After arriving in Helsinki I stayed at one of the American Junior’s homes: Anton, who has and will be helping me with planning out what to do in Finland. The next morning I headed out to a friends apartment in Tampere to start getting used to the JWOC terrain.
Days one through three were filled with relaxed trainings. It started out with a partner training where Sofie and I alternated navigating. After that training it became clear to me how important learning to simplify Finnish terrain will be and how much I would need to work on going in the right direction while moving up and down hills.
The next day I did a control picking to become more aware of different features and micro routes like safely going over or trying to contour around. I found from the control picking that I was getting a lot better at heading into controls from above but still struggling to navigate between terrain that was dense with hills or technical slopes.
Later in the afternoon I did my first sprint training in Europe. That was a bit of a shock to the system: and I knew after the sprint that I would need to do 4 or 5 more sprints before I could run at speed confidently again.
The day before the Grano Games (Finnish Junior Team Trials) I did a well paced training.. I started to read the terrain well enough to run across technical portions decently but still needed some good catching features at the end. There were a few smaller errors from compass bearings but overall it was a good start for me 🙂
Sprint Splits: Link
The sprint was a really tough race for me. Though there wasn’t too much route choice, I messed up the navigational piece in the beginning and that prevented me from getting good flow. My largest problems came when trying to understand what I could and couldn’t run through and where buildings ended and stairs began. Because of that I had to almost walk to some stairs.
After that race I came out with a few top ten splits from the field controls, and a few huge mistakes from just finding stairs. After running the sprint I was reminded of how last year I found it useful for me to do lots of sprints in Switzerland before I became comfortable with how they mapped and how buildings were situated.
Long Distance Splits: Link
The long distance was…very…very…long. Coming into it I wanted to focus on navigating smoothly from control to control and to continue getting a better feeling for the terrain. As seen from my GPS and split analysis, I either had decent top 35 controls or bottom of the pack large mistake controls. After doing my race analysis I realized that I needed to to a better job maintaining map contact and that I needed to double check my direction with my compass.
Middle Splits: Link
In the middle my goal was to constantly look at my map and the terrain and I tried to remind myself of that by writing 1,2,3,4,5 on my right hand. The second goal was to work on visualizing the control before hand so that I would have a smooth entry. From my mistakes that I had I learnt of the importance of following myself on the map and not trying to follow ahead of where I am because often times the huge hills aren’t visible till you’re on them. I was also reminded of the importance of double checking map orientation when going up and around hills.
Though my races were far from perfect I am extremely happy to have come to the Finnish Trials because I learnt to read the terrain A LOT better and I am already starting to feel my orienteering flow coming back even though it is still a bit rough staggered.
After driving home from the long distance I also uploaded my RallyMe which I have made to help pay for some of the Junior World fees and make easier on my budget so that I can do these trainings to prepare better for JWOC. If your interested please check out my RallyMe at! Every contribution that is made will help me race this year 🙂
To view the Route Gadget of the Finnish Trials go here: Link
Grano Games home page: Link