Month: August 2014

WUOC 2014 – Season Finale

WUOC 2014 had been my main goal for this year, and was the competition that I really wanted to perform well at. Unfortunately, everything has not gone to plan and my performances were not as I desired. This year has been the first time that I have run a ‘European season’, competing right from the very beginning, after I arrived to Sweden. Over the long summer months I kept racing without properly training; WOC, Oringen, and now WUOC. I felt my shape never really improved, and I spent too much time in a state of ‘pre-race rest’ which resulted in a physical downturn. My body and mind are somewhat ‘rundown’ as of now, in desperate need of a break from orienteering for a short while.

Although I was not at my best at WUOC, it was still an awesome experience, again highlighting the path I want to take in the future. I ran the sprint mixed relay, long, middle and relay. I had been selected to run all the races, but I decided to skip the sprint after the long distance and I disagreed.

Sprint Mixed Relay

Park race, which had some minor challenges. I ran 4th leg, following Laura, Gene and Tessa. Apart from a lack lustre top speed, it was a good technical race. I missed a route choice after the public control which cost us 2 places overall, so we finished in 16th.


I struggled in the warm up, and never really got my body into gear. The race was decided by pure running speed and a couple of long legs which offered numerous route choices. I struggled to see the optimal route to the second control, and then struggled with the physicality of the terrain later on. I finished in 44th, in a race which left my whole body is a state of turmoil.


Exhausted after another tough long distance!


I fell sick after the long and was really nervous about starting the race. The terrain was extremely diffuse with numerous linear water features, pesky pits and blocks of low visibility green. The technique required was a mix of risk minimisation and careful compass control which I felt I had for a large portion of the course. With the sickness, my top speed was hindered, but I had a good race in the beginning and I was 16th at the 20th control. I didn’t cope with the very demanding final section of the course very well, employing a too ‘high speed, high risk’ approach. I missed the longer legs (21st  and 24th) which meant I dropped down the overall standings. I ended up in 26th, which I am mostly happy about given my illness and seasonal fatigue.


Pushing into the finish chute!


My sickness had evolved somewhat, and I was left without much energy. I ran second leg, with Gene running first and Jourdan third. Gene felt the effects of a very demanding week, saying that his legs didn’t really agree with him on first leg. For my race, I knew it wasn’t going to be anything near special, so my goal was just to have a steady race. I was fairly clean, apart from one large mistake to the 13th where I had no real plan going into the green. The NZ team finished in 26th position, including some countries second teams.

All maps and results are available on the WUOC website.

It was inspiring to see my flatmates and club mates, Razz, Albin, Oskar and Bettina smash out their races during the week. Even better was the Linné (Swedish) relay team which took gold in the mens relay. It is pretty awesome that I am able to train and learn from some of the very best in the world!

I have now drawn an official close to my season for this year, and I will begin a period of rest before I start to focus on the training again. I am extremely motivated to improve my orienteering, and I really look forward to the months ahead which should offer stable training regimes. I have learnt so much this year, sometimes I forget how much I have actually accomplished. Transitioning from junior to seniors is always tough; doing this in a completely foreign environment, even tougher. But with my club, new friends that I have made this year, and the support emanating from back ‘home’, I feel more motivated than ever! It is almost time to take it to the next level.


Swedish Summer including Oringen 2014

Swedish summer has definitely been in full swing recently, with sensational weather and everyone in holiday mode. Following WOC I had 4 days of work before once again I packed my gear and was on the road for another competition; this time Oringen.

Oringen is easily the best 5 day competition on the orienteering calendar.  In previous years, Oringen has fallen after JWOC and so there has typically been a good group of us at Oringen. This year, the NZ contingent was somewhat smaller. Due to JWOC being held in the same week for some reason, none of the juniors could make it across to Sweden. So for this year, it was just the NWOC crew of myself, Rob, Marquita, Gene and Renee who ventured to Skåne, south Sweden for Oringen 2014. For future years, I highly recommend that all NZ juniors should try and make Oringen, so that they can truly experience something that has defined and shaped Gene and I’s orienteering careers thus far. In mentioning JWOC, I would like to congratulate the NZ JWOC team this year for some outstanding performances. Tim Robertson took the third straight medal in 3 years for NZ with a gold in the sprint distance, Nick Hann finally demonstrated why he his one to watch in the future with a brilliant 5th in the middle and finally our relay team could manage three worthy performances to climb on top of that podium! That makes 6 podiums in 4 years for NZ at JWOC!


The future! Best NZ JWOC team to date.

I travelled to Oringen on the Friday, where I met up with Rob and Marquita. We had a good catch up that evening before our NWOC crew grew to 5 the following day, when Gene and Renee joined us. It felt really good to be surrounded by Kiwis for the week, and will hopefully top up my Kiwi dose for the next months before I return home. I still have no idea about what I will be doing next year, but at least I will be returning home for the world cups in Tasmania.

The Oringen races for me were a mixed affair. I ran H21 Lång, opposed to elites to simplify travel logistics and of course to re-ignite an age old battle between Gene and I. Gene provides a good summary of how the battle evolved over the week here. Unfortunately honours went to Gene after I fell sick after the 3rd stage. The 3rd stage was my best race where I finished in 5th. My race was really good, and I was confident in the NZ-istic terrain (detailed sand-dunes). I wasn’t even going to start the last stage, but I jogged to the start and began my course anyway. I actually felt surprisingly good and I could push after warming up in the first few controls. After racing for 75 minutes I ironically discovered at the finish that I had missed punched and hence I would not register an overall time/placing for Oringen (the first time this has happened to me!). In my sickened and tired state, I pushed too hard up the hill towards the finish and got confused when I saw a control. At the time I felt something was seriously strange, but as is the case when racing under pressure, a stupid mistake resulted. I punched the control that wasn’t mine, and then screwed up the next leg (a white control site). I was not too disheartened though, appreciating the funny side of taking 106 controls over the week then miss punching on the third to last one. Oringen was just a training week for me as I refine my preparations as WUOC draws closer.


Oringen is EPIC!

If you have not witnessed Oringen first hand, and want to see how epic it is, I would recommend going to the photo gallery for Oringen this year or watch the video from the last stage, featuring some big names.

Oringen photo gallery
Video – Oringen Etapp 5

After a nice weekend travelling back with the NWOC crew, I had a few days of work before we again hit the road. This time to Borlänge to catch up with Lars and KAREN Sjökvist, who basically redefined how coaching was conducted in NZ back in the 80’s. This was another good weekend of training which included consumption of copious amounts of really good food. On the Friday we visited Falun, to experience some Swedish history in the form of the Falu Gruva, they Great Copper Mine and to climb a dizzyingly high ski jump, where EOC was held in 2012. We also travelled to Leksand for one night, where I found some hills to bike/run up, which will be relevant for WUOC. Gene and I smashed out a sick 2 hour run as well, taking in some picturesque views of the Leksand region.  Thanks ‘heaps’ to Lars and Karen, and also a huge thanks to Rob and Marquita for a very relaxing and enjoyable weekend away.


Top of Falun Ski Jump. Why the hell would you ever do this death sport?

Now it is full focus towards WUOC. I hope my shape is good enough but I am quite satisfied with my training through the fragmented summer period.  I will be most invested in the middle distance, but running all the competitions (5 in 5 days) will make for a very tough week. Bring it on!