Saturday, April 30, 2016

Day 9 of Youth Squad Tour in Sweden

Our training time is almost over and we did a long race today. We started by doing a retake of the traditional jumping photo. Note the sun was finally out!!!

When we arrived at the event there were so many people it looked as if we had showed up for a concert.

Carl, Tania and I ( Matthew) had the late starts around 12:30. Carl and I "decided" that finishing in 3 and a half hours ( the cut off was 2 and a half hours) would be a great idea. I speak on behalf of Carl and I when I say they we were not lost, we just could not find the control because they had already collected them.

When Carl and I got back to our "home" we did not have enough energy to shower so we sat on the floor and showered like that (the lazy man way).

Written by Mathew Siepman

So today we got up at 7:20 making ready for the race. Tania, Matthew, James and myself made our way to Sikla Alle by bus. We waited for about five minutes before Glen, our lift, arrived. We arrived at the event and saw Rory already walking to the start. 

We made our way to the finish and sat down for about half an hour under the South African flag being proud. Heather and I made our way to the start, where again the people were standing in their masses.

 I waited about ten minutes alongside Heather and then she went into the start block and I was alone entering only a minute behind. At the start I found my map and started running like the wind towards the start control, stepping in both streams along the way. I got there first out of my group of  starters and felt confident running toward control nr.1.

H18 long -7.5 km

It was quite easy to find the first control after I followed Nick and Tania's training: "Just keep moving." The scale of the map threw me off entirely, but I managed to adjust. Control 2 was a very long leg and I decided on a route choice that best suited my skills, running the field. It took me a while to find the field, again the scale thing, and I thought I was honestly running in the wrong direction, but "just keep moving" helped and I ended up eventually finding the field and running the nice 1,5 km to the road. I contoured along and found the light green motorhome park. From there I went up the hill and overshot the control by 10 meters. I turned around and found the control just down. I basically ran over the cliff not looking down and luckily another person finding the control pulled me towards it.

From 2 to 3 I dropped down and ran along the light green going uphill when it stopped. I found the hill easily, using the knoll to the side. From 3 to 4 I almost messed up thinking I was running from four to five. I just kept moving forward and luckily I was not that far off. I saw someone trip and fall hard. I saw an opportunity because I was really lost and the map made no sense. So I asked him where I was and he showed me and I realized I was on the long leg. I quickly corrected and kept going my direction and found the marsh. From four to five I ran down the slope and back up on the other side and dropped down again and up and so on until using the marsh with the boulder at the east side to find my control just going up the re-entrant.

From 5 to 6 I just used my compass and ran South as straight as I could. I found the cliffs and contoured around finding the control easily. From 6 to 7 I ran a compass direction using the power lines junction to find my way. I used the marsh and just went around over the hill and found the knoll easily. At the top of the hill there was an animal waiting there. Later I learned it was a grouse but I described it as a black thing with wing making a circle thingy with his head straight up and making weird sounds like "mawamamwanalagaga..."

From 7 to 8 I just used compass and went straight through the marsh and hit the control dead on. From 8 to 9 I went over the hill and jumped the dry ditch between the two big marshes running around the greenish stuff and running through the dry marsh. I was at the control site but ended up being pulled to the left. The mapped started making no sense so I turned around and went to stand back on top of the hill where I was and found the control. From 9 to 10 I ran to the field and ran through the field making a stupid mistake, running over the hill where I might have gone around. I found a photographer and saw the control 50 meters away. From 10 to eleven I dropped down the cliff and again I was 10 meters away from the control when I turned around and went searching back up. I went back and got the control easily after I realized my mistake. From 11 to the finish it was basically following the smiley faces ( from the kids string course) around the river and to the finish. In summary the race went quite good for the state I was in. I was started getting sick yesterday with a runny nose and a cough and felt it in my lungs. Looking at the results I realize how much improvement I need to make in the future. We have great coaches and this tour has taught me a lot. We have improved significantly from where we were just over a week ago. 

Written by Andries Swart

(picture with Lina, who kindly lifted us, and waited for Carl and Matthew)

(most people had left by the time the boys finished)

(still had energy for frisbee, just couldn't catch it!)

Day 8 of Youth Squad Tour in Sweden

This morning we slept in, waking up at around 8 am, because we were only going to have one training session. Breakfast was the mince from the previous night warmed up and ladled onto a piece of toast.

After breakfast we traveled on a bus and a train to Hökarängen, south-west of the OK Ravinen Clubhouse in Hellasgården. We had to travel via the train station in Slussen, to the north-west.
We set up a base camp in the centre of the park. We could hear the trains on the Väsby line to the south-west. The park was the smallest area we had run in. It had many hills and knolls, with large gravel paths in between. There were fewer marshes in the park, so we managed to avoid them all.
We were told by Tania to take one kite and find one control feature to set it up by.

There were eight of us (including Tania), so we each took one of the compass points and set out to find a feature. Cliffs were popular, as four were chosen. When we got back to the central point we showed each other where our control was placed, and provided a control description for it. 

We set out in the opposite direction to which we had first set out, and then completed the rest in a clockwise direction (e.g. I set up my control in the west, so I started with Matthew’s control to the east, and continued to Andries’ control to the south-east). We set up the course before 11 am, and collected the kites just after 12 pm.

After the training we set off South-East towards Farsta, following Heather’s directions. We had lunch in the Farsta Centrum shopping centre. Some of us had Reindeer wraps whilst others tried a variety of tapas.

We left Farsta for Gamla Stan, the Old Town, to visit the royal palace on the North-East corner of the island. We circled around the palace clockwise from the East to the South-East to find an entrance. We were unsuccessful, as the palace was closed that day. However, when we finished the circumnavigation by arriving at the main entrance, we were told to step aside, and we were treated to an unannounced departure of the royal family. They were leaving for an unknown function in a black car with a crown on its registration plate, led and followed by three other black cars filled with security personnel. We were told by a Swedish bystander that we were very lucky to see them.

We decided to head for the palace armoury, which had been converted into a museum in the 70s and 80s. Inside there were three levels of exhibitions. The top floor was a temporary exhibition, and presented exhibits relating to the death of a member of the royal family. Crowns, sceptres and keys of previous monarchs were on display, we found the last razor that one of the kings had used before he had died, and attire from the funeral procession was worn by plastic figures. There were pictures and video clips that showing the exhuming and autopsy of the royal corpses, whose names were predominately Eric, Gustav, Magnus, Karl or Carl. They were found to have met their end in numerous ways, from strokes and cancer to a bullet wound to the head. At the far end of the floor we found a few costumes which King Carl and Guardsman Andries put on.

The ground floor was a permanent exhibition, and it displayed various royal outfits for special functions. There was set of clothes worn by Carl XI when he became king before his fourth birthday, and a military uniform of a more recent king. Suits of plate armour for infantry and cavalry were displayed alongside maces, rapiers, great swords and almost every conceivable weapon from medieval times.
The cellar housed the royal carriages, along with lifelike horses. A child sized carriage and an Austrian sled was shown in the cellar. Information and images relating to the raw silk trade route was shown behind them. After the museum we popped into the Cathedral with its impressive organ.

We then headed for the train station, but we were distracted by an enticing sign advertising Exit Games ( ). The seven of us went inside to try rescue Grandma, while Tania and Bev stayed outside to drink some coffee. We had sixty minutes to complete all the puzzles, which mainly consisted of working out the permutations to padlocks through codes, patterns and helpful hints. The lady at the counter described the puzzles as similar to ones in 80's video games. We managed to free Grandma two minutes past the deadline.

We headed home, and while Carl, Bev and Tania refilled their SIM cards with data, we found a geocache under a bridge south of the clubhouse, played cards.

Written by Rory Ellis

Friday, April 29, 2016

Day 7 of Youth Squad Tour in Sweden (Afternoon)

For lunch today we ate our packed lunches and took a long walk to the bus stop. At the bus stop we finished eating and sat down for a long wait before the next bus came. When the bus finally came we got on and started the long drive home.

When we arrived home we quickly changed and grabbed our dirty washing before heading to Nick’s apartment building to replace our foul smelling garments with soft clean clothes, when we sorted the clothes into colours, we worked out how to work the machine (while James, Andries, Rory and Mathew went to change Nicks tyres and sort the recycling) Bev, Carl and I went to go get milk at the shops. When we returned the clothes were washed and drying. We waited in the washing room until all the items were dry (the socks seemed to take the longest surprisingly) packed them and jumped on the next bus home, where we were greeted by more than a hundred people here for the OK Ravinen training.

We packed away our washing and got ready for this evenings training. Tania, Heather, Andries and I ran a mile up to the start and took the orange map and decided to do a quick relocation exercise, in pairs, where we had ten seconds to relocate and start moving to the next control. When Heather and I finished we ran back with Nick and got warm in the girls room with everyone else. After we bought mini chocolate brownies, we migrated downstairs to the boy’s “room”. Where we played Uno with our extra power cards for an hour and a bit before it finally finished. When the club people were mostly gone we emerged from our basement shelter and Heather and I cooked spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. We ate, played a game of paired speed with Uno cards and then went to our bed for some well-deserved sleep.

Written by Sarah Everett 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Day 7 of Youth Squad Tour in Sweden (Morning)

We wake up very early for yet another day in a row. This time we had far to travel so we had to get going quickly. We all ate breakfast and packed our bags for another time to make the bathroom tidy for the club training in the evening. We also had to make sandwich and pack lunch for when we were finished training. We then set off under the bridge to the bus stop. As we are about to catch a bus we realize that the bus is going the wrong way and we run across to catch the 840 going the other way. To make matters worse Rory pulled a 'James' and almost forgets his bus ticket. Eventually, after lots of stress, we all made it on the bus and were on the way to our training area.

We caught that bus to Handenterminalen and went to the next bus stop to catch the 865. The time came and went that the bus was supposed to come but the bus didn't. After all of us sitting in the snow, freezing, for about 10 more minutes (after 20 minutes) the bus finally came. We then took that bus to Lissma Skola and then had a 1.5km walk to the forest.

Today was a particularly  exciting day for me because I got to run in my new orienteering shoes with studs (which were also bright luminous colours) that I got from Carl's Orienteering shop yesterday.

The running in this forest was nice because the contours were easy to read and there wasn't too much marsh. We did a control picking exercise where there are lots of controls close together. The first loop we went out and followed Nick, soaking up all information we could. We then set out on our own using the controls shown but making our own routes. Another feature that made this extra hard was the fact that there were no controls out and we had to trust our orienteering abilities to make sure we were at the right spot. We then had to meet at 1 pm at the start to leave. It was very cold so many of us ended up finishing early and putting on warm clothes. We then caught the buses back to tidy up and get ready for a trip to Nick's flat.

Written by Heather Wimberley

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Day 6 of Youth Squad Tour in Sweden

Day 6, the day we ran our event for the “old peoples” league. For Andries and myself this was an early start, having to be at Nick’s house by 7am to place out the controls for the event. This morning wasn’t like the other mornings, today we woke up to freezing cold temperatures and snow falling from the sky. Andries and I along with Nick went out leaving his flat with our kites and SI units heading into the forest to set out the controls, 60 minutes later and 10km down the line we had completed our control setting out.

 While we were out doing that we had Bev, Sarah, Heather and James working in the kitchen making muffins to sell to the hundreds of Orienteers that ran. Matthew and Rory ran the 2km to the start putting up the orange and white tape to the start.

 Andries and I had the honour of using the data base while learning a bit of Swedish like “Godkänd” pronounced as “good-shard” which was really weird and every now and then we had one of the people rattle off talking to us in Swedish, where Andries replied with a very blank expression on his face. Andries learnt that five is fem, this came in very handy when selling our wares (coffee, open sandwiches, muffins and Swedish chocolate balls).

. Its an interesting, low man power self help start and after all the hard work we did early this morning we were allowed to go out and run our courses alongside the “old people”.

Once the event was over we split up into groups again to collect all the controls and equipment that we placed out, but this time now it was raining so we all were soaking wet by the time we came back.
Once everyone was back we ate sandwiches for lunch and then headed out towards the Orienteering shop (FINALLY), I had been driving everyone mad about the orienteering shop which we had to go to.  After catching a bus, a train, walking the wrong way and the finally realising it thanks to James, we arrived the Orienteering Shop.

Money was spent and gear was bought. Well that will be what everyone says to their parents when they get back. (Insert James evil laugh)

We then headed into the old Stockholm town after buying a few Souvenirs and I finally got a Swedish Beanie. We walked through the parliament and over a bridge where the Baltic sea meets Lake Munroe. We then dropped our gear off in the central square, near the old head chopping block so we could do a bit over Urban Orienteering for a difference. Yay my favourite, fast paced orienteering.
This place was amazing to orienteer in. Small passage ways and loads of people walking around made it all the more fun.

We headed out in pairs to “set out” controls, which was a chalk drawn kite on the floor.

We then headed out racing one another to make things different. I’m not sure if I was lucky or not but I was paired to race against Tania, which made things every interesting. Some bad route choices were made and fast running was done.

We then suddenly realised the time which was 7:40pm when it looked like we it could have been 4pm instead, and we still and to get back to the house for supper. We had to catch a train and a bus to get back.

As soon as we arrived back our two “master chefs” got to work on our supper, Pork chops and chips. (Yum).

After supper we all sat around playing Uno and making up some random card game that makes no sense to any human being. Another busy day ahead of us tomorrow. Good night!

Written by Carl Holmes

Day 5 of Youth Squad Tour in Sweden

From shopping, to misplaced controls, to pulling "Carl's" , Day 5 was certainly an interesting day indeed. This section of the blog is also written by me, James.

The first training session of the day was Relocating. We were placed in one of the best looking forests of the tour (so far) and were split up into three groups to find our way around. Andries and Rory were placed together, Carl and Heather were placed together and Matthew, Sarah and I were placed together (this blog will mainly be written from what I did, so that's a small spoiler). Tania and Nick were shifting between the three groups seeing how everyone goes on their various routes.

I won't be going into deep details about what happened on the various runs because there is a lot to cover and I might as well write a novel about our shenanigans, but I will tell the details that make for good comedy if you are an Orienteer.

Matthew was relocating to control point 2 (on a knoll) and Sarah and I realized that there was something wrong, Matthew was at the wrong knoll and he was adamant that we were at the right place. I (mainly), on the other hand, was adamant that it was after the marsh south of the path close to a form hill. I was right and we went on to the next one.

Going to the last control on the first loop (outer east side of a boulder), I put the control by the wrong boulder. Hilarity ensued where no one else could find the control, whereas Sarah, Matthew and I were silently snickering to ourselves. We were eventually told to go and find it when we started collecting the controls and we found it easily. I eventually said that it was the right control in the wrong place in what we believed was the right place. It was incorrect.

On the other hand, our relocating skills were great.

We came back to have a feast of a lunch consisting of penne and bolognaise. Most of that food was obviously consumed by Heather and surprisingly Sarah because they went up for seconds (and probably thirds knowing Heather). We also decided which person had or did something that would define them for this whole tour. To pull a "Heather" is to go up for seconds and maybe thirds. To pull a "Carl" is to get hopelessly lost and maybe even go off the map. To pull an "Andries" is to go through every single marsh possible and to loose your shoes in the marshes. To pull a "James" is to forget your bus card at the clubhouse. We are still waiting for Matthew, Rory and Sarah.

Shopping was an interesting new experience for us. Nick showed us how to shop in ICA, the equivalent to Shoprite Checkers or possibly Pick 'n Pay. At the entrance, you can dispose of cans and bottles with bar codes for a Krona each. Inside, you can hire a scanner, go around the shop and scan what you want, and you pay for them at a checkout without actually talking to a cash teller.

The seven of us young Orienteers shopped the old fashioned way in following Heather on her desperate search for the lost treasure of Cereal Bars. We all found our goodies to survive on for the rest of he week that consisted of gigantic bags of chips, sweets, Daims, Bubble gum and various flavours of Fanta. We went afterwards to get a McFlurry and/or chips from McDonald's.They are damn expensive! We eventually returned back to the clubhouse for an hour so wen could get ready for our training session with OK Ravinen and have a bubble gum blowing fun time in which I actually made a big bubble for the first time ever.

Also Heather didn't find her cereal bars.

For our last session in forests, we did a long course as training for Saturday's event. The guys did the first loop of the black course (more difficult than the brown at home) and the girls did the orange course (the equivalent of a green at home). The guys all did their courses differently so we weren't able to follow each other. My order was: 12;1;6;5;4;3;2;7;11;Finish.

We only had 90 mins to do this so my course was like this. My highlight of the course was going down to 7 and seeing Sarah in the marsh coming towards me, and she didn't see me at all hiding behind a rock on the floor. As she was passing me I jumped up a gave her a start. I was laughing and she was struggling to muster a frown because she was also smiling. We laughed about this at dinner.

                                                  (the "orange course" that the girls did)

Later on near control point 11 by the lake, I found Matthew wondering around hopelessly lost. As he saw me he exclaimed that he pulled a "Carl" and he ran around the whole lake and surrounding marshes. We eventually went back to the finish because it was almost 30 mins away and we were running out of time. We found our way back to control point 12 and we saw Carl, who almost pulled a "Carl" himself but he relocated himself easily. We got back to the finish and went back to the clubhouse to enjoy a simple yet great dinner of hot dogs, chips and butterscotch pudding. As I write this, we are getting the bathrooms, kitchen and sleeping rooms ready for tomorrows event that we are hosting.

This event will pay our rent tomorrow.

Written by James Hancock.