9 September 2013

Recharged after "Tour de Bothnia"

After the World Champs, the plan was to take some time off, do some basic aerobic training, recharge batteries and travel north, around the Bay of Bothnia. The whole trip spanned over two and a half weeks and included a lot of orienteering on different terrains. 
First, a couple of trainings in Finland, near the Swedish border. First map of a really rocky terrain, where my foot seldom touched the ground. This was indeed extreme, it started raining hard and made the rocks very slippery, plus the map is from '79! And another old map from Tornio, which was quite a puzzle to solve...
The trip continued to Santa's home: Rovaniemi. Among many trainings, here's one very nice map of Santavaara, right on the border of the polar circle, which was a very nice open and fast terrain - only 5:28 min/km at training pace... And another great map of Nuuksvaara (with raindeer!), which served perfectly as a model for O-Ringen in Sweden.
Nuuksvaara by Matti
So next on the agenda was O-Ringen itself, this time up north in Boden. I must say that the terrains were very cool and challenging, unfortunately I did not have much left for competing and the first day (map) was a tough physical struggle. The third day's long distance (map) was the first day when I felt quite OK and was also running too bad. Sadly a small wooden spike penetrated through the sole of my shoe about 1-2 cm into my foot close to the heel and broke (the tip was left in there). I had to stop my race there and get medical help. Fortunately there was not much damage to the tissues and not much pain, only when walking. The fourth day's middle distance (map) was the closest thing to a good race despite the hole in my foot. Results

The next destination was Hemavan on the border of Norway. I was really looking forward to wander around in the hills (fjälls) up to 1768m at Storfjället. Had some nice long training and hiking sessions up there, along with some fjällorientering at Hemavan Tredagars (sprint, middle and long). Long distance map, it's not as easy as it looks... After Hemavan, it was time to head home and get ready for the upcoming competitions.
After the trip and two more weeks of training, I felt charged and refreshed, unlike after WOC. 

Estonian Championships brought joy - I won the long distance by just 23 seconds ahead of Timo and 2:52 ahead of Olle! I put it all out there, it was a constant fight the whole way. After about an hour it started to get a lot harder and I could almost hear the whip lashing when pushing the limits, but it paid off. After the race the intestines were twisting and twirling, took a while before I felt like a normal person again. I'm happy that I achieved my goal and finally have gold from the classical distance.
Map, results
Disappoint by Mihkel
There was not very much energy left for the next day's relay. After Jaagup and Markus (very good race), we were third. I did technically quite well, but I was so tired that the course never seemed to end. Managed to even lift one position, but was not far from dropping one again... So for us it was silver again!
Map, results
Winners! by Andy

Next up was Military World Championships, which went surprisingly well. I didn't feel like I was in a very good shape, but on the middle distance I knew that I was doing a good race and expected a good result. But a silver medal was a very nice surprise even for myself! On the long distance I didn't feel as sharp and on the first part of the course did not push to the max. On the spectator control there was a lot of shouting so I figured I was doing a well again and speeded up. In the end I learned that I was two seconds too slow and lost only to my brother, now military world champion! For me, this silver medal was even a bigger surprise, because I only expected to be top 10. The relay didn't go as well, I was not at the top of my game and made some bad routes at the beginning of the race. Then on the last loop, I totally missed the 15th control, bad mistake. With Sander Vaher on the 1st leg and Timo on the last, we came in 5th like last year. With an additional team competition bronze, I left this fantastic WMOC with very positive feelings!
Middle distance map, results
Long distance map, results
Relay map, results
Team competition results
Oxygen by WMOC 2013
Double By WMOC 2013
Team bronze by Henn
The last event was Latvian Championships middle and relay, where I've participated 6 times now. The course looks easy, but for me it took a while to get used to the terrain type, focus and get the optimal orienteering rhythm, so there was plenty of excitement. The forest was green and marshy and required quite an aggressive style, but it was not too slow either - 6:12/km. My race was pretty clean and steady all the way, I guess that was the key to success. It was a very tight battle between me and Edgars Bertuks all the way, in total I was 12 seconds faster, check out the graph! In the relay, Alūksne-Ape OK with Jānis Kūms and Edgars, I was left as anchor. This time were leading right from the beginning and the race was pretty much decided after Edgars' race. I just had to bring it in, but still wanted to do it with a good race. I had the best time with almost 4(!?) minutes...
Middle distance map, results, graph
Relay map, results
Jānis & Edgars

Next up: Finnish Championships middle distance and relay