O Log - Velika Planina

[28-Jul-06] 

    Here is the OO Cup 06 Day 1 M21E map, and here are my routes.

    Navigation to the map was harder than the map itself

    After Croatia it was on to Slovenia for a couple of days of training and day 1 of the OO Cup before heading on to SOW at Zermatt. This turned out to be the highlight of the trip, not only because whatever sickness I had seemed to magically clear up (only to return in Zermatt), but because I was lucky enough to stumble onto one of the magical places on this planet. As Warren Buffet's distant cousin sang (among other things) -- "changes in latitudes/changes in attitudes".

    The good folks at Orienteering Online set me up with several training maps in north-central Slovenia, centered around Mozirje, and the place I ended up spending my training time was a map called Velika Planina. The map was basically on the top of a mountain, and quite an adventure to even get to (I actually used that sign to aid in my navigation).

    The map featured an extremely technical and physical northern section, while the main part was much more open with large karsts to weave around and trap the unwary. But what got you was the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside, as well as a botanist's dream of wildflowers. There were bees everywhere, and you simply had to go home with a jar or two of one of the many varieties of Slovenian honey (and honey schnapps) which captured the essence of this place. And just like Laramie and Kazakhstan, there is a primal joy about running thru this sort of terrain -- open enough to be fast and fun, while technical enough to be interesting.

    Velika Planina, north part

    The olog and pics can't possibly describe the wonder of this place, one has to experience it firsthand. Fortunately, this will be possible next year, as the first ever Slovenian 5 Day will take place on these maps, among others around Mozirje. While there will certainly be plenty of "5 days" in various European countries in 2007 that will be competing with this, I think this is worth getting to. I've seen the maps, terrain, countryside, friendly locals, friendly towns, and great folks at OO who set me up, and I can highly recommend these races as an interesting mix of technical and physical orienteering, as well as natural beauty, and, most likely, a fun travel experience.

    Velika Planina, fun part

    After the training, it was on to Bohinjsko jezero (lake Bohinj) and the Julian Alps in northwest Slovenia for the OO Cup. I blew off the model to lounge on the lake (the first time I've ever done this, and I did feel guilty about it), and could only do the first day of the OO Cup, but it was worth it.

    After a 48 line climb to the start, which still didn't put us at the top of the mountain, I managed to put in a 14 min/k pace, and was happy about it, only booming #10 on a very tough, and appropriately set, middle distance course. The average time on M21E was 12.5 min/k. It is nice to have this sort of thing once in while, and you have to go to Europe to get it. It was amazing that a 4K course could mix in long O-style route choice problems, technical short O, terrain changes, and incredible views. (The map is 1:7500, so the lines are closer together than they appear). The last two pics sort of show what the rocky, white woods in the latter part of the course looked like, tho this forest was more technical.

    I've been thinking about my boom of #10 alot since this race, for some reason. It seems there may be something to be learned here. A boom is going to cost, 30 seconds, minimum, in almost all cases, and in many cases, much more, even up to 2 or 3 minutes. Walking to the control isn't going to cost that much on such a short leg, yet will eliminate the risk of boom. Since the penalty of an in or near circle boom is unrelated to the leg length, there are circumstances where it is a good bet for people at my skill level to walk to controls, and #10 was one of those cases.

    In any case, I totally endorse orienteering in Slovenia, and hope people can make it to OO Cup 07.

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