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.

Monday, 24 October 2011

World Cup 2013/Oceania teaser

Once again the blog has fallen silent but by no means does that mean the orienteering has stopped!

In just over a year we finally see the return of World Cup orienteering to NZ, something I for one am pretty much indescribably excited about! Can't wait to show off our country to the best orienteers in the world, and show off the best orienteers in the world to our country!

Mick Finn has done his usual amazing work and made a pretty sweet teaser video, enjoy! :)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Aus WOC Trials

A couple of weekends ago I headed down to Tassie for the Australian WOC trials. A bit late writing up you might say, well since then I’ve relocated myself across the world and am now in Rome up for a couple of months! So I’d say that’s a fair enough excuse! :) If you’re lucky I’ll put up some of my Roman running adventures here too.

(Warning you in advance, this is a long post, so just scroll down for maps if you want!)

Anyway, as I’m uncertain how much orienteering I’ll get here in Rome, I made the late decision to head down to Tassie and get some quality competition in the form of the Aus WOC trials. $400 of flights and a spacious, song filled drive up from Hobart later, I found myself lining up for the sprint race as the University of Tasmania in Launceston. Now in the past I’ve found I struggle to race well the same day as I travel, so expectations weren’t too high for this race, although I did enjoy the lack of pressure compared to the WOC trialees!

I won’t bore you with too many details, however shoe choice was critical for this race (interesting aye!). No but really, the ground was ultra slippery following the morning’s dew. So out went my initial choice of racing flats and in came the inov8s. Discussions post race made me very happy I made this choice, at no point in my race did I find myself unexpectedly on the ground (which given my proneness to faceplants is saying something)!

Anywho, map is below. Technical sprint racing seems to be a forte of mine, so this course was right up my alley and I had an incredibly clean run. The only real time losses came exiting 11, where I misread the white edging around the number 11 as a gap in the wall. A couple of others made the same mistake and was pretty annoyed with the number placement. Cost me 15s. And I took a sub-optimal route choice to 16. Infact, it was only the 3rd time I looked at the course post race that I even saw the path in the middle! In the end I won by 51s in a time of about 15minutes. Joint 2nd were Mace and Shannon, so a good start to the weekend for the Cockies!

A quick fuel up at the supermarket and another short drive later and we were back at it again, this time for the middle distance, held at Benbullen. Now I’m not going to lie, I see absolutely no relevance of this map to France, I think the only reason it was used was because it lies on the road between Launceston and St Helens, were the long the next day was. Anyway, you deal with what you’re served, and a fair few people commented that the map should suit me, being a kiwi. Well whatever was said prerace, I have run on very few maps this muddy and boggy in NZ!

For some reason the start triangle was in the middle of a stream and by the time I’d run through it, my map was covered in mud and illegible. It didn’t get too much better after that either! Now my track record for middle distances isn’t exactly impressive. I’ve made a mess of the last 4 NZ champs, including my spectacular mistake a month ago in HB (not sure I’ll put that up here!). I’ve made 3 A finals at JWOC, only to make a 20min mistake in one, mp in another, and throw away the race on the 1st control on the other. So my confidence isn’t exactly high when I line up for a middle, I just don’t seem to be able to hold my concentration together for 25-30mins. (15min for a sprint is fine though!)

Unfortunately this race continued my trend, although it wasn’t quite on Easter’s scale. Number one was very shaky, especially after getting stuck in a bog, only to see Jimbo happily jogging past on a track 10m away. However everyone, even Vanessa had trouble here. Things went smoothly through to 10 then, where I couldn’t fit the map to the ground, losing maybe 30s. Again things went fast through to 17 where I got a bit stuck in the marsh and veered left, not too fussed with that though. But the last control, oh the last control. Seriously?! Spotting a knoll across the marsh I shot off, up the re-entrant, and…nothing. What?! Oh no. It has to be here. Nope. Eventually I twig that the finish is too far away, I must be short. A classic parallel error which cost me a clear 2nd place and dropped me back to 3rd behind Vanessa and Kathryn. There’s no way I was going to beat Vanessa though, she seems to have middle distances sussed. Maybe I should ask for tips? :) (sorry for the blood all over the map, managed to slice my hand open somewhere, just thought it was mud for a while, then realised it was red not brown…)

And finally, after a well needed nights rest, we had the long distance trial, held on everyone’s favourite; Lively’s Bog. Personally I’d only run here once before, Aus champs 2005. And all I remember was getting pretty horribly lost. More than once. So on reading the planners notes in the programme (along the lines of ‘I have made these courses as hard as the possibly could be, I got lost putting controls out’), I decided it would be optimal to take things carefully and stay in touch with the map at all times. Not a bad plan and will definitely be needed at WOC.

I won’t bore you with details, but I just had the most average run. No big mistakes apart from 8, where I lost a few minutes after becoming disoriented in the ultra green strip in the bog (there’s an unmapped rock in there, just incase anyone wants to know). A couple of dodgy route choices, and a lot of hesitating. But I was simply running too slow and had little motivation to ramp it up. Unfortunately I was first starter and had no one close behind who was going to push me. However that’s no excuse, someone always has to start first, so a bit disappointed with myself on this one, but atleast I didn’t get horribly lost like last time I guess! Finished up a good 9 mins behind the leaders, and what’s more the place getters in the long won compasses. I’d have rested up in the sprint and middle and gone hard on the long if I’d known that! ;)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Running Free...

One for the next interval session.....

O-Squad Blog - Jumping on the Train

New Zealand elite orienteering is gathering steam, and the O Squad Blog is going to jump on this train...

Everything is looking up. The Regal Orienteering Carnival is upon us. Next weekend the Pinestars and Bushrangers have their annual faceoff in Woodhill forest and the Super series teams battle it out for the title. Soon after elites start departing for Europe where this year we have a strong team of 8 taking on the world in the French Savoy. Those staying behind have some great races to look forward to. The winter classic, the regional champs, the recently confirmed Sprint the Bay 2012, and a Nationals on Waionoke. For these later races we should see the reappearance of New Zealand's best orienteer. Chris Forne is back in 2012 from a long stint in Norway.

Chris is finally ready to come home

In the O-Squads blogs opinion though the two best things stoking the engine are 1)the sudden rise of a technically excellent and committed Auckland orienteering scene, athletes seeking to make the most of their potential and doing so ruthlessly, 2) the announcement of the World Cup heading down under to our capital city in early 2013, just 18 months away.

I am hugely excited by how these developments will come together. Is it too early to dream of a new epoch in NZ elite orienteering?

What this space, and all the other great blogs of our athletes, which you can link to from our site. There should be some interesting viewing!

Monday, 11 April 2011

NZ 2011 JWOCers

Firstly, yes the little spurt of posts I had going has seemingly stopped. Sorry! But about the end of february I relocated my life over the ditch to Aussie. And as a result, let's be honest here, there prob won't be many posts from me in the near future! And as noone else is writing anything, well there just won't be any posts probably.

Unless anyone wants to put up there hand to write? But I believe the last three times we've asked there's been no response. sad. but who knows, maybe someone will volunteer, and chances are I'll procrastinate and put the odd post up.

ANYWAY, on a brighter note, following trials in the poland-esque New Plymouth in mid March, the NZ team for JWOC 2011 has been announced. Competition for places was the toughest I think i've ever seen it and there are a number of Juniors who will be gutted to miss the team. To them, just take it as motivation to go away, train harder and smarter and prove yourself next time around. Oceania champs in October anyone?

And to those in the team, well done, awesome work, but that was only the first step! Take that motivation, train harder and smarter, and prove yourself in Poland. Anyone who's been to a JWOC will atest to just how intense the competition is. It is a huge step up from anything you'll have experienced in our little bit of the world. But they will also atest to how much fun the trip as a whole, the races, and the banquet is.

Well done, good skill and do us proud! :) (on a personal note, stoked to see 3 of wellington area's top juniors in the team!)

Also a huge thanks to Owen and James for putting their hands up to help out our Junior team. Just gutted I can't get the time off to coach again this year!

The New Zealand team to compete at the Junior World Orienteering Championships being held in Rumia-Wejherowo, Poland, 1-9 July 2011, is as follows:

Jaime Goodwin (Hawkes Bay)
Anna Gray (North West)
Selena Metherell (Peninsula and Plains)
Kate Morrison (Hawkes Bay)
Laura Robertson (Hutt Valley)
Angela Simpson (Bay Of Plenty)
Non-travelling reserve: Cosette Saville (Counties Manukau)

Gene Beveridge (North West)
Nick Hann (Wellington)
Scott McDonald (Hawkes Bay)
Mathew Ogden (North West)
Tim Robertson (Hutt Valley)
Toby Scott (Auckland)
Non-travelling reserve: Alistair Richardson (Peninsula and Plains)

MANAGER: Owen Cambridge (Dunedin)
COACH: James Bradshaw (Counties Manukau)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Sprint the Bay 2011 - postview

The answer would be 'yes' if you were at Sprint the Bay 2011...

The weekend started off remarkably dry on the friday evening, with a first up sprint around Frimley Park. A flat park and school map also used in the tour last year, this year two runners started at a time with a loop format, giving an exciting way to kick off the weekend. Piret Klade showed her speed to take out the win the the women's, with juniors Laura Robertson and Angela Simpson rounding out the top 3, whilst Oystein Kvaal Osterbo cleaned out the elite mens race by 26s, with Julian Dent in 2nd and local Ross Morrison 3rd.

Meanwhile, I occupied myself with the camera, and after some initial problems, eventually got a good photo!

However, STB isn't all about the yellow jersey and this year there were both the green (sprint) and pokadot (hill) jerseys up for grabs also. These were targeted by some runners, and it wasn't a rare sight to see people taking a good long breather before the sprint and hill climb legs. On the first evening the jerseys were taken out by Angela Simpson, Olle Poland (hill), Jula Mcmillan and Ian Lawford (sprint). Of these four, only one would go on to relinquish their singlet all weekend, making for some very muddy and sweaty singlets by Sunday evening!

Saturday morning brought with it the rain, and the courses around Te Aute college required real concentration not to slip over around the technical school buildings. The yellow singlet changed hands in both the men's and women's grades with Julian Dent taking out the win and overtaking Oystein in the yellow jersey stakes, whilst Elise Egseth showed her class with a 34s win while Piret slipped back to mid-pack.

The third stage, held on Maison de Sante, brought with it some tough hill climbs, more rain, and some tight intricate navigation among the accurately mapped blackberry labrynth. Oystein was back for revenge with almost a minute win over Julian, whilst the Kiwi's were packed in close behind; Karl, Darren, Carsten and Toby all within 13s of eachother (and Rassmus, is he a kiwi yet?). The hot potato Yellow Jersey work continued in the women's race, with Elise mispunching and Amber taking a well deserved win by 1.21!

The third race of the day, held on Sleeping Giant (te mata peak) was primarily down hill, with the last 1/2 of the course in beautiful pine forest. To add to the technicality, with the overcast weather it was getting pretty dim in the forest too! The yo-yoing continued in the men's class with Julian taking the win by 58s over Karl Dravitzki, and with Oystein a further 33s back, Julian reclaimed the yellow singlet. Piret claimed her 2nd win in the women, however Amber was close enough behind, and far enough ahead of Angela in third, and the rest, to ensure that she'd enter the last day wearing yellow.

Torrential rain overnight turned central Hasting's the next morning into one giant puddle. However the show went on, with the few passerbyes wondering what all these people were doing running and splashing around in the rain. Amber struggled with a 10cm diameter bruise on her thigh from a fall the previous night, allowing the on form Angela Simpson to slip by into the yellow singlet position, Piret sneaked in 2nd with Laura in 3rd ensuring a tight contest between Amber and Angela for 1st/2nd, and Piret and Laura for 3rd spot, going into the final race! In the men, Julian extended his lead with 40s back to Oystein in 2nd, followed by Rassmus and Ross seperated by a single second.

The finale for the weekend was held at EIT, one of my (and many other's i'm sure) favourite sprint maps. This year the technicality of the tight knit buildings was added to with slippery wet grass, and plenty of surface flooding to boot. It was the juniors' turn to shine, with Laura Robertson picking up her first elite win and placing 3rd overall for the weekend. She was 22s ahead of fellow junior Angela, who continued her consistant results to take Yellow jersey honours for the weekend. Amber came in 3rd for the race, and 2nd over all for the weekend. The men followed a similar tune to the previous races, with Julian again dominant in first, ensuring he took the Yellow Jersey home. Ross Morrison came in 11s back, with junior Toby Scott rounding out the top 3. That left Oystein in 2nd overall for the weekend, with Karl Dravitzki hopefully starting his comeback, taking out 3rd overall.

However, as mentioned earlier it's not all about the yellow singlet, with the green and pokadot singlet's also hotly contested throughout the weekend. Ian Lawford and Jula Mcmillan both dominated the green singlet standings, with Sara Bailey smashing the women's field on the hill climbs. Olle Poland looked to have the hill sprints cleaned up in the men's grade too, however Greg Flyn pulled out all stops to tie with him in the very last race of the weekend. As with the green singlet last year, this lead to a hotly contested race off infront of the crowd at EIT. However, after one tied race off, and a controversial head to head race, Olle Poland ensured that all of the men's race winner singlets would head across the ditch this year.

Of course, STB isn't all about the elites, as much as we forge sometimes! A huge congrats to winners in the other age grades: George Engleback and Danielle Goodall in the U12, Callum Herries and Lauren Turner both took out the U16 grades by large margins. John Robertson was almost 11mins ahead in M40, whilst Raewyn Simpson took out W40 by 25mins! Debbie Byers and Geoff Morrison had wins in the 50's classes whilst Nick Collins finished ahead in M60.

So once again, STB turned out to be a huge success. Personally, despite not running, I feel the more varied terrain, together with added features such as radio controls with results direct to Duncan commentating, ensured that despite the rain this year's version topped last years. Here's hoping next year is even better!

Cheers Morrison family for making this event happen. And thanks Val for the subway at EIT when I was soaked through, freezing and starving!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sprint the Bay preview

Pretty much everyone connected with the NZ orienteering scene will know that this weekend sees the 2nd instalment of Sprint the Bay, a series of 6 sprint events over 3 days in the sunny (although rain is forecast this weekend) Hawkes Bay.

The brain child of the Morrison kids and a huge success last year, the weekend is run as a tour format; complete with yellow singlet for the leader, green for the sprint leg leader, and this year a new polka dot singlet for the leader on the hill climb legs.

Last years elite woman grade was won by Maja Alm (we take part credit for her stunning european season after her summer training in nz :), closely followed by our own star Angela Simpson. The men's was taken out by Darren 'the flash' Ashmore, showing his experience and skill, with a number of other contenders crashing out with mps in various stages.

This year the areas look, if possible, even better, and the competition will be just as hot, with a mixture of nz's best and some overseas stars.

Unfortunately for me, I won't have the chance to improve on last years 3rd placing, with doctors orders not to compete in sprint races. (too much sharp turning and stop/start for my poor bruised talus). So I'll be spectating, and hopefully get out jogging around some of the maps.

Anyway, enough from me, I'm off to drive up to the bay. much more info about the races, format, competitors and results can be found on STB website!

Headcam and GPS fun

Whilst procrastinating at work the last couple of weeks, I've been keeping track of an interesting discussion going on on attackpoint.

Pretty much, if you don't want to read through all the comments; someone asked if there was available tools to sync up your GPS tracking data with headcam footage. This resulted in ken (one of the guys behind attackpoint) scripting up a function for use on attackpoint (for donating members). You can find an example of it on newpatrick's log here

Some seriously cool stuff aye?! We've seen it done by Gueorgiou and a couple of the other top elites before, but now given you have the correct equipment, we could all do it. And it would be a pretty amazing tool for training and analysis of your techniques. Imagine being able to watch yourself make a parallel error, and seeing on the headcam exactly how you made it.

Unfortunately for me, I'm too poor to have a GPS watch, let alone a headcam. (although i'm seriously tempted). But certainly as a training group we could probably pull it together, and the benefits would be great, let alone the entertainment!

Anyway if you want more indepth info and better writing on this subject, Jan Kocbach has just written about it on

Monday, 17 January 2011

How confusing is this?!

A good way to make use of a small area, looking forward to trying it. Gutted I didn't find this map til after junior camp, would have been carnage!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Map Interpretation Skills

Above is the night event map from Junior Camp. courtesy of Nick Hann and Jamie BW who field worked the area, but unfortunately ran out of time to put it on ocad. Not to be put off, we just took their rough sketch to the printer and went with it.

You think it's hard reading now, try racing on it in the dark and rain! Much to our surprise the kids actually followed the map reasonably well, and even found the controls we'd hidden (including teaming together to get one down off the flying fox!). All of this whilst running from coaches with waterbombs, and avoiding having their maps stolen by waterbomb-less coaches! Fair to say the coaches had fun, the kids seemed to too.

Personal favourites of mine from the map:

- the unscaled gap between the right and left parts of the map

- the blow up of the maze, which holds no correlation to the actual maze

- two number 24's (by mistake)

- northish? and safety bearing off the left of the map

- number 7, which was hidden inside a shed. like shooting fish in a barrel with the water bombs!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

New Years Day Mission

To anyone who actually checks this blog (Jamie, Carsten, anyone else?), a happy new year! Yes, I survived junior camp and made it to 2011!

Having spent a wicked new years at Jamie and Penny's, including some geekish orienteering celebrations (ie. orienteering), some 10 year old fire works which barely made it above the 1m hedgeline and a good game of space chicken helmets, someone had the bright idea that we should conclude our celebrations with a 6hr mission in the akatarawas the next day. yay!

So come 11am, 8 of us were gathered at the end of moonshine valley, ready to take on some hills and rivers. Or not ready, but with little choice at that stage! Interestingly enough, it was those who didn't make it to town the night before who were there for the mission. Although Greg had the best intentions of making it to town but got lost somewhere on mt vic on the way.

Anyhow, the mission for the day was the Whakatikei river, which it turns out, has a wikipedia page. Not that you'll learn anything from it. However we started in same place as the NZ rogaining champs, which were held in the area last year, and a map can be found here. good luck following my description on it!

Pictured Right: Nowhere near the ridge that we were on, but thanks for the pic Jamie!

Off we started, pretty much straight into a rugged uphill on a 4wd track. After 10mins we'd had enough of that, so went off track and literally straight up the hill, eventually reappearing on the ridgeline, minus greg. He materialised out of the bush a couple of minutes later, to be serenaded by my "I see greg, I see greg, I see gre-eg!" (to tune of "I see red" for those in need of an explanation). He wasn't appreciative, well he was, but he hid it well.

We continued along said ridge for about an hour, passing a couple of hunters and a couple of dozen hunting dogs along the way. Which made me glad that I was wearing a relatively bright, non deer like top that day. One of the dogs mistook us for her pack and stayed with us for half an hour. Apparently we look and smell like dogs?! Maybe after another 3-4 hours, but hopefully not at that point! All of the dogs had fancy garmin's on their necks, which made me slightly jealous. Perhaps I could start a new fad with necklace garmins?

Pictured: Actually the whakatikei river, but not us.

Anyway, eventually we slipped and slid our way down to the Whakatikei River, and after 1.5 hours we entered the water. What ensued was 4.5hrs of wading, rockhopping and swimming down the river. Casper had some good fun with his new waterproof camera,trying it out on us and the few eels we encountered enroute. (I haven't got the photos off him, as apparent by the lack of them here)

Being the wimp that I am, I tried to avoid having to swim, mainly so I could keep relatively warm. However, after 4 hours in the river, the final gorge left no option but to brave the chance of large deep water eels and swim. I once again showed my swimming prowess, almost catching Casper up. This was, however, at the expense of any energy left in my muscles. Not to worry, the end was just around the corner, and with it a chance to collapse and warm up in the sun.

Pictured: "feed me!"

So all in all a good start to the year, got to love summer and the adventures that come with it! What missions has anyone else been on lately? Anyone?