Written by Alex Jospe
The domestic orienteering season started off with a bang in the East Bay area of California, in mid-March. For me, I coach skiing all winter and live in snow-bound Boston, so this was a dramatic change involving an 85-degree temperature swing from one weekend to the next (the ski race on March 16th was -10F, and the orienteering race on March 21st was 75F!). Those races in California counted towards selecting the team for the World Orienteering Championships, held this July in northern Italy, so I knew I had to lay it all on the line, while holding enough in reserve that I didn’t totally melt in the heat.
I chose to race in the X-Talon212s, deciding against spikes in the dry grassy hillsides, and this was definitely the right choice. The narrow fit was perfect for all the contouring across those steep slopes, and I appreciated the light weight on the uphills. I managed to navigate relatively cleanly for all four races, and despite totally trashing my legs on the steep downhills in the first day, I held on to a solid second place on the team, and will be going to Italy! (the X-Talons won a spot in my carry-on for that trip, no question). If you want the nitty-gritty race details, you can check my personal blog – here.
It took about a week before my quads could function normally again, and my calf stabilizer muscles took even longer (off-trail is NOT the same as pavement! yikes!), but soon it was time for the West Point A meet, held in the rocky terrain of the Hudson Highlands. The weekend had two races, and your combined time determined the results. Again, I navigated pretty well, but never felt that my legs were responding to the hills, and I was tip-toeing across the rocks, even in my trusty X-Talons. I took home second place for the weekend with two consistent runs. Again, the nitty-gritty is here. I have my work cut out for me on the physical side of things!
Next up is the U.S. relay championships, where the clubs compete against each other to see who can win the relay. I am looking for a chance to redeem my fitness, so hopefully the rolling hills of Maryland will be just the thing!