February. Sri Lanka.

In February I made a different route choice than most other elite orienteers, namely traveling to Sri Lanka. Arriving in Colombo I was met by heat, humidity, chaotic traffic and (mostly) relaxed dogs.

Heading to the tea plantations in the mountains.

Thanks to clubmate Christian I had great company during travel and training.

A Tuktuk in Kandy.

Running was the main purpose of the journey. In the next blog post I will write about how to survive as a runner among elephants, leopards, monkeys and crocodiles.

January.


This years plan is somewhat different than the previous years.

Instead of going south for a training camp I spent most of the time in Vienna during January and only some weekends cross country and alpine skiing in the mountains. It has been a great winter, however, in January only one Ski-Orienteering weekend was held in Austria. The first SkiO event was the Austrian Championships in Middle distance. Demanding courses were offered in the beautiful area of Niederthai, Ötztal, Tyrol. On a long route choice I went down an alpine ski slope. Surprisingly, I finished in 3rd, only 47 seconds from a gold medal (results, map). Next day, our elite team was second in the relay (results).

SkiO in Niederthai

 

The best is yet to come


It has been a while since my last blog post. Mainly because of many exciting projects, but also because the way we communicate on the Internet has changed. Therefore, I have been more active on social media than on my blog. This year I will try to share some of my posts also here.

During the first half of 2018, my focus will be on the European Championships in Ticino, Switzerland.

Every new year is sort of a fresh start and I am optimistic that the best is yet to come. 2018, here we go!

2015 in Review

Finally, a summary about my orienteering year 2015:

The first training camp this year was together with my team mates from Ulricehamns OK in Portugal. We had a very tough schedule, running POM and doing orienteering trainings between the stages. I had a good result at the Long distance World Ranking Event, even though I ran some loop-controls in the wrong direction – otherwise it would have been an exceptional one.

Next up was Lipica Open in Slovenia – this time with a very stony first stage and second stage with better runability.

Lipica
Lipica

The next week we had an excellent 10mila training camp north of Stockholm with good weather and many kilometers orienteering.

One of the two national team activities I attended this year was the easter training camp in Croatia. Piles of stones on Krk, some deep snow in the mountains and lots of fallen trees on the relay training will be remembered.

Krk
Krk
Immediately after that I spent a week in Sweden and participated in Kolmårdskavlen relay.

In May the national season kicked off with three competitions in Salzburg. A frustrating weekend: last-minute changes in our team due to sickness, a mispunch in the sprint relay and as a result no competitive team at the forest relay. However, the individual middle distance proved that I was close to the best (+1.31).

Similar situation with my 10mila-team, many cancellations before the competition.

To fight for the first individual medals we had to travel through Germany to the most-western part of Austria, Vorarlberg. And it turned out to be worth traveling, as I won the first individual championship medal for a long time.

Middle distance in Vorarlberg. Austrian champs 3rd place.
Middle distance in Vorarlberg. Austrian champs 3rd place.

The Jukola relay is always a highlight in the orienteering year. As my orienteering skills were not with me that night in the Finnish forest it became a truly long night.

Jukola. Photo: Hirvonen
Jukola. Photo: Hirvonen

One week later I could show my skills in Austrian forests again and I won my first World Ranking competition!

World Ranking Event podium
World Ranking Event podium, later both my sister and I won the Austria Cup overall

O-ringen in my Swedish home-town Borås was a big motivation and I got some days of good training in the area to get used to 1:15.000-scales again. O-ringen itself was the most exciting orienteering week of the year!

Photo: Petter Trens, BT
Photoshoot for a newspaper story. Photo: Petter Trens, BT

My biggest goal for 2016 are the World Championships in Bohuslän, Sweden. A lot of work must be done to be able to run fast in this kind of terrain. Several marsh interval sessions were followed up by orienteering. Moreover, I participated in a regional competition on a warm summer day in Uddevalla where intense and physical tough orienteering was offered. The winners prize – a special lamp – lights up the dark winter evenings and has become my WOC2016 motivational symbol.

Not competing a lot was a success factor and kept me hungry for more during the whole season. One of my long term goals has been to become Austrian champion in the long distance, which I did (and another World Ranking event victory).
ORF made a TV report and followed me during the competition: watch the video.

A couple of days later I wanted to use the good shape to run an Swedish champs middle A-final… but there is still a lot of development potential in nordic terrain. I guess many can relate to that feeling:

As the World Cup and WOC selections earlier this year were published without a positive notice for me I got instead the opportunity to compete at Euromeeting in Estonia. This year the Austrian national team sent a (mens) team for Euromeeting including one coach.
Of course I wanted to use these competitions and the trainings the days before to get a first impression of the WOC2017-terrain in Estonia. The training areas were green in all nuances, so we were happy about the nice competition areas! Even though the Estonian hospitality made the stay pleasant, the trip made me even more eager to go ‘all-in’ for WOC2016 and not think about 2017 just yet.

The perfect end to a successful season was to win the last Austria cup event with a two second margin.

This year both my sister and I won the Austria Cup overall in the senior elite class for the first time, and that we did it in the same year made it even more special.

Thanks to all my supporters - see you out in the forest!

Thanks to all supporters!

Austrian Champion Long Distance

Foto: Kalliany
Photo: Kalliany

I have been aiming for a Gold medal at Austrian champs for some time now. Last Saturday it was finally my day!

The time after O-ringen has been spent focusing entirely on forest orienteering – in Sweden, where I already kicked off the WOC2016 preparation and in Vienna. As I’m not selected to run any World Cup races or at World champs my goal for the autumn season was to win the last national championship race. In the lead up some of the co-favorites disappeared by not registering because of private reasons, so I had to deal with being the big favorite for the long distance.

2-days competition Styrian O-days, both stages counting as World Ranking Events, were held in completely new orienteering terrain around Traboch and in Donawitz.

On the first part of the long distance I didn’t execute the route choices (8-9, 12-13) perfectly and at the arena map exchange 3 seconds separated me from Martin who became silver medalist. I knew that the second half would be decisive so I was very focused and tried to go as hard as possible. From the arena passage until the end of the butterfly-loops I extended my lead to 2′ 39″. My biggest mistake was right after the loops where I lost about 50″. Otherwise a really good performance.
Running to the last control I didn’t knew how fast I was compared to the others. I just heard that it’s a matter of seconds, so I had to give everything until the finish line. The margin was actually comfortable 3 minutes 51 seconds, but it is always nice to finish with style.

Great to see that hard work pays off and finally get a national title in the long distance!


Map Part 1, Part 2Results, Splits, TV-report ORF Sport, TV-report ORF Sport+
Public service broadcaster ORF has made a long report about the competition which will air on ORF Sport + at following times:
15.09. 20:15 / 16.09. 8:15 & 23:15 / 17.09. 11:15 / 18.09. 2:15 & 14:15 / 19.09. 5:15
It is now available on ORF TVthek and for viewers not from Austria on YouTube.

Second day in Donawitz offered an interesting sprint right outside Voestalpine, where New Zealands Tim Robertson brought some international touch in mens elite class. My performance was quite okay and as third and best Austrian it was a nice bonus competition for me! Results

Foto: ÖFOL
ÖSTM Lang 2015. Photo: ÖFOL
The tough climb (100m up) right after the map exchange suited me well. Photo: Kalliany
The tough 100m-climb right after the arena passage suited me well. Photo: Kalliany
Foto: Kalliany
100% until the finish line. Photo: Kalliany
IMG_1418
Austrian champs in Styria, the green heart of Austria

Challenging O-Ringen in Borås

Second stage run-in
Foto: Per Nylander

This year’s O-Ringen was one of the competitions where I wanted to be in as good shape as possible. Borås is my second home town so I knew what to expect: rough and tough terrain with a lot of route choice options on the long legs. The week before O-Ringen I could do some specific preparation to adapt again to running through marshes and blueberry bushes.

At the start of the first stage I was nervous, which is a good sign for me. And it turned out to be my best day during the whole week (24th place). Except for some route choice mistakes it was a really good performance.
Stage 3 – Borås City Sprint was a highlight in terms of atmosphere. Somewhat unexpected the first part of the course was super-tricky. The second part in the city centre and park was crowded with thousands of spectators encouraging everyone to run at their maximum speed.

In the chasing start on the last stage I headed out as number 30, but unfortunately not within a group of runners. So I had to to my own work and finished in Borås Arena as 32nd, close to my goal for the week (top 30 overall). I lost some ground for a better place on the middle distance stage (6th and 12th control).

I’m still very happy that I achieved my other goal, a top 30 result on a single stage. The 32nd place is my best position I’ve ever had in O-Ringens elite class and I want to improve it step by step the coming years. The terrain was better than expected and the courses exceptionally well planned during the whole week.

Running on home ground meant as well to get some media attention. Check out the newspaper articles below.

Maps with GPS Route: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 4, Stage 5; Results

Borås Tidning
Borås Tidning

Ulricehamns Tidning
Ulricehamns Tidning

Foto: Petter Trens, Borås Tidning
Foto: Petter Trens, Borås Tidning
Foto: Petter Trens, Borås Tidning
Foto: Petter Trens, Borås Tidning
Foto: Jan Pettersson, Borås Tidning
Foto: Jan Pettersson, Borås Tidning

Happy New Year!

Happenings to look forward to in the next months:
February Training camp Portugal
March Lipica Open Slovenia, National team Easter camp Croatia
April Training camp Sweden

While a part of the world elite is in Tasmania and chasing the first world cup points, I will follow it online. It’s a pity that not more federations/athletes have the resources to go there. The competitions will for sure be organized perfectly in magnificent terrain! At least for me it was to soon after the last WC in Down Under – it’s very hard to save so much money for the expensive trip in short time…

But training is going really well right now and it is actually possible to ski in Vienna. I wish you as we say in Austria a “good slip” into the new year!

P1050059
Vienna, 30 December
Dachstein Glacier, 8 December.
Dachstein Glacier, 8 December.

Race the Castles

With two sprint races in Edinburgh and Stirling, PWT marked the beginning of the end of this season. The Race the Castle events were on the highest international level: tricky sprint areas, maps, GPS tracking, assembly areas, video wall, touch-free punching and of course the participants (e.g. the top 3 of the World Champs).

In Edinburgh I was too eager and didn’t take the time necessary to find the best route to the 2nd control. The touristic route – out on the Royal Mile – was unfavorable due to many tourists hiding the small alleys, called ‘closes’. To the fourth control I once more had troubles choosing the correct passageway and ended up in a dead end. By then I was almost caught by Alessio who started one minute behind me. Luckily I could get away again and the rest of the course went mostly fine. I just made some extra stops to be sure that I’m not doing something stupid.
Map

Stirling castle was the venue for the second PWT race but we couldn’t see much of it as it was foggy. From the start we headed right into the castle, to the first control already through three underpasses. It was challenging to keep ahead in the mind, understand the map with multiple levels and to find the shortest routes. I kept cool and were thus on a good 11th position at the 8th control. To the 14th control I was very unsure about the route choice, all the way around left would have been about 15 s faster. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with this performance and result (18th), bringing me the most world ranking points ever.
Map

Back home from my second visit in Scotland ahead of WOC 2015 I am already enthusiastic about next year.

Race the Castles, PWT

Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Stirling. Photo: Wendy Carlyle
Stirling. Photo: Wendy Carlyle
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Stirling
Stirling

Back on top

My plan was to use the last summer weeks for lots of training. Instead, I caught a cold, followed by a mid-ear inflammation resulting in the longest sickness period in my life. Just in time for the national long distance championship it felt okay again. However, my technique was not the best and I became 5th – not great but an okay result if you consider the weeks before. The day after we were going on training camp to Slovenia and I had to pay a high prize for the first competition weekend after being sick. I was totally empty and had to skip some sessions. During the whole week I couldn’t recover. Back home I got sick again.

After that my shape was building up really fast and I had my first victory in an Austria cup event this year. A very steep middle distance (5 km, 370 m climb, 500 m downhill) at nordic skiing Alpen Arena in Villach. Next day our team (OLC Wienerwald) was second best club team at the first Austrian sprint relay. We have a strong team and I’m sure we will fight for the medals next year at the first championship event!
Map

One week later it was time for a smaller competition in Wienerwald terrain, the long distance championship for Vienna and I won it for the 6th time in front of some other national team members.
Map

Next up is Race the Castles – urban orienteering in Edinburgh and Stirling with a big number of world-class elite athletes. Check out the website if you are interested to participate, it’s easy to get a flight to Edinburgh. Today is the last entry deadline!

Wienerwald
Wienerwald
Sprint relay team
Sprint relay team: Anna, me, Henrik, Radka
Autumn
Autumn
Club training in Vienna
Club training in Vienna
Mountain running
Mountain running

World University Orienteering Championships 2014

Last week the World University Orienteering Championships were held in Olomouc, Czech Republic, just 200 km away from Vienna.

Foto: Šimková
Opening Ceremony (Foto: Šimková)

The Austrian selection was divided into three rounds and I was lucky to qualify as best non-military student in the first by WOC selections. That meant I could focus more on training and didn’t need to take part in every selection race. At the same time I got the information that I wouldn’t run WOC in Italy which was a huge disappointment having trained specifically for it for more than one year.

However, after some weeks of frustration I was able to put all my effort on the new main goal for the season, WUOC.
I took the opportunity to visit a friend and traveled two days earlier than the rest of the team to adapt to the WUOC routines and meet the other participants. Arriving in Olomouc I knew that I had a good physical and technical shape. My goal was to perform on a high level and to beat my previous best result at WUOC (15th).

First competition was the Sprint relay and I expected our first leg runner Ursula to be in the leading group or close behind. She had a great run and handed over to me in 6th position. Perfect start but to the second control I chose the wrong route, got confused because of a too small gap between two hedges (on the map) and lost some seconds. The forking was very interesting; until the 10th control we had just three common controls so it was hard to know on which position you were. I kept a high speed through the rather rough open fields and on the final loop in the city and handed over as 10th. Julia and Henrik had decent runs and in a final sprint our last leg runner managed to keep the Bulgarian behind and we finished 14th. It was great to gain some experience in this new competition format.
Sprint relay map and results

Sprint Relay Team Austria: Henrik, Julia, Erik, Ursula
Sprint Relay Team Austria: Henrik, Julia, Erik, Ursula (Foto: Pacher)
WUOC Long (Foto: Fajkusová)
WUOC Long (Foto: Fajkusová)

Next day continued with the Long distance in a typical continental terrain in which I feel very comfortable in (= Wienerwald). It is the discipline in which I was supposed to run at the World champs. As expected the first control was very short followed by a long route choice to the second. I had to stop at the first control before continuing. Far left or right seemed too far so I decided for a little bit left and then more or less straight (the same route choice as the later winner Frédéric Tranchand). Next decisive route choice was after the arena passage to number 12. I planned it on the way to the spectator control but couldn’t decide. Eventually I chose to run around the biggest hill which turned out to be a mistake losing 1,5-2 min. The rest of the course was really good and fast legs in the end brought me to a 24th place, less than 3 min down to the 10th place.
Long distance map and results

Foto: Pacher
Approaching the spectator control (Foto: Pacher)

After a rest day filled with running the Middle model event and watching the Sprint it was time to compete again. The terrain for the Middle distance was very flat (6,9 km, 75 m climb) and it would be important to run as fast as possible in the white areas and slow down and focus on the orienteering in the green areas. The beginning was really good again but to the 9th control I messed it up. Knowing exactly on which path I were running on I misinterpreted the yellow area and had to relocate. Together with a direction error to control 19 it was the biggest time loss of the day. To control 17 and 21 I found some smaller runnable passages through the green area and had two top-3 splits. Of course it is not enough to just have an okay race on a Middle distance if you want to get a top position, as a result I had a decent 33rd place among the 111 participants.
(For all those still wondering about my missing bag from the Middle quarantine: I have got it back. ;-)
Middle distance map and results

Relay Start (Foto: Vambera)
Relay Start (Foto: Vambera)

The Relay competition concluded the competition week and I had the honor to run the first leg. The first controls went very well and I kept in touch with the leading group. Until the 9th control everything went as planned, the next one I passed without seeing it so I had to turn back. In this kind of terrain it’s nearly impossible to gain time on the fastest runners again. Nevertheless I managed to pass some runners and compared to the leading group I didn’t lose too much time. Our second leg runner did a good job and handed over to our anchor man who had the chance to challenge a top 10 result. Unfortunately it didn’t go as well as we all had hoped for and we finished on a 15th place.
Relay map and results

Before WUOC it was difficult to know how strong the start field would be and there were for sure a lot more competitive runners in this terrain than in Spain 2012. I’m mostly satisfied with how I performed during the week and enjoyed it.

Events like this are something to aim for and the next chance is at WOC in Scotland next year. I’ll be there.

WUOC Website

Highly desirable medals designed by Olympian Gabriela Soukalová (Foto: Fajkusová)
Highly desirable medals designed by Olympic Biathlon medalist Gabriela Soukalová (Foto: Fajkusová)