20 April 2009


I hadn't run the first leg at 10MILA or Jukola before, so this year offered something new. Although I consider myself to be an individual runner and prefer any "work shift" (middle legs), the past results have shown that I'm quite universal on any leg.
Photo: me (116) captured in the start
I had no expectations before the start and just tried to focus on my own race. In the beginning, it was impossible to get the rhythm since the ones in front were blocking and the ones behind were pushing, especially in the green. But after a few kilometers, it was much easier to set my own pace. Despite one mistake, I was 23rd in the spectator control. In the next radio control (no. 163) I had reached already 6th position (I didn't know it at the time). But then there was forking. When almost everyone that I saw had control 50, I had 162. To the next, I took the safe way and ran out to the road, which wasn't so easy because of really dense undergrowth. When heading into the forest again, I saw a lot of headlamps heading to control 147 and continued my route to 126. I was surprised that so many people had 147 and I was completely alone in my own forking. Fighting through the greens, I reached the finish.
I was asked if I made mistakes in the end - no I didn't! Only then I got to know that I had fallen from 6th to 46th and lost 3 minutes! Later I checked and discovered that no-one who finished before me, had that forking! I was a bit disappointed. It would have been great to finish among the leaders!
After me, my brother didn't run very well, but got us one place higher. After him, we started slowly falling behind, but managed to stay in the top 100. So the overall place was 98th.

13 April 2009


A week ago I made the first official start this season. The competition "Kurzemes Pavasaris" took place in a nice and snow-free forest (unlike at home at the time) in Southern-Latvia.
The middle distance on the first day offered a great deal of short and quick controls, but also required quite a lot of confidence in the trickiest parts. My performance had its ups and downs. Before the 3rd control, I didn't reach the big path where I thought I did and didn't quite understand the situation. While i
n the 8th I just didn't see the flag at first and started having doubts about being in the right re-entrant. In the end, especially to the 20th I probably wasn't thinking straight anymore and made rash decisions. The results gave me some image of my shape so far, which I was uncertain of. Map, splitsbrowser (H20).
On the long distance, I was feeling more in charge of my race. This day, physical strength was more important as the course wasn't as complicated as the previous day. Other then the 4th control, I managed to make a solid race. Maybe the biggest weakness was not reading the map very far ahead and not planning enough. Map, splitsbrowser (H20).

The overall feeling was like in any other spring competition - like a slow diesel en
gine. This feeling has also been helped by the 1,5 months in winter when I couldn't run. It will be harder to get the speed up after such a break.

A week later, after a local night-o competition on Friday, I took part of this seasons first (day)competition in Estonia, "Peko Kevad". Since the juniors had registered themselves to the M21 class instead of the M20, it was just me and my clubmate who took part of both days of the event (two finns ran on the first day). Sad. Didn't really matter to me, the lack of opponents doesn't decrease my motivation, I still run the same.

The long distance on the first day went rather well and I lost only 2 sec/km to my brother, who's running the men's class. Routes, splitsbrowser (M20).

second day was even faster, but this time I made one bigger mistake and another smaller one. The area at the 6th control didn't seem right to me, the distances between features seemed off and there were many more small marshes because of the high water season. Lost a bit more than 1:30 there. Map, routes, splitsbrowser (M20).
I feel that my map-handling is OK right now, but the misses I've done could have been avoided easily. Also, my speed has been getting better and better with each fast excercise, that's a good sign.
Next event: 10Mila

Photo: Comeback?

3 April 2009

A superb ending to the preparation season

Photo: 2-man-relay start in Foresta Umbra

When I got the chance to go to a training camp in Italy with the Finnish team, I took it without hesitation. For eleven days, I had the pleasure of training with some of the best orienteers in the world. The people I met were great and so was the overall atmosphere! Besides the Finns, there were also Kalevan Rasti, the Czechs and a few Swedes who all cooporated in some of the trainigs.
The first part of the camp was held in the Gargano area by the Adriatic sea. Almost all the o-trainings (besides sprint) were
carried out in Foresta Umbra, which is a very nice and tricky terrain. I was a bit rusty with the map at first, but after a few days I started getting back the good ol' feeling. Already the first training was a difficult task - a course on a modified map. I didn't handle it very well, but maybe it was a bit too difficult for this years' first try with the map. I don't even want to show my route on that one, but just for the record, it wasn't a disaster.
Along with other interesting trainings, one was a
2-man-relay (3 loops each), where the other nations took part as well. I was teamed up with Jani Myllärinen and we both made satisfying races. So we finished 5th, 3:10 behind Thierry Gueorgiou & Hannu Airila, but only 1:10 after the 2nd place. Map, results.
Then s
print trainings came along. First, 2 distances in the historical old-town of Vico del Gargano. I must say that this was by far the most complicated sprint I have ever run. In the main part of the course, the streets were so narrow and tricky, that I was forced to make a lot of stops to clarify the situation. Anyway, this years' JWOC sprint might be as tricky as this one was, so I better start solving maze puzzles! Map of the second course.
The second sprint training was set on a beach terrain, which wasn't very pleasant. The thickets were just so bad that my pace on the warm up course reached about 18 min/km! The most annoying thing about the bushes was a plant that resembled barbed wire - I still have some scratches left from that training!
Map of the sprint.
Too bad we couldn't run the last long training in Foresta Umbra though -
it had snowed so much in one night that the terrain was unreachable by car! Would have been fun though!
Then we travelled to Fiuggi, close to Rome. We ran on a World Cup map (Altipiani di Arcinazzo), which besides height contours consisted mainly of yellow and green. Again, it was important to avoid those nasty bushes! The trainings went well and it seemed as if I had finally reached some kind of map-reading level again. But with no mistakes, came along one big mistake. On a mass start training, I screwed up 6 minutes in the second control. After that, everything went great. Well, OK, except for the time I was stuck in some rosebushes for 2 minutes.
Map of the mass start's last loop.
The last training was something very different from the previous trainings - an ultra long course in a park-like forest at ~1500 meters above sea level. The map was Monte Livata, also a World Cup terrain some years ago. 18,1 km course with 892 meters of climbing with the time of 2:26 in perf
ect weather was pure joy! The slopes were still snowy in the forest and on the northern slopes, but fortunately it had hardened enough to carry a runner. A perfect training for ending a great camp! Map of the second loop.

Photo: Terrain in Monte Livata
Thanks a lot to the finnish team for letting me tag along!

Tomorrow I will take part of my first competition this year - a two-day event in Southern-Latvia.