Tuesday, 7 August 2012

New club

After 5 years in Oslo and Bækkelaget SK, I have now moved back to Denmark and Århus. It has been naturally for me to try something new, to help me develop further as an orienteer, and that's why I now represent Vaajakosken Terä from Jyväskylä, Finland.

World Championships 2012 ended with a very good 6th position in the relay after 3 good performances from Søren, Rasmus and me, and it was very satisfying finally to perform as a team. After WOC, I had 4 days back home just relaxing and training a little bit in my girlfriends parents summercabin in Mols Bjerge.

On thursday 26th of july I travelled to Kajaani (via Tallinn) in the middle of Finland, which is the closest "international" airport to WOC 2013 and the last races of NORT 2012 in the Vuokatti-region. This was my first meeting with some of my new clubmates from Terä, and the terrains that are WOC-relevant. But on friday we travelled further north to do some competitions in Syöte, which were relevant for the Finnish Longdistance Championships next year. A middle distance on saturday and a long distance on sunday. We (Jani, Petteri, Urpo, Samuel, Aapo, Juha, Heini and me) stayed in a nice cabin next to a little lake and the weather was really great, so it was nice to cool down in the lake after the competitions.
The middle distance on saturday went terrible, I wasn't that focused, and I didn't understand the map at all, because it was very simplified. I made some big mistakes (more than 5min in total), but I still finished in 2nd position, 8sec behind the leader and in front of names like Jani Lakanen and Tero Föhr, so I guess I wasn't the only one who had problems out there. On the long distance I was more concentrated and started well on the first half of the course (where I was leading with more than 2 minutes after 30 minutes), but when we reached the same area as the middle distance, I got lost again on the hillside and lost 3½ minute. I was tired and struggled with the heat in the end, but finished in 2nd position again, 13 seconds down on Jani. But it was enough for the total victory, and the price was free accomodation the the Finnish long-champs next year, so maybe I will go there. I can't compete for Vaajakosken Terä and run the Finnish Champs this year because I'm not allowed to compete for a Finnish Club before 2013 according to the Finnish rules.

Before and after the competitions we also had two training sessions in a fantastic terrain which was used for Finnish Champs in 1995. The map was still pretty good, and it was a real plesure to orienteer here, and I think it's the best terrain I have tried this year.

On monday we drove back to Vuokatti, and stayed the next days in Upi's cabin in the middle of nowhere. Or actually it was not that far from the WOC Middle- and Relay terrains except there was a lake (and no roads) in between. But the cabin was in a really nice place and because the weather was still very good, it was again nice to have a lake just next to. We started with some training in WOC 2013 Long Distance relevant terrain. I have been told that the terrain would be really fast, but I was still surprised how fast it was. Only a little blueberry and white moss on the ground, and nice and open pine forest. I was easy to do around 5-6min/km in slow traning speed, and possible to get close to 4min/km in racing speed. Jani told me that he thinks the Long Distance Final will be more than 20km next year! I enjoyed the fast terrain a lot, and the orienteering challenges suit me well I think.
After being in the fast terrain, it was a bit of a surprise to experience the terrain for the Middle Distance and the Relay, which was totally different. It was very tough, very hilly, rocky and dense vegetation, and demanding technically in a different way. It reminded me very much about the terrains around Oslo, so I know how to orienteer. But it will be difficult to prepare 100% for both Long and Middle/Relay next year, and I have to make a good analysis and plan for the preparations for WOC next year. The NORT final and the training camp afterwards will hopefully give some more informations of what to do.

On thurday I went back home to Denmark after a week in Finland, and I was a nice experience with Terä and WOC 2013 terrains. All the persons I met was friendly and funny, and I already like the spirit. I'm really looking forward to meet the rest of the club, and to compete for Vaajakosken Terä the next years, and hopefully we can also do well in the big relays. The team will be really strong, and it will be interesting to see if we can manage to beat the biggest clubs in Tiomila and Jukola.