Drew's Scandy Report

Drew left a few weeks ago to live in Sweden for the summer, with OK Linnéhome to superelites Mats and Jan troeng. This is the first part of his report, which we thought might be of interest to anyone who is considering going to Scandinavia for a while to improve their O skills.

As many of you know I made, like many others, the journey to foreign orienteering pastures this summer. The previous summers i had spent most of my time orienteering, so it seemed a good idea to base myself out here. I'm more writing this piece aimed at other juniors who havent already spent lots of time in Scandi.

The 2003 upsala tour was great for my development, terrain was excellent as were the coaches... But 2 weeks wasnt so long so thats how it started. If i didnt make to where i wanted to be this year then i would go to sweden for the summer to try and develop myself (both in cooking! and in orienteering)

There are many places in sweden to go, and I began by going onto the swedish orienteering federation website (www.orientering.se) and looking for names of clubs with a reasonable range of young seniors maybe 2-3 years older than me. I sent maybe 5 or 6 emails to different clubs and as luck would have it a nice guy called Lars from Ok linnéeplied. It was quite easy to get things sorted from there, and also it was lucky because it was uppsala, easy to get to and there are lots of nice forests that are huuuge that are in Running/cycling distance. Other forests can be reached by geting lifts off of club members on the organised training days.

Uppsala is Sweden's 4th city and a historic university town (much like edinburgh i think) There are quite a few uni runners who go away for the summer, leaving flats empty, Lars found me a flat in a place called Norby (about 10mins bike from the centre and 5mins bike to the clubhouse)

The flat is very cheap to rent ( especially because its from orienteers!), I only have to pay for the time im here and have no lease etc. So its very informal. Flat its self is sweet, with guest room, internet, tv, kitchen and a small balcony. Its in a complex set in a forest, with its own shop and pizzareia!.

I live on the Norbyskogen map, which has the club house on it, just accross the road is Stadskogen(town forest) which also has a map, These maps are relatively small and good for intervals around the ski tracks etc.

Im also on a bigger map which is A2 size, 40sq km , of marsh/ridge terrain. And 20mins cycle is Lunsen, which is one of the best areas i have ever run on. Its about 45sq km of wilderness.

There are also numerous areas close by, by car.

Im training usually twice a day at the moment,
And its very easy to stay entertained by varying where you run, and what you do.

The Club have a website designed by some of the elites in the club, that has an interactive training calander that you can post on what you plan to train and when, so people can sign up to come along. This is especuially good for me so i almost always have people to train with.

They also have set running courses with league tables on the site,

Testbanan - 6km terrain timetrial that goes from the club house through some well sweet terrain. its good because even if your training by yourself you have comparrisons you can make.

Backbana - (hill course) On the local Ski jump, one of the few places with any substantial hills around where i live, its 5.7km with 330m of climb and when the club do hill intervals.. instead we run this course usually. Again you can measure yourself off of other people.

Sprintcourse - Shorter sprint loop, again this is more for speed.

In summer some people are away etc, so around this time the only club trainings are on tuesdays (technique) and thursdays (Intervals around a local ski track or running tack or else where (these vary each week)
We meet at the clubhouse for these so people canshare transport and we usualy have maybe 20 people that come along.

The Uppsala O alliance is starting up now though, so on tuesdays we have summer events (as of this week). this is good because if its Linnéhat organise the event the controls will stay in the forst for almost a week so you can go back and train and have controls at sites. ( i did this today)

I have also just been up to the north of sweden, to a very wet, but enjoyable training camp for the swedish champs. The local region (uppland) organise it and its like a mini tour with your own chef etc. We did lots of specific and fun training in similar areas to that which the different disciplines will be run on.

This weekend im going to do a few competitions down at Eskilstuna, as i need to do enough short and classic races to qualify for SM.

If you are thinking of comming out to sweden, make sure its what you want because it can be quite lonely if you are living alone, that you have a purpose - ie your training is structured ( speak to people who have done it, I spoke to a few seniors about it and speak to one of the club coaches also) You will find that the clubs accross here are helpful and very organised, but you wont be spoon fed. You need to ask whats going on and dont be affraid to ask lots of questions. Make sure you know what your doing about money. Get involved as much asyou can. Bikes are almost a must in sweden if you cant drive. If you can drive uppsala is also good as they have a club car you can book to use.

Im getting on really well here, Starting to make friends etc here now.
its fun cooking lots of new dishes and things. I have also settled into a good training routine been to stockholm for a race or 2. Im having to be careful to not go overboard with training as its so easy to do so.
I'll try and keep everyone updated. Its a very boring story i know.


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