Just flying over Norway on the way in I could see that Norway and the terrain in Norway is a lot different to what I am used to in the UK; it’s all forest!! Then this idea was reinforced as we drove from the airport to the lodge: it was just constant forest. I had heard that we were staying at a club hut but when we got there I was shocked at what it really was. It was a massive old ski hut with a sauna, which the Fredrikstadt orienteering club owns. But what was more surreal was the fact that an orienteering club owned it, when here in the UK none of the clubs have anywhere near the money to own a club hut!
At the start of the week we sat down in age groups and had a talk with a coach about what we wanted to focus on in the weeks training. Mine was PDP, Plan Direction Picture, as I thought that focusing on this would really benefit my performances in races such as the JHIs which were a week after the end of Norway. So in all the training we did, I tried my best to focus on PDP, but it was difficult because every area we went to needed a different style of navigating because they were so unique; so to be successful you had to be adaptable and able to navigate in all sorts of different terrain. All the training that we did was fantastic and really beneficial, and I think that I have moved up a sort of level in my confidence and navigational abilities. This is mainly because of the variety of terrain that we experienced during our stay in Norway from really technical forest, to open rocky islands (Marripanna) and even a German fortified island. Also because of the sheer amount of training we did; one day I did almost 20km of solid orienteering!
The two best areas for me were Marripanna and the German fortified Island because they were just so different to anything in that I had ran on before. Marripanna is on the coast and the map has lots of little islands on it, underfoot it is all rock but on the map it is just shown as rough open. Which is a bit confusing at first but when you get into it, it is great. The German fortified island (which I have to say was my favourite area), was just awesome lots of intricate contour detail with nice run able forests and rocky slabs underfoot. The training we did there was a course that Fredrikstadt orienteering club had put on which meant that lots of other Norwegian juniors were there, so it was nice to socialise with them after we had finished the course. Even though I did get a little lost, since under the island is a store of ammunitions that can’t be removed and messes with compasses which is why I got lost, I still really enjoyed it.
My favourite race was the sprint race, not least because I won it but because of the varied terrain that the race took in and the fast flat out nature of the race. Firstly it went into a few different bits of technical but run able forest then towards the end the last few controls were more of an urban race. And we got a free running top so that was an added bonus. Although this race was my favourite I really enjoyed all of them and thought I learnt a lot from each race.
It seemed to me as if the trip went really quickly, but time fly’s when you’re having fun as they say. So I got to the last day in one piece with no injuries which was a relief. But what wasn’t a relief was that I had one final race. My legs where soooo tired I couldn’t really get into race mode and my tiredness showed as I made a stupid mistake and from then on in the race I was just trying to get round without any more mistakes; which I sort of managed to do.
So thank you to Richard for organising all the training, Sue for organising everything else, all the coaches who did a brilliant job and everyone else who helped in getting us to Norway in the first place. And I can’t wait to return!!