Austin and Michael spent a few days training in the Alps with the South Africans before connecting with the rest of the team. It was great having some time to get used to the altitude before getting into the real training with our teammates. Connecting with the South Africans was a bit of a struggle though. Michael was already hanging out with Tim and Roark for a few days after the previous race weekend and got a ride to Lenzerheide from former Swiss national team member Connie Müller. Austin however was arriving at the airport on the same day, so he had some struggles getting out of the airport.
Austin did not yet have cell phone service with his phone that he bought just for this trip and due to the Zurich airport wifi rule he only had wifi for two hours. Austin is also not very good with public transportation so when he heard that more South Africans were arriving at the Zurich airport and could drive him to meet with the others he was delighted. Unfortunately he had little to no means of communicating with them so he just waited in the airport for 7 hours for them to arrive. Ah what a time to be alive. Once he met with the South Africans, Austin expressed his excitement and gratitude with droopy eyelids and confused looks, for his tired mind could barely comprehend their accents. He was however, still very glad to have a ride to Lenzerheide and didn’t mind being part of the 4 people squished in the back row with their luggage on their laps for 90 minutes.
After arriving in Lenzerheide, Tim, Michael, and Austin decided to go for a run on the mountain behind the apartment. Roark drew some forked downhill courses on the map, and off we went. We climbed up a little trail with switchbacks and took a peek at a sweet waterfall. The waterfall was some 200 feet of freefall, and standing near the bottom it felt like we were getting rained on. After the waterfall we traversed a little with some amazing views and made it to the start of our courses.
Austin only slept an hour on the plane and originally planned on not running at all but decided to go for a short jog with Michael and Tim and then turn back when it got steep. Unfortunately he was feeling good and kept running. At first he was very glad that he had decided to stick with them and run because the waterfall was so awesome and he felt good about himself for going a shake-out run. It wasn’t until just after the first control on the orienteering course Roark had made for him that he began to regret some of his decisions. It wasn’t until when he looked down at the brand new compass that Karen Chambers had let him borrow for the exercise that he realized that the compass was not there. And he was too tired to remember the last place that he had it. So while Michael and Tim continued on their courses, Austin spent the next 45 minutes looking for the compass until the sun began to set. Unsuccessful in his search efforts he trudged down the hill bearing bad news. There he had to tell a sad looking Karen Chambers that she may never get to use the compass she had just bought. And he also found out that everyone ate dinner without him.
Did some cool training in Domat. The local club hat a race here a couple weeks earlier, so there elephant trails criss-crossing everywhere in the woods. We didn’t use streamers, but every control had packed dirt around it making it really easy to tell if we found the right feature.
This map is legendary among Swiss orienteers. The Bermuda Triangle is the section in the middle with the trail surrounding it. It’s called that way because people get lost in there all the time, and there’s even a story of a course setter who couldn’t find his control anymore after the race. The boulders are some 4 or 5 meters tall and tower above you, and while the runnability is decent, the visiblity is awful. We took it slow through the Bermuda Triangle so none of us made mistakes, but it was still epic.