Tuesday, August 17, 2010

WOC in Trondheim!

I had been looking forward to this week since we first learned the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) were going to be held in Trondheim in 2010 - that was over a year and a half ago - I knew it would be very exciting and it certainly lived up to my expectations.

Ian and Anne (Chris's parents) arrived in at Pirabadet terminal from Kristiansund on Saturday evening - just after I had said farewell to Al and Amber and watched them disappear on the train back to Oslo. The Forne's had been traveling around Southern Norway for the week before making their way to Trondheim.

Chris was feeling apprehensive before the start of WOC, he had put in a lot of preparation over the past year and a bit we had been living in Trondheim - and on top of that he had just been asked if he could deliver the 'Oath of Fair Play' on behalf of all the competitors at the opening ceremony.

Sunday morning was warm and clear, as Ian, Anne and I walked down to Sverresborg Folk Museum where the sprint qualification would take place. Lara Prince and Rite Holmes were the two girl's representing NZ who would compete in the 3 different disciplines (sprint, long and middle) while Tane Cambridge, James Bradshaw, Ross Morrison, and Tom Reynolds, as well as Chris, would represent the men.

The afternoon sprint final in town saw Chris and Ross racing the world's best around the old streets of Trondheim, starting in the square and heading across Gamle Bybro up to Kristiansten Festning, then back down to the square. It was a very exciting race - the square was packed and big screens showed the athletes every move. The Swiss dominated winning gold and silver in the mens and gold in the womens.
Chris finishing in the sprint in the center of Trondheim Torg

Chris delivered his oath amid a very bizarre opening ceremony, then we headed home and crashed after a busy day.

Next up was the qualification for the middle event, then on Tuesday the qualification for the long. The Kiwis all raced hard, but making it into the finals is extremely tough. Only the top 15 from each heat of 45 makes it into the final....for most New Zealanders this means you must have a perfect run to have any chance of getting in.

Ian, Anne and I headed out to the event and ran our own course through the forest as part of the WOC Tour. Ian enjoyed getting some tuition from Emily the swamp expert (-: Ross and Chris both qualified in good positions for the middle distance, and Chris and Lara both qualified for the long....so we had some more excitement ahead of us. It was also great to see my local friend Helen, who runs for the British team, have a fantastic run and easily qualify for the final.
Rita finishing her long qualification race
Chris and Lara - stoked after both qualifying for the long final - go Southerly Storm!

Wednesday was a rest day, so while Chris lazed around saving up energy Ian and I headed out on the bikes to explore the Bymarke single tracks. The weather was continuing to put on a great show for all the Trondheim visitors.

Ian and I head out on the bikes

Anne and I on Gamle Bybro
Kristiansten Festning - the sprint final climbed up to here from town then back down again

The long awaited long final took place in the Granåsen Ski Arena, about 15 minutes bike ride from our place. It was exciting to finally go there after the area had been embargoed for all the time we have lived in Trondheim.

There was a big crowd turn out to watch the race, and the exciting commentary and big screens with live tracking made it very exciting to watch the competition. Chris raced very well, but said afterward he was feeling a bit flat and tired throughout the race. However it didn't appear this way when he out sprinted Daniel Hubmann into the finish who he had been clinging on to for the last part of the course. Lara completed her first long final in a great time too.
Chris verses Daniel Hubmann!

On Saturday WOC continued with the middle final, also at Granåsen. Ross had a few big mistakes in his race which left him feeling pretty demoralized and meant Chris caught him up, but I have to say it was super cool to see Chris and Ross run through the stadium together in their flashy black tops. The commentator liked it too!
Chris and Ross run through the stadium together during the middle final

Chris had a blistering run and his finish sprint was tremendous. I will never forget that finish, it was so exciting! He finished in an excellent 21 place and is now the NZ record holder in the men for all 3 WOC disciplines. I know I shouldn't brag, but I am very proud of him!

The whole NZ team, plus Ian, Anne, me, Mat Scot, Viv and Aaron Prince all squeezed into our living room for a communal dinner

So, WOC had nearly come to a close except the relay....and the party of course! Tom, Ross and Chris were running in the men's relay team - in that order. Lizzie Ingham had arrived in Trondheim by this stage, she was supposed to be competing in all the WOC events, but had to withdraw due to a bad injury in her ankle. This left Rita and Lara without a third runner for their relay team.

After much persuasion I was convinced to run for them so that they could still be a complete team and get a finishing result. This proved retrospectively to be a very controversial decision within the New Zealand Orienteering Federation - however at the time I didn't know this because the people making the decision within the IOF decided it was OK; it meant we still got to have a New Zealand team and there was a record number of international teams entered into the World Champs relay.

I was really nervous before I ran - I had had a couple of reasonable runs with the WOC tour leading up to Sunday, but I was thinking the whole thing was pretty crazy. My running is always hampered by my completely bunged up ankle and I still felt that I had not quite mastered the art of the Norwegian marsh.
But I ran the best race I could - I was knackered towards the finish and made some dumb mistakes in the last loop - but it was a total buzz to finish and the other girls were stoked too. Lara had a fantastic run on the first leg coming in before the Australians! The boys were also quite satisfied with their race - although Chris was so tired from all the other races he didn't have so much left in the tank.
The proud supporter!
Ian and Anne enjoying the summer sun on our porch - and a nice vino

We finished the WOC week with the infamous party, the boys in pink shirts with cool shades and the girls in stylish black and white dresses. Of course there was a beer O included in the party antics....need I say more (-:

Lofoten Return

Reine - a classic Lofoten view
I visited Lofoten last July with Mum and Dad - it is an amazing place in north Norway, and we decided that it was worth the expense for Al and Amber to see it too - I was certainly excited to go back there again. So Al, Amber and I took the plane up to Bodø from Trondheim on Sunday evening. The 10 hour drive takes a mere 60 minutes by plane. We were hoping for some exciting views from the plane but unfortunately it was pretty cloudy.

Chris had had to stay behind in Trondheim because this was his last week of preparation for the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) which would start in Trondheim the following week.

We arrived in Bodø at 8pm and trudged down to the same campground that Mum, Dad, Chris and I had stayed at last year. We had to muck around sorting out a hire car in the morning, but eventually got one sorted and drove up toward the ferry crossing from Tyssfjorden to Lødingen. It was cloudy, but we still enjoyed the craggy scenery and raw rock mountain sides.

Heading up to Lødingen in our wee hire car

Tunnel from a cliff

Colourful boats
On the car ferry to Lødingen. It takes about 1.5 hours to get there.

We found a little cabin to stay in just outside of Lødingen. In the morning clouds continued to hang low about the mountain tops, but we were not deterred from our adventure from Svolvær into the Trollfjord - a very spectacular and narrow fjord with no road access at all.

The Svolvær church with the goats horns in the background which you can jump between if you are a bit crazy.

We requested the boat driver to drop us at the end of the fjord - and surprised the other tourists on the boat by clambering onto the jetty and waving farewell. We just had to hope they would remember to pick us up the following day!

Heading into the Trollfjord

From Svolvær into Trollfjord by boat

In the Trollfjord
There is a little DNT hut called Trollfjordhytte about 1.5 hours rough walk from the end of the Trollfjord. We made our way along a big pipeline which Al and I tottered along (it was scary!) and Amber strolled along as if it was a massive footpath.
Making our way along the scary pipeline
Arctic scrubbiness

View from Trollfjordhytte window

Of course we had to have another chilly swim at the lake beside the hut, then we lazed about in the hut enjoying the company of 4 friendly Norwegian 'locals' who all came from Halvstad and were perhaps a little surprised by these three Kiwis who had somehow found out about this cozy little hut.

Wednesday dawned clear and sunny - finally we had our perfect Lofoten day. We descended back down to the fjord in 45 minutes, then got to watch to wonderful old sailing boats anchor at the little jetty. By the time our boat arrived to pick us up we had to clamber over two ships to get onto our one!
Two beautiful old ships in Trollfjord, we had to climb over both to get to our boat

Looking back at the anchored boats in Trollfjord

The 1.5 hour boat trip back to Svolvær was beautiful, and we even got swooped on by a huge sea eagle that knew this boat had a fish to throw out for it.
Our sea eagle siting

Once back to the car we continued along the amazing road past Henningsvær, and the colourful fishing village of Reine. Amber was stoked and took some great pictures. In the evening sun we climbed up to Munkebu near Å at the tip of the Lofoten and pitched our tents with a great view of the lakes and sea.

Golden sand and such clear water
Fish racks near Henningsvær

Evening light made in Reine
Enormous raspberries!

After a chilly night I awoke and discovered a strange cloud had descended on all the hills, but the tops of the peaks still poked through the clouds.
My tent is the wee orange blob

On our way up to the peak with low clouds hanging about the tops
On top of Hermanndalstinden
Eerie morning cloud

We set out for a climb of Hermanndalstinden, which rises quite steeply from the Krokvatnet. We climbed up through deep cloud to suddenly emerge above the sea of cloud. It was just like being in an airplane, other peaks could be seen poking out of the cloud in every direction.

After enjoying the summit for a while we dropped back in the cloud and back down the steep track to Munkebu. By the time we made it out back to Å it was 6pm, and we were all feeling a bit tired and smelly, so we found a little cabin by the sea and bought dinner from the supermarket.

Friday had arrived all too soon, we had to fly out from Bodø at 10pm that evening, so we cued quite early for the 3 hour ferry trip back to the mainland. It was sunny again, but still chilly in the cool breeze as we sat out on the deck to enjoy the trip. Sadly another great trip to the Lofoten was over - that is such an amazing place.

Leaving Lofoten - looking back to the town of Å, with the distant island of Værøy in the background
We had time for a quick visit to look at the Oceans of Rock peak which we climbed with Mum and Dad last time we were in Bodø. Interestingly about 10 days after this picture was taken Chris was back here with Ian and Anne and they climbed it again!

Al and Amber come to stay

We arrived in Lillehammer on July 25th to meet Al and Amber outside the train station laden with big packs and bikes. They were at the beginning of their 3 month holiday in Europe - some if which will involve cycle touring. They were amused by our wonky little new car and its strange noises - nevertheless we crammed everything in and took off towards Lom via the scenic route 51.

After many hours driving and lots of excited catching up we arrived in Lom, ate some terrible Lom burgers and found a spot to put our tents. In the morning we continued through to Geiranger Fjord along the tourist route - then over the amazing Trollstigen road and down into Åndalsnes. We stopped every two minutes to jump out of the car and take photos of the amazing view.

Breakfast on the jetty

We liked this first aid vehicle

Above the Trollstigen
Rock perch

From Åndalsnes we headed up the valley and parked our car at Rabben. We spent a while reorganizing gear, before heading off on foot into Svartvassbu. It was an enoyable walk in, the sky was overcast but it was warm - so warm that when we arrived at the hut we impressed the Norwegians staying there by jumping straight into the iceberg filled lake.

Maps for trip planning in Geiranger Fjord

Heading up to Svartvassbu
The semi frozen lake we jumped into

Fresh salmon and pasta with veggies was on the evening menu courtesy of top chefs Emily and Chris.

Morning sun on the hut

In the morning Chris's "little climb before lunch" turned out to be a 6 hour mission up Sjøvdøla. We crossed an enourmous rock garden before climbing up around a lake and crossing a little snout of glacier onto a flat plateau with great waterfalls tumbling off the side. It was cool, but some food along the way would have been nice!

Past a beautiful lake on our way up the mountain
On the summit
Cool views down to the lake

We got back starving at 4, stuffed ourselves with fried polarbread and cheese, then started out on the 4 hour walk to Vasstindbu. We arrived there around 9, quickly cleaned ourselves in a freezing cold stream, then cooked up a 10 oclock feast....Al and Amber were not sure about this new routine they were being introduced to!

On our way to hut number 2: Vasstindbu
Arriving at the hut - finally!

The last day of our trip arrived and we wandered out across more great boulder fields and down to the valley. Chris ran to get the car while we admired the cute Norwegian sheep with bells.

Past yet another pretty lake on our last day
Al + reflective lake
Sheeps with bells

A long but pretty drive through Trondelag farmland took us back to Trondheim and another late dinner. The next few days Chris worked (and orienteered) while I showed Al and Amber the sites of Trondheim. The weather was pretty good now, so we managed a swim in the lake. We visited the busy festival that was taking place in town and I ate my first toffee apple in years!

Trondheim cathederal - Nidaros - and big crowds

Out cycling on Fosen - watch out for elk!
Bymarka trails

Taking the car ferry across to Fosen with our bikes - which means its free!

Nice weather in rolling Trondelag farmland

We also had time to take Al and Amber for a spin on the nice trails through the forest of Bymarke, and on Saturday we caught the car ferry (for free!) out to Fosen and completed a nice ride round there. After humming and haaaing about what to do the following week we discovered some cheap flights up to the Lofoten Islands and decided that sounded like fun.