JWOC: Middle + Relay

First of all, it’s been a pleasure writing this blog this summer, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. I wouldn’t have kept it going if it hadn’t been for everyone out there reading it (and the encouragement of my teammates while we were training and racing together, but mostly it was because of everyone back home!), so I’m so grateful to you, my readers, for all the views, feedback, and comments! I’ve had a lot of traveling and goodbyes to say since my last days at JWOC, but I’m now at home in the U.S., and I’ve finally written and uploaded everything, so without further ado… here you are! The last few days at JWOC!

JWOC: Middle Qualification

The group walking up to the arena and finish area

The group walking up to the arena and finish area

Barb sitting down on the grass with her stuff

Barb sitting down on the grass with her stuff

Anna, Addison, Matt, and I drove over to the start first thing in the morning, put down all our stuff in the shade next to the finish, then stood by the finish chute and cheered on all the runners coming in. Anna and I are really loud (well I guess it’s mostly me yelling… but what can I say, I have a loud cheering voice!) and there weren’t many others cheering, so in between the finishes of our teammates, we occupied ourselves by cheering on orienteers from other countries.

Face paint! I did Anna's cheek and she did mine...

Face paint! I did Anna’s cheek and she did mine…

... and while we were painting on the stars a few girls who were there supporting the French team came up and asked us if they could use the paint to do French flags on their faces! Of course we said yes, so then they painted their cheeks as well :D

… and while we were painting on the stars a few girls who were there supporting the French team came up and asked us if they could use the paint to do French flags on their faces! Of course we said yes, so then they painted their cheeks as well 😀

The girls finishing their flags

The French girls finishing their flags

A. Breton: about as cool as it gets

A. Breton: about as cool as it gets

Melanie finishing!

Melanie finishing!

Barb, Anne, and Anna watching everyone come in at the sideline

Barb, Anne, and Anna watching everyone come in at the sideline

Izzy finishing

Izzy finishing!

As a team, I’d say we did really well, better than we have in previous years. Although none of our team made it to the podium, collectively everyone improved from last year, and from the years before. Katrina was two places out of qualifying for the women’s A-final, which is as close as anyone has gotten in a long time. And Ethan made the A-final!!! We were all so proud of him (here’s a video which shows what it was like to be in the arena, and everyone’s reaction to Ethan making the A-final)!

After everyone had finished, we warmed up and started in the Tour races. Anna ran well, I didn’t (again 😦 ). The map was really hard and technical. I started to do well in the end, although in the beginning I made a lot of mistakes. But I think my race was better than it was on the day of the Long, and I still beat people on my course.

The rest of the day was pretty straightforward. We packed up, drove off back to the cottage, showered, and ate dinner.

I never included a proper picture of the front of it, so here it is. It's actually quite a pretty place!

I never included a proper picture of the front of the cottage, so here it is. It’s actually quite a pretty place!

Visited by everyone (parts of Team Canada, and some of our teammates as well)

A lovely visit from everyone after we got back (parts of Team Canada, and some of our teammates as well)

This was right before dinner, after our visitors left and we showered and changed. Everyone's so engaged in conversation!

This was right before dinner, after our visitors left and we showered and changed. Everyone’s so engaged in conversation!

Dave preparing a salad in the kitchen

Dave preparing a salad in the kitchen

Dinner! Spaghetti with meat sauce and a cucumber and tomato salad

Dinner! Spaghetti with meat sauce and a cucumber and tomato salad

JWOC: Middle Final

Today was very similar to yesterday, especially because the arena, finish chute, and parking areas were the same as for yesterday (although we ran on a different map for the actual race). We drove up, set all our stuff down, and since we were a little early for our teammates, we went a little crazy with the paint. Anna painted a USA flag on Addison’s arm, and I did the OUSA logo on Will’s. I painted  red, white and blue stars all up the side of my left arm. We all looked really good, especially because we were wearing our USA uniforms as well. And I noticed a lot of the spectators from other countries had face paint on (maybe they saw me, Anna, and the French girls putting it on yesterday and they took their cues from us!) which went along with the heightened feeling of patriotism and spirit in the crowd (heightened from yesterday, at least).

Everyone setting down their things in our usual spot under the trees

Everyone setting down their things in our usual spot under the trees

The process begins! Anna painting Addison's arm

The process begins! Anna painting Addison’s arm

...almost done...

…almost done…

...and finished! YEAH AMERICA!

…and finished! YEAH AMERICA!

Me painting the OUSA logo on Will's arm

Me painting the OUSA logo on Will’s arm

The finished result! Pretty sweet if I do say so myself

The finished result! Pretty sweet if I do say so myself

USA reppin'

Anna Breton: USA reppin’

Everyone cheering at the finish line

Everyone cheering at the finish line

Matej in the finish chute!

Matej in the finish chute!

Evalin sprinting in to the finish

Evalin sprinting in to the finish

Matej and Erin discussing the race

Matej and Erin discussing the race

Elina, Pia, and Evalin cooling down together

Elina, Pia, and Evalin cooling down together

USA boys down by the go control!

USA boys down by the go control!

Anne racing up to the finish

Anne racing up to the finish

Katrina sprinting in hard

Katrina sprinting in hard

In terms of results, the races were a little less spectacular than yesterday. All the girls did pretty well in the B-final (I think Izzy and Elina ran particularly good races out of the bunch), but the boys were less good, although they were still better than in previous years. I think there was a lot of pressure on the A-finalists, but for many of the runners in the B and C-finals it was a less serious, more fun race. Still, I think our men’s team had a lot of potential, and could have done much better than they actually did.

Miika Kirmula, the winner of the men's A-final, drawing his route out on the map as the crowd looks on

Miika Kirmula, the winner of the men’s A-final, drawing his route out on a map as the crowd looks on

For me, today’s race was… good! I actually had a clean run (well, much, much cleaner than the past two days!) I made a lot of smaller mistakes, but nothing so big that I totally blew up like in my other races. I made some good, safe route choices, and my bearings were really accurate. It felt so nice to have a good race for a change.

It doesn’t really show in the results, because I’m still near the bottom of the pack, but it was just slowness and carefulness, not an abundance of mistakes. I felt a lot better about my orienteering today than after any of the other races so far. And I’m no longer last in the tour races overall, either!

After the races… you guessed it! We went home, showered, changed, and ate dinner.

Another amazing chili dinner (THANK YOU Barb and Dave!)

Another amazing chili dinner (THANK YOU Barb and Dave!)

JWOC: Relay

It was raining really hard on the morning of the relay, so me and Anna were less than enthused about getting out to cheer for everyone. But we got a ride most of the way up (they held the relay right in Borovets, really near the JWOC hotel, so we could actually walk to the arena from our cottage), and we were pretty warm and dry in our raincoats, so spectating wasn’t too bad. And the relay was really exciting! Although none of the USA teams did spectacularly well, it was cool seeing all the teams compete, and knowing exactly where everyone’s place was in real time. They had a spectator control, so you could see the countries crossing over to do their second loop (at least, if you could distinguish their jerseys. I had a little trouble in the beginning because of the rain, but when the sun came out I could see fine) and whether anyone had been passed or not. And then the finish was really exciting because the top three girls came across before anyone else, and they ran out from the spectator control in the exact same order that they finished. The finish for the guys was also really close—the Swedish runner came in only six seconds before the second place Czech guy, and when they were running across the field the Czech orienteer was gaining, so we thought it was going to be a photo finish!

Watching the first leg runners of the men's relay pass by the spectator control

Watching the first leg runners of the men’s relay pass by the spectator control

Izzy punching the go control...

Izzy punching the go control…

...and running in to tag Evalin! Go USA!

…and running in to tag Evalin! Go USA!

Anne after punching the go control. As you can see, it brightened up a lot between the finishes of the first and second leg runners

Anne after punching the go control. As you can see, the day brightened up a lot between the finishes of the first and second leg runners

One of the coolest things about the relay was the team aspect. When the last leg runner came in, at least for the top countries, their teammates would run in the finish chute alongside them, celebrating. David Yee took so many really great pictures of the relay (you can see them all here), but for me one of them in particular of the Swedish team finishing was just awesome!

After the relay we raced in the Tour (mine was awful. I died on the hills, and I just made way too many mistakes for such a navigationally easy course. But it’s over now, and it was fun, so I’m not thinking about it anymore!) and then we were done!! There was a last minute flurry of trading jerseys and saying goodbyes over at the arena, then everyone left to go get ready for dinner and the banquet later on in the night.

It’s been such a wonderful experience to go on this trip, but also to write about it for all of you. I don’t think I would have taken as many pictures, or even reflected on the day’s events without this blog to keep me thinking about things. I’m already itching to go back over the oldest posts and read about what we did, and how far we’ve come from there! I hope it’s been as fun for you as it’s been for me.

Thanks for reading.

-Addie

P.S. In case you’re confused at all as to what I look like, here are some freebie pictures of me throughout the trip. But beware: I am a goof. You’ve been warned.

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Me sleeping… in Finland? I think? SUPER COOL ARM POSITIONING THOUGH

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Hanging out at the airport in Oslo

Blogging in Bulgaria

Blogging in Bulgaria

Flower girls!

Flower girls!

At the finish line for the Middle Final

At the finish line for the Middle Final

Enjoy the rest of your summer… and maybe I’ll see you next year for JWOC 2015!

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6 thoughts on “JWOC: Middle + Relay

  1. Thanks so much for maintaining this trip blog. We felt like we were a part of it and really enjoyed following all the great efforts all were putting. Fantastic trainings, fun group. This will all be so fun for the entire group in future O adventures. Hope you keep up the blogging, such a nice story line.

  2. Addie, thank you for the posts and keeping everyone back home updated. I looked forward to reading them as did family and friends that were interested in following the team. Enjoy the remainder of your summer.

  3. Thank you so much for the regular reports! It was so great to see the photos and read about the trip. Keep it up! You are a strong writer.

  4. Addie, thank you very much for your blog. Our whole family enjoyed it during the trip. It was the only place where we could get a sense of what life outside the competitions was like. The photos were amazing — so many! Loved it. Thank you very much.

  5. Thank you for all the effort you’ve put into writing this blog. It’s been a true pleasure to follow your adventures in Europe from the start at Jukola to the end at JWOC. I’m sure you’ve all developed a lot both as orienteers and as friends for life and also learned a lot about different cultures.

  6. Thank-you very much for blogging and all the pictures. I really looked forward to reading each new post. thanks so much

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