Thursday, July 13, 2017

Aussie team profiles 2017

You may have seen some guys and girls in gaudy yellow running around in the forest over the past week, we thought it is time that you learn a bit more about the 2017 Australian JWOC team.

Tara Melhuish

Year born: 1999
Nickname: T-pain
JWOC year: biathlon champ (2)
Quote: “Sometimes I just get the urge to go aaarrggghhhhh”
Favourite distance: Sprint
Favourite artist: Darude 
Favourite canned legume: Chilli beans
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Life is a highway
Mediocre fact: I brush my hair
If I could have a sauna with any orienteer it would be: Maja Alm


Asha Steer

Year born: 1998
Nickname: Sleep-lord
JWOC year: Finally managed 2 JWOCs in a row (3 over 4 years)
Quote: “I want to hold someone’s hand!!!!!!”
Favourite distance: Sprint (anything short and sweet)
Favourite artist: Darude 
Favourite canned legume: lentils
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Love story
Mediocre fact: I am thinking of dropping out of uni
Proudest life achievement: Slept 20 hours out of 28 on Monday (the 3rd)

Zoe Dowling

Year born: 1998
Nickname: Peachy, Mumma-Zoe
JWOC year: Marinated tofu (2)
Quote: “I love a good sing-a-long”, “beans are so underrated”
Favourite distance: Middle
Favourite artist: Darude 
Favourite canned legume: re-fried beans
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: A thousand miles
2 truths 1 lie: I have done a dump on an orienteering course and heard someone coming, I was born in the car on the way to the hospital, I am a squatting Slav.
Mediocre fact: I was born in a Hospital

Caroline Pigerre

Year born: 1999
Nickname: Caro
JWOC year: Virgin (1)
Quote: what was the map called today? “Something-Jarvi”
Favourite distance: Relay
Favourite artist: Darude 
Favourite canned legume: Black beans
Proudest life achievement: Eating 9 pieces of pizza in one sitting (“I felt so sick afterwards, would not recommend”)
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Life is a highway
Mediocre fact: I did English and Bio in year 12

Rachel Allen

Year born: 1999
Nickname: Rallentino- Rossi
JWOC year: Freshy (1)
Quote: “Can I borrow your…(insert any item of clothing)”
Favourite distance: I like them all
Favourite artist: Darude 
Mediocre fact: I have my ears pierced
Favourite canned legume: baked beans
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Circle of Life

Winnie Oakhill

Year born: 1998
Nickname: Shez
JWOC year: 1985 Cabernet Franc (3)
Quote: “So do the bullets end up at the other end?” (At biathlon training, shooting a gun)
Favourite distance: Long
Favourite artist: Darude 
Mediocre fact: I’m fluent in English
Favourite canned legume: Red kidney beans
If I could have a sauna with any orienteer it would be: Matty K

Simeon Burrill

Year born: 1998
Nickname: DJ pussy b***h
JWOC year: One cookie left in the jar (3)
Quote: “I will woo them with my boyish charm”
Favourite distance: Sprint
Favourite artist: Darude 
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: On my way
Mediocre fact: It takes me 32 minutes to brush and gel my hair every morning
2 truths and 1 lie: Darude is underrated, Darude is underrated, Darude is overrated

Joe Dickinson

Year born: 1998
Nickname: Jo
JWOC year: Fresh meat (1)
Quote: “no cookies, no deal”
Favourite distance: Sprint
Favourite artist: Darude 
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: “That one with the filthy drop”
Mediocre fact: I play soccer

Pat Jaffe

Year born: 1998
Nickname: Mr Muscles, Patty Pingerz, bubble butt 2.0, Meme Lord
JWOC year: Hat-trick Jaffe (3)
Quote: “For the past 6 months I've just been a legend” "I got Janned"
Favourite distance: Middle, but love getting down with the boys for the relay
Favourite artist: Darude 
Proudest life achievement: getting 2/10 at biathlon shooting but closely followed by a short walk to the bus with some French girls
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Home among the gum trees

Jarrah Day

Year born: 1997
Nickname: Jammah 
JWOC year: Three strikes and he’s out  
Quote: “no, yah yah, nooo" 
Favourite distance: Middle
Favourite artist: Darude 
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix:
If I could have a sauna with any orienteer it would be: bubble butt

Aston Key

Year born: 2005
Nickname: Aston Martin
JWOC year: Backstreet Boy (2)
Quote: “I’m 12 now Pat, I can do what I want”, “Did you know IKEA sells hot dogs and meatballs?”
Favourite distance: Middle
Favourite artist: Darude 
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: What about me
Mediocre fact: My favourite subject is maths
If I could have a sauna with any orienteer it would be: Thierry Gueorgiou

Toby Wilson

Year born: 1997
Nickname: Tob-dog
JWOC year: Rookie (1)
Quote: “HOLY S**T”, “that’s f*#%ing ridiculous”, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”
Favourite distance: In Australia: Long, in Finland: to the cookie jar
Favourite artist: Darude 
Mediocre fact: I have only ever lived in one house
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Fireflies
Proudest life achievement: Beating Jarrah from the last control to the finnish in the Tassie NOL long race.
2 truths 1 lie: My favourite word is ridiculous, I love Darude, I don’t drink

Hanny Allston

Nickname: Grandma 
JWOC year: War lord
Quote "Get in your bubble", "Its so beautiful" 
Favourite distance: to the kettle for a cuppa
Mediocre fact: I am Australian 
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Someone like you 
Favourite artist: Darude 
If I could have a sauna with any orineteer it would be: Graham Hammond 

Graham Hammond

Nickname: Daddy Gray 
JWOC year: New born 
Quote: "I know heaps about orienteering" 
Favourite distance: Down the slope 
Mediocre fact: I am balding 
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Egyptian - original mix 
If I could have a sauna with any orienteer it would be: Hanny Allston 
Favourite artist: Darude 

Jim Russell

Nickname: Jimbo 
JWOC year: Prisoner of war
Quote: "you can't see too much in that profile, post it anyway"
Favourite distance: as far as the GPS tracks go
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Jay Sean - Down 
Mediocre fact: I own inov-8s 
Favourite artist: Darude
If I could have a sauna with any orienteer it would be: my nephew 

Ralph Street

Year born: 1990
Nickname: Uncle Ralphie
JWOC year: Judas (666666666)
Favourite distance: Relay
Favourite artist: Darude 
Mediocre fact: I am British
Favourite Jesse Bloch remix: Sexy B***h
If I could have a sauna with any orienteer it would be: Jamie Stevenson
Greatest life achievement: getting my first real job

Friday, July 7, 2017

Ups and Downs

“Experiencing life’s ups and downs has really helped shape me into the artist that I am today”-Darude

The last few days have been almost as much of a rollercoaster as the strip of road that we have to drive through to get from our accommodation to any of the training maps. They’ve been highs higher than the tower in the forest that we climbed and I’ve certainly had a few lows as well but just like a classic stitch up, this has really brought us together as a unit.

We had another quality day in the forest on Tuesday, starting with a fun sesh in a mint-as nearby forest. None of us can really remember anything too exciting about this training other than that we were all pretty happy and there were a lot of mozzies (I set a new world record for most mosquitoes killed in a 5 second period). After restocking with some quality cinnamon buns we were ready to take on the Finns at a local event just down the road. We put on a pretty impressive display by rocking up in full uniform and had a very aesthetically pleasing jog to the start. The general consensus was that this was a nice chance to get a race simulation in and there were some really lush bits of forest (and also some reasonably rough rough open).
Working on our following technique

A low for me during this period was the abuse that I’m subjected to on a daily basis. Within about seven seconds of our team walking in the door at our accommodation, our host Jouko decided to pick on me for having no muscles (even though at least four of the other boys have the same size or smaller guns than mine) and it’s been a non-stop assault ever since. He’s constantly asking me to tense which cracks him up every time and his wife Mallu calls me Mr Muscles whenever she sees me. I have, however, got a plan in place to get my own back as I’ve challenged him in an arm wrestle and have been stocking up on as much protein as possible in the lead up to this so she’ll be right.

Our rest day on Wednesday brought us a trip to one of Tampere’s main tourist attractions- a big shopping centre. We all agreed afterwards that it was quite big. Political correctness doesn’t really seem to be a thing in Finland, we found an aboriginal themed bottle opener that was an interesting shape and also a line of clothing “inspired by the streets” that featured the text “Black Squad”.

Tasteful Finnish artwork
Dress like a Finn, run like a Finn
In the afternoon we were treated to more Finnish culture with our hosts inviting us to their local biathlon training centre. Jouko is a former Finnish national champion and Olympic representative (as is Mallu, in gymnastics, as we later found out) so it was a privilege to get a master class from him in a sport that none of us had ever experienced. Jouko also brought two of his thirteen year old prodigies (one of whom amazed us with his ability to spit 19 times within the first 30 seconds of us meeting him). After learning the basic shooting technique, we were ready to put our newly developed skills to good use in a modified biathlon relay against these juniors.

The warning that we should hold back our competitive instincts and go easy on the running sections was obviously completely ignored. I finished my running loop first and opted for the ‘quickscope’ approach in order to look as pro as possible in the first shooting part. After a disappointing first few shots I finished strongly to get what I thought was a solid 2/5 hits and set out to do my 3 penalty loop runs. To my surprise, everyone else was actually good at shooting and barely missed in the first round. Luckily, I was speedy enough on the penalty loops to change over in about the same time as Toby ‘Bullseye’ Wilson. Somehow I managed to fluke my way into a team with three other people who could actually shoot (Winnie, Tara and Aston) which meant our team had a huge lead over all the others going into the second round.

I decided to learn from the others and actually take my time with my shots this time. Legit, I’m sure my first shot was even more of a banga than Sandstorm but for some reason the target didn’t click over. The same thing happened on my second one. Before I knew it, the laughter of my fellow biathletes was ringing in my ears and as tears started to form in my eyes and my hands were shaking more than Winnie after our swim in the lake on Sunday, my shots began flying even wider than before. As I did my five penalty laps of shame I couldn’t help but think that I’d not been a team player and that we’d never be able to work our way back into the race. Our team was redeemed by Winnie and Tara being absolutely lethal and then it came down to Aston ‘Deadshot’ Key and Rachel ‘Noscope’ Allen at the end for the win. Aston showed that he isn’t just speedy in the forest with an astonishing display of quickscoping to get five hits in about 3.67 seconds.  
When Sandstorm comes on

Everyone else in the team managed to get at least 8 out of 10 shots (including our enthusiastic gun lobby member, Zoe Dowling) but I managed a solid 2. As well as being publicly humiliated and moving even lower in Jouko’s respect books, this brought it home to me that I actually have to be nice to everyone else in the team now if I want to survive this week. Everyone else in the team is thinking about entering the biathlon orienteering world cup next year but I think I’ve got a bit of training to do in between now and then.
"Just pretend there's a nice fluffy animal you're aiming for"

Our day of Finnish cultural appreciation ended with another magnificent feast from Mallu and her promise that there would be a special treat after dinner. This turned out to be an inspirational presentation from our hosts on their careers and goal setting, capped off with a team building exercise where we engaged in positive thinking and some slightly creepy chanting to help us lift up our teammates just with our fingers in a gravity defying display of teamwork.

Just guys being dudes and girls being chicks

In the last few days I’ve been assaulted by giant bloodthirsty insects, subjected to brutal insults and publicly humiliated about my inability to shoot things. When Hanny went around the circle on Wednesday asking us to share the highlight of our day and everyone else talked about their favourite bits of the shooting, all I could think of was some of the cinnamon buns I had that day. But when I really think about it, the last few days we’ve had have been pretty high quality. There’s been beautiful forests to train in, guys being dudes, girls being chicks, filthy bangerz, Mallu’s incredible food, quality team vibes and cinnamon buns. So overall, life’s actually not too bad after all. 

By Pat xx

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Before we update you on our recent training, we will first update you on some recent quotations from our team members:

Sim: “I like to dominate the country I’m in”
Sim: “I will woo them with my boyish charm”
Joe: “Marga Aallm” (poor pronunciation of Maja Alm)
Asha: “I want to hold someone’s hand!!!!”

Over the weekend we finished up our pre-training camp training camp, as well as welcoming more team members….
On Friday the crew headed out to Kortejärvi to do a middle distance simulation run on what was generally considered another likeable map. Unfortunately, we were slightly rushed due to the looming threat of having to wait an additional two hours if we missed our bus home. There were no dramas there however, which was lucky because in the afternoon Zoe had a trip planned to Hämeenlinna to visit her host family and pick up our team t-shirts!! That afternoon we also saw the arrival of Winnie to our apartment, as well as Lara and Nick from the NZ team. After the excitement and suspense of watching the WOC sprint qualification, and many hours of sitting on the couch, myself, Asha, Lara and Nick went for an easy run around the lake including an icy mid-run dip. This left the boys in charge of dinner for the first time, which despite any suspicions associated with this, was very yummy 😊

Saturday morning was meant to be quiet and relaxed, however we awoke to a shocking realisation that overnight, we had lost power to the fridge, and the ice cream in the freezer had melted. We then began a race to finish all our cold food as quick as possible before it went off. After a morning full of emails and calls to the owner, and multiple visits from her and the electrician, we got the fridge up and running again in time for lunch. 
Katariina (our host) fixing the fridge and Tara being super helpful :)

After being sufficiently fed, we were then prepared for an intense session of watching the WOC sprint final on TV. While there were many shots of Tash as first starter, we were severely disappointed to see videos of ducks, and the same building over and over again rather than any of Krystal or Henry. 
Tash on TV!

Nevertheless, watching WOC motivated us to get out for our actual training which was a sprint simulation at Pispala, which was adjacent to the JWOC sprint map, so very relevant training for us. The course was enjoyable apart from the huge climb up what felt like thousands of stairs to the top of the hill for the last part of the course. Zoe was back with us for this training, meaning that we then had 11 people in our apartment meant for 6, which was a little bit cosy to say the least.

On Sunday we spent lots of time packing and cleaning our apartment and Zoe made a morning trip to Helsinki to catch up with her dad. The girls also made a trip out to the shops in order to increase our funky socks collection for the small price of 2 euros. In the afternoon we were thankfully picked up from our apartment by Hanny and Graham, and were all excited to also be joined by Pat and Rachel. It was less exciting to learn that all of Rachel’s things were still stuck in Sydney As we drove to our official training camp accommodation, both our vehicles had laptops up with the TV coverage of the WOC sprint relay, which passed the time quickly. On arrival, our incredible hosts Mallu and Jouko greeted us with an amazing dinner, and we were treated to a not so “20 degrees” dip in their private lake afterwards.
Our private lake 

Driving into our accomodation

Today we had a wet, but valuable day out in the forest, although Asha was horrendously ill (was feeling sick) and had to spend the day on her death bed (her bed). We had a group map walk, then pairs exercise in the morning, and a race simulation re-running courses from the Grano Games in the afternoon. Both trainings were fun and helpful to everyone in different ways. Aston joined us for the second training so we now have the entire team together which is exciting, and definitely adds to the team vibes.

Map walk at training 

Briefing for the morning session 

As the races edge closer we promise to keep you updated on more of our training and shenanigans :P

Tara xxx

How's the serenity?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Aus JWOC Blog #2

As promised, the much awaited first installation of the 2017 quote list:

Zoe: “Beans are so underrated”
Asha: “I feel like such a domestic goddess now we have a dishwasher”
Jo: “No cookies, no deal.”
Sim: “I’m in a Trivia mood”

Over the last few days, our little JWOC family (proudly referred to as the Brady Bunch due to the balanced gender ratios) have faced the dangers of Finnish bus drivers, unintentional invasion of a military base, and marshes that are on the tops of hills, all in the name of quality training. We continued our JWOC preparation on Sunday with a double sprint session. In the morning we traipsed over to Epila and Hyhky (not pronounced hikey-hikey but Hou-kah) and did three sprintervals of varying lengths. I think we all agreed that it was great to turn the legs over quickly and have a more familiar form of terrain and navigation. Sim arrived at our accommodation not long after we got back and made our group up to a total of 6. That evening we went out for another sprint training this time with Jarrah’s Finnish club, Tampereen Pyrinto. The map Jarvensivu which was used for the Grano Games sprint that Zoe, Toby and Jarrah competed in 3 weeks ago. This map was a bit more relevant for JWOC than our morning training which also meant steeper and a more unique area with lots of small staircases. The most confusing aspect of the map was that some back and front yards were mapped but others weren’t. This meant more intricate navigation was required since we couldn’t immediately assume an area was out of bounds or not.
Monday was our first rest day of the pretraining-training camp and Mumma Zoe (#veganslave) and Caroline woke us up to pancakes for brekkie. Joe arrived in time for brekkie after landing at midnight and making the famous ‘Onni Bus’ trek. Post pancakes, the rest of the day was spent on an extreme shopping adventure by Tara, Caroline and I, then a post shopping feed and nap, with a solid Netflix session to finish up. As they say, train hard, recover harder. And I think we nailed it.
The weather so far on our trip hasn’t been too bad, except for on Tuesday. This day we were doing a Long Simulation (loose definition since we are all still focusing on basic navigation rather than race speed) at Teisko. Overall, this was not our finest hour. We came to a group consensus that there is one 2cm2 patch of the map that we liked and the rest was described with a range of expletives and simply described as “the worst thing ever”. Now looking back, it was definitely made worse by the pouring, freezing cold rain and on a finer day we may have been more positive about the whole experience. But when walking back to the bus with sideways rain coming in our rain coats, a little complaining never hurts anyone.
Unhappy campers (post long sim)

Yesterday was our main middle distance training day. We went to two maps, Pulesjarvi in the morning and Aitovuori after lunch. The day was mostly mishap free aside from almost being arrested for invading a Finnish military base (“Finland has an army???” -Simeon Burrill 2017) and then dodging bullets through a shooting range. Aside from the dangers of being deported or shot, we all enjoyed these maps so much more than the day before and our motivation and enthusiasm has been renewed.
Much happier campers (pre and post middle training)

Today we treated ourselves to another rest day which included a post movie night sleep in, breakfast at lunch time and more exploring around the beautiful Tampere. Finally, today Finland is providing us with a more convincing version of #summer with a balmy 20 degrees and tanning conditions.

Stay tuned for more updates from the 2017 Aus JWOC Team.


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 - (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