Thursday, August 18, 2011

Superfan spectating

Since we have four women on the team, and three can run in each race, I wasn't running the sprint - that was Hannah, Sam, and Ali's job. It was a long day of spectating, as they ran the qualification in the morning, and then the final was in the afternoon, in the town a couple klicks south of here - Chambéry. The qualifier was pretty exciting, mostly because I knew more people, but both Sam and Ali qualified for the finals! The men didn't have a great day, but we were all psyched to play superfans down in Chambéry.

The scene down there was truly impressive. Most of the fans were gathered in the large central square, which was also the start and the finish. There were two spectator controls, a grandstand, and a massive screen showing shots from like four different cameras. The square was PACKED, and apparently all the little alleys were crowded, as well, with runners sometimes having to duck and weave between spectators and innocent bystanders. This race was a BIG DEAL, and it was really cool to see it from the spectating side, so that if I ever make the final on the racing side, I'd know what to expect. I'm now deaf from all the screaming and air horns and vuvzelas, and I've lost my voice from screaming my own cheers at our runners. It was pretty intense. I left that arena feeling super jazzed up.

Emily Kemp, one of our Canadian friends, running into the finish of the qualifier for the sprint.
Pretty fountain with le Dent du Chat in the background.
Finding a shady spot to hang out and scream at runners was easier said than done.
Spectators lining the course in Chambéry for the sprint final. This does make me want to run the sprint and make a final someday...

The central square of Chambéry was completely packed. For a little while, Ed let me sit on his shoulders, and that was cool because I could see everything, but then he got tired. boo.
Ali starting out from the top of the ramp.
Sam on the big screen.

The day after the sprint was the Long Distance finals. Ali was our only runner who had qualified for the long, so after doing some spectator races in the morning, we gathered in a sweet arena to watch the best orienteers in the world duke it out on a fairly epically brutal course. Ali didn't have an awesome race, but it was still really exciting to watch her on the big screen and follow the GPS tracking. On the men's side, Thierry Gueorgiou from France crushed his competition, and won the race with a big margin. This was cool, because he's won the middle distance race like eight times, but he'd never won a long distance race at WOC, and people tend to hold the long with the highest regard. So, to win in his home country, in front of a home crowd, that was pretty cool to watch. Sandra's husband, Marc Lauenstein, ended up in the top 10, too, so it was pretty cool to cheer him along too.

Boris and Patrick found some god-awful shorts that were on sale for two euros, and tried to convince the rest of the US and Canadian teams to buy them so we'd match. For some reason, nobody took them up on their offer.

Carol Ross, Greg's girlfriend, up on the big screen. Too bad she decided to face the wrong direction while taking a drink. Also, too bad they decided to put a tv camera at the water stop. Really guys? People drinking gatorade and pouring water on their heads is the most exciting place you could put a camera?
Ali on the big screen, heading away from the start.

Eddie attempting to get the post into the ground for
the Orienteering USA flag that we'd brought.
Looking down on the tent city of all the vendors and stuff in the arena. The finish is next to the jumbotron, and the grassy slopes made for a really nice natural stadium.
Carol coming down to the finish. If she looks tired, it's because she is...
Ed with his vuvuzela. That stupid thing is so annoying...
This is what happens when you give a bunch of orienteers a map. They huddle. In this case, Ali was showing us her routes.
Marc coming through the spectator/drink stop. Those top guys run so darn smoothly. I guess it helps when you've won the world mountain running champs...
The crowd went absolutely WILD when Thierry came through in the lead. You can sort of see him running across the bridge, carrying a French flag - he was pretty pumped, you could tell that.

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