O Log - Training in Portugal

[14-Feb-05] 

    I feel bad writing about another O trip, as I realise most people don't have travel as integrated into their lifestyle as I do. Of course, other Americans have been blessed with the opportunity to live in O nations for extended periods or time, or are blessed with better athletic backgrounds or circumstance, or whatever, so we all make the best of the circumstances we're dealt, and it shouldn't be a big deal if the only goal is just to improve as your circumstances allow.

    Over the week, I did a total of 6 races, 4 trainings (one of which was staged as a race), and 2 models -- about 100K, 275 controls of orienteering in a mix of terrains (mountain, dune, managed/cultivated, street) and a mix of formats (long, middle, sprint). The training was particularly grueling: twice a day, up to 11K in the morning, then 11K in the afternoon, all in terrain. On top of that, I had to skip one race and some trainings due to travel logistics.

    This is the second year I've gone to Iberia in February for the same sort of experience. I bring up the stats as I think this is a great bang for a week of travel, and it is great timing -- just before the spring season starts here, without alot going on Stateside. Aside from a handful of mishung controls, everything was first class and easy to deal with, and the people were friendly and well-organized. Additionally, even tho the dollar is in ridiculous shape, traveling to this part of Europe off-season can be done on a relative shoestring.

    Anyway, I hope to make this a part of my yearly routine, if possible, if they keep doing it, which I hope they do. Also, for the more exotically inclined, mark your calendars for the last weekend of next January for a WRE/2 day on Madeira (a small mountainous island territory of Portugal in the Atlantic). I did a nice 18K trail run here thru the mountains -- it is steep, rugged, and green, at least where I was, so it would be interesting to see where the O is. Aside from too much tourism development in Funchal (the capital), this is a great little island to visit.

    As for my racing, not too bad, especially on the WRE days. Unfortunately, the second WRE day was quite simple in extremely fast (tho enjoyable) terrain, so despite a very good race, I am expecting a rock bottom score. The first day was more rugged and more difficult, so allowed for more compression and a better relative performance. The third race of the week was one of the most interesting and fun I've been in in some time -- almost my idea of a sprint over classic distance (most controls and the terrain were yellow/orange difficulty (except the hidden one ...), but added up quite complex and harder than it looks).

    The sprints were great, especially the one in the medieval town of Obidos; a 900 year old walled city (at least parts of it I understand) with tricky mazes of roadways. This was also a night sprint, which was a new experience for me.

    I hope to put maps (and perhaps routes) up sometime in the next two weeks, but as usual, am swamped.

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