– It was a true long distance challenge in a tough Norwegian terrain, with several long and medium-length legs, Lucas Basset explains when talking about his favourite course of the year. And no, it is not the World Championships Long distance, but another Long distance course in Norway without spectators and with far less attention. Read on to look back at some of Basset’s highlights from 2019!
This interview is part of the “Course of the Year 2019″ contest organized by World of O. In the introduction article you can suggest YOUR favourite course for “Course of the Year 2019″ – there are prizes to be won worth more than 6000 Euro.
Interview Lucas Basset
Q: What was the best forest course you run in 2019- and why?
I think the most enjoyable course I ran in 2019 was the WOC selection Long Distance in Guttersrod, between Halden and Sarpsborg, in the beginning of July. It was a true long distance challenge in a tough Norwegian terrain, with several long and medium-length legs. A kind of long distance during which you slowly feel the tiredness coming, and it’s a struggle to both maintain good pace and keep a clean technique.
A kind of long distance during which you slowly feel the tiredness coming, and it’s a struggle to both maintain good pace and keep a clean technique
There was a short last loop and an arena passage that were not very interesting and useful, but the loop was so short that it had no big influence on the overall experience.
You could argue that setting a course in an awesome terrain is easy. That’s why I would also like to mention the Middle distance in Finland in June, which I think was really varied and challenging despite the not-so special terrain. The course setter also did not make the kind of compromises we are used to see in international orienteering with start on the arena, arena passage etc, which often ruin the possibility for interesting courses, as it was the case at WOC some weeks later…
Q: What was the best sprint course you run in 2019 – and why?
This year was a special year with the first forest-only woc. I had just 2 sprint competitions and trainings between the end of March and the beginning of September, which is rather unusual. Still, I had the opportunity to run plenty of them from September, with 2 sprint training camps in the south of France.
Though, I think the best sprint course I’ve been running this year is from one of the most important sprint competitions that was organized : the World Cup in Switzerland , and the Knock-Out Sprint qualifications and quarter-finals.
No previous map of the morning competitions existed, we therefore didn’t spend so much time preparing for the two races, and I can say I did not expect such a challenge at all.
They were both organized in the town of Zwingen, taking place in the morning, before moving to Laufen for the Semi and Finals. No previous map of the morning competitions existed, we therefore didn’t spend so much time preparing for the two races, and I can say I did not expect such a challenge at all. Intensive and tricky orienteering on the qualification, with a an interesting part in a « castle » that none of us in the French team knew existed. The course-setter used perfectly artificial fences to make it even more challenging. The quarter-final course was in a completely different area with housing buildings rather than individual houses, and the forking system used ( forkings with map exchange, « one-man-relay » like) made it great to run, and almost individual orienteering feeling!
Q: What was the most interesting orienteering terrain you run in in 2019 – and why?
I had the chance to run in many great orienteering terrains this year, spending so much time in Norway preparing for WOC, but also training in Aguiar da Beira in Portugal. But if I have to name one great terrain that was important for me, it’s the Clermont-Ferrand area in France where I spent 6 months between September 2018 and March 2019.
The volcanic history of the area created some of the most amazing and detailed orienteering maps in the world
The volcanic history of the area created some of the most amazing and detailed orienteering maps in the world. Running weekly on maps like Aydat, Mazayes, Château de Montlosier or Cheire de Côme was a big chance. And I could do very hard night sessions thanks to the French Federation training groupe based there, sometimes with only contours and with a barely readable 1/10000 scale. I’m convinced it paved the way for a good technique throughout the whole season.
Another terrain I really enjoyed was the map in Sandsjöbacka, south of Göteborg, where the Swedish champs and Euromeeting took place a few years ago. Amazing session !
Q: What is the most interesting course you ran (or saw) in your own home country in 2019?
I think I’ll say the French Championship Long Distance in Margeriaz in June. The terrain is alpine, with great views over the Alps when we were running on the upper open area. The course made good use of the specificities of the terrain, using the open areas to make the runners tired, and then continuing with super tricky controls in a very detailed area.
The terrain is alpine, with great views over the Alps when we were running on the upper open area.
I also loved the long leg to control 1, navigating on a detailed slope in a semi-open area, on the edge of the forest. This was not so much about route-choice, but more about picking the right features to go fast in a diffuse area, and finding the solution to attack the control as safe as possible after being on « diffuse orienteering » mode for a while.
Q: What is the most interesting routechoice leg you remember from 2019? Did you take the right choice?
I’ll pick leg 1-2 of the selection races in Guttersrod, Norway (H21E World category :) [Editors comment: Used for Route to Christmas Day 3]. The leg was clearly divided into two parts : the first part before the road, with wild and detailed terrain where there was an infinity of routes (and looking at the GPS afterwards, it seemed that no one took exactly the same route) and the second part, with clearly two options : going far left around on the road, and going straighter using a smaller path and very heavy terrain. Clearly, the option you chose for the second part influenced a lot your route on the first part, but it seems that many had a lot of troubles being efficient in the terrain, picking optimal routes.
The first part before the road, with wild and detailed terrain where there was an infinity of routes
I chose to go straight here, and was convinced during my race that going around on the left was slower. Though, Matthias Kyburz had the best time by going left on the road [Editors comment: As Matthias Kyburz didn’t finish the race, Basset actually had the fastest split time on the leg of the finishing runners by going straight – with exactly the same time as Florian Howald going more on the road]. And I hadn’t consider how easy the entrance of the control was when using the small path from the road to the left. Still, I’m happy I was one of the ones going fastest straight, picking a good route to the road, and being aggressive on the second part.
In general, and especially in this kind of terrain, I don’t like route choices where going around on roads is the fastest : it should pay off for fast-running runners that have less efficient technical skills to go straight, but it should not be the fastest overall. The course setter should remember that we do orienteering, even on long distances, and that the orienteering skills are the ones that are tested, not asphalt running. But I guess it’s just my orienteering philosophy, and I understand not everyone is sharing it 😊
Q: Did you set any courses in 2019? If so, is it possible to share the best (in your opinion) with World of O’s readers?
I set very few courses of my own in 2019. Each year, I’m amazed by how little I draw courses, and that how lucky I am to find people doing it for me, on camps or at home. Special thanks to the French coaches, and also to the Swedish team who kindly invited me to their camp in Portugal in March ! One of the courses I set myself was an O’interval session in Le Désert du Carlit in Font-Romeu, a heavy and steep but wonderful terrain at 2000-2300 masl. I was there on a camp before WOC with my two sisters Isia and Juliette. Not particularly proud of the course setting, but the general impression of the session was really positive.
Q: What is the race you look most forward to in 2020?
2020 will again be very special, with half of the season dedicated to Sprint with WOC in Denmark and Scandinavian relays, and the second one to forest and EOC in Estonia. The race I look forward to very much is WOC KO Sprint in Fredericia, Denmark. I’m excited to see what the organizers will find to trick the runners and make a good competition rewarding to best sprint orienteers, not only the fastest runners. I’m very eager to train on tricky sprint areas.
The race I look forward to very much is WOC KO Sprint in Fredericia, Denmark.
The second one is, of course, 10mila which I’ll run with my club OK Linné! Let’s see what we can achieve, and if I manage to avoid a 6-minute mistake on a decisive leg this time 😉
Q: What are your goals for next year – and do you plan to change your training and/or focus in order to reach your goals in 2020?
I haven’t had time to plan everything yet. But my goals will be to get as close to top10 as possible at WOC in Denmark and reaching the final at the KO race would be awesome. I know I’m not there yet, but I’ll try to focus more on sprint of course to improve and run fast in July. Though, the forest season will start very soon after WOC, and I know my biggest medal chance is in the forest at EOC, which means I will continue to train as an « all-rounder » this winter.
I know my biggest medal chance is in the forest at EOC
I’ll for sure run many more sprints as the previous years, but I won’t quit terrain running for asphalt and track. The risk of injury is too high anyway.
Q: Have you got any comments about the development of international orienteering?
The Military World Games and the World Cup in China did not make me particularly confident in the future of international orienteering as it is dreamt of by the IOF. These last competitions of the season and the trip in China in general had a big impact on me, and I struggled finding positive things about them. In addition, I don’t think I am a big fan of the split WOC concept, and I have a hard time in seeing how much it can influence positively the development of international orienteering. I have the feeling that runners’ opinions and wishes are the last ones to be heard at decision level, and that TV is now the most important thing taken into account, and not the quality and fairness of competitions.
You just need to look at the courses of WOC this year in Norway : Start, arena passage and finish on the same area for all 3 distances turned what could have been great wild orienteering into average, sometimes boring competitions. Start on the arena provides nothing interesting for spectators, both in front of TV or at the arena and improving the quality of the races. And it’s not because a nice arena was built in Mørk, or because the organizing clubs of WOC 2019 made good profit out of the competition, that WOC in Norway was « the best WOC ever », as IOF keeps on repeating. WOC in Italy, Scotland for sprint relay and long, Estonia were much better in my opinion. Because then, the goal was to maximize the orienteering experience.
But anyway, the potential for having fun with orienteering is still sky high, and that’s what I will focus on in 2020 and beyond.
Prizes from our Sponsors
Prizes from our Sponsors always makes it more fun! There will be a prize for the first one suggesting the course which ends up becoming “The course of the Year 2019″, and prizes drawn among the ones suggesting and voting. All prizes are transferable to other persons (you don’t have to travel yourself).
Event sponsor: Five Days of Italy 2020 – June 28th – July 3rd (Italy)
- Prize offered: BIG competition and hotel package for two persons, consisting of competition fee and hotel accommodation for 7 nights, half board. Value 1.520 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
- You are welcome in the Dolomites to 5 days Italy 2020 in Paganella Mountain, Fai della Paganella and beautiful “Dolomiti di Brenta”, amazing Trentino landscape. Read more at www.5daysitaly.it
Event sponsor: 53rd Kainuu Orienteering Week Finland (KOW), June 28th – July 3rd 2020 (Finland)
- Prize offered: 4 packages, each consisting of 2 free participations for the whole week in any class (competition classes or open courses) at Kainuu Orienteering Week 2020. Total value up to 800 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
- Kainuu O-Week is the biggest Finnish orienteering week, and it has been held annually since 1966 in Kainuu, Finland. The 2020 event will gather 5000-6000 participants from all around the world. The 2020 competition terrain is very suitable for all categories and perfect for running and orienteering – the orienteers will be running in the fast and beautiful pine forest terrain of Haverinen, consisting almost exclusively of pine forest of varying ages, in certain areas the contours are with small features. The visibility is mostly excellent, in some seedling areas slightly poorer. The ground is solid and clean; it is not stony. One river (Varisjoki), a few mires and ponds bring their own contribution to the orienteering tasks and landscape. For more information see www.rastiviikko.fi.
Event sponsor: Andalucia O Meeting – February 8th – 9th (Spain)
- Prize offered: Competition and Training Package with accommodation for 4 persons. The package includes entry to AndaluciaOMeeting 2020 for 4 persons, 3 nights accommodation in 4p Apartment Leo Deluxe and Training Package if you want to stay longer. Total value 650 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
- Fun organized (Sportident) trainings and competitions in surprising Huelva! More info at https://sun-o.com/en/event/
andalucia-o-meeting-2020/ & ht tps://sun-o.com/en/camp/ huelva-organized-camp/
Event Sponsor: EGK Swiss 5 Days 2020, May 20 – 24, 2019 (Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
- Prize offered: 2 packages, each for 2 free entries for the entire Swiss 5 Days Orienteering 2020 and spectator access to the 3 World Cup races. Total value 600 EUR, transferable to other persons.
- More information to these exciting races under: www.swiss5days2020.ch. Neuchâtel, the place to discover!
Event sponsor: Hungaria Cup – August 19th – 23rd 2020 (Hungary)
- Prize offered: 3 entry + accommodation packages, each for 2 persons. Each package consists of 2 free entries for all 5 days in any class at Hungaria Cup 2020 + accommodation. Total value up to 500 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
- More information: Hungaria Cup is Hungary’s biggest orienteering competition, held annually since the year 1967. This year we set camp at lake Velence close to Budapest. Terrains will include tricky open areas, mixed forests and a botanical garden. Those interested in more special orienteering challenges can try Paddle-O, Biathlon-O, Mobile-O and Beer-O. Come to enjoy orienteering and all kinds of leisure activities. Did we mention that we also have great wines? For more information see http://hungariakupa.tajfutas.hu/en
Event sponsor: Bergen Sprint Camp 2020 – March 20th-22nd (Norway)
- Prize offered: 2 full packages, each for 2 people. A package consists of 3 high quality sprint races, 2 sprint trainings and 1 dinner + presentation for 2 persons. Total value around 375 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
- The BSC organizing team warmly welcomes you to the 9th edition of Bergen Sprint Camp. This time as a World Ranking Event, as well as opening of the Norwegian Sprintliga 2020. Friday is the training day, followed by races in the weekend. All race maps will be updated to the new international sprint map standard. We always try our best to make maps, courses and the overall event as good and interesting as possible for every runner, from beginners to elite. All info at bergensprintcamp.com.
Software sponsor: OCAD Orienteering 3-year license
- Prize offered: One 3-year licence for the software “OCAD Orienteering″. Value about 350 EUR. Transferable to other person (before activation).
- More information: OCAD 2019 Orienteering – Perfect to Produce Orienteering Maps. This edition is dedicated for orienteering map making with a step-by-step wizard for analyzing of LiDAR data, mobile geodata capturing, smart editing and drawing tools, generalization tools, desktop publishing, course setting and much more. Read more at ocad.com.
Event sponsor: OOCup 2020 – July 28th-August 1st (France)
- Prize offered: 2 packages – each for 2 people – consisting of: Entry for the complete 5 days OOCup competition plus OOCup 2020 T-shirt for each competitor. Total value around 325 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
- In 2020 OOcup goes back to France again – repeating the great success from 2018 in new and interesting terrains! There is good reason for that: Tricky terrain like what we found in the South Jura Mountains (AIN) in France is what OOcup always tries to deliver; ultimate orienteering challenge in beautiful natural surroundings. More at oocup.com.
Event sponsor: WOC 2020 spectator races – July 6th – 11th (Denmark)
- Prize offered: A spectator & race package for two persons for entry for the complete WOC 2020 Tour – including 3 forest races and 3 sprint races. Add to that a free WOC running top for each. Value about 260 EUR. Transferable to another person.
Description: Use this unique opportunity to watch the World’s best orienteers in the first ever sprint World Orienteering Championships while enjoying orienteering in great terrains – both forest and urban. For the three sprint races, the WOC2020 arenas will be within walking distance or shared with the spectator race arenas. The forest races will be staged in varied terrain ranging from open heathland, inland dunes and coniferous forest to hilly beech forest. All maps are drawn by the WOC2020 mapper. More information at woc2020.dk/woc-tour/.
Event sponsor: Kapa 3-days 2020 – June 26th-28th (Latvia)
- Prize offered: Two family entry packages including camping & parking. Each family entry package includes an entry for two adults and two children, space for a tent at the event camping and a car parking voucher. Value 250 EUR. Transferable to another person.
Kapa 3-days is the largest orienteering event in Baltics with 2000 participants from around 20 countries. It’s a special o-weekend Friday to Sunday 26th to 28th of June 2020 in Latvia. The terrains of 2020 have not been used for orienteering ever and are mainly pine forests with different runnability and a lot of special relief forms. As always – a great atmosphere and even live music in the evening at the main Baltic orienteering festival!
Event sponsor: Wawel Cup – July 8th – 12th 2020 (Poland)
- Prize offered: Entry + accommodation package for 2 people. The package consists of entry to full Wawel Cup 39th edition (competition + additional indoor race + training maps) + accommodation on camping/hard-floor + Wawel Cup O-shirt. Value about 250 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
- Wawel Cup 2020 is about the return to Jura Krakowsko- -Czestochowska; to the place which is unambiguously associated with Orienteering. We will start the competition with the mass start on Błędów Desert and for the next four days we will face interesting and diverse terrains with lots of rocks. Loads of attractions, additional contests, handicap, emotions, medieval castles, rocks and foremost… good fun – this mixture will let every competitor remember Wawel Cup for long!
Event sponsor: Portugal O-meeting 2020 – February 22th – 25th (Portugal)
- Prize offered: 2 packages – each for 2 persons – consisting of full entry fee for Portugal O-meeting 2020 (2 model events, 4 forest stages, 2 sprint races and Trail-O). Value about 250 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
- Portugal O’ Meeting is already a well-known established international event, perfect for a season start. It’s common to see POM Super Elite winners on the podium of the following international events. The 2020 Edition will be held in Santiago do Cacém and Sines, the southwest coast of Portugal. Terrains are typical Mediterranean forests on all stages. More info at www.pom.pt.