Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Portugal O-ing

Well a bit late again, but never mind! Here is my (Chris's) Portugal O-ing blog update. After another busy week at work, drinking lots of yummy expresso's, I was off to Portugal for some orienteering training and competitions. This was my first orienteering of the season, so I was a bit unsure how I would go, but excited to do some competitions, escape the snow and hopefully enjoy some warm delicious weather.

Me, arrrr!

For the first 4 days I was based out on the coast about 2-3 hours north of Lisbon running the Portugal O Meeting races. These included one world ranking event (WRE) which is acting as a selection race for WOC this year. Alistair landels and Juliette were also entered for these races, so I got in touch and managed to end up staying with them, their young baby Adam and some of Juliette's French clubmates.

On arrival I was rather disappointed by the weather, about 5 deg and cloudy, but the orienteering was very good. Lots of top runners (about 250 in mens elite) and fun courses in the sand-dunes. I managed to place 37 on the first day which was also the WRE. I was pretty happy with my run, one notable mistake of about 30sec, otherwise just a little hesitant and slow. 37th place doesn't sound too good I know, but it was only 3 and a half minutes behind the winner Thierry Gueorgiou, and still in front of lots of good runners.
Alistair Landels finishing day 2 of the Portugal O Meeting

The next day, I was all eager to run really fast, but unfortunately forgot I also had to orienteer well, so made lots and lots of mistakes, losing about 6 minutes on the 2nd control and many more minutes on the rest. So luckily come the last day of competition I both ran and orienteered reasonably fast and managed to finish up in 28th place.

That afternoon I managed to get a ride with the British group to a very fun sprint training and stayed with them before traveling south and inland the next day to meet up with the rest of the Wing group who were arriving from Trondheim.

Castelo de Vide

The next 4 days were spent at Castelo de Vide, a pretty little village up on top of a little hill somewhere near the Spanish border. The orienteering here was quite different from the previous days with rolling hills, semi open terrain and lots of funky boulders. It was also good to hang out with the Wing crowd.

Wing team training

The first 2 days were spent training on nearby maps. This was great fun, and the weather improved somewhat giving us some sun. Yah! The terrain was covered in large boulders, olive trees and lots of shrubs, providing lots of navigation challenges and entertaining running.

Fun amongst the boulders

Then on the weekend there was another three competitions including a WRE. These went much better than the earlier races, and in the end I managed to place 5th overall. I even nearly managed to win the night sprint race, but stuffed up right near the end running up the wrong alleyway and came 7th instead.

Night Sprint race

Final days competition area

Following the competitions is was then back to the coast for an evening before I departed from the team the next day back to snowy Trondheim.

Back at the coast for an evening

Randoning again

Two weekends ago I was left all alone in Trondheim, after Emily departed for a few weeks holiday back to NZ. Fortunately there have been many fun activities to entertain myself with, such as some more skiing and orienteering.

Having just bought myself some new ski-touring/randonee racing ski's I was excited to hear there was another race happening some hours drive from Trondheim. So on Friday afternoon I set off towards Høyanger with Bård and some of his friends. Høyanger, a small village beside Sogndal fjord, turned out to be a 9 hour drive away. However, other than getting a rather sore bum, this was not too bad.

Høyanger ski area. You can even see the little red hut we stayed in.

The next day was a bit cloudy, but otherwise fine for the first day of racing. This was an individual race, taking about 1.5hrs and going up and down 3 small mountains. I managed to hit some more rocks again on my new skis, but luckily I don't think I damaged them too badly. The skiing was quite exciting and challenging, especially weaving down through lots of small trees.

The following day was a 2 person teams race. I somehow managed to teamed up with a super speedy Swede, so had to race really hard not slow our team down too much.

Start and finish area

Fortunately, I had improved a bit since the previous day, and we ended up coming second only 2 minutes behind the winners. It was also super sunny that morning as you can see from the photos. Yah! Finally it was time for a quick lunch before beginning the long journey home. All and all a very enjoyable weekend.

Homeward journey

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Skandinaviske mesterskap i Skialpinisme

Chris racing in the Scandinavian Ski mountaineering Champs in the weekend - looking surprisingly coordinated!

Fresh powder at Kårvatn
I wasn't going to do third 'wicked weekend' post....but we just had such a great weekend up at Kårvatn again that I had to put some more photos up. There was a lot of fresh powder and the skiing was awesome. Having only been on the skis once two weeks ago I was not so game to take part in the competition, but Chris being Chris decided to have a go. I went up and took some photos and enjoyed the delicious powder downhills!

Chris making his way up the first climb

Up the zigzags

After a short downhill competitors put the skins on again for another big climb

Up that!

Chris was a bit disapointed with his speed uphill, many Swedes and Norwegians were much faster. He also had problems with his skins, having them fall off five times due to poor technique and getting snow all over them (bad idea we now know). It seems having a skin fall off is almost the equivalent mishap as a 'flattie' in road racing - although it is not quite as costly on time.

However, his relatively speedy downhill time surprised himself and lots of the Norwegians - he just pointed the skis straight downhill and went for it! He managed to score himself this prime photo on the web write up of the event. Check out
We headed out for some powdery fun the following day.
Carrying the skis up the last bit to the summit. The racers had this as an 'obligatory ski carry' section.

So now it's time to go down! (-:

There might be a gap from snowy write ups for a while - I am heading back to NZ for a 3 week visit. Chris is planning on joining in on another ski mountaineering weekend before he heads for a week of orienteering in Portugal.
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