Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crane and Round in Middle Final

Australian team runners Grace Crane and Vanessa Round had their individual day of reckoning in the forests of La Feclaz today with the 2011 Middle distance final.

After a solid qualification last Sunday they were expecting a tough technical challenge. Grace started early and was the leader through the early TV controls. With a trademark safe start Grace looked set for a top 20 result but mistakes on the tricky 6th and 7th controls cost dearly in a competitive WOC Final with Grace finishing up in an excellent 27th place.

With a strong qualifying position Vanessa started amongst some favoured runners. After a solid start Vanessa was caught by World champion Dana Brozkova and they missed the troublesome 8th control together. But Vanessa stormed home in the hot and tough conditions to finish in 35th place.


Both ladies will be backing up for the Relay tomorrow and they will be joined by Jasmine Neve.

In the men Simon Uppill will lead out, Julian Dent 2nd and Rob Preston will bring the team home.

The Relay is final race of WOC 2011 and is expected to be very technical and could produce some surprising results.

Watch live at:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Julian Dent 24th in Long Distance Final

The Long Distance final of the 2011 WOC was the longest in history, with a handful of athletes breaking 2hrs. French favourite Thierry Gueorgiou was a class above the rest of the field, winning by 4mins from Pasi Ikonen (FIN) and Francois Gonon (FRA).

Julian Dent lost time early in the course, on controls 2 and 3, but gathered momentum for the last half of the course to move through the field to finish a credible 24th place in his first Long Distance Final. Below is a copy of Julian’s GPS route, and some photos of the day.

WOC Long Final 2011-Julian



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WOC 2011 Sprint Final


Congrats to our finalists and their great results- Simon 37th, Grace 24th, Rachel 35th.

The final results can be found here-

but we are still waiting for the qualification results…..

Below are some photos and video from the final.

Tomorrow is the Long Distance Final at Le Feclaz, where we will all be supporting Julian Dent in his first Long final. Most of the team is heading up early for a crack at the spectator races, a great chance for some relay training.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sprint Qualification Debacle!!

This morning’s WOC Sprint Qualifications in Aix-Les-Bains has been shrouded in controversy with large numbers of athletes disqualified for crossing forbidden features.

Simon Uppill had a great run to qualify in his very competitive heat and is the only Aussie man to make the final. Julian Dent and Rob Preston lost a little time and finished outside the top 15. There is some controversy about the final results as Jules and Rob were also listed as disqualified despite not being aware of crossing any forbidden features. Hopefully this will be cleared up later on…

Grace Elson had a pretty clean run and qualified well for the women’s final. Rachel Effeney also had a pretty good run and was originally placed in equal 16th with a Chinese girl, but was reinstated to 14th place after a nail biting wait for Wendy and Rob to come out of the team leaders meeting with final start lists. A great result for Rach at her first WOC, she is excited and relieved to be running the final this afternoon! Mace run well in the first part of the course and was feeling good, but unfortunately lost too much time on a tricky leg towards the end to qualify.

There were 3 areas of infringements;
1. Jumping down an impassable cliff near men’s #5/women’s #4
2. Running through cafeteria’s in the town centre (marked as purple hash)
3. Running through olive green areas near the finish

Apparently 54 women and 41 men crossed the wall, but their results were allowed to stand due to it being  unclear where the wall ended. Nor were any people DSQ for crossing an uncrossable crag at no. 3 on the women's.

Starts have supposedly been delayed by 45minutes, and hopefully online coverage can be followed at the WOC2011 live website. It should be an exciting race once things get moving after this mornings kerfuffle! The rest of the team is getting ready to cheer our qualifiers on… GO SIMON, RACH AND GRACE!!!

And here are some pictures of our team from the opening ceremony and parade which was held last night, to a great local turnout!



Monday, August 15, 2011

WOC 2011 Qualification races

The first race for WOC2011 was the Long Distance Qualifications, with Australia being represented by Julian Dent, Rob Preston, Vanessa Round, Jasmine Neve and Aislinn Prendergast.

The courses were very tough as expected, with the mens winning times much longer than expected. The courses started with some relatively easy to navigate but very physical legs through steep open meadows in the blazing sun, then the second half was through the much slower technical forest.

Julian produced our best result to finish in 13th position in Heat A and qualified for the final. “I was technically I was happy with my run, although I made a small mistake after a steep climb at the end of the long leg. It was physically very challenging…”

Rob was pretty disappointed with his run, particularly selecting a very poor route choice on long leg #5 which cost him a lot of time. He had some good sections in the more technical middle section but made a few more mistakes near the end as he got tired. “The highlight of my race was getting caught, and following Thierry for the final loop of 4 controls. And I repaid a favour to my favourite Swiss Orienteer (and multiple world champion) by showing him where he was at the 2nd last control!”, Rob said.

Jas, Ness and Aislinn had a frustrating day, missing the finals by 8, 24 and 85seconds, in 16, 17 and 18th positions. Vanessa and Jasmine said they were overly cautious but it really became evident that you really need to have a clean and fast run to qualify- qualification really is tough! Jas had some trouble with the difficult longer route choice and made some mistakes on the more technical legs in the forest. Vanessa was well on track to qualify until losing too many vital seconds at the second last control.  Aislinn had a really good run, but made one significant mistake on a difficult leg, to just miss out. Overall a great performance for her first WOC, and she can be confident in her ability to qualify.

Julian will run the long final on Thursday.

DSC_0018DSC_0036DSC_0037DSC_0092robertpreston_WOC2011LongQual 2

WOC 2011 Middle Distance Qualifications

Sunday saw competitors back at Les Creusantes for the middle distance qualification. The girls started first, with Jas drawing the very first start block, and Vanessa and Grace following up.

Jas started well, but made two big mistakes at the 4th and the 8th controls. Ness had a screamer and qualified in 8th place. Grace felt that she was bit scrappy overall, but qualified comfortably in 13th. 

The boys had excellent runs in some very cut throat heats. Robbie finished in what looked, for most of the day, like a very promising time, but was pushed into 19th place at the end of the day, missing out on a place in the final by just … seconds.  Simon ran well but lost vital time on a route choice towards the end and was pushed into 19th place at the end of the day. Both were a bit disappointed- there was really no room for error for qualifying for the men’s races. Julian struggled with illness from the night before. He said he had no energy and felt weak during the race. He was also disappointed with some mistakes towards the end of his course.

Ness and Grace will run in the final on Friday, and the boys will shift their focus to the Sprint and Relay.

Today is a rest day with a model event for the sprint races tomorrow, last minute walks around the town of Aix Les Bains where the sprint qualification race will be held tomorrow mornin, our usual baguette lunch and some attention from Steve, our physio.


Follow Grace, Mace, Rachel, Simon and Jules in the sprint races tomorrow at the WOC2011 live results page 

Here is a great action shot of Rachel doing some sprint training- speed and agility around sharp corners is crucial!!



These great pictures and more at thanks to

Friday, August 12, 2011

Aussie Boomerangs Training camp update

Another blog post from the Aussie Team, the day before the WOC races start tomorrow with the Long Distance qualification...
final day of Swiss O week in Flims
Previous to our official training camp beginning last week in France, a few WOC team members (Wendy, Simon, Aislinn, Mace, Jas, Ness and Robbie) attended the Swiss Orienteering Week for some pre WOC race training. We stayed near Flims and caught chair lifts and cable cars up the mountains to almost 3,000m to race next to glaciers. The biggest Aussie triumph of the week was coach Wendy Read zooming past the world champion, Simone Niggli Luder, in the finish chute on day 2! Yep, she sure did!

Rob checking out the views of Mont Blanc from Aguille du Midi
The team then drove (via a pizza shop in Chamonix for some) to the little French mountain village of Arith for our week long WOC training camp. Rob L, Rach and Grace joined us there. We staying with our newly adopted French family, Sophie, Chef Gerard and two year old Remy, who made us delicious four course evening meals, and helped us out with a game of trivial pursuit.. in French.. We were joined on a few evenings by French trampers who were stopping on their way though the mountains. Sophie, Remy and Gerard have promised to come and watch the sprint race.

post training discussions after our first day... a lot to learn
interesting area of Le Creux qui Sonne, note the wide route choice from 6 to 7- a bit of respite from the forest is definately a worth while choice!

We found out pretty promptly what all the fuss over the French terrain was about. Our first few training sessions in the French forests saw us running over 20 minute kilometers.. Vanessa and Jas agreed that “there is so much detail on the map that it's tricky to read, but there is even more detail on the ground..” Luckily we have all steadily improved. By the end of the week everyone had had at least one good run.

The sprinters were pretty happy having beautiful little French towns to run around. However, they had to get up early to avoid the crowds on their training maps. Mace described the sprint terrain as “fun, but tricky with lots of little alley ways and confusing route choices.”

Shopping for lunch at the Annecy markets after a sprint training session. Unsuspectingly we purchased the most smelly cheese possible, some of it is still lingering in the fridge a few days later!

We moved to our WOC accommodation in Aix Les Bains yesterday. We settled in to our rooms, and received our accreditation tags. The model events opened yesterday and long and middle distance runners spent the morning out in the forest.

The 'bush O' girls team frolliking in the meadows of Le Revard. The long distance races are supposed to include a mixture of open meadows and intensely technical forest...
The competition starts tomorrow, with the long distance qualification. Ness, Jas, Aislinn, Robbie and Julian will be running. Keep your fingers crossed for us and check out our results on the WOC website!

You can follow our results and view the full program by visiting the WOC website at:

Jas and Ness check out the view of Mont Blanc from a 'hilltop' after a training session in the forests below.
The view from our WOC accommodation- we are self catering here, so are no longer enjoying Gerard's French cuisine, but are making sure we still a variety of fine smelling cheeses!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Boomerangs training camp quiz

After 4 days of training in France, we are slowly building our confidence in the French terrain.  The forest is beautiful, very green and full of berries, but very technical with lots of rock and contour detail. The villages for sprint training have complex old towns and busy fresh produce markets to make spotting passageways (and sprinting) difficult. For the training camp are based in the small town of Arith, 800m above sea level, which is close the maps, mountains and is covered in snow in winter. At the moment it is green rolling hills, wildflowers and quaint old buildings.

As it is only one week out from WOC we have been taking it easy, except for Wendy and Rob who have spent hours marking up maps for us. Most of the team members have done two short training sessions a day, the French terrain is very difficult and practice makes perfect. 
We have been slow on posting this year but here is pop quiz number 1 (let’s hope there is a number 2...).

1.         How many WOC virgins are in the team this year?
a.       5
b.      3
c.       2
d.      10
e.      None

2.                   French terrain is:
a.       Complex contour details
b.      Karst outcrops and sinkholes
c.       Alpine meadows (with cows and bells)
d.      Steep slopes
e.      All of the above

3.         Bare rock, marked as light grey on the map below, is:

a.       Flat, open and fast. Like granite in Australia.
b.      Mossy, hard to spot, and slippery. Like rocks in Sweden.
c.       Jagged, ankle breaking with deep deep holes. d.      Twisted shapes covered in rubble. For example near the glaciers in Switzerland.
e.      None of the above.
 4.                   What is the name of our team mascot?a.       Jean Pierre. A local orienteer who has been giving us tips.
b.      Matilda, the boxing kangaroo. A tried and true mascot.
c.       Les Pinpins. Rabbits from a very popular French story book.
d.      Remy. Our host’s 2 year old son.  e.      None of the above. We are still open to suggestions and welcome anyone who is willing to wear a giant fluffy boomerang suit.    

5.                    For lunch we eat:
a.       Baguettes avec fromage de la boulangerie
b.      Pain au Chocolat de la patisserie
c.       Abricots et Framboise de la marché
d.      Saucisson avec Cola
e.      All of the above

 6.                   Which team members studied French in year 12 and act as translator?a.   Aislinn and Rachel
b.      Rachel and Jasmine
c.       Wendy and Aislinn
d.      Mace and Jasmine
e.      All of the above team members

 7.                Which team member left their compass and phone at training, 25 minutes drive away?a.          Jasmine
b.      Vanessa
c.       Robbie
d.      Wendy
e.      All of the above

8.       In 4 days of training which team member has sustained all of these injuries, a wasp bite, stick in the eye and cut up their arm and stomach by running into a barbwire fence:
a.       Robbie
b.      Jasmine
c.       Simon
d.      Grace
e.      All of the above

9.                  Julian Dent is currently:
a.       Sipping cocktails in the Caribbean
b.      Training three times a day in the French forest
c.       Asleep in his bed
d.      Working in Sweden
e.      All of the above

10.          At our training camp Gîte, La Fruitiere d’Arith, we get this, see picture, for dessert every night:

a.       False. We celebrated Rob’s 36th birthday with the delicious berry tart.
b.      False. If we ate dessert like this every night we would be too fat to train the next day.
c.       False. On other nights we have had crème brulee, semolina pudding with brandy and raisins, and apple pie.   
d.      True. Chef Gerald, our host, is a pastry chef and he is practicing for entering his tart in a local competition. 
e.      True. We make them ourselves from the fruits we collect in the forest.

The first person* to respond to this blog with the 10 correct answers will win a fabulous prize. And since this quiz is quite dependent on knowing the personalities of a few team members we will have a 2nd category for non-Australian quiz masters. 

*entrant must also be a fan of Orienteering Australia on Facebook

 Ok off to bed, and tomorrow we leave Arith for Aix les Bains. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Australian Boomerangs prepare for WOC2011 in France

When you are preparing to head overseas you always expect you will have lots of time when you are a full time orienteer training for WOC. But its amazing how your day can be filled up by breakfast, training, lunch, training, dinner and a bit of social time. So after 3weeks in Europe here is the first report from the Australian Boomerangs preparation for the World Championships in France. Grap a coffee and bagette, its a long one. 

Thursday 14th July
I (Rob) met Julian and Felicity in Annecy and headed to my friend Sylvain's place in Chambery. We were fortunate to stay with him prior to moving into our Gite (authentic French holiday house) in Lescheraines. Julian had already run a long distance training exercise with the Swedish and Czech teams. 2hrs on the toughest map in the region- Le Revard, was a gutsy way to start his WOC campaign. I decided to skip a terrain run for the day, and headed out with Sylvain for a run from his place. Good thing I didn't go orienteering, I had enough trouble just staying on my feet!

Friday 15th July
On Friday we ran a course on Le Creux qui Sonne, that the French team had set and we were lucky to find out about as there were flags in the forest. We soon learned how important it was to training with flags, as the difficulty of the terrain means you can spend a lot of time wondering if you are in the correct place. While taking over an hour for 5km isn't setting the forest alight, I was pretty happy with my first session.

In the afternoon we went to Le Revard, where Julian and I ran a middle distance training exercise set by the Czech/Swedish conglomerate. I soon learned how quickly things can go wrong in Savoie Grand Revard. After getting totally lost twice, banging my knee badly, losing my SILVA compass magnifer (then some how finding it 5mins later), and finding 5 controls I called it a day and headed back to the car. Jules didn't have a great day either, but did persist with the whole course.

The panorama view from Le Revard looking down to Aix les Bains (on our only sunny day)
Saturday 16th July
Thanks to Julian's contacts we piggybacked on the Sweczechs again, for a Middle Distance training race with SI. I was first start, pretty daunting heading into a very tough first control. I ran quite controlled and got to #9 before making a big error. It took a while to relocate in a region of countless knolls and small gullies and I lost about 3mins there. I ran 46mins, with the best 36mins, but I was far from last so that was encouraging. And it was my first victory over Julian since he was about 15...

In the arvo we moved into our Gite in Lescheraines, which is very close to the training maps Montage de Bange and Prepoulain. For company we had Graham Griswood, Doug Tully, Holly Orr and coach Toni staying with us. Jules and I ran a second session together on Montage de Bange (or The Wall as the Brits like to call it) with a headcam (hope to edit it sometime). This map was the first training map made, and probably the scariest looking. It is also probably the least relevant so we haven't spent much time there. But we set a short course, in what must have been an easy part of the map, so we didn't have much trouble. The bare rock is seriously impressive though. Not much like Aussie granite slabs, much more like running across knifeblades of limestone with numerous potholes of death in between.

Panorama view from Montage de Bange down to Arith and Lescheraines
Sunday 17th July
Today was a day where you definitely wanted to stay in bed. Torrential rain and not very warm about 8degrees at Le Revard. And it was like that all morning. But this was also a session that you couldn't miss- Relay training organised again by Sweczechs. Even the French boys turned up and there was sprinkling of other nations.
The course involved 3 x 2km courses. First course was ok.

I lost 15mins looking for the 1st control on the 2nd loop. I actually ran past it but didn't think it was mine (thought it was way too close to the track). The proceeded to search on a green hillside for a pit with the rest of the Swedish women's team. It would have been good relay training if I was running the women's relay...
Kept on going on the last loop even though I was dead last. My brain was literally freezing and I managed to run the last two controls in the wrong order anyway. Got back to the car to find Julian and GG both had pulled out thinking they were way behind and cold. It was probably the coldest/wettest I've ever been Orienteering.

Monday 18th July
Today we (including Rob, Jules, Aislinn Prendergast who has arrived, Felicity, Holly) headed to Le Grand Roc, a map close to Annecy and used for the World Cup Long distance race last October. The forest here was much nicer, and we were able to improve our speed and get some confidence back. Everything seemed to make much more sense on this map. We ran on 1:15000 for 90mins so this was a Long Distance specific session.

Julian and Felicity headed to Annecy for some sightseeing and sprint training in the afternoon, while I was more interested in some couch time and watch le Tour.

In the evening I went for another session on The Wall. It rained again. I finished very cold and disillusioned. I really found out how hard this map was today. Full respect for Thierry who has done night sessions on this map.

Tuesday 19th July
We had another session on Montagne de Bange, this time running the Swiss team Middle Distance selection race. This area was relatively nice for running, not nearly as deadly, but I didn't feel comfortable wearing the non-metal studded X-talons. I ran most of the course well apart for losing 4mins looking for #6 (and getting caught by Felicity). For the 2nd half I was also a bit sloppy as I tried to put more pressure on myself. Lets just say I wouldn't have made the Swiss team...
Lescheraines church
Wednesday 20th July

Prepoulain- Long distance training
Swedish long distance trials. Lost 16mins on #1 otherwise it wasn't too bad... It felt very lonely up on the mountain and I had to convince myself a few times to keep going.
Jules had a pretty good session though, and is starting to get back into the swing of it.

Thursday 21st July
We headed back to Le Creux with Jules, Aislinn, Doug and GG for a relay/middle qual training session set by Toni. We did a mass start, with a few splits and it felt good to race a little faster. I was within contact for most of the race, only wasting a bit too much time making sure I was in the correct place or looking for a small blue tape. Jules was again happy with his last session in the forest before WOC.

Finally the sun came out in the afternoon and Jules, Felicity and myself went for a run around Lescheraines. Here are a couple of pics of our pleasant little village.

Friday 22nd July
Sprint O training at Montmelian. I wasn't going to run, but after I set the course I thought it looked pretty fun. I was pretty happy with my nav, but the hill in the 2nd half was brutal on tired legs. Good to get a higher intensity session done before heading to Alpe d'Huez. It was turning into a beautiful day.

The Tour de France- well what an amazing day. I'll do a full blog about it later....

Saturday 23rd July
Jules and Fel headed back to Geneva, then flew to their new home in Stockholm, Sweden. Well actually straight onto a train to northern Sweden for the Swedish 5 days. Sounds like it was a tough week up there, but they finally got to see some sun.

Aislinn and Roch headed back to the forest for a final punishing session on Le Revard before catching the train to Paris for a bit of R&R and Cadel cheering.

While I got the bus down to Grenoble to watch Cadel smash out the Time Trial of his life and end the day in the Yellow jersey.
TDF Time trial finish
Sunday 24th July- Cadel day
I didn't do a whole heap, just went for a run from Sylvain's, and headed into Chambery to find a pub with the Tour on TV. It took a while, and I know the WOC Sprint final area pretty well now, but finally found The Tour. I had a tear in my eye as Cadel climbed the podium in France. So many past disappointments and sleepy mornings became irrelevant.

Monday 25th July
Well I was now flying solo, and without a car. But I didn't let that stop me from getting a bit more training in. I borrow Sylvain's bike and rode for nearly 2hours (and 1000m climb) to Le Revard. Then I attempted the course from the Savioe National event from May. This race was won by Thierry in 91mins, and 2nd was 8mins behind, and he had been caught by the Frenchman anyway. This was an epic session. I got lost big time looking for #5, but mostly because I couldn't understand a big area with new forestry work and extra tracks. I decided to leave that section out and modify the course after that. After 2hrs18mins I had done about 20 controls and actually ran them relatively well. But there were still a few improvements to be made before I challenge the best. With a long ride home I was pretty knackered that night.

Tuesday 26th July
Again I rode up onto the plateau, and this time did an easy session with Sylvain for company on Le Creux. We ran together and it was good to help teach him a little about how to orienteer in this terrain. Kind of like the blind leading the blind, but its good to help reflect on your own technique.

Wednesday 27th July
I finally left Chambery and headed to Chamonix for a few days, then to Switzerland. But I'll leave that for another time.

me with Mont Blanc in the background
now I need to head for a coffee and pain au raison before the lazy French head for a siesta. Au revoir