15 June 2009


A week before Jukola, I and Kristo began our last camp before JWOC. The camp proved to be great and now it's just the last finishing touch on the shape. We both were to run the first leg at Jukola, which I wasn't especially excited about.
I knew that this Jukola required more physical strength than good map reading and that's what I was worried about. Seeing the first leg after the start, I was disappointed - why would the first control have to be that easy to take? And consist only of 4km of running on roads and paths? And no forking? Anyway, my muscles were sore already before the first control, because of the camp. I took my own choices and went totally around from the left. I don't know if this route was faster or slower for me, but I when I split with the ones going straight, I was running with Kristo and in the control I was 9 seconds ahead of him. The controls 2 - 7 were the most exciting part of the course and also the best for me. After that the course required more running, where I was quite helpless. I was walking uphill and was slow on the roads. I was surprised that my loss to the leaders after 8km was only 1 minute. They must have made mistakes. Then I made a small mistake with nr 120, where there seemed to be another small hill befere the one where the control is, but I didn't lose much. The last third of the course reminded me of the Nuorten Jukola races - simple controls with tracks and paths between.
I finished 50th, which was about what I imagined my place to be and sent Jaagup to to his duties. My injury-recovering brother made an OK race on the last leg and finished 100th.
I wanted a bit more difficult course than this, or at least more running in the forest. But it seemed that the other longer legs did have that.
Map, team results

Photo: Jukola start (from Jukola official gallery)

Next big event: JWOC

2x Baltic Champion!

This year there were more participants than before - teams from Saint Petersburg and Belarus were present too. This meant that the silver medalist from EYOC 2007, Yury Tambasau (I was 4th), was running my category. Dense forest and limited visibility made this technically demanding terrain very difficult. Additionally, the hot sunny weather didn't make it any easier. Though I heard that a lot of runners disliked the forest, I must say I liked it! Only some places with a lot of rootstocks and fallen trees were annoying. I was certain that no-one would make a flawless race, so anything was possible! The start was good, but before the seventh control I was a bit unsure of my heading and lost a bit of time and confidence there. I hadn't missed much on the first part of the course, but that's where the troubles started. To the 12th I ran on the wrong hill and lost about a minute. To the 13th I was very unconfident and had trouble with my direction. The last part of the course was the most difficult for me - I was feeling the heat getting to me and was clearly getting tired. My speed was notably decreasing and it was hard to focus. In the area of the 16th and 17th I couldn't link the map to the terrain and to the 18 I lost half a minute on running and another half a minute by entering the dark green before the control. To the 19th I should have run on the border of the green area, but instead tilted too much to the right. I pushed hard in the last controls and won with mere 10 seconds ahead of Yury Tambasau. 3rd place to my teammate Kristo.
Map, with my and Kristo's route.
Results, splitsbrowser (M20E)
Relay followed on the next day. Kristo was running the first leg, then I and Henrik Berg the anchor leg. Henrik didn't quite succeed the first day, but our plan was to gain a maximum lead for Henrik and then let him make a solid performance to keep the lead. Kristo had his ups and downs and came out fourth, very close to the leader. I was unconfide
nt on the first part of the course and did some mistakes. The second part of the course was technically very easy and called for fast legs (which I didn't have at that moment). The last loop was my enemy on this course. On the way to the 14th my direction was altered by a lot of fallen trees and rootstocks so I was very unsure where I crossed the watercourse. I thought I was on the southern big spur and continued heading north. After realizing where I was, I was mad that I didn't see the control when I was very close to it. Henrik left with a 3 minute lead ahead of our second team. He kept his head cool and kept the lead. Unfortunately our second team lost to the Latvian team and placed 3rd.
Results (M20E), map
with my and Kristo's route.
The weekend was physically difficult, but I'm very happy receiving two gold medals, especially after last year's fiasco on the long distance.