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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The first member of our team in Finland was me! Zoe 😊 I came straight to Finland from the Oceania champs in NZ and have been staying with an orienteering family in Hämeenlinna for the last 2 months! It’s been unreal, such an experience to be here, tough at times yes but overall so eye-opening to European orienteering. I have gone in races just about every weekend representing Hämeenlinnan Tarmo; including local comps with roughly 800 competitors, regional champs (including one where Mina Kauppi made an appearance – was stoked to only be 8.5 mins behind the legend frothn) the Finnish middle distance champs, 3 World Cup public races, the Grano Games, Venla and Jukola!

Toby arrived in time for the World Cup races and was mostly staying in Helsinki with Atte Lahtinen and family. The highlight of his time before the team came together was all the pastry’s he ate for breakfast – according to Tara (“no, that’s what he said”). Jarrah arrived in time for the Grano Games around Tampere and has been mostly in Tampere staying with some friends.

Just before Jukola Jarrah and I spent a few days with Atte in Helsinki doing some training on some pretty wicked maps. The terrain in the south of Finland is quite different to around Tampere so although it was not completely relevant to JWOC the terrain was like nothing I’ve run on before. So many beautiful mossy rocks and bare rock in open vibrant green forest.

The next weekend Jarrah, Aston, Toby and I were lucky enough to be in Finland for Venla and Jukola! It was unreal, absolutely #blessed to be there. I ran 1st leg for Venla, the mass start was hectic, nothing like running to the first control with literally hundreds of people running around you. Aston ran 1st Leg for Jukola, Toby and I both ran 6th leg and Jarrah was the Anchor for his team, running 7th leg. We all had quite long courses, all over 11km but the excitement and adrenaline of running in a relay like Jukola gave us that extra bit of motivation. The setup of Jukola was amazing, 2 massive live screens with countless people staying up all night watching every moment. The winning teams came in at about 7am, before I even got to start my leg – makes you realise how good they are.

Heres a link to the official video for Juloka 2017 - https://vimeo.com/222195922 (put together by tassies own David Brickhill-Jones AKA BJ) 

After Jukola Jarrah, my host family and I went to Koli national park and visited one of Finland’s national views. It felt like we were sitting on the edge of the world and even though it’s a long way from Tampere if you ever get the chance to go, do!

Jarrah, me and my host dad Mika @ Koli

On Tuesday Asha arrived and spent 2 days with me in Hämeenlinna and then we hopped on an iconic and well supported by the Aus JWOC team, “onni bus” to Tampere. We went mental when we arrived at the AirBnB accommodation. Asha was nearly crying over the never ending (I swear) tea draw and I was doing the same over the spice draw even though I couldn’t understand what any of them were. We also found a perfume cupboard, we’ll all smell nice every day this week by how its going so far.

You can almost see the tears in her eyes

We met Toby, Tara and Caroline on Friday and already have some funny stories to tell. Asha and Tara bought 2L of banana yoghurt (its been a year of withdrawals for them) for 3AUD but with the amount of money we saved on maps I think they could buy about 50L and we would still be ahead. Jarrah had a bunch of maps from around the Tampere region and we also found a photocopier, Ralph, we know you'll be proud. 

The main bedroom has a mirror on the ceiling which makes us girls giggle (just gals bein chicks) before we go to bed. But not as much as the keys which has a naked guy in a pool doughnut attached to it. 
Do look closely 
We weren’t so happy about the jukebox being broken though, I suppose we will just have to wait until the after party to play Nollsy louder than our phones will play it.
We are all feeling pretty tired after today’s long training but a few times over listening to the *house* 2009 remix of Down under kept us going.
This weekend was the mid-summer weekend for Finland, lots of places have been shut and public transport hasnt been normal. This has made busses a bit of a struggle so we didn’t get to go to the map we originally wanted to but you can’t win em all hey. 

We ended up going to a map near Hervanta, called Makkarajärvi ('Sausage Lake') but were nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes so we were out of there pretty quick after we finished our session.
Sim joined us today and we have done one of 2 sprint trainings planed so far. We went to Epilä
 this morning and are going to an organised training by Tampereen Pyrinto at the Grano games map, Järvensivun Koulu, this afternoon. 
Epila sprint intervals 
Joe and Jarrah will join us on Monday and then we have a few days of solid training with the 8 of us – should be a blast!! Can’t wait to see more of the team arriving, feels more and more like jwoc everyday 😊
Share this blog when you find the 5th head (Hint: there's a Tasmanian in the photo)

Another update coming soon, along with the first series of our quote list for 2017.

Zoe xxx

Saturday, July 9, 2016

This post is going straight to the pool room

Sorry for the lack of recent posts but don’t stress, it’s not that we’ve been slacking off. In fact there’s been a number of reasons for our lack of internet activity; notably having to watch ‘The Castle’ twice for motivational purposes; browsing dank memes and the fact that we feel we’re not really able to keep up with the standard of blog posting that’s been supplied to us by our buddy Jan (don’t worry, if you think you were confused by the repeated references to him in our profiles, he was even more mystified). Despite all of this, we’ve reached the point where we’ve done more running wild’s than Bear Grylls on a ten day bender so we figure we’d set aside a bit of time to keep you fans back home up to date.

There’s been a lot of good stuff that’s come out of our training week. The team atmosphere is fizzling with more fizzle then an electrolyte tablet in Swiss mineral water and it’s clear that we’re tighter as a group than Ralph Street’s favourite pair of Under Armour shorts. We’re not sure exactly what’s been the biggest contributing factor to this, it could possibly be Ralph’s clapping ritual that we do before each training, the lack of wifi in our previous accommodation forcing us to huddle together in the corridor or even Jules’ classic stitch up in making us do a homework research task on Swiss culture. Either way, we can safely assure you that our team culture is absolutely lit right now, words cannot even start to describe the mad bants at dinner every night.
A wild Ralph Street in his natural habitat
In terms of the orienteering training, that’s been pretty flawless as well. Although it's been a reasonably light week, we’ve still managed to fit in quite a few quality sessions out in the terrain. The forests along the Engadin valley have been surprisingly varied, a mix of super technical contour detail and blander slopes, low vis pine that releases toxic gas more lethal than Simeon’s ‘presents’ in our toilet and rapid fast sections almost as attractive as some of the local volleyball players, tricky old town sprints and residential areas with scope for more interesting route choices. The only consistency between all the maps we’ve been on has been the fact that the gradients range from steep to vertical. Luckily, Jules has provided us with some master classes on the 'Swiss walk' and this combined with the rock climbing I did on Year 8 camp his really set me up to cope with this challenge. We’d all agree that this terrain does provide a lot of challenges, however thanks to the coaching we’ve received during the training camp, we’re pretty well prepared to face these tests during the race week.
Guys being dudes 
We’ve been kept well entertained through the team playlist and although the general consensus is that it’s a good collection of bangerz, some of the more outspoken team members (not going to name names but his name rhymes with Fat Boyle and is Matt Doyle) have expressed their thoughts that a few tunes are a bit “how ya goin” which has led to the rule that we’re each allowed one veto per cycle through the playlist. Definitely the main crowd favourites in the mixtape are Ralph’s europop selections although I’m not sure the Yanks shared our enthusiasm for his pick ‘Russian Roulette’ as we did slow laps of the supermarket car park blaring it over our speakers in a reasonably successful attempt to intimidate them.
Gals being chicks

We’ve become well acquainted with the locals, whether that be shyly waving to Simone Niggli while walking down the main street of Scuol (except for Simeon ‘International-orienteering-is-boring-to watch’ Burrill who didn’t recognise her), smiling at the old bloke who we’re still yet to see move from his bench on a side street of Sent or our very impressive demonstration of guys being dudes at the town beach volleyball court. We’ve also had some good times absolutely wrecking some six year-olds who thought they were top stuff down at the town Fuβball stadium. Overall, we’ve definitely made a firm positive impression on the locals though, our ‘photography’ session the other day provided quite the spectacle for passers-by and I think we’d all like to hope that the constant stream of ‘The Castle’ quotes that come out of our mouths would have had some impact on the people we’ve met.
Serenity at the dinner table
It hasn’t all been good news though. They’ve been a few struggles along the way too. Up until yesterday we had to put up with that thing that was on Matt’s face but thanks to a bit of not so gentle peer pressure, he finally made the call to shave down to race weight. Another low light was on Thursday when we woke up, looked out our penthouse window and noticed that there was a little bit of haze meaning that the view wasn’t quite as amazing as usual. Of course, there was further disappointment when we arrived at our new accommodation last night and had to put up with a slightly extended wait in between the third and fourth course at dinner. To be honest, I’m not really sure how we do it but I guess it’s all just part of being a world class elite athlete.

So anyway, gotta head off now, we’ve got a big race tomorrow and we might just be able to fit in two more screenings of The Castle before the opening ceremony.

The boys (95% Pat, 10% the other boys and the rest is just good luck)

Friday, July 8, 2016

JWOC 2016 Athlete Profiles

Name:   Zoe Dowling
Year born:   1998
Nickname:   Heartbreaker
JWOC class:   Virgin
Favourite Distance:   Middle
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Swedish
Would you rather have red eyes or pointy teeth:    Pointy teeth because I don’t want to look like a cooker
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Multi-coloured pen
Mediocre Fact:    I live in a single story house
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Anna Dowling  Favourite orienteering experience:   Spontaneous toga party at schools ‘15

Name:  Tara Melhuish
Year born:   1999
Nickname:   Tartare Sauce
JWOC class:   Fresher
Favourite Distance:   Sprint
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Swedish
Quote:   "One day I'll wake up and I'll be obese"
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves 
Mediocre Fact:    I play the trumpet
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   My sports Idol Asha Steer  Favourite orienteering experience:   When I first beat my sports idol Asha Steer

Name:   Aston Key
Year born:   2004
Nickname:   2016 Unofficial M16 Youth Orienteering Sprint Champion
JWOC class:   Rookie
Favourite Distance:   Middle
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Finnish
Would you rather keep everything you ever get (including rubbish) or have one random item of yours taken away every week:   Keep everything, I don't want to lose my Str8 
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    I don't need one, my Str8 compass does everything I need, btw you can purchase one.
Mediocre Fact:    I play cricket
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Jan Erik Naess

Name:   Simeon Burrill
Year born:   1998
Nickname:   Daddy's Boy
JWOC class:   Backstreet Boy
Favourite Distance:   Long
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Norwegian
Would you rather eat a glue stick or a drink a bottle of whiteout:  Glue stick, nicer texture
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Mediocre Fact:     My middle name is John
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Jan Erik Naess 
Favourite orienteering memory:   Showers with Ash

Name:   Winnie Oakhill
Year born:   1998
Nickname:   Shezza
JWOC class:   Boomerang
Favourite Distance:   Long
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Danish
Quote:  "Either you run the day or the day runs you"
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Corkscrew
Mediocre Fact:    My shoes are 7 1/2 
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Heino Bubble But
Favourite orienteering experience:   That time the crazy lady chased us

Name:   Jarrah Day
Year born:   1997
Nickname:   Jamah
JWOC class:   Comeback Kid
Favourite Distance:   3000m
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Finnish (it was a good month)
Would you rather be in solitary confinement for forty eight hours or not be able to leave your house for 24 days:  Solitary confinement, you can't have 24 rest days in a row
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Mediocre Fact:    My toothbrush is blue
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Jemery Day - Wrong, correct answer is Jan Erik Naess
Favourite orienteering experience:   Schools disco with Oisin

Name:   Asha Steer
Year born:   1998
Nickname:   Boylord
JWOC class:   Returned from hiatus
Favourite Distance:   372m
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Norwegian
Would you rather drink 5 beers before you race or not eat for 48 hours beforehand:   5 beers
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Mediocre Fact:    I thought the Hunger Games series was OK
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   With my number one fan, Tara Melhuish
Favourite orienteering experience:   The bubbles

Name:   Patrick Jaffe
Year born:   1998
Nickname:   Patty Pingerz
JWOC class:   Second helping
Favourite Distance:   Relay
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Norwegian
Quote:  "I actually still really like orienteering"
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Mediocre Fact:    I don't drink tea
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Jan the Man
Favourite orienteering experience:   Beating Asha Steer in the Aus champs Middle and Long (2010)
Least favourite orienteering experience: Losing to Asha Steer in the Aus champs Sprint (2010)

Name:   Anna Dowling
Year born:   1996
Nickname:   Vegemite
JWOC class:   Three's a crowd
Favourite Distance:   Middle
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Danish
Quote:  "There's no hole in the sun over here"
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Bottle o[ener
Mediocre Fact:    I'm right handed
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Matthias Kyburz  
Favourite orienteering experience:   Whenever I drew my route on my map back in the day when I used to be shadowed I used to draw squiggles to make it look more interesting.

Name:   Henry McNulty
Year born:   1996
Nickname:   Henry Janfan McKutty
JWOC class:   Three strikes and out
Favourite Distance:   Relay
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Girls only distract me from my studies
Would you rather jump in a glacial lake right before you start or run through stinging nettles in spring shorts halfway through the course:  Nettles, once you're in there it's actually quite nice
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Nail file
Mediocre Fact:    My favourite t-shirt is white
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Jan Erik Naess  
Favourite orienteering experience:  Long night at Tiomila 2015

Name:   Lanita Steer
Year born:   1982
Nickname:   Mitsubishi Lansa
JWOC class:   Due for release
Favourite Distance:   To the fridge
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Swedish
Quote:   "Mbrwawylkjhaah"
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Fish scale remover
Mediocre Fact:    I have brown eyes
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Blair Trewin 
Favourite orienteering experience:   Being taller than Henry at Easter Twenty10

Name:   Matt Doyle
Year born:   1998
Nickname:   Doyley / Mr Shadow / MCK
JWOC class:   Closing Down sale
Favourite Distance:   Relay
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Danish, but all are good selections
Quote:  "He's an ideas man / Suffer in your jocks / Tell him he's dreaming / Straight to the poolroom / How's the serenity? / We're goint to Bonnie Doon / Bad luck ... ya dickhead"
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Mirror to check my hair
Mediocre Fact:    I go for Adelaide                  
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   What's that Canadian guy's name? Is it John? Eric ? ... Jan Erik Naess that's the one!  #janfan
Favourite orienteering experience:   All the friends I've made at home and abroad

Name:   Karen Blatchford
Year born:   1987
Nickname:   Kazza "The Weapon" Blatchford
JWOC class:   Threepeat
Favourite Distance:   Middle
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Not fussy
Quote:  "I don't care what anyone things, I like Guy Sebastian"
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Nail scissors
Mediocre Fact:    I have one child
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Jules
Favourite orienteering experience:   Watching Nicola Josh run at JWOC

Name:   Julian Dent
Year born:   1985
Nickname:   Daddy
JWOC class:   Dictator
Favourite Distance:   Long
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Finnish
Quote:  "F**K!"
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Toothpick
Mediocre Fact:    I drive a volvo
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Thierry
Favourite orienteering experience:   JWOC 2005, Switzerland

Name:   Nick Dent
Year born:   18_ _  (You can guess the rest)
Nickname:   Thundercalves / Terrible torso / Papa Nicko
JWOC class:   Prisoner of war
Favourite Distance:   Middle
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Finnish
Would you rather be so sunburnt you can't move or be so cold you can't move:  Cold because my body would be preserved and so I could be resurrected
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    MyCalves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Mascara stick
Mediocre Fact:    I used to have hair
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Minna Kauppi
Favourite orienteering experience:   Watching the JWOC long distance in Dubbo

Name:   Ralph Street
Year born:   1990
Nickname:   #traitor
JWOC class:   Convict
Favourite Distance:   Relay
Danish, Finnish, Swedish or Norwegian:    Australian
Qupte:  "I don;t trust stairs, they're always up to something"
Favourite thing about Nick Dent:    Calves
Favourite Swiss Army Knife Attachment:    Screwdriver
Mediocre Fact:    I'm unemployed
If you could share a fondue with any orienteer, who would it be:   Jamie Stevenson
Favourite orienteering experience:   Winning Tiomila

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

UPDATE: Sprint, Middle Qual and Middle Final

Thought I’d give you an update on our 2015 JWOC progress.

The week started with an opening ceremony in Rauland, a simple athlete procession and a taste of some Norwegian music. 
We are staying in two cabins in Vierli Turistsenter complete with kitchen and washing and drying facilities – very handy with the conditions we are likely to face during the week.

We catered for our own meals during the training week, which worked out really well. During competition week we are doing our own breakfast and lunch and have our dinners provided – although with no dessert, there has still been some late night baking involved for chef Kazza.  

Henry finishing the sprint

All maps for competition and model areas are within easy driving and Karen and Hanny have now mastered this wrong side of the road business.
Weather during the training week was absolutely amazing with an unseasonable bout of hot weather. This wasn’t going to last for competition week.

The first event was the sprint, held in Amot and although it involved mainly road and track network there were some tricky and not-so-obvious route decisions to be made making it quite a tricky sprint course.

Aidan after an awesome run in the sprint
Liv, finishing the sprint in such hot conditions
Jarrah in the finish of the sprint
Our Aussies came away with some mixed results, the best three placed men being Henry 51st, Matt 54th, and Aidan 58th with only 10 seconds separating the three of them; the best three placed women being Winnie 58th, Lanita 74th and Nicola 104th. Terrific to see first time JWOCers Aidan and Winnie performing so well and to have three boys in the top 60 was awesome.

Anna, consistent in the Middle terrain
We then moved to the middle qualification races on ‘Adalen’ a map with some smooth contoured hillsides, some marshes and some very intricate contoured areas. 

The athletes were warned that the terrain may be even trickier than it appears on the map. 

There were three very different  courses in the A B and C qualifying heats and there were big variations in winning times. Athletes were bused to a bus stop and then had to walk 2 ½ km to quarantine with a150m climb. 

Nicola a satisfying Middle qual run
After such hot weather for the sprint and the battle being heat exhaustion and trying to cool the athletes down, the opposite was for the middle qual. It rained non stop and was down to 6 degrees and the battle was getting athletes changed, dry and warm after their runs.

We had some terrific results and overall the Aussies handled the terrain really well. 
To finish with three athletes in the A final was awesome but even more pleasing was that we had 6 athletes in the top 26 of each heat.
Our best three place getters in the Men were Matt 13th, Pat 20th, Henry 23rd and in the women: Winnie 18th, Nicola 21st and Anna 26th. It was devastating for Henry and Anna to be close and as we watched the last runner enter the arena, Nicola was also only just pushed out of the top 20 and out of the A final.

Simeon finishing after a very wet qualification day 

Aidan really pumping for that finish split

This brought us to the Middle Final. The weather improved and there wasn’t any rain, just a cool temperature, but terrific running conditions. 

Matt flying in to the finish
This was to be a tough day for the Aussies with some unfortunate mispunches and navigational errors costing some of our experienced athletes time in the forest. Most pleasing results came from Aidan who bounced back from a disappointing qualification race to secure 8th position in the C final. Such a fantastic run for Aidan.

Winnie ran superbly to finish 45th in the A final. An awesome result for first time JWOCer and terrific experience for her and Patrick to race against such top competition in the A final.
Hannah, another solid performance 

Lani relieved after the Middle Final
Anna and Jarrah put in a very solid performances to finish 11th and 20th in the B finals – absolutely wonderful results and both were very satisfied with their runs in such tricky terrain. Hannah was also most satisfied on her run. Lanita, Nicola and Olivia all made an error early in the course and time lost couldn’t be made up but at least finished well.
Winnie on a good run in the Middle Final
Pat in the finish of the Middle Final
Pat and Nicola signing autographs on maps for some Czech juniors

I think all athletes have had some positives and some disappointments during the week which is the nature of running in foreign terrain, in a big competition against the best in the world and with 5 competition runs in the week.
I encourage you all to go to the JWOC 2015 website and check out some of the maps and courses they have done,  http://www.jwoc2015.org/ 
Hopefully the weather will be pleasant for the remainder of the week and hopefully we will have many more positives come from the long distance event and the relay.

I remind them of our High Performance Manager’s words, that JWOC is just one experience along their road to becoming a senior elite orienteer.
If they can come away from JWOC having experienced some positives; having learnt a lot and made new friends and having fuelled their drive to continue in the sport and to improve as they move into the senior age rank, then it has been worthwhile for themselves and for Orienteering Australia.
I couldn’t be prouder of the way they’ve handled their successes and misfortunes and of the way they’ve supported each other this week.
They have been awesome company too ;)

Tonight we had a get-together in Rauland where all teams met for dinner, some music and the prize giving ceremony for the sprint and middle races.  What a great idea – we arrived and had to walk around the tables and find an Aussie flag at a dinner setting and then we could sit in that spot – athletes, coaches and Managers alike. This meant we were sitting at mixed tables and got to know those around us – other athletes and coaches. It was a terrific way to meet new friends and all came away feeling very excited to share their experiences.

Tomorrow we will go to the Long Model event and then we are having an ‘Aussie Supporters’ afternoon tea at our cabin – the girls’ cabin that is, it smells just a little fresher ;)  We have so many family members in Norway supporting the team – it’s been great to see the Aussie flag flying in the arena and to hear the Aussies cheering  - really makes a difference. Thanks for all the support from back home as well - it's so appreciated!

I just love that it's light til so late over here. The snow on the mountains is gradually melting but every day we are amazed at the scenery. This is from outside our cabins at about 10.30pm!

I’ll try to post another blog update soon.