This blog is in recess. New contributions will still appear from time to time and new contributors are welcome. Check out and the facebook o scene for your regular online orienteering fix.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Attention to Detail...

Map of the Day

Remember those times when maps were works of art not cut out chunks of inconsistent ocad files done at the last minute?

It seems they still care for the asthetic in Sweden...

Orienteering Studies

I enjoyed this interesting blog from Miguel Reis e Silva. The reports of half a dozen scientific studies on the physiology of orienteering, it may interest those of you with a scientific bent...

Oxygen cost was 26% higher while running in a forest when compared with road running. Biomechanical differences in stride pattern contribute towards this increased demand. Despite the high energy demands during competition, orienteers pace themselves such that their mean heart rate remains within the range of 167 to 172 beats/min

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Angela Simpson

Orienteers on Stuff

Not very often you see this. Matthew Ogden, Gene Beveridge and Tyler Casey from Massey High dominating the senior boys grade at the National Secondary School...

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

No1 Norwegian

What is happening to Norwegian orienteering that a kiwi can be the first "Norwegian" in a Norwegian four day? Lets just say things are looking promising for WOC 2010 and a great performance from the Fornicator!

Chris and Em continue on in their indomitable style, mixing orienteering with 7 day tramps, climbing around in the Lofotens and general absurdity. Its unlikely Chris will add an orienteering world champs title to those he already owns in Adventure Racing and Rogaining, but if he did so what a triumph it will be for the spirit of the adventurous amateur munter kiwi outdoor lifestyler. Go you good things!

The blog also includes Chris's take on the World Cups, Forssa Games,Jukola and scrotum shrivelling nudity.

Checking out NZ at the World Games

Ross 10th. How good is that? We have to go back to 1994 when Alistair Landels won a World Cup in Auckland (NZ's first and only world level orienteering race), and before that Katie Fettes 10th at WOC in 1990ish to see a kiwi in the top ten at an international race. It has been a long time coming. I am sure we won't have as long to wait before it happens again.

Overall the team performed outstandingly. They showed maturity in running the races they were capable of. They didn't throw the dice like we are sometimes prone to doing when confronted with the worlds best, but instead did their best. Awesome!

Having had a brief chat to Lizzie it sounded like a great event and an experience she will value hugely. I'm sure we may hear more from her on this ;-). I have borrowed a map from Oystein Kvall Osterbo and as you can see the orienteering is reasonably straight forward, nothing different from what you might encounter from your local park race. But how fast can you do it?

Maybe we are seeing the democratisation of orienteering, a move away from the technical forests that advantage the few countries with large amounts of these landscapes? Up the speed and visibility, increase the tension, take away some of the technical challenge?

But yeah, check back here soon for some more inside reports...

SILVA National Secondary Schools

Anyone noticed the increased coverage on maptalk news?

I was hoping to get along to the National Secondary Schools this year, but it was not to be, and it appears I missed out for there is a plethora of talent out there for orienteering fans to enjoy. Congratulations to all the individual winners, from established stars Angela Simpson and Matthew Ogden in the Senior grade to Tim Robertson and the lesser known (but obviously awesome) Cosette Saville in the Intermediate and the Junior champions Holly Edmonds and Kieran Woods. I'm sure we will see those names again over the years, and maybe the others will eventually follow Angela to JWOC.

photo: Martin Peat

Speaking of Angela, what a talent, how much can someone improve in a year and how far can she go? I have a favourite saying "don't count you juniors before they hatch", and there are lots of steps to overcome in turning a good junior career into a great one and making the progression to elites, but heres hoping she is one (of several) young woman that can keep pushing Lizzie and the others to the next step!

News from Bryn

Argh lots to catch up on after a holiday...the new O Squad authors hopefully to be shortly confirmed should help with this, thanks to Tane for keeping it happening while I have been away.

Firstly news from Bryn... I seriously reckon he is one of our boys ready to explode into a world class elite competitor, keep it up man!

Snogaine 09

The Ski-O was cancelled this year....then at the last minute it was on again! The Ski-O transformed into a Snow-Rogaine and hence a Snogaine...not to be confused with the JWOC party either!

A dedicated group of individuals travelled up/down to Wanaka to take part. I was roped in at the very last minute and with a little bit of convincing I was off as well. The weather really turned it on and the snow conditions were brilliant.

The Snogaine was won by Matt Scott and Lara Prince, who skated their way to victory, followed by Jamie, Penny and her cousin Sam Kane. Fraser Mills who has recently moved to Wanaka and his team mate finished third. Having a Rogaine world champ in my team I thought I would have a good chance at doing well...but as it turns out being good at running doesn't translate to automatically being good at XC skiing...

Day Two's activity was just a straight Biathlon (NZ's First Biathlon of the year what's more), no navigation required...but it was still just as good as Snogaining. Set up by New Zealand Biathlete and "Caniwi" Sarah Murphy, we shot at targets with laser guns twice and skied a loop of around 2kms three times. for every shot missed, you had to do a ~50m penalty loop. JP or John-Paul Lilburne who stepped in at the last minute and organised the Snogaine took out the Biathlon with his superior skiing ability...not so much his shooting... Matt was second and Lara third all finishing under 30mins on skate ski's.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

O-Ringen 2009

Yep you guessed it, its O-Ringen time again. There is a few Kiwi's out there in the forests of Småland and of course our very own HP director Carsten Joergensen!

Paul Ireland elaborates:

While we carry on, generally with less enthusiasm, training in the lovely wet and cool weather there are a number of lucky kiwis who have got themselves over to the amazing Swedish 5 day event known as O-Ringen. This year it is being held south of Stockholm in the small town of Eksjö in an area that has plenty of nice terrain that has been used for many high profile events. Let the sun shine for our kiwi friends over there, and may they all have some great success.

For those who do not know already O-Ringen comprises of 5 events for everyone (except Super Elites). The first four races are normal individual races with the last race a chasing start based on your total time behind the leader for the previous 4 days events. Each class has a huge number of compeditors in it around 150-200 on average.

Carsten Joergensen is currently in 3rd place overall for the H35 grade after 3 races. Thomas Reynolds is doing the best of the H20 elite boys in 52 so far and Jenni Adams the only other the break into the top 50 in 15th place. You can find the results here, or if you just want to check out the Kiwi's results...kiwio is pretty good at sorting it all out and you can find them on maptalk.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Orienteering and the Moon

Orienteering is the sport we play. Navigation has evolved from the beginnings of time and throughout history has played an important role in discovery and exploration. One of the greatest acheivements in Navigation has to be landing a man on the moon.
Sending a man as far away as the moon you need to be confindent that you can navigate safely back home. It might sound all very simple - you just "aim off" for the earth- but you would be mistaken as you have to factor everything else in like the movement of the earth, planets, stars and entire universe while your out there.
Then there is the need to be precise hitting the earth at exactly the right angle so that one, you dont burn up, and two you dont bounce of the earth's atmosphere never to be seen again! So just like orienteering the simplest of controls can some times be the trickiest to nail.
Navigation in space is not too different from orienteering at all....
Regardless of who or what is doing the controlling, there are common elements to spacecraft navigation. All navigation systems use the positions of known objects in space as well as the information coming back from the spacecraft to tell where a spacecraft is. Once the spacecraft's position is known, the flight path is plotted and thrusters are fired. -

So going to the Moon is just like one big orienteering race. You start off with a blast, race to the triangle (earths orbit), then take off to the control under a green light (TLI - Trans-Lunar Injection) when your enter the control circle you slow down (Lunar orbit) then precisely navigate, micro route choice'ing to the control and nailing it with just the right amount of fuel left in the tank. (Landing on the Moon). You exit the control fast knowing where you want to go ( taking off, then TEI - Trans-Earth Injection) Hit the finish chute (Earth's orbit) And sprint to the finish line (Re-entry)....where you can grab a drink...Splashdown!

Then when you have mastered orienteering on earth potentially you can move on to Orienteering on maps of the Universe...

Monday, 20 July 2009

Running in Bare Feet!

I overheard someone the say after the last OY that they had seen a pair of shoes at a control out in the forest! Who and why on earth would someone just leave their shoes at a control? Well turns out it was one of those tough people from Nelson, Hamish Kay. Half way around his course his feet "were chafing really bad" So he took them off and ran the rest of the course in bare feet. It wasnt the first time he had done so either! The previous OY the same thing happened and he ran most of the course in bare feet including through the treacherous burnt out area at Spencerville where Matt Scott put a stick through the sole of his shoe a year or so earlier....

So yesterday afternoon I was bored and I stumbled apon this article on running in bare feet. I have heard previously that running in bare feet strenghtens the mucles in your feet therefore improving your "foot speed" and making you a stronger runner. Im not sold on the idea myself, as we (humans) have created an urban enviroment complete with concrete, boy racers and subseqently broken glass all over the freaken place... So I think shoes still have their place and especially in orienteering which is often in seroiusly rough terrain...way too rough for bare feet.

Then where does running in bare feet have its place? I know that Nick Willis does one session a week of running in bare feet on grass. So supplementing your training with sessions like this could definately be benefical to your over all conditioning.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Adventures of Todd

Now I'm taking the positives out of the experience. I've improved my ability to run independently whilst taking note of a pack, I'm a lot better at running hard on a good bearing regardless of the visibility/footing and I'm confident in my terrain fitness compared to all but the very fittest guys.


I guess you want to put something on the O-squad blog. So I've written a little about the WC races.

Middle race in Finland: went well for a leg and a half. You can see my race on the GPS but some of the controls are embarassing... I was slow at the start because I was careful not to veer off my bearing but I ran a good line and increased my confidence. Going to number 2, on a longish leg, I hit the big boulder I was using as a stepping stone and then got pushed off line a little by some close pines. I jumped down a cliff (by NZ standards) and ticked it off as a feature, considering myself relocated, and ran away on a bearing expecting to come across a wide re-entrant going up to my right. Pity I was 100m north of the cliff I thought I was on! Going into the pivot for the first time I got overly involved in a foot-race with a German, lost contact with the map and more importantly a minute or two.

On my way to my 8 (I think) I ran on the compass without a plan and didn't get lucky. Later in the course I was caught by an Italian and Norwegian. I wasn't about to repeat the mistake with the German. I could run faster because I had the back-up of two other navigators behind me. I led for a couple of controls and then we just pushed each other to the finish. Some satisfying legs but not good as a whole. The good thing was that all the training of the last year was paying off: an ability to run as fast in the terrain as a lot of the seasoned internationals (albeit seldom having the navigational confidence to be able to) but more importantly at that moment; some fresh feeling legs.

GPS tracking at Salo World Cup, check it out here. The Sprint race was the next day. Qualifying races in the morning and a final in the evening in the town centre. It was going to be a struggle to qualify. At this World Cup round the field was far bigger than at a world championships. At WOC a country can only enter 3 men but here the nordic countries and swiss could enter 8. At WOC there are 15 men from each heat who go through to the final. At this race it would be 11 due to TV coverage!

I started at the same time as two guys on the other qual races. I kept my head throughout the course, I mainly picked the right route-choices. On a longer leg half-way round I exited the control at the wrong angle and by the time I realised I had to take the long route-choice otherwise I would've lost more time. That cost 20 seconds. Apart from that it was a good fast run. I managed to lose some seconds by double checking a control code. During that split second 3 guys arrived at the control and I had to wait for them all to punch... with E-mit! Fortunately I then took the better route to the next control and didn't have to wait again.

One of my mates from JWOC, Christian Christensen from Denmark, had started a minute behind me on the same course. He had been running a bit faster early in the race and said he could see me for a few legs after first half but couldn't reel me in. Then he saw me make my mistake, caught up a chunk and was the first person to punch at my pause! He got to the finish line just ahead of me. Christian only missed out on the final by 9 seconds I think. Now I know that a lot of the guys making the final can run more than a minute faster than me for 5km and that I could easily have ironed out the 20 second mistake. So I feel quite happy that I was only about 75 seconds off qualifying and hearing that Christian thought I was going well.

Greg and I really enjoyed going to Jukola and then training for a week in Halden, Norway. Kenneth Buch (2009 NZ WOC Coach) had invited us to his town and was an awesome host as well as sorting us out with daily training out on fantastic maps. One day we did club running intervals with Emil Wingsted showing how fast he is.

I stuffed the first control in the Norway middle because I didn't see the start kite... ran too far along the track thinking I was following the tape, realised it was a TV camera cable after 150m and then corrected. Rookie error! Was running pretty well after that and caught a couple of guys. I was concentrating on good compass work to get to obvious point feature attack points, like clearings, cliffs and hilltops. Some very quick Czech came through and we formed a good train. I got off the train on a long leg as we started going diagonally down a slope. The Czech had pulled away getting to the hillside and the other guys went hard trying to catch him. There were very few features to use and the guys in the mini-pack didn't seem to be following anything apart from the Czech's footprints. I aimed for a small hilltop with a clearing on it on the otherwise sloping ground then slowed down for a fine bearing into the control. I arrived just after the Czech. He'd missed and had to relocate. So I was back in the pack and had a bit more puff than the others. We did a couple more legs. I was feeling good and was reading the map enough to cut some corners off the Czech's trail-blazing. Then I sprained my left ankle at about halfway. Managed to hobble/jog into the next control and saw Greg! He'd started 4mins in front of me.

Couldn't really run too well on the ankle so obviously the result wasn't great. I wasn't too happy to get beaten by the bunch of guys I'd caught! I got the best world ranking points I've ever had though, it's to do with all the top guys being there and some of them making huge mistakes.

After the race I got some ice and a compression bandage then limped home. The next day I strapped up the ankle really well for the long. The swelling was gone and I wasn't going to miss out on this race. Norwegians love their "Classic" orienteering and I knew the course would be cool. The other aspect was that it was a chasing start and I wanted to beat those guys I'd caught in the middle but had had to let run away. I was going ok until the control between the long legs. Made the same mistake on it twice and lost about 10 mins. In fields of that quality a mistake that big is just too much. It was nearly thirty degrees and when I couldn't find the control on the second attempt I almost lost the will to compete. I couldn't help but slow down a bit, the heat and guarding my ankle were nagging at me.

Now I'm taking the positives out of the experience. I've improved my ability to run independently whilst taking note of a pack, I'm a lot better at running hard on a good bearing regardless of the visibility/footing and I'm confident in my terrain fitness compared to all but the very fittest guys.

Part 2

I went to the Belgian 3 days the other week-end and was thrown by the 1m contours (the programme said 2m to be fair). I improved on day 2 but tweaked my ankle on day 3 and DNFed.

So that was good preparation for a 10km race I did the next day! The ankle wasn't swollen and felt fine doing some strides. I was hoping for about 34 minutes or under. Couldn't talk my way into the elite start box so I had to fight (almost literally) to get out towards the front at the start. I finished ahead of the first woman, just, in 33:08. So I was quite happy considering the slopes (hills if you're Belgian) and hard start.

I've just done the French 3 days which have been a highlight due to the terrain. Fountainebleu has awesome deciduous forests with some big hills, good for orienteering. The best thing is that the hills are COVERED in massive boulders. I had a really good run in the middle on day 2. I was concentrating on using the contours and tracks so that I couldn't get confused by the boulderfields. I had the cleanest run of my year so far and was really happy. I had had quite an early start so it was good to see my time compare well with the later starters who had trains and tracks. Good thing is that it was a world ranking event so I'm looking forward to the points going up.

Tommorow I'm off to watch a stage of the Tour de France and this week-end I head to O-Ringen so life is good.

Thanks to Wellington OC for contributing to my WC costs.



Why Twitter will be good for Orienteering

Hear it from the World of O...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Lots of Height, Lots of Winter

A weekend back on the 4th of July was the Annual Heights of Winter Rogaine. This year it was held out on Banks Peninsula in the cold and wet of winter. Lara Prince who along with Matt Scott took out 3rd place summed up the day best by recording "Heights of Winter. Lots of height and winter" in her Attackpoint log.

The event started at Orton Bradley park which to PAPO Orienteers is familiar terrain for OY's. World Junior Rogaining Champ Tim Farrant planned an interesting course, one that was much to difficult to plan for simple point to point orienteers like myself! Riki and I headed out to the high pointers and what turned out to be fantastic weather....compared to everyone else. We we quite annoyed we were required to have full leg coverings to go out and got rid of them at the first control!

We spent 5 hours out the back in patchy cloud, scoring little points, dropping in on Port levy before walking forever up a stupid road. "This is why I hate rogaining!" I told myself after half an hour of slogging away up the road. Here we met some people where they told us how horrible up on the tops it was...where we were heading. I didn't think much of it and assumed they were just whinging and had similar weather to us. Well I was wrong, they were quite right. It was shit, absolute shit weather. Howling wind, 20m visibility and rain, it was blowing so hard at one point that I thought: "I'm going to go through this fence instead of over cause if I climb over that I might just get blown away!"

In the horrible weather we clocked up the points so it made it quite bearable....but glad we hadn't spent all day in it as the light disappeared and night set in. After a really basic error by me on an easy control we were now touch and go on our plan for the last three controls, but I reckoned we could make it. Turns out the Navigation was a little more difficult and due to Riki's light going flat I lost him in some thick vegetation that was not on the map. After ten min's of farting around we were cutting it fine but still just enough time to get the 80 pointer. But we didn't account for the 10m cliff and the shit load of bracken at the base of it and ended up bailing then stumbling upon the control anyway. Unfortunately we made it back quite late and lost basically the 80 points we had just gained.

Once back in the hash house we dug into some Hangi and found out most people had the most horrible day in the rain, fog and cold. So although we hadn't scored many points we had the best weather of everyone and felt pretty smug about that....little disappointed we didn't do better in the points stakes but glad we were not freezing to bits either.

Phil Wood and Bruce McLeod were the winners on the day, cleaning up as they should. Greig Hamilton and Tim Sikma took out their usual placing of 2nd with Matt and Lara coming 3rd but finishing 45min early.

Would you rather race Hanny or Julian?

....fresh from somewhere in Asia, Hanny Alston and Julian Dent, Aussie stars in training.

Earthquakes Rattle Taiwan

I'm guessing Ross has landed...

despite this photo on the O Squad blog there are no reports of damage in the recent Taiwanese earthquake

Monday, 13 July 2009

World Games Portal

People seem to be getting excited about the media coverage for this event. Will it be as good as we hope? Is orienteering finally getting the technology right to be a TV/internet sport? Check it out on this coming weekend here. I'm going to be away from the computer for a week or so, so hopefully my fellow blog authors will come out of hibernation!

Go Tania, Lizzie, Darren and Ross!!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Arrivederci JWOC!

JWOC has wrapped up for another year. It finished with the usual finale of the relay...I couldn't resist this outstanding photo of Tom, Jourdan and others at the start! The article is published on Ultimate Orienteering.

The final results may have been somewhat sobering for the team, but as they point out on their blog, New Zealand finished as the tenth ranked country, which they must be pleased with. I look forward to their thoughts and learning experiences as their energy and perspective returns after the emotionally draining time of JWOC. I think it is also worthwhile at this stage to give a round of applause to Mark Lawson (Coach) and Norm Jager (manager) who accompanied the team. We need more people like these guys helping young New Zealand orienteers trying to be their best.

Congratulations again to the team, for having the commitment to represent us on the other side of the world and come away with some good results.

Friday, 10 July 2009

JWOC Qual Map

Kate, Angela and Georgia coming back to form have qualified for the JWOC Middle Finals. Great work and nice racing. Georgia in 12th was the most comfortable.The map follows

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Do JWOC Organiser have better things to worry about.?

Last week I was censored for the first time. One of the chief JWOC organisers requested to the New Zealand team coach that I take down the posting (included below) that I wrote satirising the conduct of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and giving it an orienteering twist. I agreed in deference to our team.

Really though don't officials have better things to think about?

My advice, just run the event well. Get your courses right. Take care of competitors and spectators. Get the results out fast Get media coverage, good commentary, good buses etc.

Don't go round thinking you are Mussolini and you can control everyones behaviour. You are responsible for your own actions not theirs.

It is a sign of a crazy world that what an orienteering hasbeen from the other side of the world spends 5 minutes typing can cross the mind of an organiser in the middle of running one of the biggest events of their lives. And to provide some background one of the primary purposes of this blog was to laugh at ourselves as orienteers a bit. To bring in some other influences which sometimes can be lost in the orienteering lifestyle. We will continue to cover politics, infomercials, music and ridiculousness where-ever we find it.

Embattled Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a surprise appearance at the Junior World Orienteering Champs in Premiero today. Berlusconi is undertaking a publicity effort to improve his image which has been tarnished recently with media stories of his lavish lifestyle and friendships with young women. As part of his support for JWOC he has donated genuine gold, silver and bronze medals. These were presented today to the winners of the womens long distance event.

After inviting the medal winners to an aftermatch party Berlusconi joked that, "it is right. Real silver medals, and I am Silvio. In the township of Premiero, and I am premier!".

The Junior World Championship will continue with middle distance and relay events over the next days. Berlusconi could not confirm whether he would be attending again. Organisers expressed some concern, worried that his presence may take away the focus from the young athletes and turn the event into a media circus.

Greta great at JWOC

Greta Knarston has slipped into the top twenty in the JWOC long event finishing 19th. She narrowly pipped Kate Morrsion who replicated Angela Simpsons otstanding result in the sprint with a 22nd. The NZ JWOC blog is here.

And courtesy of Norm Jager, I found the JWOC womens sprint map. Looks super fun...

Norm's photos can be found here. A couple of the better ones, of Angela in the sprint and Greta in the long are below...

The World of O, as always has some great coverage, maps and results of the long can be found here.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Bryn peaks for sprint

Ok, so Bryn peaked for the sprint, and decided that he had proven his point and laid off the Brits, and that damn OzBrit snake breeder from Helsinki, for the rest of their selection weekend. But what a great sprint race. I can't wait to see his blog, map and comments (hint hint). But in the meantime it gives me great pleasure to just look at this little image...nice work boy!

The next step in orienteering

Hat tip to O-Kansas for this interesting article. The technology isn't ripe perhaps, but the video below illustrates an application which may show some future developments for orienteering.

Seek ’n Spell gameplay video from Retronyms on Vimeo.

O-Kansas suggests random generation of trainings (harder than it sounds), but what interests me more is the potential in the future for "control less" control sites. Navigate into the site and your gps device vibrates. You move on while the person 50 metres to your left has nothing to alert them to your visiting the control, a whole new dimension of cunning and gamesmanship.

Labour saving in control placement, recovery. Cost savings in control infrastructure. I seriously think it will happen. We will praise people like Michael Wood when this happens who are actively seeking to align New Zealand orienteering maps with the GPS system.

Any thoughts out there?

Map of the Day

From the Rocketman

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Bryn on fire!

Top young New Zealand elite Bryn Davies, has made a welcome return to form and confidence with a 3rd place at the British WOC Selection Trials. The British are used to outsiders sharing the spoils in their top events, but normally they wouldn't expect those outsiders to be New Zealanders. Earlier in the season it was Ross Morrison taking out top-spot at the prestigious JK sprint event. But this event for Kiwis was all about Bryn and great to see him up there starting to fulfill his undoubted talent.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Learning about JWOC

There is a great article by Lucie Babel on Ultimate Orienteering detailing the basics of JWOC.

Great to see our team mentioned positively in two ways. First of all as 1 of only 13 countries to send a full team! And second more positive comments on their blog and this time from a credible international source.

Maybe they are not deer in the headlights as this great picture from Norm Jager on their latest training suggests :-) Check out more on their blog.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Hi, My name is....

Tane, and I'm addicted to Attackpoint....

Interesting discussion on Attackpoint on your "Attackpoint frequency". I'm definitely addicted, checking it maybe once an hour for up to 15mins at a time most of the day....maybe I should put this much effort into finding a job...but attackpoint is just so distracting and a lot less depressing! Anyway its good to know that I'm probably not the worst "user" out there....

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

JWOC...NZer's getting in the groove

I'm enjoying reading the updates from the JWOC team, and best of skills for the competition ahead...

We encountered the other teams for the first time today, Russa, Japan, South Africa and Hong Kong were all out on the map training at the same time as us. We expect to see heaps more of the other countries as the week progresses, as Primiero isn't a very big place! JWOC is being promoted much more than last year in Sweden. There are posters and o flags up in shops all over town and most of the lamp posts have JWOC 2009 flags hanging from them.