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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Skate or classic?

in: Swampfox; Swampfox > 2018-04-06

Apr 8, 2018 12:43 PM # 
Out of curiosity, is it skate or classic you usually do?
Apr 8, 2018 4:16 PM # 
Entirely skating.

Btw--good luck in your ambitions to crack the top 1000! That was fun to read about.
Apr 8, 2018 11:41 PM # 
Team UNO will be out there as well, but I think we'll have to aim much higher than the top 1000. I think our first big goal will be to have as few runners as possible in the 9 AM mass start. We might be able to have only two still waiting to start at that point, if all goes well. At age 57, I'm definitely the youngest on the team, and I believe it will be the first Jukola for all of us.
Apr 9, 2018 3:28 AM # 
Wow, you are going to Jukola? Then that means I should probably do again something I thought I would probably never have to repeat, which is to prepare you for a race. You might recall that prior time, which occurred a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, in the state of Washington....Well, of course you recall; your memory is legendary. Anyway, I have been to Jukola and you have not, and it may be you have some preconceived, misplaced notions about Jukola and certain critical deficiencies in knowledge, starting with thinking that Jukola is basically just like Billygoat but bigger and with fewer t-shirts. So here are several key things I think you should know (and Iif maybe the good Jagge is reading, he will kindly correct me where I have erred, or perhaps he can add additional crucial insights):

1) Jukola is *not* Billygoat. It is the largest swingin' relay in the world!

2) You might think that the most important thing you and your teammates could do between now and the race is to train hard to improve your fitness, the better to handle the rigors of the notoriously demanding Finnish forest. But you would be wrong. The most important thing you could do would be to learn the Finnish language, which is of course impossible in the short amount of time you have. So the next best thing you can do is to be sure to learn at least one key phrase, one which will alert you to the possibility of a most disastrous "in race" situation. At some point in the race--or maybe many points--you are likely to get caught up in a fast moving train that seems to be going where you want to go, and which is being led by a guy that looks fit, fast, like he knows what he's doing, and who--most importantly--looks like he is Finnish. So you do what anyone would do, which is to join in and go with the flow. So far so good.

And then he stops, He studies the map. Which is good because surely by then you are all very near the control, which is an extremely difficult looking, utterly minuscule reentrant which is probably like a 1/2m x 3m crack in a rock outcrop, just a smidge of dink in a contour line. He is studying the map so he can advance confidently the last few final steps to the rock crack. And then he looks up and says to nobody in particular:"Mielestäni olemme vitun."

Yes, you will want to know that phrase and you will want your teammates to know it, too.

3) Everyone you meet will be friendly, but it is hard to tell just how friendly they really are, because of, again, the Finnish language thing. Someone could look you straight in the eye and say (in Finnish): "You remind me of an ugly saliva slug I once saw on the street in Turku", and as along as they said it with a smile you would have no clue and would probably think they were pretty friendly. Whereas if the same thing happened in Sweden and they said: "Du paminna mig av en ful saliva slug sag jag en gang pa gatan i Turku", you would at least have a chance to catch the "saliva slug" bit and think to yourself just how friendly they were.

4) I don't know where Jukola is this year, but if it's anywhere near the border with Russia, don't get the idea that an amusing thing to do would be to drive to the border, hop across the border, drink a beer while documenting it on Instagram, and then hop back across to continue on your merry ways. It doesn't always go well: Plus, you don't even like beer, or at least you didn't before you went to work for The Man.

5) If you pass through the Finish (note: "Finish", not "Finnish") and you see everyone ahead of you is stopping by large bins where they are taking off their O' shoes and socks and discarding them into the bins, you may wonder to yourself: "what manner of strange orienteering ritual is this that I have before me?" Or you may simply think: "Wtf???" Don't worry. It's all very ordinary and you should do whatever they do. It's not some evil shoe company plot designed to sell more shoes. Rather, what has happened is you have just spent the past 2 or so hours running through a forest thoroughly infested with Valkokärpässieni, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

6) As a final bit of advice, if you meet up with some Finn and are having a pleasant conversation with them (in English!) and they ask you if you're going to run Jukola "pasi style", they aren't repeating a crude phrase along the lines of something Trump might use but with a Finnish accent. I mean, "pasi" could be almost anything, right? No. They are just asking if you are going to do Jukola without a compass. Which would be a very, very bad idea. Even in a really nice, wide open Finnish forest, a compass can still be useful, and it's no extra trouble to carry along even if you never look at it once. But in some really difficult terrain with nearly impregnable forest, without a compass you will disappear into it and, well, you will simply disappear into it, end of story.

So that's that, and be sure when you get there to wave your freak flag high, higher!, higher! Wow! Jukola!
Apr 9, 2018 8:35 AM # 
One correction, this year there will be no controls in tiny rock cracks. Terrain is a lot easier from that point of view, lucky you. Here the old map of the area, TC is at SE corner, the area with purple stripes.

As usual you need to figure what are the most distinct features you will see out there and learn to navigate using those feature. In Jukola what you typically see is something like this (authentic headcam shot from 2014)

As you can see all you will see is other orienteers. There is no way navigating using any mapped features because usually can't see any. So essential skills are social skills, that's all you ever need out there. The best possible preparation and the only preparation you ever need for Jukola is getting used to chat with strangers. Best if those strangers are in hurry. I would imagine you can find people hurrying to work you could use for your preparation.
Apr 9, 2018 11:34 AM # 
Another important skill is to memorize the numbers in Finnish.
That would help you understand that when everyone is yelling (for example) kaks-satta-kolme-kymmentä-viisi their next control (and hopefully yours) is 235. That´s actually one of the best skills to have in the situation pictured above.
This also helps you prepare for the change-over when you are waiting for reports for your incoming runner being aired through the speaker system.
Apr 9, 2018 6:06 PM # 
I think we have the language thing under control, because Alar is fluent in Estonian, and if you add a vowel to the end of every word, you pretty much have Finnish.

Also, thanks to some recent genealogy research, I now have more solid ethnic cred, because I've determined which two tiny villages in Gävleborg my ancestors came from!

(Tiomila isn't the largest swingin' relay in the world? And no, I still don't drink olut.)
Apr 9, 2018 7:12 PM # 
Well, maybe I'm wrong, but I'm thinking that Jukola is larger than Tiomila, and by a good bit. Either Jagge or Bubo could confirm whether I am wrong or right.

But speaking of Jagge, take a good look at that picture above that he posted. I think he chose a fairly benign, non-chaotic looking picture so folks who have never been to Jukola wouldn't be frightened away. You can glean a fair amount of information from that photo. First, notice how few people there are in it. From that you can deduce it is very late in the race, because the thick crowds you see in the early going have almost completely dwindled away and are nowhere evident in this picture. And, since it's dark and people are wearing headlights, it must be either the second or third night of the race. That means almost for sure everyone you see in that picture has been going for 24 hours or longer. They are probably quite tired. They are probably not feeling at all chatty. There will be almost no way to guess what control they are headed for. The orienteering therefore is going to be very difficult, and you will see many controls that are not the one you need to see next.
Apr 9, 2018 7:37 PM # 
Define "larger". Tiomila is longer and has 3 legs more. But there is only about 300 teams in 10mila. In Jukola figure is ~1500. Most of them can't navigate and would be hopelessly lost on they own, but they know how to socialize and co-operate their way around the course.
Apr 9, 2018 8:33 PM # 
For "larger" here, we are going with numbers of people running. 7500 gets the nod over 3000.
Apr 9, 2018 8:39 PM # 
Also, Jagge, you might be wondering why I didn't mention Emit punching in my notes about Jukola, but I figured I better stop before any of these Jukola virgins get discouraged. Already they must be pretty anguished now that they know there will be no 1/2m x 3m cracks in the rock for control locations this year, which is really too bad. Maybe there will be some invisible depressions instead, who knows.
Apr 9, 2018 10:41 PM # 
Ah, I was under the mistaken impression that Jukola had more teams, but Tiomila had more runners. I appreciate the correction.

And I do clearly remember the race prep from 1990, particularly the one key concept that you tried to convey: "Stay out of the woods!". I did so, as much as practical, and had a very successful run.

And as for discarding shoes, I have practice that regard, having done so after last summer's races in Manitoba.

And you can't multiply. 1500 times 7 is 10500.
Apr 9, 2018 11:11 PM # 
It's been an error plagued day all around, and there are still hours to go for the possibility of even more mistakes! Thinking optimistically, maybe I can set a record.
Apr 10, 2018 6:28 AM # 
More serious note, something you may not have thought about much. All those masses and runner density is something course planners think about and prepare courses for. Big masses are walkers taking almost three times more time than top teams. This means second leg leaders will hit a wall of walkers after one third of the second leg if those tho legs are forked together. Walkers fill trails and other best running lines. Harsher runners have benefit and polite ones will loose time, so this is not fair. This is why usually only the first third of the fist leg is forked with the first leg, so when leaders are about to hit the dense mass of first leg walkers their course will take an other line and possibly join again later just before exchange.

2017 this was implemented by setting unforked long leg for first leg, so dense masses were steered just before second leg leaders. By third leg masses were spread out more to cause less trouble, so it was simply combination of those simply to have a a leg to fork with.

So when guessing forkings and where there will be long legs and which part of leg is forked and with which leg and which not, when there is giant tracks and when possibly not, well, that all something you can think about.

2017 three fist legs, not long leg back for 1st leg makes it differ from the line of 2nd leg.

Apr 11, 2018 12:02 AM # 
It's likely that I'll run second leg. It will be interesting to see if I catch up to any first leg stragglers.
Apr 11, 2018 10:10 PM # 
I´m pretty sure that will be a very likely outcome.
When I last competed at Jukola some years ago the last placed team had a total of 28 hours for the seven legs - a mere four hours per leg. Obviously most of their runners ended up doing the mass start in the morning with possibly two or three being able to run in the proper relay.

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