Tuesday, August 20, 2013

World Games in Cali - Thoughts about terrains and general impressions

Yesterday I was writing about the World Games races held in Cali in Colombia the first week of August. The races was not the success I had hoped for, but World Games was still a great memory for me. Today I will start with some thoughts about the maps/terrains and than continue with some general impressions from the whole World Games in Cali. 

Maps and courses
I have seen some people complaining about the courses in World Games, and also other international events held the previous years. The main goal with an international event is not necessarily to serve the runners as difficult courses as possible in a nice untouched forest, but to show up the sport.

It's also very individual what type of terrain different runners prefer. Runners who only prefer to run in a specific type of terrain can stay home, or go to smaller races in terrains they like. But as an elite runner on international level you should be able to handle all type of terrains. I can admit that the terrains used for World Games was not the most interesting, but it was probably the best you could find in Cali, and it was still challenging and you needed to run fast, make good route choices and avoid doing mistakes.

If we want orienteering to be a global sport we can't have all big events in for example Scandinavian forest. Someone will always think a course is too easy or too difficult, too long or too short, or the the terrain has too good runnability or are too bushy or stony. But if we want orienteering to grow as a sport we have to think positive and see opportunities, and not just complain about all that we don't like.

Other sports
During World Games we where also able to watch some of the other sports, such as trampoline and acrobatic gymnastics, canoe polo, rugby, korfball and beach handball.

We were eating most meals in a big tent where they served food for all athletes, and it was cool to watch the different type of  body the athletes in different sports had.

Norway won bronze medal in the women's beach handball, and we were able to watch the finals together with them. Brazil won not surprisingly for both men and women.

Closing Cermony
Even if the orienteering competitions was the most imported of World Games, the closing ceremony is my best memory from Cali.

It started with that all the athletes entered the big stadium with a capacity of 50.000 spectators, and after some speeched is became a great party, with a combination of performances by some of the biggest artists in Colombia, among them Carlos Vives, and dancing.

After the 3 hours long closing ceremony, we were some athletes who manged to enter the party for the 3500 volunteers, before we continued to a salsa club. The locals was very friendly the whole week, and glad to try to teach us salsa and other Latin American dances.

After World Games I stayed one week longer in Colombia on holiday, and I will write some word about that later.

Monday, August 19, 2013

World Games in Cali - The races

The first week in August I participated in World Games arranged in Cali in Colombia. Before the event I was writing about what World Games is:
- On my way to World Games in Colombia
- Miami - Cali 

In this post I will write about each of the races, and tomorrow I will continue with some thoughts about the maps/terrains and some general impressions from the whole World Games in Cali.
Sprint - DSQ
The first race was the Sprint, that was held in a mix of park and street area. It was not any big challenges, and mainly to choose right or left, and run as fast as possible. I was not feeling so fresh as I had hoped, and lost some time because of my running speed the whole course.

At the 18th control I held the 11th position. But to the 19th control I had a bad direction, came too much to the right and lost 20 seconds. On the last control I did not get any electronically punching, even if the spectators could see that I punched normally with my SI card, and I was disqualified from a possible 18th position. This is the first time I have been disqualified for a missing punch, even if it has been a problem with Sport Ident for many years, and I' can just be glad it has not happed to me before and that it was not a top performance I was disqualified from this time. Matthias Kyburz and Annika Billstam won, while Anne M. Hausken Nordberg won a silver medal to Norway. Results, splits and GPS tracking.

Middle - 13th place
The Middle distance was held in a forest area along a river, and nobody knew exactly what we could expect before the race. The forest was mainly quite dense, and it was smart to use the paths as much as possible, even if it was OK to run through the forest some places.

I was running pretty well the first half of the race, and at the map exchange I held the 7th position, 45 sec behind Matthias Kyburz. But in the end I did five 10 - 30 seconds mistakes, and ended up in 13th position. Kyburz won clearly, but it was positive to see that I was not more than one minute from the silver medal. Results, splits and GPS tracking.

Relay - DSQ
The Mixed Sprint Relay was held in partly the same area as the Middle, but had also a part with more parkland. Norway had a strong team, and was in my opinion among five teams who had a good chance to win a medal.

Carl Kaas and Mari Fasting sent me out on the 3rd leg in 5th position, 1 min behind the leading group. I did an OK performance, except to the 6th control, where I according to the GPS tracking lost 40 seconds since I passed my control with a few meters and visited an other forking before I went back to my control. I don't like to complain about forkings, but as you can see in the GPS tracking it's quite big differences in length, and unfortunately I had the longest most places. M. Kyburz was able to give Switzerland a huge lead, but we were still in 5th position, and the other team was within one minute in front of us.

Anne M. Hausken Nordberg did a good last leg, and finished as 2nd runner, but unfortunately we were disqualified since Mari had visited a wrong control. It was the 6th control, the same as I missed, and also Sweden, Great Britan and Czech Republic was disqualified for exactly the same! So it went out to be easier then expected to win a medal, and Austria was definitively the most happy team, winning the bronze, their first ever relay medal in an international championship. Results and GPS tracking.

IOF's World Games page has results, splits and GPS tracking from all the races. In my Picasa album you can find more than 250 pictures from the whole World Games week in Cali.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Miami - Cali

On my way to World Games in Colombia I decided to take a two days long stop in Miami. Even if I have been traveling quite much in my life I have never been in North or South America, and I found this a good time to visit USA, since it would split up the long travel and at the same time I would get some more days with acclimatization to the new time zone and climate with high density.

I was staying at Miami Beach, and took it quite easy. I did some shorter runs, relaxed on the beach and visited some shops and restaurants in the city. My hotel was in the Art Deco District, as you can see on the buildings on some of my pictures.

Tuesday my traveled continued to Cali in Colombia, and I met the others from the Norwegian World Games team. Wednesday we did a short run from the hotel (highest building in town) and relax a bit. Before dinner we watched some other sport, as you can see on my pictures. The security is taken very serious here, with a lot of police men everywhere, but all local people we have meet have been really friendly to us.

Today we have been on the Model Event. It was close to the area for tomorrows sprint race, but no very interesting, as you can see on the map. Model Events is often quite boring, since they save the best areas for the races, but shows how the map is drawn.

You can follow the events live with video streaming and GPS tracking on IOF's World Games page. The sprint starts 17.00 CET on Friday.

Last week I answered some questions for the IOF site, and today I was answering questions in the IOF live chat together with Matthias Kyburz and Maja Alm