26 August 2010

WUOC, O-Ringen and WOC Tour in retrospect

I was really looking forward to the long distance. I had been on that terrain twice before - in 2004 I was up there skiing with Erik and Martin Blomgren and in 2006 as a training with OK Võru's friend club Stura Tuna OK. I knew this was something for me and I was more than ready for it. The goal: make the best race of the year. I had a much better feeling than I did at JWOC and it was finally good to achieve the state of good orienteering flow. I made a bad routechoice, but other than that I was doing fine. Somehow I managed to make a 2-minute mistake in the end. The control area just didn't feel right when running, no matter how many times I attacked the control. I went to check it out on the next day and I can just conclude that it was just lack of experience... That one control ruined a very good race, but I'm just happy that I had such a good feeling on the course. I placed 13th, but without the mistake I would have had the chance to reach the podium. Map and results.
The middle distance was a disaster. On the first half of the course it was "connection lost" all along. On the second half I gained some stability, but nevertheless I was too tired to run fast and occasionally even walked uphill. The course can be divided to two halves at the 7th control. I was 53rd when I got there and 28th in the finish. From the 7th control to to the end I lost only an additional 7 seconds to the winner, but he made mistakes and I did only a small one. The only victory that day was my best split in the finish - aah, a poor man's victory. Map and results.
The keywords of the relay? Just one - fast! As having been the best Estonian runner on the previous races, I was anchoring our team with Kristo and Timo. Kristo was probably the only one of us who was able to run fast on that day, but a small mishap on reading the map didn't allow to compete with the leading runners til the end and so he came out 13th, 4 minutes after the leader and 2,5 minutes after the 2nd place. Timo did what he could, but a mistake in the end cost some positions. There was a big group finishing and we were chasing it. I tried to catch the closest rivals, but it was so difficult. I was suffering the whole distance. The long and middle distances had left their marks. I had climbed a few positions and right before the last loop I was with Janne Haikka, Arturs Paulinš and Kiril Nikolov. But since I missed the 17th conrtol, I had no say in the fight anymore. We came out 17th, 14th country. Not our cup of tea. Map and results.

Photo: Skiing at Gyllbergen with Martin and Erik Blomgren (By Håkan Blomgren)

It was only one day of "resting" (actually travelling and a training on an official trainingmap) before the first day of O-Ringen. I wasn't ready for this event, except for a training with Stora Tuna in 2006 again right next to the 2nd day's map.
I decided not to take any risks this year and take all the time that I need to make technically clean races. In brief: The first day fulfilled its purpose and I was off to a good start. The terrain suited me and I was full of positive emotions. The second day began well, but I forgot my principle in the end and made two mistakes. Nevertheless, I was in for the fight. On the third day all the competing finally got to me and it hit me hard - I was so tired that I was reading wrong control descriptions and making many other bad decisions. I was no longer in touch with the leader, but anything was possible. This year, the resting day fit in my plan well, usually I want a 5 day competition to be a 5 day competition, not a 3+2 day event. I wasn't tired on the 4th day, actually, I felt rather good and fresh. The mind, on the other hand, was still tired and I didn't achieve any good rhythm and had to make a lot of long stops, which were necessary. I had some mistakes, but I'm sure I avoided some big ones. I was very surprised to have lost 5 minutes to the best time. I knew my time wasn't good, but this much? Maybe I was still tired, just didn't feel it. Now I was 4th in overall. While the first four days had been on very demanding terrains, the last day was from a totally different class. I started right behind Matthias Kyburz and caught him quickly. A stupid miss in the 7th and 8th let him go his own way and catch Gustav Bergman. I was caught by Rassums Andersson. My situation was cleared on the way to the 10th as we took different choices (to my advantage). I didn't see him again after that. This was my 12th O-Ringen and I have been 2nd three times and 3rd two times, but I must say that this was one of my best performances at O-Ringen so far (not counting very young classes). Since this year's competition the tightest of the last years, I got the 4th place. Though my last day was a failure, I'm pleased with my overall result!
Maps: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5.
Results: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5.

 Photo: some of my Norwegian fans came to ask for my autograph

WOC Tour
Now it was finally time to meet the fantastic Norwegian terrains. I was a spectator on this year's WOC and running the WOC Tour 21E at the mean time. The goal: enjoy orienteering! On the first day I was having the time of my life! I was so amazed by the nature and ran like a tourist lost in the forest. The second day was as fun as the first and I it already felt like home. So far, I was running on other fantastic maps also in the evenings, taking what I could of the Norwegian trip. I didn't expect much from the sprint, but miraculously I felt really good and had a very good result. It's a shame that the course was too simple and had no routechoices or very detailed reading. The best thing about the race - I beat the WOC sprint bronze in sprint! Since I was doing good also in the result-department, I decided to have a real competition race on the fourth day. Though (to my mind) this terrain was no match the the first two days, it was still a great experience. In the evening I went to conquer a nearby hilltop - Vassfjellet - with Peeter and Timo to enjoy the views. The training was good for me in the long run, but considering the next day's pursuit start, it was a mistake. I was so tired of the long climb that I managed to lose about 4 minutes to my closest rival Frederic Tranchand and he basically caught me in the end of the course. I speeded up as much as I could and lost sight of him. I finished 1:21 before him. Sad that the last two days were in the same area and even parts of the courses matched. Otherwise, I had a really great training camp in Trondheim! This gave me a lot of confidence towards the future!
Maps: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5 and results.

 Photo: first attempt to reach the summit of Vassfjellet (by Andreas Kraas)

I feel more at home in Nordic terrains than I do in Estonian terrains. Strange, isn't it?

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