Briones Training - Swedish Relay

March 18, 1999

by Ian Tidswell

A group of elite Swedish orienteers were on a tour of California, and we seized the opportunity to hold a special training event with them. Frederick, the leader of the visiting Swedes, suggested the format - a Swedish team relay - which is a great way for people to get to know each other. It is also a good way for less experienced orienteers to run on an elite course, learn, and have fun. We should do something like this again! Check out the results and Neeme's description of his team's run.

Teams were chosen by Evan in consultation with Fredrik. We tried to get to balanced teams, but this was difficult given the lack of knowledge of relative ability, and the late arrival of several BAOCers. Still, there was only 16 minutes between the first and last teams - a pretty close spread.

I think it was team 4 that had a great way of dividing up the 11-15 stretch (which at first glance looked like only one person should do it). It would also be interesting to see how those that did the "mandatory only" controls enjoyed the event. Given a less challenging park I would have moved #11 so that there was a little less sitting around waiting, but other than that I think it went remarkably well given the limited investment to course design!

Lots of thanks go to Evan Custer (pretty much all meet organization) and Harold DeMoss (vetting/hanging controls). The meet would have been much less successful without them. Also thanks to Dan Stoll. He arrived late and ran the whole course picking up controls (and it only took him 92 minutes!). Others who helped out on registration included Rosemary Johnson and Nancy Lindeman. Thanks to all and sorry if I forgot anyone.

Swedish Relay Results

 1. Team 2      62:29

 Kalle Dalin
 Torsten Hammarstrom
 Neeme Loorits
 Dan Greene

 2. Team 1      63:30

 Anders Dalin
 Jonas Alm
 Agnefa Hammarstrom
 Thorsten Graeve
 3. Team 4     69:45

 Fredrik Sundstrom
 Mats Prohs
 Gary Carpenter
 Mark Prior

 4. Team 5    75:03

 Lars Kandell
 Anna Linder
 Joe Scarborough
 Bob Cooley

 5. Team 3    76:39

 Daniel Kaipe
 Dan-Olof Thuresson
 Steve Gregg
 Kelly Wells
 6. Team 6     79:06

 James Scarborough
 Anders Haglund
 George Minarik
 Randy Thomas
 Brown Course  (no formal times taken)
 Leslie Minarik
 Rosemary Johnson
 Kevin Schoenfeld & Debbie Wojtowicz

Neeme's Play-by-Play

We were all assigned to teams, and when I asked Kalle (from Sweden) if anyone at the event could run better than him, and he pointed only to his brother Anders, I was sure that we could win this thing. Dan arrived late and he joined our team, and I knew he could keep up with us to the required controls, and I guessed that the older Swede Thorsten could too. So plan was for Kalle to run as much of the course as he could, and for me to back him up when he needed rest.

To my surprise, everyone started off in different directions from the start. I had been figuring out how we gonna divide the course, and was momentarily lost at start time. Once I figured out where to go, most teams were ahead of us already. But no worries, we passed some on the way to number 3 (the first required control) and others seemed to be on the wrong track at first. We initally had a fifth team member but she decided not to run seriously and I have to admit that the pace may have been too fast for her at first.

We arrived at control 3 first, but everyone else was right behind us, and it was kind of fun that there was no control, and the swedes who went to controls 1 and 2 started to come in, and everyone was just standing around there, and there was no conrol. After a slight pause, the consensus was to just keep on going to the next control, and then someone found the actual control in the next reentrant. I dont blame the course setter at all, because it was a training event to start with, and if any control was to be off, that was the best one, everyone was still together, and nobody lost too much time on it. Thosten's ("our" Thorsten, that is) team went off first, so they probably lost most time when they had to return, but it was not more than 30 seconds.

We got to control 4 first, I believe, and then Kalle told me to get 5 and 6 and meet him on road near 7, and I was glad that he had figured it out, so we didn't have to have conference or anything. Dan and Thorsten (Swede) went straight to 11. I took 5 and 6, and I saw all the people walking toward 6 and 11, was funny to see James move slowly for once, hehe. I did not see anyone with control cards following me, I suspect that I was first, and I was slightly surprised that nobody caught up. So I met Kalle at a road crossing near 7 and I was pooped (tired) when I got there, cause I was running madly and it was some downhill and I knew I had some hungry Swedes on my back.

I was really happy to be able to walk some after that, and I decided to actually walk almost all the way to 11 and I still made it with 5 mins or more to spare. I saw two Swedes maybe a minute behind us or so but I had a feeling that Kalle could handle them.

Now comes a big mistake. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it if it wasn't for the fact that I had some 10 minutes to plan my route choices from 11 on. We had not discussed what will happen after 11, but I had a feeling that Kalle needed some rest I was gonna run 11 to 13 at least and maybe to 15. So I guess I am in this mindset here that I have to contour EVERYTHING and did not see an obvious route choice from 12 to 13 actually going straight (slightly right, straight downhill and then up some). So, like a fool I decided to contour way around the big reentrant on the left. I think that cost me at least a minute because the smaller reentrants that I had to cross were really deep and I had climb quite a bit.

Ok, back to race. Kalle comes in first and he wants to meet me in 15 just as I feared (and I was staring at the huge hills inbetween, and I HATE hills). I told him to meet me in 13 if had enough juice left, but I didn't really count on it. Dan and Thorsten went to 15 and the route choice there was pretty easy, I was sure they could make it there with plenty of extra time.

Well, the first hill out of 11 was a killer of course. I was walking, needless to say, and about halfway up my mouth suddenly went completely dry and I realized I had not had a drink before start (not good). The worst thing was of course when I got to the shallow portion of the hill closer to the road I still could not run and I could see Anders running! up behind me. Damn, thats it, I thought, this guy is crazy and he's gonna pass me right here. Fortunately I got to the road then and it turned soon downhill so I started really hauling down the road and I got out of his sight. I ran to the road crossing at the stream and then turned to the road that goes north. Then I realized that there was no climb on the other side of stream and I should have just cut the corner and run straight across the stream. I could see him coming down the road now, and I thought that's what he was gonna do. But somehow he did not see me and he actually took the upper road, and some extra 50 m of climb that came with it. So I got off the road and contoured. Anyone who went to Christian's lecture last week can tell that control 12 was much easier to find coming down the reentrant from the road, and that's what Anders was doing, except he told me later that he did not realize he had to take so much extra climb. My contouring approach was much riskier, but I dont mind gamble like that and I definitely dont like extra climb. I came in too low, lost about 30 secs going back up to control, and I could see Anders come down the reentrant when I took the control.

So 13 was my bad route choice. I never figured out where Anders went so I could only hope he was behind me (in fact he was ahead of me after this by 30-60 secs). Kalle had come to 13, but when he saw Anders there he thought that I may have already passed, so he ran to 15 where Dan and Thorsten were waiting. So I came to 15, I did not even know that Anders's team had already left. There was a little confusion at the control, cause some people were standing away from the control and I had cross to some nice barricade of wood to actually get to the control.

Kalle took it from there and he quickly caught up with Anders (I am not sure if Anders had made an error or maybe he was just too tired after running all the way from 10? or so). Dan, Thorsten and I went straight to 18 and I was so pooped I had to walk up the hill and I told them to go ahead so I caught up with them on the downhill. I was surprised to see the other team around the last control, because I still didn't know they had left 15 before us. Basically I am not sure what happened there at the end, maybe lack of oxygen, but I am guessing that the other team came to the last control on a different route because it was all open and I didn't see them before ahead of us. We won by almost a minute, and I think it was in great deal thanks the smooth transitions that our team was able to make between the legs and to Kalle's good decisions on how to divide up the course and where to make the transitions. Well, maybe some luck too :)

The course was very good I thought. There were some very interesting route choices to be made. Best of all, and these were the words of the Swedes, it was a great way to get to know each other. It is probably not too often we have another club visit us like that, but I surely hope that we can do stuff like that again. And hopefully the Swedes will come back soon!

I understand that it may not have been all that much fun for the people who just went to all the required controls, so it may look all different from others' viewpoint.