Thursday, August 25, 2016

Handy Links:

WOC Live Center:

Extended Men's Start List
Extended Women's Start List
Compressed Start Lists

Live Results

There is also Swedish television coverage - however this coverage will be entirely in Swedish, and is likely only available to those in Sweden or those who can circumvent the regional restriction.SVT Long distance.

As I write this, the athletes running the long distance are heading into quarantine and there is a moment of calm before the actual race begins. The weather is pretty miserable for spectators but should make for nice cool conditions for our intrepid orienteers.

For team USA, Alex Jospe will be the first out on the course. She has blogged about her WOC experience so far on her personal blog which you can find here . To quote from her write-up:

"My plan is again to focus on the navigation - Take the good micro-routes and choose the right macro-routes, dance across those open rocks and tumble across the cliffs like I have wings on my Inov-8s. Today, there is nothing I would rather be doing, and no place I'd rather be doing it! No matter how I finish in the results, I want to finish knowing that I ran a good race, proud of my effort and my navigation."

The next American in the forest will be Samantha Saeger. Sam lives in Uppsala, Sweden and has been looking to this race for a long time. She raced the middle distance on Tuesday, and bashed her knee into a rock during the race. The swelling was causing a bit of pain and discomfort during her training yesterday, but this morning she reports that the knee feels much better and at least this observer could not see any overt limping :) Go get 'em Sam!

For the men, Eric Bone will be running. At 11:50, he has just departed for the quarantine zone, with mere minutes to spare before the 12:00 deadline. As longtime followers will appreciate, this is a sign that Eric is right on schedule. This is not his first rodeo, and he thrives on getting to the start with minimal standing around time.

As a preview of what the map and terrain might hold, I will leave you with a map from our training session yesterday. The GPS track belongs to yours truly, team member Ross Smith.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Going the distance!

Tomorrow is the long distance final, and with 11.2km/540m/18c for the woman and 15.5km/650m/30c for the men, it will certainly be a challenging day. Be sure to check out the auto-generated map of the area for a few hours of entertainment imagining possible courses!

Running for Team USA tomorrow:

Alex 12:38
Sam 12:54
Eric 14:39

Times are in Sweden (-6 for time in Boston). Follow along at the WOC LiveCenter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Middle wrap

Quick results from the middle distance:

Samantha Saeger 46th, Kseniya Popova 55th, and Ross Smith 62nd.

It was a beautiful day to be in the forest and the Americans put in some good running. See the course maps.

Here's what Ross had to say after his run (his first WOC final):

Team USA congratulates Canada's Emily Kemp for her awesome 4th place finish in today's race! We are very proud of our North American sister!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Middle distance tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the Middle Distance race in Tanum, a bit south of Strömstad. Running for Team USA tomorrow are Ross, Kseniya, and Sam.

Start times:
Ross 12:16
Kseniya 15:10
Sam 15:26

All times are local, six hours ahead of Boston. You can follow the action online at the WOC Live Center.

Like much of the terrain along this stretch of Scandinavia it is physically and technically tough, with a good dose of rocks and cliffs. Check out this auto-generated version of the map for a taste of what the athletes are up against tomorrow:

Click to embiggen.

Great photos from Ken

Do yourself a favor and check out these great photos from the sprint  and sprint relay by Ken Walker, Jr.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Team USA 24th in Sprint Relay

The Team USA team of Sam, Giacomo, Will, and Hillary finished 24th today in the Sprint Relay.

Here's a quick video description of their races from the athletes:

And some photos from beside the arena after the race:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Local media exposure for Team USA!

The local newspaper Strömstads Tidning had a nice shot of some Team USA members getting ready to run around the sprint model yesterday:

Will after the Sprint Qual

Today's sprint qual was Will's very first WOC race. He didn't qualify but he did have fun and he finished with a smile. 

Quick update after the sprint qual

Quick update from Strömstad:

Unfortunately none of the Americans made it through to the final this morning. Alex was our closest, 18th in her heat and only 15s back from qualifying position. No big mistakes, but she says, "I'm very proud of the first three quarters and I'd like a redo on the last 25%." That's a sentiment shared by several on the team, I think. (Alex wants to add that she's really excited to get into the forest.)

The course looked challenging and fun from the sidelines, taking people into the rocky coastal area after a lot of fast city running.

Ross: "I was pretty satisfied with my navigation and I never lost contact with the map. I missed the last (long) route choice. My speed isn't currently at the level needed to make it to the final but I'm very satisfied on a personal level."

An an extra pat on the back is in order for Will Enger, who got through his first WOC race with a smile.

The team is headed back to the city now for the Opening Ceremony and Sprint Final.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sprint sprint sprint!

The World Orienteering Champs kick off tomorrow with the Sprint Qualification and Sprint Final races.

Up for Team USA in tomorrow morning's qual races:
9:10 Hannah
9:18 Hillary
9:27 Alex
10:07 Ross
10:18 Will
10:32 Giacomo
(Times are Swedish local, six hours ahead of Boston)

The runners will be divided into three heats and the top fifteen from each heat will move on to the afternoon's final. The races are short (13-15 minutes for the winners) and take place in the urban area of Strömstad itself. Take a look at an old, 1:15000 map (pdf) covering the city.

You can follow the action at the Live Center.

D minus one!

The races start tomorrow, but that doesn't mean today wasn't busy!

Members of the team was up early, mostly in an attempt to be ready for tomorrow's early events despite lingering jet lag. There was coffee, relaxing, and map study. A few people went running to loosen up.

Alex stretching after her morning run.
This site of Cristina's post-run swim. Not bad, right?
Tomorrow is probably the busiest day on the WOC schedule. We have six starters (matched only by the forest relay next Saturday) and it's the only day with two races. 

Morning map study in one of the cabins.
After the early morning events everyone running a sprint event headed into the embargoed area for a look about. Yes, you read that right! The city has been completely off-limits since November but was open for walking this morning between nine and noon. The preparation for sprint races at the top is getting fairly sophisticated, with teams making sprint maps at home with the help of online maps and street photographs. It seems strange to be able to visit the terrain the day before the race, but really most of the athletes have been studying the streets of Strömstad for months. 

After the city walk it was time for the sprint model and technical model, giving the athletes a chance to see what the maps/terrain, controls sites, and start procedures would be like. 

The day wrapped up with a team meeting, as usual, covering logistics for the day ahead, tidbits people learned from today's exploration, and sharing goals and positive thoughts for the upcoming race. There's a nervous excitement in the Team USA cabins now, but the overall attitude is that we are ready for action!

US Team arrives in Strömstad for WOC

Most of the team competing at this year's World Orienteering Championships in Strömstad, Sweden has arrived in our team accommodations and are settling in. WOC begins on Saturday with the sprint qualification in the morning and the sprint final, for those who qualify, in the afternoon. (See the whole program.)

This year's team:

Hannah Culberg (QOC)
Alex Jospe (CSU)
Kseniya Popova (HVO)
Samantha Saeger (NEOC / OK Linne)
Hillary Saeger (NEOC)

Giacomo Barbone (CSU)
Eric Bone (COC)
Will Enger (COC)
Ross Smith (CSU / OK Linne)

Cristina Luis is with the team as Team Leader, making sure the team gets to where they need to go, on time with enough food in their belly.

Sweden is 6 hours ahead of the east coast of the US, but as most of the program this year takes place in the afternoon there's no need for American fans to wake up in the middle of the night to follow the action!

You can follow the competitions live at the WOC Live Center.

Monday, August 1, 2016

WUOC Sprint 2016

WUOC Sprint

July 31, 2016

Maps: Women Men
Results: Women Men
Live page with GPS and splits and photos
Location: Lillafüred

The first race of WUOC was this morning, and there were some mixed results from our team. The women’s race was 3.3k with 115m of climb and 21 control points. The guys had 3.6k with 120m of climb and 23 controls. The terrain was essentially two flat areas connected by a steep hillside with hanging gardens. It was a completely urban area. Giacomo and Tori had strong runs today, coming in 71st and 37th respectively, only four and three minutes back from the leader. Alison had a solid race placing 56th with a time of 21:37, five minutes back. Evalin had a strong race today, however she accidently ran through the forbidden area along the river near control number five. She would’ve finished with around the same time as Tori. The three West Point runners, Sam, Will, and Trey were thrown into a very challenging, first international race today! They learned a few new things about races from their mistakes, and are excited about implementing them later this week.

Below are a few photos from the finish shoot. You can find more here .
Sam Finishing the race

Giac Finishng

We lucked out with the weather today: It only started really raining after all of the Americans had finished. After the races, the team grabbed some lunch at the arena and tried to stay dry. The runners who will be racing the sprint relay on tuesday headed into town to check out the terrain for the sprint relay. After returning to the hotel, Trey, Will, and Sam headed to the pool to cool down, and everyone else headed to dinner. Tomorrow is the long! Watch for Alison, Isabel, Michael, Trey, Will, and Giacomo.

By Izzy

WUOC model event and Opening Ceremony

by Will

Saturday July 30 - Model day!

After a solid breakfast, the US Team boarded the busses to head out to the woods for one last day of trainingWe were brought to another park from what we trained at the day before. Except today, we practiced with small model maps, and there were controls placed on the course. In addition to the lime and charcoal burning pits, we were surprised to find massive depressions, which were abundantly spread across the map. Some of the depressions even lead into small caverns. Almost every country was in attendance, which helped provide a good race-like environment. The temperature slowly increased throughout the training session and proved to be an important consideration for longer races. Water points will definitely be a crucial stop on the hotter days. After an hour and half of training, we returned back to the busses and began our journey back to campus. Once arriving back, we caught a quick lunch and then prepared for the technical model event. This event included a quick review on what to expect at the call-up and finish lines for each race. We were also served small samples of a Hungarian electrolyte drink that will be provided at water stations throughout the competition. The West Point crew was also introduced to the SI Air technology and got to practice with the new equipment on a small Sprint course that was set up at the event center. With the temperature continuing to climb, we quickly conducted all the training that was necessary and returned back indoors. After battling head to head with some other countries in foosball, we prepared for the opening ceremonies that were to be held at the local castle later in the evening. 
With flags in hand, we made our way to the busses that would transport us to the opening ceremony location. All of the competitors were amassed in a concrete plaza, and filed behind our respective flags. We were organized in alphabetic order by country for the parade that was to follow. We were placed in the second to last spot in the long file of competitors, while Hungary occupied the last spot since they were the hosting country for the competition. We paraded through a medieval themed village and arrived to acastle on a hilltop. We were greeted by the king and queen of the medieval village in addition to the guards who looked very hot in their thick suits of armor. Luckily, they were pretty friendly and we were able to snap some pictures with them. There was a large opening in the middle of the castle that was open to sky and all the competitors were seated on wooden benches that faced a small stage. Once every country had been seated, the President of FISU and the national Hungarian Athletic Association along with the Vice Mayor of Miskolc gave short speeches. Luckily, all of speeches were in English so we were able to follow along. The Hungarian National Anthem was played, and there was also a performance that involved juggling by men on stilts! Once the closing remarks had been made and the ceremony had concluded, we made our way back to the busses and drove back to campus. With less than 18 hours before the first start, we quickly grabbed dinner and had a quickteam meeting to discuss the next day’s event. Ready for the next day, we all returned to our rooms to get some rest for the exciting race ahead!

WUOC 2016 team has made it to hungry

By Will, Sam, and Trey 

Hungry for time out in the woods, the US Team began our first full day venturing out to the national parks surrounding Miskolc. The day began with a scrumptious breakfast and discussion about the day’s activities. After talking about what aspects of training we wanted to focus on most, we made our way to the busses and began the day’s journey. After a 45 minute drive and an 800 meter change in elevation, we arrived to our first location. We quickly changed into our gear and hit the courses as quickly as possible in order to maximize exposure to the new terrain. We were provided maps with courses that were created by the Hungarian team, which are used as selection courses for their own team members. We quickly became acquainted with their unique features such as charcoal burning pits and lime burning pits, which are littered all across the map. They are similar to depressions and are a popular place for controls to be located. They will surely serve as good point features for the races ahead. We do believe that there were somediscrepancies with the white and green areas, but we understand that these areas change season to season.

After finishing the first courses and eating a quick lunch, we made our way to the second training site. While some runners caught some rest on the way over, others admired the beautiful landscape through the windows of the bus. As a team, we had the opportunity to share stories about each other and our varying levels of experience with orienteering. All those from West Point listened intently to the invaluable lessons and experiences provided by the veterans on the team. Having members on the team who have spent a considerable amount of time orienteering in Europe has been extremely helpful and has helped to build confidence among the runners who are new to this part of the world. Once arriving to the second site, we hopped right off the bus and got down to work. This training session proved to be more strenuous as we practiced longer legs on more challenging terrain. After finishing another demo course, we took note of the reoccurring trends on the maps and talked about our route choices. Tired and worn out from a hard day of training, we got back on the bus and returned back to the dorms for some hot food. After dinner, we had the opportunity to meet some of the other WUOCcompetitors and expanded our vocabulary past our native tongues!

With the first full day of training under our belt, we all feel much more confident understanding the small differences found on maps here, in addition to navigating through the hilly terrain of Hungary. We look forward to another good day of training and representing the United States at the opening ceremony tomorrow evening! Go USA Orienteering!