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.