After leaving Uppsala Rob and his Garden party left for Borlänge to meet with Lars Sjökvist and Karen Gunnerson. This was a good opportunity for Matt and I to train on some hillier terrain than that available in Uppsala. Upon arrival we were treated to a massive lunch before heading out on the mountain bikes for a big adventure including some mountain bike orienteering. This was a good opportunity for me to do some good training without stressing my already tender Achilles. We rode a hard 2 and a half hours through some very varied forest. It is feels strange in Sweden how there are many areas of old sand dunes mixed into the typical rocky forest. That night we had a massive dinner outside in the sun.
On our second day in Borlänge Matt and I ran an orienteering training from the house where we were staying which of course was on the map. We did some very focused side-by-side orienteering aiming for technical perfection and using verbalisation to emphasise all attributes of our technique. This was a great success but we also had to contend with some extremely dense areas of forest which were not mapped as such. I still bear the scratches. I made 1 mistake towards the end of the course at control 17 which could have been prevented by checking my compass more frequently as reading the vague contours proved unreliable. In a race I would have used the tracks more often but I chose not to, to increase the technical difficulty of the training. The course is here on my DOMA page.
We also visited the Falun Copper Mine this day – one of the rare tourist activities we do on these orienteering trips. This mine is over 1000 years old and the company running mining operations did so for 700 years when operations ceased in 1992. The tour was pretty amazing and walking through the narrow tunnels which opened up into vast rooms felt like being in Lord of the Rings. I also stood directly over a 208 m deep mine shaft. The history of this country is mind blowing compared to that of New Zealand. The main hole was originally created by a massive collapse when there were too many tunnels close together.
We also climbed up as ski jump. The people who do this sport are totally nuts! That night another orienteering family joined us for a massive dinner.
The next day I travelled with Rob’s garden party to Leksand to stay in Lars’ Father’s house. This was another beautiful Swedish home and of course was on an orienteering map. The first thing we did was have a massive lunch outside in the sun. I went for another bike ride on this day as a recovery session. It is often hard to do these easy sessions when overseas especially in Sweden because the opportunities to do new and exciting orienteering are often hard to resist, but these will be important for my form coming into WUOC in one week’s time. We had another massive dinner outside – Matt and I have definitely been well taken care of on this trip.
On Sunday Matt and I went for a long run. I was feeling recovered after including a few recovery days into my training over the week prior and my Achilles were not a problem while running, although my patella tracking problem was attempting to make a return. The run was a mix of gravel roads, twisty trails, rough forestry machine tracks and thick forest. We covered 22km with 800m of accent and I still felt strong at the finish. The run included some stunning views of the surrounding town, lakes and hills and also plenty of blue berry eating. Running well on this day was a good sign going into WUOC but I need to be careful not to spend too much time in terrain over the next week. This run was perfect because the road sections provided an opportunity to run fast and relaxed but we still included some terrain to keep the training relevant to orienteering.
After a massive lunch we headed back to Uppsala where I spent my last night in Sweden before heading to Olomouc in Czech Republic.