De laatste post

Orienteering-news website

woensdag, februari 28, 2007

Climate change

Climate change refers to the variation in the earth's global climate or in regional climates over time. It describes changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years. These changes can be caused by processes internal to the Earth, external forces (e.g. variations in sunlight intensity) or, more recently, human activities.

At this picture you see that we are lucky. Today we have the highest temperature of the last 2000 years and it's still increasing.

In orienteering we have a lot of Scandinavian runners. They are not able to do much orienteering in winter time unless they go somewhere else. Not only scandinavian runners go to the south... everybody does. They go everywhere to find a place for a good training camp: Portugal, Spain, South-Africa, Australia, Lanzarotte, ...

But as we experienced in Portugal, this expected "good weather"is not always there when you want it. So I wanted to figure out what is the place with the best chances of nice weather, not to hot, not to cold, no rain, ...

This website helped me a bit. For each place you can find information about temperature and rain, sometimes more.

Climate is a very subjective thing, whether a climate is best or worst all depends on what you like. you could say Southern California has the best climate, because of all the sunshine and low humidity, but on the other hand you can never go skiing because there's no snow.

A few places clame to have "the best climate in the world" but with the climate change this might change as well. I found following places:

Atenas - Costa Rica

Atlixco - Mexico

The Canary Islands

Faulconbridge - Australia

Redwood City - California

zondag, februari 25, 2007

1.Nat. Waterschei

Belgian season kicks off . Today the Belgian season started officially, in the slag heaps (terrils) of waterschei

The M21E course was very varied with heavy parts on the hills, fast and technical parts in the flat and the sometimes dense vegetation. So to win this kind of races you have to be a complete orienteer: strong, fast and certainly steady in navigating through the race.

In the men's class Fabien Pasquasy took the victory, with an average speed of 5'50''/km. He was really flowing through the terrain and over the big hills today. But still he made several small mistakes.

In the next spots we find some talented youngsters Thomas van der Kleij (1985, map with routechoice) , Etienne Van Gasse (1984) and Joost Talloen (1983). But they were all more the 5 minutes behind Pasquasy. 5th was the recently crowned 'Golden compass' Pieter Hendrickx, while Nicolas Sillien took the 6th spot.

M21E - 12.100 m
1 Fabien Pasquasy 71.48
2 Thomas van der Kleij 76.57
3 Etienne Van Gasse 80.OO
4 Joost Talloen 80.58
5 Pieter Hendrickx 81.58
6 Nicolas Sillien 84.21

In the womens class, Aline Hermans showed she's back in good shape again. She had a winning gap of 6 minutes. For the second spot Severine Vandermeulen, Greet Oeyen and Veerle Tulleneers werer fighting for place 2 and 3. In the end Greet Oeyen was 50 seconds faster the Veerle Tulleneers, while Severine Vandermeulen was another 10 seconds behind.

W21E - 9.o00 m
1 Aline Hermans 75.28
2 Greet Oeyen 81.51
3 Veerle Tulleneers 82.39
4 Severine Vandermeulen 82.58
5 Anne-Françoise Hennen 87.43
6 Tinny Dams 90.16


Jos Thijs - 2nd place M60

vrijdag, februari 23, 2007

Preview Nationale 1

Zondag opent het nationale orientatieseizoen in België.
Plaats van gebeuren: Waterschei nabij Genk.
Baanlegger wordt de gerespecteerde H45 loper Martin Beckers.

Waterschei betekent traditioneel een grote wedstrijd. Zo werd de kaart de laatste jaren bovengehaald voor Rik Thys aflossing (2004), BK klassiek (2003), 3 daagse van Limburg (2002) en een BK interclub waarvan het jaartal me ontglipt. Waterschei is dus duidelijk een kaart waarbij de vlamingen niet meer kaartkennis hebben dan onze waalse collega's.

De top-5 van het BK 2003 zag er als volgt uit:
1 Pasquasy Fabien 1.15.51 +0.00
2 Gilot Jan 1.19.15 +3.24
3 Peers Wim 1.19.55 +4.04
4 Simkens Geert 1.22.56 +7.05
5 Hendrickx Pieter 1.24.22 +8.31

Bij de Vrouwen
1 Hermans Aline 1.17.48 +0.00
2 Schutjes Elisabeth 1.21.42 +3.54
3 Oeyen Greet 1.22.22 +4.34
4 Tulleneers Veerle 1.29.45 +11.57
5 Vandermeulen Severine 1.31.04 +13.16

Wie mogen we dit jaar vanvoor verwachten?
Fabien Pasquasy start wederom als grote favoriet. Traditioneel wordt concurrentie vooral uit de KOL hoek gevreesd via Jan Gilot en Pieter Hendrickx.
Maar ook hun clubgenoot Geert Simkens kan steeds iets meer op dergelijke zware terreinen. Vraag is echter hoe het met zijn vormpeil is gesteld (ondanks zijn sterke basisconditie).
Omeganen Joost Talloen en Bart delobel zijn ook zeer gemotiveerd met hun vak/hobby bezig. Zij zullen beide ook sterk uit de winter komen.
Uit FRSO hoek zijn Etienne Van Gasse en Christophe Bernard gevaarlijke outsiders.
Ook de jonge Hamok bende zal ongetwijfeld iets willen tonen op de kaart van hun club. De gebroeders Van Der Kleij missen jammer genoeg het speerpunt van de familie (Jeroen) die tijdens de generale repetitie op de Maasvallei nochtans een ijzersterke indruk na liet. Het is ook nagelbijten hoe het debuut van de piepjonge Jeroen Hoekx bij de elite reeks zal aflopen.

Bij de dames starten Aline Hermans en Greet Oeyen met de stempel der favoriet.
Tinny Dams, Veerle Tulleneers en Kim Geypen mogen zeker ook niet uit het oog worden verloren. Of zorgt de Co Liege atlete Anne-Fraçoise Hennen voor een nieuwe stunt?

Vele vragen die zondag op een prachtig decor zullen worden beantwoord.
Maar waag het alvast op een pronostiekje voor zondag op ons forum...


donderdag, februari 22, 2007

Suunnistussimulaattori, a threat to CF?

A new 3D orienteering game is being developed in Finland. How does the current demo version of Suunnistussimulaattori compare to Catching Features?


The first step on the way to playing the game is finding out where to download it. This is not as easy as it seems. While it's easy for us Dutch-speaking people to get the general picture of a Norwegian text, understanding Finnish is simply impossible. Unless you want to click through all links in the hope of finding a download location, we can offer you the first cheat.

The latest version at the time of writing is version 0.999. This seems to indicate that the final version is near and indeed, the game already feels quite polished. Don't forget to download the .NET Framework 2.0 from MSFT if you don't already have it. The game won't run without it.

When you start the game, it starts a normal windows application that lets you choose the map, your runner and some other options.

OS game config window

Here, we see a nice option: you can choose to run an Oro-hydro course of any map (Sinikäyräkartta). You can also choose night-O mode, but that's been in CF for ages. Another option for starters is to use a GPS system.

Clicking on Lähtöön starts a new game. Unlike CF, this game uses EMIT as a timing system. One cool feature is that you have to manually punch the controls (spacebar). It took me quite some time to figure that out. You have to check the control number yourself or you could end up "pm" in the results list.


The gameplay is much like CF, except that it's terribly slow. One of the cool things about CF is that you have to decide really fast which route you will take to the control and do orienteering at a high speed. Suunnistussimulaattori takes another approach and you have a lot of time to do the actual orienteering. Another difference is that there is some drift of your runner when just running forward, you have to do a lot more work than in CF to hold your course steady. I liked that.

Catching Features is now almost 5 years old, so it would be reasonable to expect the programmer of Suunnistussimulaattori to use a lot of fancy graphics. He did not fall into that trap and even on my 3 years old laptop, the game is perfectly playable. This is important since there have been quite a lot of orienteers taking laptops to competitions and training camps to do some CF in dead moments. I guess the visuals are better on higher-end machines, but even with the default settings, the graphics are somewhat better than CF, especially the trees (that are non-hitting by default). "Green" areas on maps are also harder to spot. In CF they typically have a green underground. Here, you really have to look at the vegetation to see the difference. Avoiding the green areas still stands, just like avoiding steep edges, where it's impossible to go straight up (or down for that matter).


Since I was playing the demo version, some features are not included. There are rumours of the unavoidable random map generator and map converter. No sign of them in this version. These details might be on the site, but as said above, until an English version appears, there's not much fun around there.

Another thing that's not mentioned in the demo are the networking capabilities. Possibly the largest factor in the success of CF. Will there be a competitions mode, or just a real multiplayer mode? I can't really say, but a game without them is doomed from the start. I still remember the alpha versions of CF. MP was one of the things that really made the "wow"-factor. Competitions were another breakthrough, a few years later.

There is another weak point, the name Suunnistussimulaattori. I did not ever type it once in this article. CTRL-V is your friend when you have to spell "Suunnistussimulaattori" at least once. It is just the translation of "Orienteering Simulator", some orders of magnitudes behind Catching Features, which just rolls off your tongue. The same thing applies to the logo, that looks quite a lot like some WordArt created in five, possibly four, minutes.

So where does all this place Suunnistussimulaattori after our brief experience? Will it go down the Oriantica road, or will there be some healthy competition with CF?

Only time will tell, but the slowness of orienteering spoiled the experience quite a bit, despite the better graphics. The most important factor will be the ability to gather a community around the game. CF has that edge for now, but people's habits change fast. Also biggins, the CF creator, is working on something new, which also involves a 3D engine. Exciting times lie ahead for orienteering fans around the world!

woensdag, februari 21, 2007

Final results POM2007

Finally the final results from portugal o-meeting are available.

Here you can find the results of every single day and the total result.

Below you can see the results of the Belgian participators:
Hieronder staan de resultaten van de Belgen die hadden deelgenomen aan de Portugal O-meeting:

210 deelnemers
13e Fabien Pasquasy 78 Belgian National Team 36:30 42 1:11:42 18 45:49 38 46:27 45 3:20:28
31e Etienne Van Gasse 84 Belgian National Team 42:29 112 1:16:18 36 50:40 62 48:14 51 3:37:41
41e Joost Talloen 83 Belgian National Team 38:17 71 1:29:42 104 50:19 61 52:55 69 3:51:13
65e Dries Van Der Kleij 80 Belgian National Team 43:23 124 1:48:02 134 55:35 79 53:31 71 4:20:31
DSQ Christophe Bernard 77 Belgian National Team 38:31 74 1:22:44 69 mp mp
DSQ Nicolas Sillien 75 Belgian National Team dns dnf dns dns

110 deelnemers
36e Valérie CLISSEN 77 CO Liège 1:19:10 86 2:36:53 80 1:35:18 69 1:49:48 45 7:21:09
DSQ Vanessa Bolsens 79 TROL dns dnf dns dns
(zij was reeds gekwetst toen ze naar Portugal vertrok, waarschijnlijk de reden van deze uitslag)

36 deelnemers
16e Nicolas Spiliers 90 ALTAIR 1:04:33 22 1:32:11 16 2:03:28 27 47:31 9 5:27:43

49 deelnemers:
DSQ Wim Vervoort 69 TROL 45:05 13 1:34:18 23 1:01:45 17 mp

59 deelnemers:
19e Alain WATHELET 62 CO Liège 42:50 10 1:36:06 21 1:23:35 34 57:31 16 4:40:02
20e Alain CHAINEUX 66 CO Liège 56:18 31 1:52:19 34 58:12 16 57:35 17 4:44:24
DSQ Erik Van Dyck 64 TROL 49:40 21 2:07:08 39 1:19:13 29

24 deelnemers:
6e Gillian Tweeddle 66 ALTAIR 36:54 4 1:18:53 4 1:35:09 13 39:41 4 4:10:37
DSQ Geneviève PISSART 64 CO Liège 43:39 8 1:29:43 9 1:02:16 6 mp

58 deelnemers:
8e Wiet Laenen 60 TROL 29:50 1 1:02:08 15 52:59 12 41:39 15 3:06:36
(zoals jullie kunnen zien; winnaar van dag1)
23e Jan Lemmens 61 Omega 58:41 28 1:22:38 30 1:14:40 26 57:17 31 4:33:16
30e Christian Chalon 58 ALTAIR 1:40:03 47 2:24:00 47 1:31:09 32 57:26 32 6:32:38
DSQ Axel Schulte 61 ALTAIR mp 1:54:37 41 1:49:08 39 1:22:35 40

65 deelnemers:
DSQ Jorge Marques 55 Omega 58:23 48 1:47:05 54 2:10:26 53 mp
DSQ Paul Bolsens 55 TROL mp mp mp 2:11:08 47
DSQ Eric Hully 53 ALTAIR 53:40 46 1:26:08 42 mp 57:23 33
DNS Jacques SILVESTRE 52 CO Liège 35:44 14 dns dns dns

39 deelnemers:
14e Lily-Anne Cole 54 TROL 56:27 23 1:20:59 19 1:53:03 21 1:05:22 16 5:15:51
17e Enry GROESENEK 57 CO Liège 1:23:41 31 1:50:53 32 2:16:55 25 1:50:23 22 7:21:52

50 deelnemers:
3e Rogier Vanaken 51 Omega 24:40 3 54:01 10 35:52 8 31:39 6 2:26:12
(knappe podiumplaats)
30e Eddie Dekerf 52 TROL 50:16 42 1:09:43 33 52:59 31 39:17 26 3:32:15

22 deelnemers:
9e Paulette Blommen 52 Omega 40:48 7 2:05:05 13 1:19:12 10 53:43 8 4:58:48

47 deelnemers:
28e Mark Van Bruggen 46 TROL 34:51 19 56:31 24 1:08:40 34 1:16:58 39 3:57:00

51 deelnemers:
24e Fons Bosch 41 TROL 36:39 26 1:06:40 27 49:49 18 51:32 39 3:24:40

31 deelnemers:
2e Stéphane WATHELET 97 CO Liège 46:11 10 49:15 5 32:25 4 51:18 5 2:59:09

58 deelnemers:
DSQ Gisèle Graff 62 ALTAIR 2:05:32 35 2:02:10 35 2:00:19 28 dns
DSQ Marie-Jeanne Arsac 54 ALTAIR 2:05:29 34 2:02:15 36 2:00:23 29 dns

dinsdag, februari 20, 2007

4th day POM: Maps + pictures

There were no big surprises expected for the last day of the Portugal O-meeting. Thierry Gueorgiou and Dana Brozkova had a big lead after three days and they won their race easily.

1. Thierry Gueorgiou
2. Damine Renard
3. Oli Johnson

1. Dana Brozkova
2. Ingunn Fristad
3. Anne Marie Bleken

In this Portugal O-meeting there were about 1500 competitors. A lot of Scandinavian runners were looking for some sun in Portugal. They were a bit unfortunate this year. Next year they have a bit more chance because POM 2008 will be in Algarve (South of Portugal - near Africa :-))

One of these scandinavians was Jörgen Martenson. It was nice to see this big champion in action in the stones. The first day he became 4th. About 2 minutes after Frans Laenen (De Wiet). This was a bit of a surprise however Frans is dominating in M45 class in Belgium.

Today however it was a battle between Jörgen Martenson and a portugese runner José Fernandes. It seemed that Jörgen would win with all his experience. But he mad a mistake at the second last control and lost the race.

Something maybe even more exciting was the Mass start. About a 1000 runners would have to start at the same time. Maybe this is why the organiser called it the rabbit day because I didn't see any rabbits out there (probably too cold). The start was at a nice location, just at the foot of a stony hill. It was a bit like a Jukola-start. The map itself was like the 2 first days. A lot of stones and not a single tree.

POM Results
Total Results

maandag, februari 19, 2007

3th day of Portugal O-meeting (with map)

The third day of this Portugal O-meeting was called « The perfect day ». Half of the course was in open area, the other half in rather open forest. Again a very stony underground. Hard to run, but fun for technical orienteering fans. The late starters were a bit unfortunate because it started raining at 15h. It was a very demanding course of 4.6km and 215m climbing. Concentration from start till finish was necessary. A very nice course setting with one very nice route choice to control number 7. (Passing the mark of first aid seems to me the best choice)

Again there were big time differences between the best runners. Probably nobody managed to do ‘a perfect race’ on this perfact day. Thierry Gueorgiou did one big mistake (1’30) at control number 17 but still had a cracking time of 33 minutes. When we left nobody could get close to that time. Daniel Hubmann was in 2nd place, Oli Johnson in third. Both with 37 minutes.

Tomorrow will be a chasing start. Thierry Gueorgiou will have a big gap on the second runner Oli Johnson because the Swiss runners didn’t run the first day. Fabien Pasquasy was in 7th place when we left the arena.

Results of the Belgian runners today :

Fabien Pasquasy : 45’
Joost Talloen : 50’
Etienne Van Gasse : 50’
Dries van der Kleij : 55’
Christophe Bernard : dsq

zondag, februari 18, 2007

MAP of Portugal O-meeting

The race of today was one of the first big meetings between top runners of Europe. Thierry gueorgiou, Daniel Hubmann, David Andersson, Michal Smola, ... many others appeared at the start of this WRE. Over 200 Elite men were inscripted. In women's class there were also some very big names present like Dana Brozkova and Simone Niggli.

The weather was much better than yesterday, the course was perfect. The course was mainly in open areas covered with thousands of stones. Sometimes this made it not easy to navigate because you had to watch your feet. Anyway the best runners managed to run a time which was far faster than the expected winning times: 61' instead of 80-90'.

The course itself was very beautiful. Starting of with a big hill and some nice controls, going to the butterfly which was mainly in a special kind of portugese forest. After that a long and fast leg to control 17 on which you had the possibility to preview the rest of the course.

Regionale Maasvallei

Aangename temperaturen, afwisselende kaart en een mooie baanlegging maakten het aangenaam vertoeven vandaag op de Maasvallei. Zoals gewoonlijk zorgden de twee terrils voor een zware wedstrijd. Natuurlijk was dit alweer meer naar de zin van de ene dan van de andere. Maar voor velen was dit de ideale voorbereiding voor de opening van het nationale seizoen, volgende week op de terril van Waterschei. Met een verwarmde tent, minibar en een vriendelijk onthaal zorgde Borasca voor een mooie organisatie.

Vladi’s blog met kaart en wegkeuzes

WRE Portugal O meeting

Unoffical results of the race today (WRE):

1. Thierry Gueorgiou 61'
2. Damien Renard 62'
3. Daniel Hubmann 64'
Fabien Pasquasy 71'
Etienne Van Gassen 76'
Christof Bernard 82'
Joost Talloen 89'
Dries Van der kley 106'

the whole map

As you can see in the results Gueorgiou, Renard and Hubmann are already in good shape. Other runners like Roger Casal and Francois Gonon still have to improve.

More information in french: here

Golden Compass and Portugal O-meeting

The Golden Compass

is a belgian referendum “Orienteering achievement of the year 2006″. Below you can see the results:

1. Jan Gilot en Pieter Hendrickx
3. Jochen Verdeyen
4. Miek Fabré en Roger Hendrickx

Jan Gilot and Pieter Hendrick did both very well in WOC sprint in Danmark. Pieter became 20th and Jan 22th.
In the national championship Pieter won relay, sprint and middle distance and Jan won relay and long distance. So they both deserved the national compass.
Jochen Verdeyen became 3th. His results: he became 4th in JWOC sprint in Lithuania. And he won all national champs in junior class.

Ondertussen is bekend geraakt wie in België het 'gouden kompas' heeft veroverd. In tegenstelling tot de atletiekwereld, waar Tia Hellebaut en Kim Gevaert niet samen werden uitgeroepen tot winnaars, gebeurde dit in de Oriëntatiewereld wel. Uitslag hierboven, en erbij in het Engels ook wat meer informatie waarom ze deze titel verdienden...

Portugal O-meeting

At the moment we can't find any official results on the website Yesterday was the 1st day: middle distance.

On the website we found this description: 'An extremely technical terrain. You will have several open areas with enough rocky features, but the pine forest also will make part of your course. The details will be delicious and... complicated. The compass will be the best friend in a terrain with the ideal vegetation for the practice of orienteering at the highest level.'

We found some results from the Belgian runners and Guergou in M21E:
5.500m 160m climbing:
Thierry Guergiou 28'
Fabien Pasquasy 34'
Joost Taloen 38'15
Christophe Bernard 38'30
Etienne Van Gasse 42'

More information in French: here
The map of M21E: here

Today (2nd day) M21E have to run 11km and this is a world ranking event. Lots of good runners will participate, so we can check which runners are in good shape already..

Op dit moment wordt in Portugal de Portugal O-meeting gelopen. Hieraan nemen heel wat bekende buitenlandse orienteurs deel, maar ook een gedeelte van de Belgische ploeg is hier aanwezig. Verder is ook Trol aanwezig op deze 4-daagse. Gisteren werd de eerste dag gelopen. Dit was een middle distance. Hierboven staan enkele onofficiële resultaten van de Belgische mannen-elites. Vanaf het moment dat we meer informatie hebben, zullen we deze resultaten updaten..

Jeroen Hoekx lucky winner
Omdat Jeroen op de wedsite mee had gestemd op junior en prestatie van het jaar 2006, werd hij geloot tot de gelukkige hoofdwinnaar. Meer info op de site hieronder, of misschien dat Jeroen ons die zelf ook kan verstrekken?

maandag, februari 12, 2007


Tijdens de selectie van de interland namen de grote titanen het al eens tegen elkaar op. Een week later (op 4/02) vond echter het eerste officiële hoogtepunt van 2007 plaats. Meteen stond er een eerste titel op het spel. En niet de minste: het VVO kampioenschap lange afstand. Deze lange afstand wordt nog steeds als het koninginnennummer gezien dus werd het iets om naar uit te kijken.

Baanlegger Dries Van Der Kleij trachtte zo vaak mogelijk de technische stukken op te zoeken. Maar de goede doorloopbaarheid van het bos zorgde ervoor dat er bliksemsnelle km-tijden werden genoteerd.

BK lange afstand Jan Gilot en BK middel en sprint Pieter Hendrickx startten als favorieten. Bart Delobel vertegenwoordigde op zichzelf het groepje der outsiders.

Het werd uiteindelijk Pieter die aan het langste eind trok en de eerste titel van 2007 op zijn naam schreef. Hij legde de 10700m af in een tijd van 48'43''. Jan (2e) en Bart (3e) hadden 51' nodig voor het parcours.
De rest van de top-5 werd vervolledigd door Tom Marien en de fysiek sterke Tomy Janssens.

Ook bij de vrouwen werd er tegen een verschroeiend tempo gelopen.
Veerle Tulleneers legde de afstand het snelste af gevolgd door Greet Oeyen.

D21 , 8500 m
1. TULLENEERS Veerle Omega 0:53:36 6'18"
2. OEYEN Greet hamok 0:57:29 6'45"
3. VAN DE RIET Dunja Olifant 0:57:30 6'45"
4. DAMS Tinny K.O.L 0:59:20 6'58"
5. BASTIN Véronique O.L.G. St. Vith "ARDOC" 1:02:45 7'22"

Verder werden er nog twee nieuwe Vlaamse Ol websites gelanceerd
Jeremy Genar en Adriaan Pelckmans startten een site met hun wedstrijd- en trainingservaringen. Via hun site kan je voortdurend op de hoogte blijven van de ontwikkelingen van het juniorenteam.
Vladimir Geldof vertelde al geruime tijd zijn wedstrijdervaringen op het hamok-forum. Maar op zijn webstek licht hij deze ervaringen toe met ingetekende kaarten.
Zeker eens de moeite om te bezoeken dus.

Tot slot een alternatieve orientatieloop.
Op zaterdag 10 februari vond het trol-clubfeest plaats. Om met een gerust gemoed te kunnen feesten werd er eerst een leuke orientatie-variant georganiseerd.
Het ging om een zogenaamde bier-orientatie. Hierbij kwam de loper gedurende zijn omloop van 3300m 3 keer terug aan de start. Hier moest hij telkens een drankje binnen zijn looptijd opdrinken.
Uiteindelijk toonde de Leuvense student Ken Peeters zich de snelste.

1 Ken Peeters 0:18:41
2 Winston Franssen 0:18.43
3 Frans Laenen 0:18:45
4 Wim Vervoort 0:18:51
5 Donald Van Boven 0:20:23

We geven toe dat dit geen zondag-ochtend activiteit is, maar het idee geeft aan hoe er nog met onze sport kan gevarieerd worden. Initiatieven als de Sylver Cup waren hier al een goed voorbeeld van. Hopelijk zullen er dergelijke organisaties blijven volgen. Toffe en tevens uitdagende ideeën zijn steeds mee te delen op het forum.

zondag, februari 11, 2007

Training camp in Fontainebleau and Clermont-Ferrand

Slok went to France last week for a training camp. We spent some time in Fontainebleau and finished the week on the worldcup terrain in Clermont-Ferrand.

We left Leuven at 6 AM on monday in our university-sponsored minibus, passing Paris already required some orienteering, but we managed to arrive at our first house in an acceptable time. The owner was away for some time, so we continued to Fontainebleau itself. Swiss orienteering talent Fabienne Stucki was waiting for us (well, "us" is not quite right...) at the railway station.


Later on, we went to our first map: "Bois-Rond 3" for the first training run. We did some exercise where the first one to arrive at the spot of the control had to play control and wait for all others to pass and punch before chasing the group. This gives nice effects when two people both think they are at the right spot. Making SI-sounds when punching is also nice.

The evening was spent on cooking and watching a movie about a sniper in New York, if you happen to see that as a short description, don't waste your time on it and find something else.

Our first training on tuesday was on "Larchant 3". Everyone went to put two controls into the forest and then continued the tour. This terrain was really nice, a large part of the map was almost flat, the way Flemish runners like it, but with enough rocks to make it feel like a game of Catching Features. Running speed was quite low, but there were some discussions about one of the controls, the 15th when going clockwise. After the training run, there was a little photoshoot in the rocks.


The afternoon training was a lot harder. We did chase starts on the northern part of "La salamandre 2". The girls started first with 15 seconds interval and the boys 45 seconds after the last girl. The red crosses on the map are points where we waited and started again. The last two legs where without the girls and it was already getting dark. No-one really wanted to drive back to the gîte, way too exhausted. This type of exercise is really good: you notice immediately where you lose some time.

Wednesday, we woke up relatively early, packed our stuff together and drove off to the southern part of "La Salamandre 2". It was snowing, and for us, that's about the first snow we've seen this year. Our exercise was quite simple: one of the two runners did the orienteering to the odd controls, whereas the other one did the same thing for the even numbers. Afterwards, you discuss how you both ran and why you took that route. Someone from the local club was also in the forest, preparing a club training. Apparently, the southernmost part of the map is now forbidden for orienteering. It seems like we knew that, since we didn't put any controls there.

That was the end of our stay in Fontainebleau and we moved on to Clermont-Ferrand, a 4,5 hours drive. We slept in two chalets near the lake of Aydat. Right on the map of "Aydat-La Cassière". Jochen Verdeyen, JWOC and CF-hero, had some maps of Thierry Gueorgiou on his laptop, so our first introduction to the terrain there was a really short loop (green) on the southern part of the map. It felt quite easy, but the vegetation is not as dense as in summer/autumn.

The last activity of that day was to visit the city of Clermont-Ferrand and find somewhere to eat. When you ask two boys where you can eat well and when they enter there and start working in the kitchen, you know that something is wrong, so you move on and find something that looks better. It probably also was better.

After these trainings and since this is about the only week off during the school year, we took some rest thursday morning, only preparing the afternoon training and going to the shop. Our afternoon training on Aydat was pretty cool. We were going to do a night-O that evening, so 5 of us started with putting those controls, the other 3 went to place the controls for our training run. Some runners took the green course, the others ran the red one. Miek and Fabienne mixed them a bit up, aiming for a shorter training. At the end of the first course, we had put some bread and water so we could run/walk onto one of the mountains there and enjoy the view around.

On the way back, we took the other route and some other people picked up the controls. One of them could not find one of the controls (the first one of the green route). Dennis wanted to pick it up after the night race, but when I decided to go along with him, we would do half of the night course (red) and try to find the lost control at night.

The maps there are already hard, at night they are a lot harder. We missed our first three controls, taking 8 minutes to the first and second control (although we passed there during the previous training, but in the other direction). Our third leg was even worse. We took 15 minutes to find it and we only found it because the others were also arriving in the area. Now, we decided to do the 4th one at a much slower pace and found it quite well. Now, the time had come for the really long leg. Carefully planning our route and walking half of the time, we entered the place where we thought the control would be, but could not see it. We had two possibilities: or we were really lost or we had to search harder. Option two was the right one, and in barely 20 minutes, we found the control.

View of mountains

The last day, we were going to run on the map of "Chateau de Montlosier". Jochen had the map of the worldcup relay, so we took that course, skipping the spectator control. This map is not as hard as Aydat, and the easternmost part was really good, with good runnability.

Then, the time had come to return to rainy Belgium. The maps and accomodation were really nice and are worth a visit if you haven't done so.