|2||Hans Jorgen Kvale||NOR||79:30|
|3||Lars Hol Moholdt||NOR||79:35|
|33||Nick Duca (aka Ovidiu Duca, Romania)||CAN||129:08|
|2||Lars Hol Moholdt||NOR||13:34|
|2||Hans Jorgen Kvale||NOR||13:34|
|34||Nick Duca (aka Ovidiu Duca, Romania)||CAN||19:52|
|Nick Duca (aka Ovidiu Duca, Romania)||CAN||dsq/rtd|
While I'm pretty sure that the majority of people reading this do little or no ski-orienteering, I'm also pretty sure you will be interested in what's going on up in the mountains near Lake Tahoe in California. Namely, the first Ski O World Cup races of the winter, and I think the first races of this stature in the USA (World Championships or World Cup) since the World Masters Orienteering Championships in Minnesota in 1997 (then known as the Veterans World Cup).
What makes these World Cup races especially interesting is that the USA, besides organizing the event, has two women competing—Alex Jospe and Ali Crocker—who are among the very best in the world. At the Ski-O World Champs last winter in Sweden, Ali finished 8th in the Long distance and the women's relay (Ali, Alex, and Cristina Luis) finished 8th. So there was some anticipation to see whether those results were a fluke, or the sign of even better things to come.
And the results from today, the Long distance event, show that last year was clearly no fluke.
Against the best women in the world, Ali finished 4th today and Alex, despite suffering from a cold, finished 11th. They are right up there with the best Swedes and Norwegians and Russians, and beating some of them too. It is such a pleasure to see them doing so well.
Here are links to various reports and information from today's race --
The schedule for the next few days:
A big thank you to Event Director Tony Pinkham, Course Setter Greg Walker, and National Controller Ken Walker Sr., who have made this whole event possible.
Here is a little more about yesterday's Long distance race, including some pictures.
The weather conditions and the terrain for ski orienteering in Truckee were spectacular. Blue sky and shining white snowy mountains of Sierra Nevada with fast snow and few minus degrees were truly welcoming the international ski orienteering family to the new continent. World Cup continues on Wednesday with sprint races.
And there were compliments from the women's winner, Tove Alexandersson of Sweden: "It's cool when there is so much orienteering with different route choices as there was today."
Here is the photo finish for bronze medal (click for larger image from the source, the Ski Orienteering World Facebook page):
And here is Alex's story and photos from Monday on her blog.
Added: KCRA TV taped an interview with Alex Jospe about ski orienteering and the world cup at Lake Tahoe.
Just a quick summary of today's World Cup sprint (results)--
This was the second win for Tove Alexandersson, the young Swedish sensation, either in her last year as a junior or first as a senior, I'm not sure which. She is obviously a great orienteer as well as skier; last year she won a World Cup race in Switzerland in summer-O' (which is what the ski-orienteers sometimes call foot-O'). The course today was very hilly, there were a couple of inches of new snow, and it was windy, not the easiest of conditions, but then orienteering is an outdoor sport and you have to be ready for most anything.
Best of the Americans today was Alex Jospe, 13th place, a result that she had the following to say about afterwards --
My goal for today was to ski a clean race, and to ski smooth and strong. I succeeded in the clean race, but comparing routes after, I would estimate 30-45s lost on suboptimal route choices (2, 3, 4, 6). Good execution of my planned routes, though, so I'm pleased. I was actually racing today, not just surviving, and that led to some serious heavy breathing. Looking at the splits, I did better on the climbing legs relative to my overall place, so I guess I just need to work the downhills more - something I'm really good at in skiing, so maybe just takes a mindset change. Definitely pooped by the end, I worked hard today!
I don't want to downplay my result - it's in the points. However, I am disappointed that what I considered a good race placed me worse than what I considered a so-so race. Looking forward to another chance, tomorrow.
Best for the men, and best of all the North Americans, was Adrian Owens of the Green Mountain OC, who finished 27th. His splits show a clean race no mistakes, and judging by his WRE points, it's the best race he's ever had in international competition, by far. Good for him!
And then there was Ali Crocker, about whose race one might say, "Oh, my goodness" not just once but twice. The first time would be an exclamation of amazement, because halfway through she was in second place and just six seconds out of the lead. And then the second time would be one of distress as she went the wrong way at a junction and it all fell apart. Her comments --
Oooh, that's a bit painful. Was doing quite well through the beginning- in 2rd place at control #6, and then mega-mistake. Ended up on the wrong trail out of a junction and then complete confusion ensued, had to relocate by how far away I was from the road.
I immediately knew that it was a race-ending mistake, so heart sank, but then time to figure it out, and finish the gosh-darn race. So I did, although in the process, didn't give enough respect to #8 and took the blatantly wrong route choice, maybe only slightly longer distance, but 2 extra contours, no good.
A good thing -- on the hardest uphill leg, only 1 second behind Tove A., race winner of both today and the long. I have the ski speed, just gotta put the ski and the o together a bit better...
Ok, so that's that, tomorrow's another day, and this stuff is fun, glad we have 4 more races!
It should be obvious that we have some great athletes on our ski-O team.
On tap for Thursday is the World Cup Middle distance, with the following course specifications -- Men: 11.1 km straight line, 14.8 km shortest route, 29 controls, 185 m climbing. 45 % wide tracks, 55 % narrow tracks. Estimated winning time 45 minutes. One map change.
Women: 8.8 km straight line, 11.6 km shortest route, 19 controls, 135 m climbing. 45 % wide tracks, 55 % narrow tracks. Estimated winning time 42 minutes. One map change.
Another day, another World Cup race on U.S. soil. Best not to forget the organizers who are in the home stretch, 3 more days to go. And doing a marvelous job.
Today was the World Cup Middle distance, a demanding course, a mix of large trails and narrow ones, quite icy in places, definitely challenging orienteering. The Swedes continued to take the top spots, both men and women today, third straight for Tove Alexandersson, and our Team was on excellent form too.
Best was Ali Crocker, 5th place, just 35 seconds out of third. Alex Jospe was just three minutes behind her, 13th, and she was just 25 seconds out of the top ten. These are unbelievably fine results, and both of them will get lots better. Best of the men today was Nikolay Nachev from Washington state, followed closely by Adrian Owens.
Results, along with World Cup points and WRE points are here: http://iof.6prog.org/WR_Event.aspx?EID=2091
Friday is a World Cup sprint relay, teams of two (a man and a women), they alternate, each skiing three very short legs, maybe 6-8 minutes each. Our teams will be Ali and Adrian, Alex and Nikolay, and Chelsea Frehulfer and Carl Fey.
And then two more WRE events over the weekend, middle distance and sprint, both also the U.S. Champs.
I'll end this with some words from Alex:
Ali continues to make history, today with a 5th place finish, just 30s out of a podium finish! After a pretty disastrous mistake yesterday in the sprint, today she skied conservatively and cleanly, and that approach nearly paid off, with only two small mistakes keeping her off the podium. The snow was very icy and lumpy, making for difficult footing, so Ali's long experience as an elite skier helped her negotiate the tricky terrain.
I had another day just on the wrong side of the bubble - 25 seconds would have put me inside the top 10, and I felt like I was making numerous small navigational mistakes, though the worst was definitely catching a ski tip and face-planting in front of all the photographers! 13th place still nets me a bunch of World Cup points, and I'm finally feeling adjusted to the altitude and skiing hard, so I'm pleased, though as all bubble skiers can attest, results can be your friend or foe, depending on the day. I had oodles of fun zipping around the narrow windy trails, picking out routes and trying to outsmart my competitors, and it was another gorgeous sunny California day.
Just catching up…
The World Cup races in California ended yesterday with the mixed sprint relay. Our top two teams took 11th (Adrian and Ali) and 12th (Nikolay and Alex). > Full results
You might also want to look at the current standings in the World Cup. Some best ever by far standings for USA ski-orienteers, led by Ali in 6th place.
The World Cup resumes in Ukraine and then Kazakhstan in late February and early March and then concludes in Sweden in late March. While getting to Ukraine and Kazakhstan is not possible for them, both Ali and Alex plan to be competing at the final round of events in Sweden. I know they will have a bunch of people cheering for them. I think Greg Walker, who has been the course setter for all these World Cup events, will be there as well.
There was a ceremony marking the end of the World Cup events. As Ali writes:
So, after the sprint relay was the World Cup award ceremony. First, happy reflections from both head of ski-o commission and vice pres of IOF on how great it was to have a ski-o WC in North America. So many major props to the folks who have made it all happen here, Greg, Ken, Ed, Tony, our amazingly helpful IOF advisors Marku and Antti and then just absolutely everyone else who had pitched in.
Then, there were awards. And they call up the top 6, which meant I got to go up there on stage which was just very cool! Pretty sure I was glowing =)
Here's a picture from Ali going up for the 4th place in the long. They are in order of finish, from left to right, so Ali is 4th from the left.
Alison Crocker on the podium for the long distance Ski O world cup race
Photo: courtesy Ali Crocker
Congratulations to the entire team, and also to the organizers for their vision to make these events happen and their skills in making them happen well. It has been quite a week.
PS. And though the World Cup events may be over, there are still two more days of competition over the weekend. Both are World Ranking Events (WREs) for M21 and F21. Today's race was also the US Middle Champs, and tomorrow is the US Sprint Champs.
A final report just to wrap up some loose ends….
Since some of the areas were being used for more than one event, the maps were not immediately released, but they are now available.
And it's so nice to give the link for this story on the IOF website, the title of which was -- "Praise for Course Setter in Ski Orienteering World Cup." A well-deserved recognition of the outstanding job done by Greg Walker and the rest of the organizing team.
Finally, to put in a plug of an event that is still three and a half months in the future, the New England Orienteering Club is organizing two A meets (both middle distance) and three special local events, all to take place in the Amherst and Northampton area of western Massachusetts on Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27 (that's Memorial Day weekend). The reason I'm mentioning it here is that all net proceeds will go to support our fabulous Ski-O team as it prepares for the 2013 World Champs in Kazakhstan.
We hope to keep expenses to a minimum — both the fieldwork and the drafting of the new map being used for the A meets were done pro bono — and to be able to make a significant donation to the team. You just need to show up.
More information is at:
Online registration will be available soon.