Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Swiss WOC terrain


If I were planning to make the US WOC team to the 2003 World Champs, I'd be thinking about the races and what to expect. If I was doing that, I'd be reading reports from people like Bjornar Valstad and Jimmy Birklin -- world class orienteers who have their own web pages. Jimmy recently wrote about a training camp in Switzerland.

I'm guessing (hoping) that a reader or two of this blog are planning to go to the 2003 WOC. Maybe they'd be interested in Jimmy's thoughts. Here is a quick translation:

The sprint will be in Rapperwil and will be mostly street O'. There might even be a bit of park O'. The city is hilly and there are a lot of alleys and cobblestone streets (a bit like the Swedish town of Visby).

The classic qualifying race is at an altitude of 1,100 meters -- so called pre-alpine terrain. There will be a lot of steep hills. Some of the terrain is relatively wet, which means there can be some undervegetation that can slow you down. The forest is mostly spruce, but there is also some beech. The hills are not so steep that you can't run along them. Route choice will be important. Even though the terrain might seem easy, intense map contact will, as usual, be needed.

The classic final will be at a lower altitude, about 550 meters. The area includes two different types of terrain. Part of the area is brutally steep, where the climb can be 150 meters in a distance of 450 meters. Part of the area is a plateau. Some of the terrain is so steep that you can't run along the hill -- you can only go straight up or straight down.

The short race is in another type of terrain. It is more detailed. The terrain is almost like Scandinavian terrain. The area isn't especially hilly and the normal technique will be "straight ahead."

The relay is in an areas that is crossed by east-west running hills. The altitude is 500 meters above sea level. There are some deciduous woods that can make for slow running and visibility. The hills are fairly steep, but not so long. I think the relay will include a lot of route choice.

Nothing Jimmy wrote is unexpected. The organizers have made it pretty clear what the runners can expect.

A real challenge for runners at the 2003 WOC will be how to prepare for such different terrains. If you ran all of the events -- you'd be faced with street orienteering, continental/route choice terrain, and Scandinavian-like terrain. Will people try to specialize or prepare for all of the events? Will national teams select specialists? Will selection races emphasize a specific type of terrain? It'll be interesting to see what happens.

posted by Michael | 7:10 PM


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