Safe value of the French Orienteering, Frédéric Tranchand is our invited today. With his eyes in Vuokatti, he tell us how the season is going on and what to expect for the Summer. For now, he has a single word in his vocabulary: Work!
What memories do you keep from the four days of the Portugal O' Meeting?
Frédéric Tranchand (F. T.) - It was a very interesting competition. I came to Portugal to train for about a week and a half before the event and I could find excellent terrains, first in Nisa's region, more open, flat and with some rocks and here in Idanha-a-Nova a more challenging terrain, with much greater slopes and rocks. Two types of excellent terrain, really challenging, for training and also for competing.
Was there a moment that you value above the rest?
F. T. - I think that I will keep this competition as a whole, for the two distinct terrain types - forest over the first two days and then, in the last two stages, all those rocks and paths with much slope - and the Sprint also. Unfortunately I can't keep a good memory of the Sprint, since I got an injury and it has prevented me from running the last day. But still I got a map, I went for a walk and I could realize that this was another excellent course.
And it would be a beautiful race too (!) ...
F. T. - Yes, of course. Me and Philippe [Adamski] would have started at the same time and it would have been a very interesting race, but things are as they are and injuries are part of the game...
Albin [Ridefelt] started ahead of you, with a less than two minutes long lead, and I guess that you would do a team game to catch him up as quickly as possible. Isn't it a little bit unfair?
F. T. - I was in the same accommodation with Thierry [Gueorgiou] and Philippe and over several days we had discussed this possibility, although never crossed my mind that we would start precisely at the same time. I do not say that we can see an exchange of ideas during the race when two or more runners go together, but being in a group always helps. Whether is it fair or unfair?... We didn't know that we would have this opportunity, it was a matter of luck. But when you have a course with 'loops' and you have the same 'loop' of the athlete that goes with you, is also a matter of luck. Personally, I really like the chasing start system and if you start first, you always have that pressure of knowing that there's someone behind wanting to hunt you. The challenge is to manage to keep in front, regardless of who is just behind you. It's really fun.
A place on the podium, was it a goal for the Portugal O' Meeting?
F. T. - I didn't set goals for the Portugal O' Meeting. My focus was on training and do clean races. I think I got it in the first two days, not so much in the third day and then I got injured. In any case, I came to Portugal to train. Training is training, but if the results are good, much better. That's the truth.
The season is here and the things are going to start to heat up. What's your next goal?
F. T. - I will continue with my preparation, focusing on Silva League, a set of races that will take place in Sweden in late April and May. This will be the launch pad for the Nordic Orienteering Tour, the World Military Games and also to the World Championships. I'll have to be in shape to be able to guarantee a place in the national team and then, depending on the results, to think about the summer tasks.
With team mates like Thierry Gueorgiou, Philippe Adamski, Francois Gonon and many others, I believe it won't be easy to ensure a place in the French Team (?!) ...
F. T. - Well, no, it won't be easy. Especially with Thierry and Philippe, two athletes that lead orienteering on a very professional way. It's good to train with them, it's particularly important because we know how we have to work harder our speed or technique, but there is a great fight to get a place in the group.
Has Kenneth Buch been an asset to the Team?
F. T. - Yes, yes. It is true that he has a slightly different approach that we used to have with the previous coach. He is, perhaps, a little more into the experimental side. But I believe that this diversity, to see the things from different points of view, is very positive.
Can you describe the most exciting moment of your career?
F. T. - Despite not being part of the team, one of the moments that I remember the most is the French victory in WOC's Relay, in 2011, especially after having followed the failure of previous years. Personally, the one that I keep as the highest point of my career, it has to do with the Sprint race in Trondheim, at the World Championships 2010, when I've got the bronze medal. I also like the Relay races, and, as in Bulgaria, in 2010, as in Sweden, last year, I could run and be on the podium with the French Team. But every season has its history and it is always good to start with set goals, hoping to have, once more, a beautiful story to tell in the end.
And will a story to tell at the end of 2013 have a medal at the World Championships included?
F. T. - (Laughs) Well, I don't know... But I will do everything I can to make this possible. Still, it's the World Championships, there are the Swiss, the Nordics, everyone ... It will be very hard!
And if this medal arises, will it be in Sprint again?
F. T. - I don't know yet. This year, the program of the World Championships leaves me in a very big dilemma, since it is very difficult if you want to run the Long Distance and be able also to run the Sprint. These are raced that are "embedded" in each other and I haven't made a decision. I don't think so much about the Middle Distance, as I feel that it's the discipline in which I have less chances, so the choice will be between Long Distance and Sprint. It will depend a lot on my preparation. At the moment, it's too early and everything can happen, but my attention is geared more for the Sprint or the Long and then, who knows (?), for the first leg on the Relay.
Are we going to see you again in Portugal next year?
F. T. - I think there is a good chance that this will happen. But this year I hope to complete my graduation in Civil Engineering and I'm not sure what the future will be. But I want to continue to do Orienteering, of course, and the Portugal O' Meeting is a really friendly competition, from the organization to the environment we live over the four days. And then we must not forget that we'll have in Portugal the European Championships and the Portugal O' Meeting could be an excellent pretext to prepare this competition. If I'll be free from obligation, I'll certainly come back.