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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

NZSS Blog: Tom Reynolds

A great write-up of the New Zealand Secondary School Champs from elite orienteer, doctor and part time orienteering haberdasherer, Tom Reynolds.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Moments in a race.

I thought with the reincarnation of this blog I would regurgitate some past posts especially those that focus on technique.

For a long time now I have believed in the importance of identifying key moments in your race, whether that was a moment where you made a great decision, or the moment  you failed to. These moments, in my opinion, are generally found during the easiest parts of the leg, those that a good orienteer uses to read the map, and make plans to help them move smoothly through the more technical terrain ahead.

The map above is the beginning of the elite mass start event held a few years back in the Waikato. he terrain is a plantation of pine trees on top of steep ridge and gully systems. The bogs were horrendous. A track system remains principally from when the area was farmland in a previous generation.

I thought I would reflect on where on this course I was making key decisions, feedback welcome if you agree/disagree or have any other ideas or course went 1-7-8-9-6-12-13-14-10-3-4-5-15-16.

It is easier to read the map running or walking up hill. If you attempt to read the map on a sharp downhill it will affect your running speed and leave you vulnerable to making hasty decisions. Before  control 1, I had a good idea of the shape of the first loop. 7 was easy but the pack hesitated coming into 8, not knowing which way to turn when we hit the stream. In retrospect the key moment here was the track crossing adjacent to the earth bank halfway along the leg, a few seconds here confirming our location and we would have attacked the control with a lot more confidence.

The next two loops followed a similar pattern investing time early, specifically when walking (it was that sort of terrain) up the hills and you reaped the rewards in preparedness for series of shorter downhill controls followed by route choice. There was plenty of planning time on the hill up to 11, and again immediately before 13. But you had to be two legs in advance because 14 was downhill and easy and there was time to be gained by optimising the route choice to 15.
Likewise the hill to 3 was followed by three quick downhill controls 4-5-15 and a crucial route choice to 16. The short controls would look after themselves with bearings so I used the hill to make my long route choice decision (right). While I lost some time to the guys chasing me up the hill I am comfortable that it was time well invested.

When you are analysing your mistakes don't look so much at where you went but when you made that mistake. Was there a moment you didn't master. A decision you didn't make at the right time? Or was there a part of the course during which you could have planned ahead more to give yourself a better chance?

Monday, 29 July 2013

Marquita dominant in Australia

Marquita Gelderman may have been put out to pasture some time ago in orienteering, but she still maintains that competitive instinct in MTBO. This was proved once again over the weekend at the Australian MTBO champs, check out the good write up at the Australian Orienteering site.

Prince - Robinson out of top 100 in World Championships

The mixed super-vet team of Viv Prince and Richard Robinson failed to follow up their outstanding Australasian Champs result of 4th overall at the World Rogaine Champs over the weekend. They finished outside of the top 100 overall and just off the podium (4th) in their own grade. Check out the results here, if you want to practice your Russian and Finnish pronounciations

Apologies for the poor map quality, I just snipped it from the organisers site. It does give some idea of the challenge involved though, one for the orienteers!

Quote for today - Especially for those up training before work in the morning.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

NZ Team off to World Games

Over the next few days the four members of the NZ Orienteering World Games team will beginning heading to the other side of the planet, but its not the usual destination, but rather the new world. Cali, Colombia will host the 2013 World Games. The usual flight hubs of Singapore/Bangkok/Frankfurt will be exchanged for exotic cities like Santiago/Lima/Bogota and the most commonly heard greeting will be hola!

Its an experienced team we are sending with the average age of the team well over 30. In one way or another they will all be coming out of the wilderness: Georgia Whitla from the wilderness of earthquake struck Christchurch, which as an engineer she is helping to reconstruct: Tane Cambridge from the wilderness of European orienteering where he has been occasionally lost: Rachel Smith from the wilderness of Motherhood and Chris Forne, well that man is always in the wilderness, he is following the World Games with the Eco-Motion adventure race in Brazil with his World Champion Adventure Racing team Seagate.

Georgia - On the Road
I took the liberty of asking the team members a few short questions, primarily to assess their state of mind. They did not know they were part of an elaborate pyschological experiment, which as always Chris came out on top of. Straight is of course great.

1. Are you scared about going to Colombia? If not, why not?

T. Yes, a little bit.
G.  No, everyone tells me that as soon as you arrive any security concerns you have will go right out the window. Plus I heard a good story yesterday from a friend who managed to fend off armed drug lords in Colombia with a small bag of chocolates. What is there to be scared about?
 C. Yip, but hopefully it should be fun.
R.  I am a little apprehensive of travelling to an unknown country with such a tumultuous history. However we have been assured that excellent and adequate security will be in place, so perhaps my biggest issue is the Colombian thorny bamboo and learning the salsa!

2. What special item are you taking with you that will be to your advantage?

T. Some of the CQB stuff Brent taught me.
G. My Equatorial Compass. Northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere ones will just go round and round and round and round. It will be chaos.
C. Inov8 X-talons
R.  At this stage my vitamin c - hopefully help me get better.

3. Left or right?

T. Right, all the best in the world hold it in their right hand,
Simone Niggli, Carsten, Ross... me...  (Compass that is, in case you
were wondering)

G.Right, always right.
C. Straight is great!
R. Left

There is some excellent previews of the World Games on the World of O. Good luck to our team. My pick for particular excellence  1. The relay team, a consistent performance could see us high up the rankings 2. Tane Cambridge, a beautiful controlled race is just waiting to happen  for Tane,  now that the rough edges have been sanded off by Europe again. Kia kaha.

Wrap up of NZSS Relay Results

Well it looks like Napier Girls and Diocesan have tied over the weekend in the Senior Girls relay event. Briana Massie and Alice Tilley are the two who could not be separated by the clock. I am unaware currently if they could be separated on the ground (any readers who were there could fill us in through the comments).

In the Senior Boys Devon Beckman finally fired to provide his team crucial distance over Cashmere, which Callum Herries then managed to hold. A savvy bit of coaching perhaps from the Napier Boys coaches putting their speedster out on the second leg.

Podium at the Senior Boys Relay

In the Intermediate Girls it was Diocesan and NGHS battling again, but this time the former was clear, with Hannah Pitmann Bell bring them home. Havelock High School  won the Intermediate Boys, with the star there being first leg runner Jarrod Lobb.

In the Junior grades Waiuku College carved up in the boys and Napier Girls got their own title in the Girls (just ahead of Pukekohe High School). For more results/maps and photos check the event website, or route gadget.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

A Hahndy Seventh at O-Ringen

Nick Hahn finished seventh overall in the H20E grade at O-Ringen overnight. While it was not his best run of the week he only lost one spot in the melee that is Sweden's premier event. Hahn was following in the footsteps of last years Junior World Champion Matt Ogden who had threatened a top ten finish last year before imploding on the final day. It is hard to overstate what an achievment it is to finish so high up the rankings in such a competitive event.

Best news: Hahn still has another year to compete as a junior.

Meanwhile, National Squad member Tessa Ramsden starred on Swedish TV (18:03) simply for coming from a long way away. In Tessa's case it is a worthy story because she not only journeyed from New Zealand, she did a large chunk of it by train, travelling from Beijing to St Petersburg on the Trans-Siberian railway.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Champions Found at NZSS

Nick Smith of Cashmere High School confirmed that he is the next big thing in NZ Junior Men's orienteering today winning the National Secondary School Champs at Arborfield in the Hawkes Bay. Smith who raised eyebrows with his M18 win at the National Club Champs at Dalethorpe made it two from two over his rivals with a consistent run.

He was followed home by the two returning JWOC representatives Thomas Eatson and Seamus Morrison fresh from their experience in the Czech Republic. None of these first three registered significant errors on the course and they can be thankful for this because they didn't have the fastest speed out there. Devon Beckham and Callum Herries would both have been standing on the podium if they could have stayed in control at crucial times. Another worthy of note is New Plymouth's Tom Spencer who was 5th, but only 2.57 down. He filled a similar position at the National Club Champs but this time was considerably closer. Watch for a breakthrough run from these later three competitors at future events.

In the Senior Girls the top three from the Sprint came through again, but this time it was Vida Fox of Hawkes Bay running Kayla Fairbairn close after Alice Tilley made an early mistake at 3. The Aucklad elite community are talking up Fairbairn and Tilley as exciting prospects, but Fox is another clearly in that league. Indeed, Fox could have taken the title if it were not for a crucial minute lost at no11.

Fox sprinting courtesy of Hawkes Bay Today
As expected Lara Molloy won the intermediate girls, ahead of school mate Steph Harding. Lara is one of the more consistent navigators at the school level and is rarely beaten. The Intermediate Boys threw up a host of new names: Tommy Hayes, Shaan Hill and Callum Cleary all beating local favourite Sean Morrison. To be fair to Hayes, his victory was comprehensive, over two minutes clear and dominant in the majority of the splits. Another name to watch for in the future.

In the Junior Grades George Engleback paid the price for early mistakes as he was pipped by Ryan Williams of Westlake Boys High School., close behind was Kurtis Shuker of Waiuku College, while in the girls Danielle Goodall was a runaway victor by nearly 6 minutes matching her brothers win in the sprint.

Relay Predictions

Senior Girls: Wellington Girls - Napier Girls - Diocesan
Senior Boys: Cashmere - Napier Boys - Onslow
Intermediate Girls: Diocesan
Intermediate Boys: Napier Boys
Junior Boys: Waiuku College
Junior Girls: Napier Girls

It would be stunning to have a South Island victory in the Senior Boys relay, I am not sure that has ever happened before. Good skills to all.

A Note from Nick

"I'm looking forward to the last race but hoping I'm not going to be as tired as I was today. I was just exhausted and couldnt run on the hills so I ended up quite far back.Tomorrow I start in 6th position, 11 minutes back on 1st. Its 2 minutes to 5th place; doable but tough. But then its only 14 seconds down to 7th. I'm confident I can run a fairly clean race but just hoping I have the speed to be in the fight for the medals.

I have a training log with my maps with gps and some comments on each of the races"

New Prince of Orienteering

NZSS - Sprint Race

The results are up for the NZSS Sprint Race and the splits tell some stories. In one of the most incredible races ever seen at the NZSS Kayla Fairbairn pipped Alice Tilly by 2 seconds in the Senior Girls. The lead changed 6 times during the race, and the two were never separated by more than 9 seconds. They were tied three controls from the end and Fairbairn just managed to eek out a couple of seconds in the closing controls!

Looking at that result it would be tempting to think that perhaps the sprint area was a little easy. Think again...Splash Planet was a challenge for the Worlds Best Elites last summer.

The competition wasn't exactly mellow in the Senior Boys grade either. Returning JWOC team members Thomas Eatson and Seamus Morrison could not make the podium with Matt Goodall taking the win from Nick Smith and Cameron Tier after the leader Devon Beckman failed to punch at the 3rd last control.

The other winners were perennial favourites Sean Morrison and Lara Molloy in the Intermediate grades (Morrison only securing his win from Jackson Plumpton in the finish chute) and Tegan Knightbridge and George Engelback in the Junior grades. 

Nick so Quick - Knocking on the door at O-Ringen

New Zealand has had two medals in two years at JWOC - Almost unheard of for a little country at the end of the world which has perhaps 10 quality orienteering races on terrain a year. Staggeringly the two immense talents that produced these results: Matt Ogden and Tim Robertson live in fear of domination by another quietly spoken young athlete, Nick Hann of Wellington.

Sometimes it is not outright results that build reputation. It is progression, attitude and technical mastery. The unmistakeable presence of a pathway to success.

Nick, who is due back in New Zealand shortly after a year in Norway is currently competing in the Junior Elite class in O-Ringen. After 4 days he is placed an incredible 6th overall (within 5 minutes of 3rd). An achievement scarecly credible after one Scandinavian orienteering season. Get on your computer and cheer for this young kiwi tonight.

Fashion always changes

I was just cruising the net looking for more information about Nick Hann's incredible performance to date at O-Ringen (next posting) when I stumbled upon the photo below, something I missed in the JWOC aftermath. The conceptions of the orienteering man will never be the same again.

(for those wondering - these are actually GPS holders - a crucial part of the coverage that allows us to experience the athletes races in real time).

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Lizzie looking forward

Great blog by Lizzie, looking forward to future WOC's, and an honest assessment of what was what with her WOC performance. Lizzie, as well as been our top individual orienteer at the moment, is a leader and team player within the squad, this shows in her blog. Good on ya Lizzie.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The dangers of GPS tracking

I found this on Youtube. Someone taking the mickey out of Denys Shcherbakov's epic mistake in the Long Distance Qualification (should we put together a NZ compilation;-)...or perhaps a compilation of NZ sweetest splits...

Anyway Shcherbakov showed his grit, bring Ukraine home in 3rd at the relay, holding out Mathias Kyburz on the final leg to keep the Swiss out of the medals. That guy deserves a DB.

World Games - Coming Up

After all the excitement of JWOC and WOC - Highlighted by lil Timmys Bronze medal in the Sprint - the World Games is now less than two weeks away. The orienteering part of the World Games will run from 2nd to the 4th of August and feature a New Zealand team of Rachel Smith, Georgia Whitla, Tane Cambridge and Chris Forne.

I will attempt to catch up with a few of them over the coming week to see how there preparations are going and report back.

Rachel Smith - still one of our best orienteers

Some Great Websites for Defining your Dreams

Hey all, just updating the upcoming events list on this blog, and there are some great events coming up. Some of them have websites and event bulletins ready to go. I still remember some images that flashed out at me across the web from the big international competitions I have competed in. Set your sights on it and it can become reality.

Oceania Champs 2015 - This comes complete with a World Cup Round and the "Hobart Shorts", a Sprint the Bays style event.

JWOC 2014 - Bulgaria! What more can you say. Bulgaria 1999 was my first JWOC (and OE) and what a place. Anarchic, wild, intense. A country that reeks of history. The event is centred on a famous mountain resort. Check it out on Google Earth.

Borovetz Bulgaria