Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, February 29, 2004  

One of those days. I have no inspiration to write about orienteering. But the idea is to write something about orienteering each day. So, I spent some time poking around the internet.

O' fashion

Adrian Zissos is a Canadian orienteer who wrote a rant about O' fashion (you can read the PDF). His idea is simple -- O' clothing is uncool. Orienteering clothing looks dumb and isn't especially functional.

I tend to agree.

Of course "cool" is very subjective. If you didn't know Allen Iverson was cool, would you think people would pay a lot of money to dress like him? Check out this snapshot of Allen in action or this snapshot of Allen posing.

If Iversen wasn't cool, I don't think his clothing would be considered cool.

While part of orienteering's dull, nerdy image can be traced to the clothes, it'd sure help if orienteering had some "cool" personalities.

By the way, an authentic Allen Iverson jersey runs about $150. Ouch.

Wasn't this a Saturday Night Live sketch?

Click here to see a TV report about Sweden's first men's synchronized swim team.

Night O' practice

I don't know if this is true (it showed up on a Swedish O' discussion page...not exactly a reliable source):

Elis..shows that training gives results....Everything from rollerski sessions...to running with a headlamp on a treadmill at home with the lights turned out to train for "The Long Night."...

posted by Michael | 8:15 PM


Saturday, February 28, 2004

High frustration training


Today's training was what you might call "high frustration" training:

The forest was rough -- thick and thorny.
The course was hilly.
The control locations were diffuse (subtle and not-quite-mapped-right contour features).
The map was old (1988, I think).

Still, it was fun. But if you polled the six of us who ran, I'd bet you'd get maybe 50 percent who felt it was mostly just frustrating.

It can be interesting to see how people react (me included) to difficult or frustrating training or racing conditions. I tend to get quite annoyed when a control is misplaced, so much so that I have a lot of trouble concentrating. Unfortunately, controls get misplaced on a fairly regular basis at local events around Kansas City. Some people seem to get particularly frustrated by thick forest -- a main feature of the orienteering terrain around Kansas City.

On the other hand, some people seem to always make the best of the situation. I remember running through a particularly thick section of local forest with a Swiss orienteer named Dieter Wolf about 20 years ago. I felt almost embarrassed about how unpleasant our forest was, so I was a bit anxious about what Wolf would think. What'd he think? "That was really fun!"

posted by Michael | 7:23 PM


Friday, February 27, 2004

Not financially viable


The IOF's elite events commission surveyed runners and coaches about international O' events. They asked about different events -- WOC, world cups, Junior WOC, European Champs, and so on. One of the main ideas that came from the runners and coaches was:

Today's programme is not financially viable for the majority of runners and coaches.

If a runner or coach wanted to go to the big international events (World Cups, World Champs and a regional championship), you'd have to spend a lot of time and money. It wasn't that many years ago when a runner or coach could get to all of the year's big events with a lot less travel (WOC's took place every other year and World Cups were in non-WOC years).

I don't really know what to make of the changing international schedule. Is it better now than it was ten years ago?

The new international schedules make it more expensive for nations like the U.S. to participate. But the schedule also might make it easier for an individual runner to spend a couple of years scraping by and being a "full-time" orienteer. It seems to me that more frequent races might make it easier for an individual to round up some personal sponsors to help foot the bill for a year or two.

Today's programme is not financially viable for the majority of runners and coaches...I bet if you did a survey ten years ago, or ten years from now, you'd get the same answer. It seems to be human nature that whatever situation you face feels tough. Even in big-money sports you'll hear the same sort of complaint. I saw an interview on TV with a NASCAR team owner complaining about how expensive the sport had become and how tough it was to get a new sponsor (in a sport where multi-million dollar sponsorship is common).

posted by Michael | 8:32 PM


Thursday, February 26, 2004

Deep grass


A couple of days ago I wrote about a race at Prairie Center where we spent some time running through deeeeeeeep grass.

Mark Roodhouse took some photos at the race:

Keith and Ted on their way to the first control. You get an idea of how tall some of the grass is.

I'm running through the grass from the last control, then along a trail to the to the finish.

posted by Michael | 7:48 PM


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

New idea in Sweden


The Swedish 5-days this summer is going to feature something they call the open marathon. Over five days, the course lengths will add up to 42.195 k. They're setting the courses to be easy, with an emphasis on running. It looks like the idea is to appeal to fit non-orienteers (maybe some of the adventure-racing types).

It seems like a good idea.

For something completely different

One of my all-time favorite TV shows was Tush. Tush was on Ted Turner's cable station around 1980. It didn't last long. But, I thought it was great. I googled Bill Tush and discovered www.billtush.com. Click on "pics & clips" to see some clips of the the Tush show (I can recommend "action news" and "anchorman hairspray") and the 17 Update Early in the Morning (take a look at the Pope doing pushups*).

* Mary's favorite.

posted by Michael | 8:30 PM


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

My new toy


I bought a new toy last night -- a Polar S720i heart rate monitor.


I bought my new toy at the "bargain cave" section of the local Cabelas. The bargain cave is where Cabelas sells items people returned or are slightly damaged. After trying on a pair of Nike trail running shoes (didn't quite fit right), I was on my way out when I caught sight of the Polar box. I took a look -- $39! Even though I didn't need a heart rate monitor, I couldn't pass up on it.

When I got home I checked an online source and found out the hrm normally goes for almost $300.

As far as I can tell it works fine. But, it is missing a couple of parts. The bit that fits over your chest usually comes with an elastic strap. The strap is missing. The S720i also works as a cyclocomputer. But, the box didn't include the part that attaches to the fork.


One cool feature of the hrm is that it tracks altitude. On my way home from work tonight I stopped and ran 50 minutes and climbed 740 feet.

I've never tracked climb as part of my training. It might be interesting to see how much climbing I do as I train. Having an easy way to measure climb and paying attention to it will probably get me to do a bit more hill training. That should help my orienteering.

posted by Michael | 7:50 PM


Monday, February 23, 2004

Predicting success


Last year I spent some time talking to Peter Snell* about orienteering, his research, running, training and getting old. Peter is always worth listening to because he's achieved some things beyond what most of us can imagine. One of the things we spent some time talking about was predicting success -- how can you look at an athletes and predict how they'll do?

Peter, for example, told me he was only the third best 800 meter runner in his high school. Just a few years later he was the best in the world. Could someone have looked at Peter's training, talked to him, looked at his results, etc. and predicted how he'd perform?

Pick a good young orienteer, let's say John Fredrickson. Will he be the next Mikell Platt (dominant in the U.S.)? Maybe he'll be the next Thierry Gieorgiou (a world champ)? Maybe he'll be the next Doug Hollowell (dominant in the U.S. as a junior....disappeared as a senior)? Or maybe he'll be the first John Fredrickson?

I was thinking about these sorts of questions today after I read an article on how the Baltimore Orioles use psychological test to help them select baseball players. Take a look at the article .

*I googled Peter and came across a link with a short sports resume and a Runners' World interview.

posted by Michael | 7:14 PM


Sunday, February 22, 2004

Today's race


I ran a short race at Prairie Center today. Check out the map with my routes. The course is 5.1 km and the map is 1:7,500.

The area is a nature park near Olathe. The forest is thick and thorny. The open areas are prairie grasses. The grass ranges from about knee high to over my head. The deep grass makes running a lot tougher and gives you a chance to think about some different route choices. For example, on 7-8 it wouldn't cost much time to use the trails that go right or left of the straight line. I'm sure my route is fastest, but I don't think you'd lose more than 30 or 40 seconds running all the way around on the trails.

The map is fine. The area is quite simple and in places the map is a bit over general. But, overall the map is quite easy to use. Improving the map would involve adding some more vegetation details in the forest (some of the light green isn't too terrible and some of it should be mapped darker green). I'm not sure if there is a good way to show the runnability of the deep grass. Probably not.

Possum Trot O' Club used this event as a clinic for people who have little or no experience organizing events. Everything went very well -- no misplaced controls, no controls hidden, no problems with the courses.

Overall a really nice day of orienteering. Prairie Center is always fun (more fun that it looks), but it ain't exactly great terrain.

posted by Michael | 6:58 PM


Saturday, February 21, 2004

Some notes about O' training


Over the years, I've been given a lot of advice about orienteering. Among the advice that I've heard from different people I have a lot of respect for are:

Don't train technique more than one or two times a week or you get stale
Don't train a lot of technique on maps you are familiar with or you'll develop bad habits

Both of these ideas are logical and pretty close to conventional wisdom.

But, over the years I'm not sure either of them is correct. True, you can get stale when you are doing a lot of technique training. But, I'm not convinced a lot of technique training makes you stale. True, you can develop bad habits when you train a lot on maps you are familiar with. But, you don't have to develop bad habits when you train on maps you are familiar with.

My experience has been that I've had several periods when I had a bunch of good races when I was ignoring both of the bits of conventional wisdom. I was training a lot of technique (usually 3-4 sessions a week) and I was doing a bunch of the training on maps I was familiar with. I didn't get stale and I didn't develop bad habits. Why? Probably because I was very motivated.

One of the notes I wrote about training yesterday was "experiment." One way to experiment is to take something you've been doing or some bit of conventional wisdom that's guided your training...throw it out. See what happens is you go against conventional wisdom.

One advantage to experimenting is that you can gain an edge. You'll see this in other sports all the time. Someone might figure out a new technique that works a lot better (I'm thinking of that high jumper who first figured out how to go backwards over the bar...can't remember the guy's name). In baseball, teams figured out that they can do a good job of identifying players who will contribute to the team and might not be expensive by focusing on on-base-percentage rather than flashier statistics. The teams that figured this out first managed to get an advantage.

The disadvantage to experimenting is that a lot of the conventional wisdom is there for a reason. A lot of conventional wisdom makes sense. Going against conventional wisdom can be risky. Experimenting can be difficult.

The trick is figuring out what makes sense and what doesn't. The way to do that is think, talk to people, then experiment.

posted by Michael | 8:08 AM


Friday, February 20, 2004

The start of a training philosophy


On the way home from work tonight I stopped at the sandwich shop to buy dinner. As I waited, I wrote a few notes about O' training. Maybe this is the beginning of a training philosophy.

I began by asking - What are the four or five things that best describe how I train? What principles explain what I do?

Here are the first five things I wrote down:

The best way to train is run O' courses
Stay healthy

As I plan and think about training, those five ideas explain most of what I've done over the years.

I'll expand on them over the next few days or weeks or so (or maybe I'll revise them or add to them).

The first thing I wrote down was "fun."

Orienteering and training for O' is suppose to be fun. It is fun. That's why I orienteer and why I train. There is really no other good reason to do a sport. So, looking for ways to make racing and training fun is a top priority.

That doesn't mean every session turns out to be fun. Sometimes I feel crappy. Sometimes I train when I don't feel like it. But, if that starts happening a lot, then it is time to quit.

posted by Michael | 7:11 PM


Thursday, February 19, 2004

Quick translation


I've been meaning to write up my "training philosophy." But, I haven't had time to put my notes together. Tonight I'll just do a quick translation of something Bjornar Valstad wrote under the general topic of training philosophy:

Training philosophy -- what should it include?

A training philosophy should be simple and easy to understand. Your training philosophy should answer:

What am I trying to develop?
How can I best develop?

In a training philosophy you can include some simple thoughts about how you want to train. Set up a plan covering which qualities you want to develop and how best to develop them. Think in the long-term and think about which qualities are most important for your sport. It takes time to build up both good O' technique and a high aerobic capacity....

Well, there is more to translate, but Snorkel just walked through the front door with take-out Chinese food. My philosophy will have to wait till another day.

posted by Michael | 7:20 PM


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Great terrain


My copy of ONA arrived today with an ad for next fall's U.S. Champs at Telemark, Wisconsin. The ad inspired me to rummage around my basement and find a map from the 1983 U.S. Champs at Telemark.

I ran M19-20 back then. My notes on the first day say "one of the worst days of my O' career." I took 122 minutes for 7 km. I wasn't much of an orienteer back then. The unusual terrain gave me a lot of trouble (I ran a lot better the second day).

posted by Michael | 7:03 PM


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

hobby <--------> obsession


I've been thinking about the difference between a normal hobby and an obsession. It seems like hobbies are normal, while obsessions are a bit crazy. I suppose people might say I'm obsessed with orienteering.

A couple of things came up in the last few weeks that have me thinking about obsessions...

1. I discovered that a significant number of people visiting Yellowstone in the winter came to see the wolves. They didn't come to explore the park or see the geysers. They came to stand beside the road with a spotting scope watching wolves.

2. I picked up a book called The Big Year about birdwatchers who spend most of a year (and a lot of money) trying to see as many different birds as they can.

3. I read Randy's report of his O' trip to Spain...and I thought "cool, that must have been a blast." It didn't occur to me that most people would probably consider Randy's trip as nutty as wolf watchers and bird counters.

I suppose watching the wolves or counting birds isn't really so crazy. Certainly these people aren't any crazier than some of the orienteers I know (I'd count myself, I guess). Certainly people involved in "hobbies" but on the obsessive end of the spectrum are interesting people.

Or maybe I'm nuts....the wolf watchers are nuts...the bird counters are nuts....and Randy is nuts...

posted by Michael | 9:29 PM


Monday, February 16, 2004

A few Yellowstone snapshots


OK, it has nothing to do with orienteering. But, I figured I'd post a few snapshots and comments from our trip to Yellowstone.

I'd never seen a wolf before. But, on our first day in the park I saw a wolf. Actually, I saw a pack of eight wolves. Mary and I drove to the Lamar Valley, the prime area for spotting wolves, and got lucky.

The wolves were playing in the snow on the other side of the valley. With bare eyes, you could see them moving around and their general shapes. With binoculars you could make out distinct features of each wolf.

The wolves were too far away to get a good photo. The snow falling and the bright white background of snow made the exposure tricky. But, I took a few photos anyway. Three wolves standing in the snow.

Mary and I did a lot of skiing, exploring the park and watching wildlife. Yellowstone is a great place to watch animals. Winter is a great time to watch animals. In the winter, the animals don't move as fast and are easy to spot against the snowy background.

In this snapshot, Mary waits for a bison to walk by. You need to give them a bit of room (the park rule is at least 25 meters).

Here's a snapshot Mary took. I'm sitting in the snow, taking a lunch break during a trip we took to the Lone Star Geyser. When we spent a week in Yellowstone a few years ago, we didn't see the sun. This time, we had lots of sun. I was glad to have my Fitover sunglasses (despite the geeky look, they worked great).

After we'd finished our lunch, the Lone Star Geyser erupted. Different geysers have different character. Lone Star erupts for a long time (we watched it for a good 15 minutes and it was still going as we skied away). One of the most striking features of Lone Star is that it makes a loud whooshing sound -- a bit like a jet engine -- that changes throughout the eruption.

In the snapshot, Mary skies away from the still erupting Lone Star Geyser.

posted by Michael | 2:58 PM


Z is for Zhyk and Zissos


Sergei Zhyk is one of the best orienteers in the U.S. these days (though he's spent a while recovering from a wicked ankle injury last fall). Check out his web page.

Adrian Zissos is an orienteer in Canada. I think I met him once (can't remember where, maybe the U.S. Champs last year?). Zissos is involved in the "barebones" O' events. The basic idea of barebones orienteering is to set up a high quality event without working too hard.

Zissos' web page also has an amusing article about orienteering fashion. Go to www.barebones.ca and click on the orienteering fashion link for the PDF file.

posted by Michael | 11:58 AM


Saturday, February 07, 2004

Next update on February 16


Until I return from Yellowstone, I won't update this page.

If you're looking for some O' reading material, check out Jamie Stevenson's training page. Stevenson, the current sprint world champ, lives in Sweden and writes about half of his stuff in Swedish and half in English. If he keeps up with it, this will be a page worth book marking and checking out regularly.

Another fun page to read is Pasi Ikonen's. Like Stevenson, he's got a world championship in his list of merits. He also writes in English. His training log is full of heart rate graphs, photos, videos and maps.

Finally, check out the online competition at Johan Modig's home page. Go here and click the link that says "lycka till". The page is entirely in Swedish, so I'll give you a few English instructions. When you click on "lycka til" a new window will pop open with the question -- what country is the map from?

The WOC in Switzerland was my 6th international championship. The maps below are from those six championships. You task is to match the map with the nation. Good luck.

Click on "Forsta kartklippet" to go to the first map. From there on, it is pretty easy to figure out what to do even if you don't read Swedish.

posted by Michael | 9:02 AM


Y is for Yellowstone


In a couple of hours, Mary and I are catching a flight. We're on our way to my favorite place on earth -- Yellowstone.

If you're glued to your computer, watching the Old Faithful web cam, you just might catch a glimpse of us early next week.

posted by Michael | 8:45 AM


Friday, February 06, 2004

X is for x-c skiing


X-country skiing is a great way to train. At least, I guess it is. I live in Kansas City, where you don't really get many chance to ski. I'm a lousy skier. I've got poor technique. I have to work hard, to go slow. I tire quickly. But, it is still a lot of fun.

It must be great to live some place where the winters have enough snow to give you regular chances to ski.

But, not everyone likes to ski. Browsing Jorgen Rostrup's home page a few weeks ago, I saw a note about the annual Norwegian winter training camp. The national team gets together and does a lot of skiing. Instead of skiing, Rostrup brought his bike and rode on a trainer while watching TV. I hesitate to conclude that someone I've never met is crazy, but I've got to think that Rostrup must be nuts. I wonder what he watched on TV? Maybe he had tapes of KU basketball games. If that's the case, I'll cut him some slack.

posted by Michael | 8:27 PM


Thursday, February 05, 2004

W is for winning


Winning is the goal of sports, I guess. But, I don't think winning, or trying to win, is what motivates athletes.

Working is basically the same. You have a job because you need to make money. But, making money isn't what motivates you to work. Maybe that's not quite right. If making money is what motivates you to go to your job, you're probably not enjoying your work and chances are you're not doing your best.

Here is something from Mike Waddington that is related to motivation:

I learned that you have to treat the sport as fun first -- competition second. When I started doing this I got better results. I am competitive, but only in the search for that "fast and perfect" result. Nothing would make me happier than to have a perfect race and be 5th Canadian in the race.

W could also be for World Champs in Ski Orienteering

The Ski O' World Champs is set for next week (10th through 15th). The organizers are planning to use GPS and SMS technologies to provide updates of the skiers progress around the course. I think they're even planning to show the race live via the web.

It sounds interesting.

More info is from the Ski O' World Champs web page.

posted by Michael | 7:54 PM


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

V is for Valstad


Bjornar Valstad and Hanne Staff's web page is full of interesting stuff. But, it is written in Norwegian. Here is a short translation from an article on Valstad and Staff's training philosophy:

Why should you have a train philosophy?

Having an idea or a philosophy as a basis for your training makes it easier for you as an athlete. The training philosophy is a system for developing your skills. A system tells you how to work to improve your condition, map reading and mental skills.

With a philosophy about why you train the way you do it becomes easier to see how your training fits together as a whole and makes it easier to compete each session [rough translation!]. You know why you train the different sessions and how they affect the development of your performance.

A training philosophy is the foundation for your whole life as an athlete. For us it is more concrete than that we have a strong view of how we function best in our daily lives and as athletes -- what affects us positively both in training and in competitions.

The training philosophy also helps us in how we build up a training year, training periods, different sessions and what combination we should have in our training in order to improve as athletes.

Well, that translation is a bit rough. But, it gives you an idea of what Bjornar and Hanne think about why you should have a "training philosophy." I think most of us have a philosophy, but I don't think most of us have put it down on paper. Bjornar and Hanne have and I suppose I should take some time and translate it.

That'll have to wait for another day.

posted by Michael | 7:35 PM


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

U is for ???


When I started my orienteering A-to-Z I knew there would be days when it was hard to come up with something to write. Today is one of those days.

U could be for U.S. O' Federation. But, I can't think of anything to write about the USOF. I don't really know anything about USOF.

U could be for Uppsala. Uppsala is a university town not far from Stockholm. I've spent some time there. I've run in the forest around Uppsala. But, I can't think of anything to write about Uppsala.

U could be for utvekling, the Swedish word for development. I could write about how orienteering has developed in the U.S. over the 23 years I've been orienteering (more orienteers, but slow growth; higher quality of events, but still some problems; deeper competition, but I'm not sure the top level has improved; better maps on average...).

V should go better.

posted by Michael | 8:47 PM


Monday, February 02, 2004

T is for team feeling


Poking around my basement a few weeks ago I came across an old US Team Newsletter where Ron Pontius wrote an article analyzing his improving results. Here is his summary:

So what conclusions can I draw from all of this [analysis]? I think three major points can be made. (1) I lost weight; (2) I started to specifically train on maps; and (3) I had an enthusiastic club to train with on a regular basis. Of these three, although all of them are important, which one do I feel was the most important? Definitely the last one. Without the team atmosphere, I probably would not have had the motivation to do the first two nor the experience to do #2. The key to it all was not peer pressure or anything of the sort, but just that we had a lot of fun doing it while looking towards some specific goals....

posted by Michael | 7:46 PM


Sunday, February 01, 2004

S is for Sudden


Sudden is Hans Fransson. You can check out Sudden's training at Attackpoint.

I spent some time this morning looking at Sudden's training following the same approach I used when I looked at Hammer's training. I've got a set of questions I use to think about how orienteers train.

Sudden's training - easiest to answer questions

Training volume ? even year round or lots of up-and-down? If the volume is uneven, is it because of periodization or something else?

Sudden does more volume in the winter, then less during the rest of the year. Looks like he takes some easier weeks to help recover. I think he is doing periodization, winter is the off-season.

Cross training ? does the orienteer use other sports in training? Do they compete in other sports?

Sudden uses a lot of different ways to train. I've seen skiing, indoor cycling, mtb, roller skiing, rowing, treadmill and roller blading. He does some ski racing and some adventure racing. I can't tell how seriously he takes those other sports.

O' technique ? Does the orienteer practice technique or do they get their technique through competitions?

He does some technique training. The GHO in Hamilton has a lot of technique training and local racing. I don't get the impression that Sudden is working on improving his O' technique so much as practicing enough to sharpen the skills before races.

For the month of January 2004, GHO had 8 organized training sessions, a mix of running sessions and technique sessions.

Injuries and illness ? Does the orienteer have problems with injuries and illness?

He had an achilles injury in 2002 that affected his training. I can't tell from Attackpoint if the injury was over training/racing or if he had a sudden injury (stepping in a hole or something). Looking Sudden's post-injury training it struck me that he tried to return to running too soon (I'm speculating wildly here...I don't actually have any idea how severe the injury was or even what the nature of the injury was).

Sudden has missed some training through sickness (colds, I'm guessing). Speculating again...it looks to me like the colds probably happen when a couple of factors pile up -- training and racing, plus some travel, plus something else (maybe work or family commitments?). While it looked to me like he tried to return from the achilles injury too quickly, it looks to me like he's prudent about recovering when he gets sick.

Sudden's training -- possible to answer, but easy to get wrong

Does the orienteer have clear, known goals?

I don't know about individual goals, but the GHO club has some clear goals. So, Sudden is in an environment that is goal-directed. I'd be surprised if he didn't have some clear individual goals. But, I don't know what they are.

Does the orienteer work with a coach?

I can't tell. Sudden is Swedish, so he was probably brought up with the typical Swedish O' approach. Swedish clubs tend to have clear templates for their organized training. The clubs often have trainers. Often the trainers focus or organizing the weekly training sessions and training camps. They don't necessarily work one-on-one with individual runners. Some Swedish clubs have trainers who work more closely one-on-one with individual runners. But, if I had to say there was a typical model, it is that the runners need to take responsibility for their own training within the structure set out by the club. Younger orienteers learn to plan their own training.

One thing that is interesting about the Swedish approach (again, some wild speculation here) is that clubs have a structure that is set and they don't adapt for their orienteers. If a top orienteer feels they need a different structure and training environment, they change clubs. The clubs don't change to meet the needs of their top orienteers.

Now I've gone way off track with my analysis of Sudden's training! So, back to the issue....

I can't tell if Sudden has a coach. But, I'm sure he's got a template in mind. Most of his weeks have an interval session and a long-ish session. That's standard stuff.

Does the orienteer's approach seem to be scientific and detail-oriented or more intuitive?

I don't like this question. I've got to re-write it. "Scientific" isn't the right word to get at what I mean.

Sudden seems fairly detail oriented. It looks like he does his training with an eye on the watch and an eye on the distance. I don't get the impression that he makes up his mind how he's going to train as he heads out the door or that he adjust his sessions very much depending on how he feels half way through.

Sudden's training -- hardest to answer, probably wrong

Does an "attitude" come through? Does the orienteer come across as having a positive approach? Do they whine a lot?

I don't get a sense from looking at Attackpoint of Sudden's attitude. You can divide people who keep their training logs at Attackpoint in two groups based on how much detail and information (and just plain nonsense) they record on a day-to-day basis. Sudden doesn't write much, just the bare minimum. A sense of an attitude doesn't come through (unless you consider "just the bare minimum" to describe an attitude).

Does the orienteer seem to be experimenting or following a template?

I see a template more than experimentation. As I noted before, Sudden comes from Sweden, where templates are pretty standard. To give you an idea of a typical Swedish club training template, I looked up the plan for Sudden's Swedish club (Savedalens AIK) for the coming week:

Today: Long distance O' practice from the club house.
Monday: Innebandy (aka "floorball" -- something like field hockey in a gym with a wiffle ball).
Tuesday: Short intervals.
Thursday: Local night O' race series.
Saturday: O' technique practice.

What sort of background does the orienteer have? Do they make maps? Have the competed at a high level in another sport? Did they start at a young age? Have they lived in Europe?

He's from Sweden. He probably started orienteering at a fairly young age. If I remember correctly, Fransson is from Vetlanda in Sweden. Vetlanda is well known among orienteers who raced a lot in the 1980s/90s because of a radio show called "Skivor fran Vetlanda" (records from Vetlanda). The show was one morning on the weekend (Sunday?) and featured old Swedish music. The music was odd and the guy who hosted the program was obsessed with old Swedish music. If you had the car radio on while driving to an O' race, you probably heard at least a few minutes of Skivor fran Vetlanda.

Does anything seem striking or unusual?


posted by Michael | 10:27 AM


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