June the 6th. Car with driver at the door, a luxury. Before that, a breakfast in the English (or Scottish) style, and even before, a sleepless night, because an event like this moves - and how! - with a person.
1. Car with driver at our door, a luxury. Before that, an English (or Scottish) breakfast, and even before, a sleepless night, because an event like this moves - and how! - with a person. And also this brumous, grizzly, wet weather... Although its not a well coming company, the rain seems to be here to stay. What can we do? Camperdown Park is a heaven of green, made opaque by this curtain of drizzle that keeps on falling. I look for a double coffee but what suits me is nothing but an insipid and cold coloured water, which quickly becomes the saddest of the companies.
2. The starts are delayed beyond half an hour. The much-hyped British punctuality seems not to do school in this corner of the lands of Her Majesty. The fair play reigns and only the rain outside seems to hurt the willingness of some. I met Roberta Falda, we talked. She told me that she gave up the competition last year to devote herself almost exclusively to training. She admits that being trainer and concurrent at the same time doesn't match. I understand her very well. Maybe I should analyse my own situation in terms of future.
3. Ricardo is just starting and I'm worried about him. The ground is heavy, athletes in wheelchairs do not have assistants and now the rain falls with some intensity. I still have a good half an hour until my start. I take this opportunity to visit the Camperdown Wildlife Centre. I don't know what to expect and this weather is depressing me. A huge tree extends his dead arms where some sleepy birds rest for so long. From time to time, a stork throws its eerie scream. Staying in the outside, a merle, in it's melodious sing, proclaims the freedom.
4. I finish my race. Defeat or victory? Both of us, me and Ricardo, are the ones that have more to gain. So, how to speak in defeat? The truth, however, is that the experience of TempO ends up giving me too little. Operational and logistical issues aside (I can see that a race like that, with eight stations, implies a number of at least forty volunteers), what stays is the extraordinary difficulty in dealing with the time. In a terrain with not too many details, finding a secure reference, at our level, is almost like finding a needle in a haystack. And one minute was spent on it. The problem is when the jury tells you that you only have 15 seconds and you haven't given one answer at all yet.
5. The previous example corresponds to the experience into my first station. I felt to have improved in station 2, having already some automatisms working on. However, the stations 3 and 4 make me lose the faith in God, recognizing that this is a brutal demanding. To find a secure reference only to the last of the answers and immediately realizing that the previous two answers are wrong, takes off the morale to anyone. And realizing, already with half of the race made, that the lines of North are at the top of the map... well. I have so much to learn!
6. I try to exchange some point of views with Ricardo. For him, the TempO trial was a lesson. Firstly, because his hand hurt terribly and he recognizes that we are spoiled in Portugal in terms of the quality of the accessibilities. After all, he enjoyed the experience, considered to be a great challenge and he only thinks about setting a course of TempO in Prelada Park, a seriously demanding race, requiring quick answers in situations of great stress. “Very challenging”, he proclaims all the time. I let myself captivated by his enthusiasm. Next year, we have to set up a TempO race in the III Prelada's Hospital TrailO Open.
7. The Park West Auditorium receives the Opening Ceremony of the 9th World Trail Orienteering Championships. It is a worthy ceremony, where everyone can feel and deal with friendship and affection. Everybody has a smile on their faces. The Japanese to the Swedes, the Russians and Czechs to us, Portuguese. Ricardo and I can not get enough of photographing and being photographed. In the future, you will recall those special moments with excitement and happiness, proud to be Portuguese and, for the first time, being to represent our beloved country in this great event.
8. After Croatia, today we sit at the table together with Denmark. We speak of the tradition of Orienteering in the country, of Maja Alm and Signe Søes, Erik Skovgaard Knudsen and Rikke Kornvig, about the extraordinary victory of the women's Relay in the World MTB Orienteering Championships at Montalegre and how Ida Bobach is so frail. And we talk about Football, of course. Denmark is in our group in the European and was previously in our groups of qualifying for the European and the World Championships. We pulled everyone's mind in searching of the history of recent results. I have to give my hand to the paddle. Denmark is in advantage.
9. Søren Saxthorp, the Vice-Champion of Paralympic Class in title, is on the table beside me. He brings with him his wife, his two daughters and also Lynn, that helps him with some of the main tasks. We talk about Trail Orienteering in Portugal, about the National Orienteering Day in 2009 and thereafter, about the Circuit "All Different, All Equal" to the present day. He is impressed with what we did, what we do. He tells me that Trail Orienteering has very few athletes in Denmark, "maybe twenty, not much more than that." And he tells me that, if he is here, it's because the support of the Danish Sports Federation for Disabled People or something like that. A bad card for the Danish Orienteering Federation!