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.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Kura Tawhiti

Orientation magnifique!

Some times Nick Hann seems to inhabit a different plane than the rest of us

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

World Cups and Oceania 2015

Book your leave can't miss this.

Here is the program

There is a small group of kiwis attending the Australian training camp in Tasmania this summer (thanks big brother). And I must confess to a little holiday happening there in a couple of weeks for Penny Kane and myself. It wasn't supposed to be an orienteering holiday, but I am lining up half a dozen little opportunities.

Here is a locations map the organisers have put out, Get on Google Earth, suss these places out and fire yourself up.

It would be wrong to miss out on Tasmania 2015

Plenty of New Squads in Aussie

Interesting reading from over the squad and coaching structures on the way. Worth thinking about in our context of a long term defunct National Squad (sorry to inform you young people). A D-Squad which has drifted a little but will hopefully fire up again with the camp this summer and a terrific array of talent coming through.

I have for a long time thought, that with the resources we have support needs to be focused on people (or groups of people) rather than squads. The standout group currently are our JWOC men, with perhaps another one on the horizon in a couple of years with our JWOC women. How can we encourage and improve their performances? (It is a given that they provide most of the talent and drive themselves).

Elite News Nov 2013- New OA HP Squad Sructure

Monday, 11 November 2013
Orienteering Australia has endorsed a new squad structure to operate from 2014.
 The aim of the new Talent Development Squad Structure is to support a diversity of athlete progressions into and along the High Performance pathway.
At the national level of the Talent Development Structure there will be a High Performance Squad (HPS).This will include committed, talented senior(+21) and junior (17-20) athletes. The consolidation of the senior and junior HP Squads aims to assist the smooth transition from junior to senior elite competition. From this squad will be chosen  a smaller Elite HP Squad who have achieved the benchmark of WOC representation.
Below the HPS will be a National Development Squad (NDS) which will comprise athletes aiming to achieve benchmark performances at Oceania Championships, Easter, Aus Champs and NOL events to be eligible for the HPS. There will also be at this level  a Australian Junior Development Squad (AJDS) comprising juniors who are progressing from the Australian Schools competition and who will be aiming for benchmark performances at NOL, Easter and Australian Champs events.
The base of the HP program will be a Targeted Talented Athlete Squad (TTA) to enable a smooth transition into the HP program for both senior and junior athletes. Assimilation into the program will happen through invitation to camps and activities appropriate to the age of the Targeted Talented Athlete.
This squad structure will be supported by coaching support  that will comprise a National Head Coach, a Talent Development Coach, National Development Coaches and High Performance Squad Coaches (WOC and JWOC coaches).
Squad  membership will be determined by eligibility based on benchmark performances. The number of athletes who reach the benchmark performances will determine the number of athletes in each squad. The actual benchmark performances for different age groups and talent stages can be found in the FTEM framework section of the HP Strategic Plan. This will be discussed at the OA Annual Conference in late November and will be featured in articles in the OA magazine in December and March. It will be made available also on the OA website. 
The squad memberships for 2014 will be announced by the end of November. This will be based on the information provided by the athletes who have completed the application form ( see earlier article on OA website).

Canterbury Champs 2013

Just back from the Canterbury Champs 2013. A good hit out on great maps. Two of the maps from this years Nationals, Tuhaitara and Kura Tawhiti, re-emerged and were accompanied by an old favourite, the legendary Acheron, which hasn't changed too much since its first use in 1997.

An expected highlight for me for these events was the likely competition between Nick Hann and Chris Forne...I wasn't let down. Hann blitzed an unusually clumsy Forne on the sand dunes, then confidently backed this up on the rocks before finally succumbing in the forest. Given that Hann was an Acheron virgin though you still have to respect his effort...and the two of them left the rest of us for dead repeatedly. With Forne missing the Super Series final at Rotoiti  because of the Adventure Racing World Championships in Costa Rica, we will have to wait until perhaps Sprint the Bay or the Riverhead 3 day in March to see the rivalry resume.

In the womes elite it was all Georgia Whitla. Laura Robertson and Lara Prince ran her close at times, but Georgia was running strongly and seemed very in control. In the junior grades there were some good one off performances from Matt Goodall, Lauren Holmes, Lauren Turner, Ed Cory-Wright and Alistair Richardson. Alistair proved in the final of the sprint that it is possible to sprint and grab with shin splints.

Here is a snippet from the mens middle distance. The first six were all super easy, but then you were hit with 7. How to do this safely? Myself and Nick Hann both reluctantly went left to use 15 as an attack point, but the quickest split was straight. What would you use to navigate through here? And likewise with the long leg 16...

Here is the complete map for your perusal:

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Rock On

I'm getting that great feeling one gets when there is a minter orienteering event coming up in the weekend. Canterbury Champs will be memorable this year with a terrific line up of maps and some good competition. I am particularly looking forward to the battle between Chris Forne and the young guns. Nick Hann and Tim Robertson will be out to take the Fornicator down. It will be difficult, paint Forne blue and you could put him straight onto Pandora as one of the Na'vi - no need for a fancy avatar. He was born with the heart of a hippopotamus and the giggle of a giraffe.

The middle race will be another new format... a chasing start sprint event on the rocks of Kura Tawhiti. The ancient, sacred site of the Waitaha, the home of rock climbers and the often contemplated scenic vista in the Castle Hill Basin. In this place of zen, mastery of subconscious focus will be needed to navigate the fine line between caution and haste in a pressurised environment. The demons are inside, outside and around the corner.

Expect Course Planners Matt Scott and Lara Prince to err on the technical side. It would be rude not to. Watch for the pink lines that symbolise passages (read caves), and the gray areas of the map...this is generally not flat bare rock, rather rock you can run up onto. Black lines on one side mean that you can't get up that way...

Sprint rules in theory apply, which means that you shouldn't cross unpassable symbols, at Nationals though this rule was not enforced, so I say just go for it if you can, every second counts.

Wellington Champs Video

A mint little production initiated by Duncan Morrison and edited by Devon Beckman. Spot the old guy amongst the kids. Definite highlight is Matt Ogden in slowmo.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

NZ MTBO Champs

The NZ MTBO Champs was held over the weekend in Nelson on the Codgers Mountain Bike Park. The champions were Patrick Higgins and Marquita Gelderman, with Chris Forne blowing a big lead by missing a control at the end of the course.

Here is the Course 2 Map. Some goood route choice, though hard to calculate from a distance without a good gauge for the speed and steepness of the tracks.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


A little map geeking ahead of next years Nationals middle distance race...courtesy of Nick Hann

Saturday, 2 November 2013

A Tough Middle Distance at Ruamahunga

And here is the elite womens middle distance from Wellington Champs. Sometimes you need to be able to follow a compass bearing mercilessly in rugged terrain...this was one of those times. Control 4 caused a lot of difficulties, how would you do it, how long do you think it would take from the open farmland through to the control? Try to visualise a few of these legs and look carefully at the control descriptions and the position of the control relative to other features in the circle.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Sprint Orienteering Lessons

Check out the sprint final map from last weekends knock out sprint at Rathkeale College.

There were six in each final, thats two doing each loop, with each athlete doing the loops in different orders. It is an interesting format. If you are lucky you have a slightly longer loop first and and on the second loop you can get towed through by someone just ahead. On this course there was one much longer loop (7-13), to break things up a little.

There was a 100m run to the start triangle and another 100m to the first control. Whats the strategy... You've got to get there first without going lactic. Stuff gentlemanly conduct, if you punch in 6th you are already 5 seconds down, especially when dicks like Duncan Morrison flick the control in your face.

So what had I read before the first pivot? Well I knew I was heading to the right hand loop (staying on the edge of the buildings in the open field. I knew no 2 and 3 looked easy and there was a possible route choice to 4. On the way to 2 I decided to go right on 4...(5 seconds down close to my biggest mistake on the course). Heading to 4 I got rough exit directions to continue the flow through 5 and 6. With 5 I wasn't sure whether it was inside or outside corner (9 times out of ten it is inside), so I relied on getting a visual of the control on the edge of the circle, and thats the first loop done really...

Second pivot and I had my exit direction sorted, turning hard back the way I had come, but half way to 7 I lost my location on the map and had to hesitate to get contact back, several seconds and Duncan Morrison an opportunity to get in touch. I also hesitated in the circle at 7, the confusion mid leg perhap eating the moment I  would normally have spent on fine navigation. Fast to 8 and 9, but the control at 9 is slightly hidden, up a level from where I was expecting. I can again hear Duncans heavy breathing. 10 could have been difficult because the terrain wasn't quite as expected, it was the caretakers yard, so a lot of stuff everywhere, 11 and 12 were easy (though perhaps there might have been a straight bush option on 12) and then it was onto the last loop.

Third pivot and exit direction was easy. The girls had run before us so the basic shape of the course was known. 15 was easy, 16 I did well but there was someone on my shoulder. Dammit its Nick and he's trying to pass on 17. I went straight and fast but he slid in infront of me, the top two splits on the leg, but we had both pushed perhaps a little too hard and 18 wasn't optimal we went right of the building beside the tennis court, rather than the straightest route.

Final pivot and Shamus was just ahead of us, and Nick punched just ahead of me. And that was the order it stayed (with Matt clearly in front for first). A few interval sessions up my sleeve and I could have made it time.

Two lessons stick out to me from the race.

1. The amount of time (and navigational opportunity) I lost when I lost contact with the map on the way to number 7
2. The mistake that Nick and I both made after pushing just that little harder on 17. Orienteering, like biathlon requires careful management of your aerobic threshold, and you always must be conscious of the risk of mistakes after extra exertion, even within a 5-10 second window like this...