When some people are asking me what (the hell) I do in Finland, I think it could be a good idea to clarify my situation, before writing a little bit about the new (coming?/started?) orienteering season.
- New situation:
As I’ve finished my engineering studies last year (just before the WOC), it was time to enter into the working life (the real one!). However, I’m still motivated to focus on orienteering as I’m sure there is still a lot to explore, and I’m persuaded (or I hope?) that I can still develop my potential and maybe try to reach great achievements. At least, I still enjoy the activity and to the commitment at training.
That how I’ve considered many different options and looking for several opportunities trying to get the best compromise between getting professional valuable experiences and having good conditions to develop as a sportman. My main idea was to find a part time job in suit with my education (civil engineering) flexible enough to train well and to take part on training-camps and competitions; without forgetting that we need a “livelihood” if we want to survive as an orienteer.
My final plan was to find a part time job as an engineer in Scandinavia where the orienteering culture is big and the clubs have usually good contacts with companies that understand the sport and the demand of elite runners. Furthermore, after 7 years training with the “Pôle France” of Saint-Etienne, it could be a good time to change the training environment to learn some new things and get new motivation. Finally, as I’m still considering orienteering as a Scandinavian sport with most of the happenings over there (and where I still have a lot to improve), the next natural step was logically to move north…
=> Turku (or Åbo if you prefer or for Swedish speaking) in Finland was my actual choice and destination with a flexible part-time job in Paimio and to train with Turku’s well organized and attractive structure.
After few months in Finland, I’m quite pleased with this situation: I can’t complain of the winter weather conditions that haven’t been so extreme; but the only problem for me here remains the language (“Terve, Mitä kuuluu” is not enough to have a real conversation…). However, I admit that It’s quite pleasant to be in a country where orienteering (“suunnistus”) is known and considered as a real sport by everybody (not like in France where nobody knows what is it…): For example, it’s quite fun when people, even non orienteer, tell that they saw you on the television, on the news-paper; or to realize that the work-mates followed the results of the last competitions when they congratulated me as the “best Finn” last Tuesday morning …
|Qualitative training by M. Lindeqvist|
|Tough night training|
- New Scandinavian club:
Moving in Scandinavian somewhere else than Stigtomta include almost necessarily to change club: OK Hällen has been a perfect club for me at this period of my carrier where I could develop a lot by training in Sweden and when I got the possibilities to run decisive legs in big relays. That is for sure very educational and also great experiences as a person to run for the team! That why I would like to thank sincerely the club members for their really warm welcome and for all the great times spent together, I’m truly grateful for that! I will for sure remember the good team-performances like the SM relay 2012 podium, the Jukola 2013 and Tiomila 2010 top 10...., but also the times spent in Stigtomta area. I would have a special mention to the coach M. Karlsson who has always been extremely devoted and available for us with his particularly positive philosophy!
Anyway, now it's for sure very positive to get new great challenges to be in a new dynamic club: PaimionRasti is especially motivated to develop as a team with a good focus on the improvement of each of the runners. I can find here exceptionally good training conditions and it’s motivating to get new training partners. I’m really looking forward the next relay competitions when it will be exciting to compete with the guys we have been training with the whole winter.
- New season:
The seasons follow but don’t resemble each other!
When most of the winter training has been done in Finland thanks to snow free condition (watch-out the finish clubs at Tiomila this year! ;) ), I’ve still got the opportunity to go to Portugal in order to get some B-vitamins and to enjoy to run only with sleeveless short and without rubber-socks. The destination was Castelo de Vide where we could find really interesting maps and run the NAOM competitions.
|NAOM sprint (WRE) podium (PIC. A. Blanes)|
|Sprint training (Drôme)|
After few sprints trainings (and test race) in sought of France, it was time to go to Turkey and even compete the first World-cup stage of the season: There, the runners had the great (and not so usual nowadays) benefit of running on unknown terrain not mapped; and we could really enjoy the arena along the beach surrounded by very old ruins (like an amphitheater) showing that some people were living much before us… About my performances: with 2 quite similar results, it has been quite different from the qualification to the final. In the 1st case, most of controls went well but I forgot to read my map when passing close to the finish finding 2 extra controls before mind + I took one touristic route-choice which was far from the fastest… In the final race, I manage to find only few controls cleanly while I had some troubles on most of the others. Still some adjustments to be done…
World cup result: 14th / GPS route / All the other information herethanks to J. Kocbach / even with some analysis
The trip in Turkey was especially the opportunity to try the new Mixed-sprint-relay format during an “unofficial world-cup race”. In this occasion, with my promising team-mates (I. Basset, L. Basset, A. Chataing), we’ve got an instructive experience allowing us to learn some lessons to make some adjustments and to get ready for the 1st World-championship of this new format this summer in Italy.
The next goal is the European champs in Portugal in April.