We ran up on two of the WOC training maps - they were super technical. The forest was fairly dense and very rocky underfoot with great big holes hidden by leafy ground everywhere. It took me nearly two hours to do the first training, and I thought I did it ok!
Some of the Kiwi team in Annecy after a squeeze-through-the-crowd sprint training
Annecy was absolutly packed with summer holidaying Europeans and wasn't quite the utopia we remembered from 2005 when Chris raced here in the Raid Expedition race. On Friday the others drove through to Aix Les Bains, and I cycled via some back roads the 50km between the towns. There were some nice little French villages and farmland along the way.
We stayed at Hotel le Dauphinois, which was a funny old place, complete with rose garden and old ladies dressed to the nines sitting around drinking cups of tea. I think we looked a bit out of place, but it was a nice place to stay and in a very convenient location right in the center of Aix Les Bains.
Day 1: Michael punches the final control after a solid run in the long qualification
Penny storms in as the third Kiwi girl to make the middle final!
Day 2, the middle qualification day, was an exciting one - first Lizzie qualified well, then Amber came in really high up - easily qualifying for her heat, then Penny came in with a great time as well. Chris was his usual tinny self - placing 15th in both the long and middle distance qualification races (the last spot to qualify is 15th).
The three successful girls talk with Hanna about their races
Tane punches a control during the sprint qualification in the pretty town centre of Aix Les Bains
The course wound around the complex old town streets, including little hidden passageways and back ally's. Lizzie had an brilliant race and finished in an awesome 11th place - she went on to place 13th in the long and 18th in the middle - a truly impressive WOC performance. Ross also ran very well in the sprint, losing a little time towards the end but still finishing strongly in 25th position.
After the sprint final the event arena moved up to the ski arena at La Féclaz. This was over 1500m above sea level, but even despite that the day time temperature was around 30 degrees. There seemes to be something uncanny about WOC which means it is always the hottest week in the region, whatever that region may be. This year was no different.
Chris and Helen were both starting the men's and women's long final respectively in first position because of their 15th qaulifying spot. They both had the goal of keeping that lead until the end - and both managed it, providing us with great excitement as they entered the arena and got the media spotlight for some time until a faster finisher showed up.
Neither Helen nor Chris particularly like running in the blazing heat, and both felt this had affected their runs - But they still did well; Chris finished in 28th position and Helen in 23rd.
The two happy first finishers of the long final - Chris and Helen
The last day of WOC finally came around - it had been a very busy and exciting week, but I have to admit that by the last day I was a bit done with orienteering, I discovered I do have a threshold and I had gone over it. Never mind, the relay was exciting to watch and the banquet entertaining as always. We (along with several other nations) had chosen to dress 'stereotypical French', with some cool glasses, little skirts and french baguettes for accessories. The guys chose fluffy hello kitty earmuffs...not so sure about that....but there you go (-: