And then we started hanging out with people!

We know, we know. It’s been a while since our last post. We apologize! We suddenly started hanging out with people and then blogging got more challenging. Here are 10 things we’ve been doing since our last post:

1) World Cup Sprint Race

Held at Orleans University campus, this was a fast-paced sprint that reminded us both of the foot orienteering sprint camp we attend every year in Vancouver, BC. It was FUN but we both had some major errors and I got a flat at control 9. I was able to fix it and get back in the game, but it was a lot of time lost. Over all it was an excellent course that was really challenging when paired with the fast pace of riding a bike.  


2) Hang out with good people in France

This trip has been particularly wonderful because of the opportunity to connect with Malin and Pescho from Sweden. It had really made our trip a lot more fun as we meet new people and learn about other countries, all whom have the same orienteering veins running through their bodies. Here’s a few pics of  some hang outs.

After the model (practice) event, folks from Sweden, New Zealand and Ireland/Great Britain were all eating and chatting about orienteering and other fun things. 

Fellow US racer, Joe Brautigam, is also here in France competing in the Men’s 50 category. This is him super happy after his top ten finish in the sprint. Joe is a long-time orienteer who has competed for the national foot-o team at the World Champs as well. 

Malin is really good at helping us all sit down to nice family style meals, and also really good at speaking French so she can help us order a pizza when no other places are open. Here we are eating some delicious pies and enjoying a little white wine.

Sue and I grilled some classic American burgers, veggie kabobs, and a pear and bleu cheese salad for the Swedes and Joe one evening on our house patio. Tres bon!


3) World Cup Middle Distance Race — Yay for Sue! Abra not so much.
The Middle Distance was a mix of high speed straightaways blended with tight webs of trails where you had to slow down and concentrate. It was a challenge to mix between the two formats. Sue had a really great race up until leaving control 16, where she headed towards 7 instead of 17. Based on the proximity of those two controls (7 and 17), I can see how that could happen! I had a strange mental block leaving control 5 and misplaced where I was. This ended up in a 6 minute error on a control that should have been fairly straightforward. Such is life and such is orienteering!  

4) Saw some glamorous castles

Turns out there are a lot of castles (chateaux) in France! We took a team trip (meaning Joe, Malin and Pescho — so really a house trip) to Chambord castle just outside of Orleans on our rest day. Chambord has a 38km wall surrounding its grounds along with a double helix staircase inside where you can walk up one set of stairs at the same time as another person (on the second set) and look at each other across the hall but never cross paths. When will IKEA think of something like this? 🙂 We ran into the Austrian, German, and Russian teams, and also a few other Swedish masters. 

5) World Cup Long Distance Event — No Hills, Just Pedaling!

The Long Distance was a strange one. Fairly simple orienteering with really long legs and lots of pedaling. There was hardly any time to rest. Powering through long stretches of road became the norm. It was a very different style of race than we’ve had before. Sue and I had many split times with similarities, and both felt pretty strong on how smooth we could make route choices for the next control. I think we each need to work on making map changes, and also on how to simplify our routes. This was also the first time either one of us came in under the 2 hour mark for a Long Distance! Hugs all around. 


6) Did some more sightseeing around Orleans, one of the oldest cities in France.

The city of Orleans was saved from English siege by Joan of Arc! They love her and hold an annual festival in her honor.


Joan of Arc visited the cathedral below, and all of the stained glass windows inside depict her life. This puppy was visiting Orleans on a bike tour and stopped for Sue to snap a pic.

There are lots of bikes and bikeways.



7) Drove to Dresden, Germany!

Just another 11 hour car trip, no biggie. Anke from MTBO Deutschland visited us in Portland last December, and is now showing us around Eastern/Northern Germany! This car trip was equally as nuts as the drive from Sweden to France, just with one less person and a smaller car. We rolled into Dresden around 3am after leaving the day of the Mixed Sprint Relay.

Only fancy ladies can use this French rest stop toilet pit.


8) MTBO Training with Anke

Anke has attended every MTBO World Champs since its inception, maybe 2001? She hosts MTBO and Foot-O trainings in Kiel, where she lives in northern Germany. She knows way more about how to train for MTBO than we do, so we are soaking up all the knowledge she can offer.

Talking route choice from one of our O-Ringen maps. Also eating store-bought Spaghetti Eis, one of my favorite treats from when I lived with a host family in southern Germany a la 1999. It’s ice cream pushed through a sieve that makes it look like spaghetti, then covered in strawberry “spaghetti sauce” and white chocolate “parmesan.” Delish!

A late evening training on the Czech side of the border. I was afraid of running into wild pigs after learning there are a lot of them around due to many corn fields. We had to cut the training short due to darkness.

Turns out there was also a lunar eclipse the same night ! It may be a little challenging to see. 

9) Visiting Dresden – a city made for giants!

Neither Sue nor I had too much knowledge about Dresden, which made it a really great surprise. It’s a glorious city with many of the older buildings built from sandstone in the nearby Elbe Sandstone Mountains, or Elbsandsteingebirge. Many of the older buildings are starting to turn dark, which is apparently a natural happening, not because of environmental impacts. Everything in the old town felt enormous, perhaps because of the large blocks of sandstone.

Tile work that absolutely looks like a tapestry. Showcasing all the former leaders. Where are the women?!

The Frauenkirche was mostly destroyed during WWII but entirely rebuilt in its original fashion. It was only finished being rebuilt about 10 years ago.

All the dark spots show the aging sandstone.

10) Appreciating Germany because it is awesome

We are learning so much about East Germany. Anke helped us spot this Trabant vehicle at a gas station near the Czech border. Trabant’s were one of five brands of automobiles available in East Germany while the Iron Curtain was still intact. When the wall fell there was a “Trabi Trail” of East Germans relocating to the West, where they abandoned their Trabants for more reliable cars built in the west. 

Move over, REI. German sports store, Globetrotter, is way better. Below are photos of their second floor kayak testing pool and the kids climbing area built under the stairs. So fancy!


It’s just so pretty here! Anke raced in a 40k mountain bike race (the Erzgebirgs Bike Marathon) this past Sunday, and the surroundings were glorious. We were again on the Czech border, where many Erzgebirge Weihnachtspyramide (Christmas pyramids) and other fine wood crafts are made, including this huge one!

There should be more alpine slides in the world! Always bringing joy. 

The race backdrop was many fabulous hills and valleys, most of which you can’t see in this photo. 🙂


Today we landed in Berlin for a little poking around and seeing some sights, then it’s off to Kiel to revisit Anke and delve into some more MTBO training. Sue is also recovering from a crash during the Mixed Sprint Relay back in France. She took a slight dip into a ditch and the ditch may have won. She is taking a few days off the bike and will be ready to roll again in Kiel. 

More again soon!

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4 thoughts on “And then we started hanging out with people!

  1. So fun to read your updates and see all of the pictures!! Looks like you’re having a wonderful time! Also, I’m writing this from the Great Wolf Lodge, so we are ALL on grand adventures! 🙂 Have you guys been to the alpine slides on Mt. Hood? I haven’t been since I was a kid, but I remember it being very fun. Keep the updates coming, we love reading them!

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  2. wow!!!! you guys are doing and seeing so much!!!! it’s beautiful there. also, is Orleans the original Orleans that New Orleans is named after? I didn’t know!

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