Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back home in Uppsala

After a long journey through Switzerland and France, we have returned home to our apartment in Uppsala which is exciting because we once again have internet!

In an effort to keep this post short enough to read, we will just skim over the Swiss Orienteering Week and the World Orienteering Championships, but if you want to see more from those few weeks, you can check out photos on Sam's Facebook Page and visit the US Team Blog, which has some posts from our racing in France. 

Fireworks over the lake in Laax

In Switzerland, we were staying in the town of Laax, and we were lucky enough to be around during the Swiss National day on August 1st, when we got to see some fantastic fireworks in the center of this town. It was very exciting standing there watching, though some of that excitement came because a few of the unofficial fireworks that got set off came whizzing back into the crowd and exploded with a  boom just over our heads!

All of the days of competition in Switzerland were held high up on the slopes of the surrounding mountains, which meant that we had some epic views.

So beautiful, and the mountains are nice too (Photo by Boris Granovskiy)
Too soon, the relaxing week in Switzerland was over, and we headed back to France to prepare for the World Champs. For the races we stayed in Aix-les-Bains, and spent everyday driving up the winding roads to the plateau on top of the ridge where all the maps were.

For the races, I (Ross) was quite satisfied with my qualifier races, even though I did not qualify for any of the finals.  Sam had a less than stellar long distance qualifier, but qualified easily for the final in the Sprint. This meant that she got to race two intense short courses in one day, and by the end of the day she was feeling quite tired. Still, good enough for 38th position, not the result she was looking for but very respectable.

She doesn't look so tired to me (Photo by Dave Yee)

The last race of the week was the team relay and both of us got to run the lead off leg for our teams. Sam had another solid performance and was only 4 minutes behind the lead runner after her race. I was quite confident going into the race, confident enough to run right past the turnoff for the first control... even though all the rest of the runners were cutting off the trail just there.  I quickly corrected my error, but I ran the whole course alone and was quite sure that I was trailing very far behind the rest of the teams.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn, once I finished the course, that I wasn't so far back and in fact we were in front of the Canadian team, our big rivals.

Looking good for the spectators on the way to the last loop (photo by Eddie Bergeron)

 So that was a recap of the last 3 weeks, and brings us up to last Sunday, when we got on a plane heading back to Sweden. Boris, Sam and I woke up on Monday morning with a long list of things to do and first on our list was to try to get some things for our house, like forks and plates (as we had eaten our spaghetti the night before with spoons out of cereal bowls.) The used goods store wasn't very helpful, but our stop at IKEA was very fruitful. Several hours after arriving, we departed with a good start on furnishing the apartment.

IKEA beds are handy places for a quick snooze
Later in the evening we got to meet some friendly people in our new orienteering club, as many of them had either offered to give us their old furniture or to help us transport some  of the larger pieces. By the end of the day, we had an equipped kitchen to cook in, a table and chairs at which to eat dinner, and a bed to collapse into... and that pretty much describes our Monday night.  Though we had to guess a little when making our pizza dough with Swedish yeast and a Swedish oven.

The smell of sauteing mushrooms makes any kitchen that much cozier

On Tuesday, we attended our first club training with OK LinnĂ©, which was a great time to meet about 35 members in the club, and also a great time to meet one of the nearby forests.  I got thoroughly and happily lost a few times and it wasn't til the very end of the session that I felt like I was in control of the navigation and running.

We followed up the training with a dinner at the clubhouse, with soup and a discussion about the upcoming Swedish Championship races. The presenter had a powerpoint presentation which highlighted the things we should expect from the many races that make up the championship series. If Sam and I get registered in time, we will get to race in these competitions too, against the best in the country.


Courtney Anne said...

Are you learning to speak Swedish?? We miss you terribly, but we're glad to see everything is going smoothly!

Sarah! said...

Ross -- Can we come and visit you guys in Sweden? You're always welcome here in Geneva next time you pass through! -Sarah and John

Samantha and Ross said...

Of course! We would love visitors! And we are slowly learning Swedish. We can say a few things, but understanding others is still challenging!