cream run to the grocery store and a quick nap (both vital down-time activities for me), we headed out to a patch of woods just outside of town for another training. Right by where the cars were parked there was this cool hole in the side of a hill, which was all boarded up. Of course I had to crawl in. It was actually pretty cool. There was an outer room and then an inner room made out fo stone. There were some sketchy looking hooks on the ceiling, and Izzy told me that it was (for a fact), a hobbit torture chamber.

It took a while to actually get to the start -- all uphill, it seemed to me -- but eventually we got there. For the first loop of controls, we followed Erin around in a group, discussing what details we should be seeing along the way. We also talked about when heading into the control, what features we should look out for that are on the way to the next control, to improve course flow -- which was actually a super helpful pointer that I hadn't used before. By the end of the exercise I was dying to run -- the horseflies were vicious.

Luckily the second half we were on our own, and I was able to outrun most flies in pursuit.

Dinner was, for once, NOT chicken and potatoes, which was beyond exciting. And after some games of cards, I now sit here on my balcony, again looking at a beautiful view, finishing this blog entry.


Well, we show up in Prague International Airport nad after going through baggage claim, I realize I am the only one missing their bag. Good thing I packed most of the important things [like the training maps! -ed.] in my carry-on!

After a few days of training, I really begin to appreciate air conditioners and washing machines.


Today, after the intense gut check that was our interval workout, we were set to learn “how to see with [our] eyes” as Erin pu tit. Aside from giving me time to pursue one of my favorite pastimes – tree hunting – I ended up a much smarter orienteerer. By walking through the woods instead of my usual headlong sprint, I was able to really get a feel for the different vegetation boundaries. I brought my focus up from just looking at my map, to actually examining my given route choice. I feel that given more practice, I could use this to adapt my route and choose smarter paths in the beginning to use less energy crashing through the vines, thorns, bushes, trees, roots, and whatever else may cross my path. Also, we practiced identifying easy landmarks so you can move away from controls more quickly. It is really a very simple thing that I sometimes did, but now it has been brought to my attention, I hope it’ll shorten my time re-orienting myself through the controls.

OK, so tree hunting: the basics.

  1. find a dead tree, the taller/thicker the better (dead tree limbs count too!)
  2. call it out to your friends
  3. compliment the finder on what a beautiful specimen of a dead tree they found.
  4. Arrange the necessary number of people at the base of the tree.
  6. Extra points: if it’s rotten in places, it will explode!

We engaged in a bit of tree hunting during our stroll in the woods and I came upon an exceptional specimen of a dead tree around 34-35 so I immediately called my buddy Duncan over. He hurried over getting pumped for our soon to be tree hunting extravaganza! As I started pushing the tree, I witnessed in slow motion the top quarter of the 20+ foot tree come hurtling down to my immediate left… exactly where Duncan just arrived! Luckily the top 5 feet of this tree realized it was about to hit one of the most studly men in the world, and Duncan’s pure power caused the tree top to fall further to the left, narrowly missing him. After a sigh of relief, we helped the tree to the forest floor in spectacular fashion!

Also, Duncan and I would like to first say thank you to the USMA and USMA Orietneering Club and to Col. Hendrix and Maj. Malcom for all the financial and logistical support! Also, we’d like to thank Orienteering USA for providing the opportunity, logistics and funding through the amazing volunteers/staff (goes double for Barb Bryant, Erin Schirm, Anna Shafer-Skelton and Marianne Spencer!)!

Thank you!

Fans of Team USA

Are you a fan of the US Junior Team? Leave us a note in the comments and tell us about yourself and why you support the team!

The 5th graders at Morse School in Cambridge, MA are US Junior Team fans. They made a banner for the team:

Each student learned about one of the team members and wrote an encouraging message to them on the back of one of the banner panels. They learned about orienteering in school and practiced street, park and woods orienteering during the year.

And... Here is the team holding the same banner, at a sprint training in the Czech Republic!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The junior team has arrived in the Czech Republic for training in advance of the Junior World Orienteering Championships. Today was the first day of training.

Carl: Leading up to now I was studying in South Africa and then the past month I have been in Northern Scotland. Unfortunately there wasn't a great deal of orienteering in the areas I was in, but I still found time between school work, classes, and my internship to do some training. I made it to nearly every PenOC meet and then did additional trainings on my own, which all added up to doing some sort of training 4 or 5 days a week. It was tough to get the motivation to train on my own, but now that I am with the team it will be much easier to consistently train for the next two weeks.

Yesterday commenced the pre-JWOC training in the Czech Republic. We all met up in the Prague airport and the majority of the team got in the vans and headed for Trutnov. But Anna SS and I waited back for Melanie's and Barbara's flights to arrive. I was able to get in a good training run before they arrived, and when they finally did arrive they went for a short run while Anna and I figured out the rental car situation. It took our best navigational abilities to find our way out of Prague, but from there it was clear sailing all the way to Trutnov. When we finally arrived to the hotel everyone else had been asleep for a while so it was just a quick shower for me and then passing out on my bed.

Today we did two different trainings. In the morning we partnered up and did a course with the focus to work on flow. The map had all the trails and clearings taken off it so that added an extra challenge, but having two sets of eyes made it a bit easier. I found it very interesting to hear what Connor paid attention to while orienteering, and it was nice to have someone to point out alternative route choices that I would not have noticed on my own.

After a replenishing lunch and some downtime back at the hotel we all regathered for our afternoon festivities. Some people did armchair training while a group of us headed for the forest. We worked on having flow while running long legs. It was wonderful, the entire time there was a refreshing rain coming down that somewhat numbed the sting of the nettles. This map was not altered and was up to date, so it was great to get a chance to actually see what the terrain looked like in comparison to the map. I'm looking forward to continue with our training and get more experience with the terrain that we will running on. Tomorrow we are doing a track workout on the morning so that will be great fun.

JWOC 2013 training day 1 from Barb Bryant on Vimeo.

Addison: My mom and grandfather drove me up to Boston and I stayed with the Bryants for a couple of days. We flew out of Boston on Sunady, and it was my first time flying (other than when I was little, before I can remember), and it was amazing. The view and everything else was just incredible. Getting here, seeing the architecture and history was great . The woods was something else – a lot more challenging than I thought – more hilly than back home.

Hanging out with everybody is fun, getting to know everybody better and making new friends.

Nate: I got moved up to business class I had all this leg room, and they served me steak. Then I slept the rest of the way to London, and to Prague except for breakfast. I met up with Carl and we went to Prague, saw the castle, and walked around the center of the city. We went out at night, and had some fun. The next day we met the team at the rental car station.

Today was our first experience of the woods. It was very nice, steep, easy to navigate through, so speed is key. Erin had us work with a map having contours and vegetation only, which forced us to select different route choices than trails. After a fast lunch and short break, we went to the monsoon of a training event. I ran hard through the woods. I was confronted by a cow with horns; that was interesting. I was a big man about it and took him on. Barb: if it was a cow, it was a “her”. Nate: It was aa bull, it had horns. It pawed the ground.

There is still a lot I need to learn, how to physically get through it without killing myself. I need to learn how to select better route choices.

On the plus side, I had good compass technique and was able to read the contours well. Addison: John said you were like an animal and could go fast through lots of trees while keeping a bearing.

Addison: Ethan taught me how to slow down and relocate instead of just panicking and going further. We discussed route choices and compromised. Etuan would stop and review the route choices and give me his experience and his thoughts; he was a good mentor.

Nate: We had chicken for the 5th time in a row. Chicken, rice and potatos. Flashbacks to Slovakia.

Tomorrow, breakfast at 8, then training intervals on the track at 10. A slow middle training in the afternoon. The intervals are going to be tough; but I need it; it will be good for me. I run cross-country not track, and am more a long-distance person.

Isabel: We arrived in Prague at 3:30am our time (9:30 Prague time). Then we waited for three hours outside of customs for the rest of the team. The hotel is awesome! And there is a water park next door.

Matt's diary

6/16-17 The day started in the USA and was a day full of travel. I got up at 10 and headed for the airport at noon after a good cinnamon roll breakfast. I boarded my transatlantic flight at 3 and listened to country and then comedy for about 2 hours. Then I realized the movies were free so I watched Gladiator. Halfway through the entertainment had to reboot so I lost my place. Once I got off the plane I met with Isabel, Addison and Barb looking for where our next plane would be. Both flights were really early. We got the next gate and had to wait like 3 hours. A Czech American talked to us for like 30 minutes about the Czech language and then beer and Budweiser. Then we flew and I read Eragon on the flight. I got to page 100 and was so proud of myself. Once we landed we waited in baggage claim but then walked through customs and waited some more. We created Euroday and had your-a-day jokes. We were going to try and stay up until 8:35. Once we found everyone we got in the van and were out instantaneously. In Trutnov we got rooms and my roommate was Addison. People went for a cool-down run but Addison and I found them after starting 10 minutes late. We ran for 20 minutes and then did an intense agility training. Then we showered and ate dinner. We had a team meeting about goals and then went to sleep and slept like rocks.

6/18 We woke up at 7:55 for an 8 am breakfast. I was so dazed I could barely serve myself. We met at 9:30 to go to a long training which was supposed to be 20 minutes away but was really an hour. Then warm up 5 minutes and then had a 6.5 k course with a buddy, but maps were not complete. I was paired with Duncan and got truly exhausted. We went to 12 instead of 10 but Erin told us to go on because training was supposed to be an hour but took us 1:45. Then we went back for lunch. Some would go to another training and some to the grocery store. I went to the training but first I went to the grocery to buy cheese balls for about 2 dollars. They were bland but good. Then on the way to the training it started raining. I ran but since I was looking for stakes at the control locations, I got disoriented and finished last. I got depressed and mad at myself. We came back and showered before dinner at 7. Then we had a meeting at 8 about the agreement and a first course review. Then we relaxed until 10:30. Addison and I washed clothes. And I slept horribly and woke at 4.