The junior team successfully made it back to Portugal with some of the original JWOC team members, and some new ones! Bridget, Alex, Anna, Holden, and I (Lily) happily returned after the summer sprint races, while Oriana and Emilia joined us for the forest races only. Emilia brought along her Finnish crew including coach Kari Jussila and his daughter (& great orienteer) Ida. We are so thankful for all of the work and coaching they put in for us to have great races! Now onto the juicy stuff.
Model Training & Stuff
Emilia and the Finnish crew arrived a few days earlier than US-based folks to train on the Portuguese maps and get acclimated. Anna unfortunately was flying in on Wednesday, but everyone else got to go out on the middle model map. I think the returners enjoyed going back out on the terrain and Emilia and Oriana seemed to get the hang of it very quickly. We all enjoyed going out at our own pace and joining back up at the end. The next day we did the long model maps in the rain and the forest looked like it was straight out of a fairytale. We all felt pretty good about the terrain, but a few of us mixed up our controls because we had no order to them. I got the pleasure of having coach Kari shadow me for a few controls (I totally wasn’t nervous ;)).
In our free time we made friendship bracelets, studied, ate lots of bread, and played cards. We also got the chance to briefly walk around Aguiar De Beira in the rain after accreditation.
Our first race had very mixed opinions. It was a chilly morning and the line to use the porty-potty was quite long. With the early start times, Alex and Bridget were rushed out onto the courses while the rest of us shivered and played under ten until we went into race mode. When it was finally my turn, Coach Kari gave me a fist bump and told me to “go have fun” with a smile.
A few of us had good races, and a few of us had bad races, but either way it was a great learning opportunity and clearly laid out what was to come in the future: thick green and rocky cliffs. The end of the middle had us fighting for our lives in the green. I’m still not sure how I managed to come out unscathed! Bridget, on the other hand, received a nice gash in the shin; maybe this led her to the decision to buy new shoes! Speaking from someone who has literally walked (ran) a mile (many miles) in her shoes, it was long overdue.
Emilia: 31:02 (37)
Lily: 40:08 (82)
Bridget: 43:41 (92)
Oriana: 45:56 (101)
Alex: 51:01 (109)
Anna: 53:43 (111)
Holden: 58:53 (122)
For the second race, we geared up and smeared on some face paint! Check out the looks:
I would like to take credit for the design…everyone copied me of course.
The relay teams consisted of:
Emilia, Lily, Bridget 2:17:57
Oriana, Alex, Anna 2:56:03
Zefa (New Zealand), Ethan (Australia), Holden 2:09:27
The orienteers who love technical did great on the middle relay, namely Alex, who seriously loved it. One of the legs ran right along a steep cliff side! Anna claimed she was nervous to run along this and ended up on her stomach fighting through green instead, a true warrior. These relay legs proved to be tiring and hilly, but had some very fun and intricate orienteering.
For my team with Bridget and Emilia I insisted that we had a thing, so I came up with a snapping hand-off. It was endearing to see my teammates take my silly suggestion so seriously, and when Emilia had just ran her heart out she still reminded me to snap. Bridget and I got a photo of it, and I think it’s really interesting to see the determination on her face and the exhaustion on mine (similar to Alex and Oriana). Oh the joys of racing!
We woke up to “perfect” long conditions on Sunday: 60 ℉ and drizzly. We played some hype songs, conducted a few rounds of under ten, and then Bridget and Emilia knitted to their heart’s content. I think everyone agreed: It was thorny, detailed, and, well, it was long. Holden claimed he ran a half marathon during the race and was just happy to finish. Personally, it was my first long race at this level, and man. It was so much more grueling than I imagined. Alex and Anna ran into each other half-way through and used the art of teamwork to conquer the rest of the race.
Emilia: 75:22 (50)
Bridget: 90:58 (88)
Alex: 108:34 (97)
Anna: 124:34 (103)
Oriana: 129:07 (107)
Lily: 130:03 (108)
Holden: 181:52 (119)
Here are some thoughts and opinions of the athletes when asked what their favorite moment of JWOC part II was.
Bridget: It’s too hard for me to pick a favorite moment from this trip because there were so many amazing, fun, hilarious moments, but one that I will remember forever is when we were all sitting in the lobby of the hotel playing cards. There was so much laughter as Holden got extra card after extra card, the tensions were high as red kings got passed around, and in general we were all just having an absolute blast. Makes my heart warm just thinking about it. It’s also hard for me to pick a favorite moment when racing, but I think the one that stands out the most to me is finishing the long. I was back running up to the same final chute as the first sprint in the summer, and I just reminded myself that this was it, this was my final JWOC control and finish sprint ever. I had a little smile on my face as I made my way down the chute, and there were tons of people cheering and it just made me so happy in the moment. It didn’t matter how my race went (note: not very well), I just wanted to soak up the last moments of JWOC.
Oriana: My favorite moment of the races was the first half of the middle (i loved that race overall tbh) but getting in touch with the map just felt so exciting and went so much smoother than i presumed-my favorite moment of the trip was just laughing my behind off with the team, anytime we all hung out i just could not stop smiling and laughing and having the time of my life.
Alex: My favorite part of the trip was seeing the team again. My favorite part of the races was when I fully focused on the map and fully mentally in the race. And finishing with Anna on the long was also one of my favorite parts of the race.
Holden: My favorite moment was crossing the finish line after being in the woods for three hours during the long course, and being greeted by Hong Kong China to trade jackets.
Ida: My favorite moment during the trip was definitely when playing cards with you 🙂 I can’t choose only one favorite moment of my races but the team officials race and the JWOC tour sprint were super fun!
Congratulations to Ida! She placed 2nd in the JWOC tour races!
Emilia: My favorite moment in addition to the card games was when I finished the middle and realized I had had a good race.
Lily: My favorite moment was playing cards and watching Holden collect card after card in under ten after he complained about the rules being explained. Although overall I really enjoyed the simplicity of being with my teammates and engaging in small talk, post-race hugs, and new handshakes. My favorite racing moment was the middle final, because there was a control that I could use the powerline and stop thinking so hard for a minute (and by a minute I mean maybe 30 seconds).
Pictures That Speak Louder Than Words:
In conclusion, we are all very grateful for this experience. To everyone who has helped logistically, financially, and emotionally, thank you so much!
And to our 2002 babies, we will miss you. Good luck in your future endeavors ❤
One thought on “JWOC Part II: Bread and Under Ten”
Loved this this recap and cheering you all on from afar!