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5 April was a holiday in Hong Kong, and the Sunday group did an extraordinary swim which I joined. The group started off at Stanley Main Beach together, swam to the buoy near To Tei Wan, and split into two. The longer group went round the peninsula and did 9.5 km, while the remaining returned to the beach and did 4 km. However, I couldn’t catch up with the longer group (as they swam at sub 1’40” / 100 m endurance pace) so I had to return, and only did 4 km. I was very sad afterwards, had my lunch, then walked to the ending point, Stanley Blake Pier, and welcomed them to the finish with some videos. I chatted with them and they thought my goal to do marathon swimming next year was too ambitious, and I should allow a few more years for that (actually I had some idea of doing it THIS year). However, I was thinking about channel swimming a few years later. I started to doubt whether I have really joined the right club as everyone seems to be so fast for my current level that I cannot swim with them.

Today, 7 April 2019, I and my coach Gary have an orienteering race on Peng Chau. As the race does not occupy us the full day, I got an idea of making Gary my support paddler, circumnavigating Peng Chau after the orienteering race and trying out the race protocol, feeding, etc. like we would in marathon swimming. The major problem was finding a kayak for that, but Gary finally settled the problem by borrowing an SUP which can be carried around, and he made it an OW coaching session, watching me and correcting my technique as we went.

We started off the beach in the bay on the east of the island, I swam and Gary followed me. At first he stopped me for a few times to give me stroke correction, then we continued the circumnavigation.

The circumnavigation was about 5.6 km and we completed in slightly more than 2 hours, including a few times where my coach stopped me for giving correction.

We had 3 feed stops along the route to practice feeding. At first we had some misunderstanding as my coach’s experience was some FINA level elite race where competitors turned on their back, grabbed and poured the feed, then threw and went, which my bottles with wide opening wouldn’t work in such scenario. However what I was doing was to “complete” the feed while treading water like how channel swimmers do.

As I had no prior experience in this, I was a bit uncomfortable at the beginning, and needed to catch some breath first before I drank my feed. Also I couldn’t complete it continuously as I still need to catch the breath in the process, and sometimes waves were going over. We definitely need to have more practice afterwards on that.

Moreover, we still hadn’t worked out a good method to signal feed time, and I only recognised by the action of preparing the bottle and throwing out.

Overall, he thought that my form was the best at about 3 km along the route. At the beginning I was not doing well what my coach said, but gradually improved as I got my feeling and rhythm. In the final km my coach noticed me my endurance was dropping and losing speed.

Also, my form had improved when compared to the pool sessions two weeks ago, especially my right arm (breathing side) was much better than before, however, my left arm (non-breathing side) was still lacking a bit.

Another thing I had to improve was my sighting. My coach said I swam much more than I should be. I swam the island clockwise and breathed to the right, therefore the island was on my breathing side. I was attracted by the nearby rocks too much and swam too near the island, entering some concave part of the shoreline. This was probably because I was not familiar with the island and didn’t know exactly what I should be sighting, which definitely won’t happen in race day as I would study the course beforehand.

After the swim, we discussed whether we would do a clean half relay together in October this year. He told me that the 1 hour and 45 minutes for the upcoming 5 km race may be achievable for me if I can keep the form today and do better in sighting, but still very far away to that group of westerners doing long distance training at under 1’40” endurance pace.

He watched the videos I took on 5 April, and thought that I should be aiming for the form of Edie Hu. He also told me that I should get my form right before I increase my training mileage, as the races have time limit which isn’t possible to muscle through without a good form.

To conclude, today was a good experience for me to start off my journey towards marathon swimming. My training goal was completely achieved. Thank you Gary for this friendly special session. We will definitely have more practice afterwards.

My next race will be the DWB on 28th April, 5 km with 1 hour and 45 minutes cut-off. I really hope that I can make it, which means a step closer to my marathon swimming goal.

A side note: We both did badly in the orienteering race in the morning. I didn’t meet my target of 700 points required to remain in elite class, the weather was so hot (air temperature was 27°C) that I was exhausted not long into the race and I couldn’t think clearly, and showed symptoms of overheating after the race, while he got DQed by passing thru a forbidden area.

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The new year of 2019 began. I became a member of Tritons Triathlon Club, which is associated with the triathlon programme at HKU with membership running per calendar year, and increased my training amount. Since January I regularly swim about 12 – 15 km per week, including normally 2 squad sessions, an open water group swim on the weekend, and a few sessions on my own. I originally wanted to increase the training amount further in February then April but refrained from doing so because I thought that my technique was lacking, after taking a Swim Smooth video analysis session in February.

Another fact which I found out only after joining the triathlon club is that, the club produces marathon swimmers, including two English Channel swimmers – Simon Holliday from UK (who swam round the Hong Kong Island in 2017) and Cae Tolman from Australia, therefore I thought I actually joined the right club as my goal is to do marathon swimming.

However, I didn’t have much time improvement even after I have joined the squad for 4 months. The VRC announced a 5 km race, the DWB on 28 April, with stated cut off time 1 hour 45 minutes which I would really want to do it but scared about the cut-off, as my prediction based on historical results was slightly outside the cut-off. At that time, my orienteering friends introduced me a swim coach, Gary Lui. He was willing to charge me a “friendly” price so I decided to take some lessons with him as I was desperately trying to improve my technique in order to make the cut-off of that race, which started in the middle of March.

Returning to open water swimming, there are 2 main groups in Hong Kong, the Saturday afternoon group led by Olivier, and the Sunday morning group led by Ian. I normally do the Saturday afternoon group, but if I am not free, mostly due to orienteering which remains at my first priority, I will do the Sunday morning group instead. Actually the Sunday group consists of mostly Tritons members, however it is faster than the Saturday group and I may still not be able to catch up with them, while I am comfortable in the middle of B team in the Saturday group, even everyone is with wetsuit but not me (I never wear a wetsuit in Hong Kong because I am very afraid of heat – I like to swim in cold water, 18°C – 20°C is perfect for me now, and I am uncomfortable in anything over 24°C when wetsuit is forbidden in triathlons).

The Saturday group normally do only 3 km, which I am definitely not satisfied, however, the Sunday group do a variety of distances – 3 km, 5 km, or even 7 – 9 km. I really hope to do longer swims, but the group swimming long distance in Sunday is below 1’40” / 100 m endurance pace, which I definitely cannot catch up (my endurance pace is estimated to be somewhere around 2’10” / 100 m), and I always end up barely following only the shorter group. The best way to train for my marathon swimming target is definitely to swim with them, doing 7 – 9 km occasionally, because they are real marathon swimmers, probably the only group of marathon swimmers in Hong Kong, but I can’t because the speed difference is too large.

I love the sea and love open water swimming. By the end of 2014, I discovered that there was a Sunday open water swimming group in Hong Kong, led by Ian Polson. I tried to join but couldn’t catch up with anyone in the group. I then got embarrassed and disappeared. In 2015, I found out that there was a Saturday open water swimming group led by Lloyd Mc Bean (now by Olivier Courret) as well, but I couldn’t catch up with them either.

I looked for coaching options, and found out that the university I was studying, HKU, had a triathlon programme (IHP Triathlon Programme, now rebranded as The Swim Lab Asia) which offered improver sessions which would suit me. However, the improver sessions were not operating in winter, and in the next season they moved away from the university so I didn’t join. My speed was not fast enough to join the regular squad, which required at least the speed of 2’10” / 100 m endurance pace.

I finally did an improver course in summer 2016, but I still wasn’t up to squad standard afterwards. By that time I completed my second degree at HKU, and moved away from the city, though eventually found a job back in HKU. That job would be perfect for me doing the squad training once a week on Tuesday evening, which was suitable for someone new to the squad, however I couldn’t meet the squad standard at that time. As the job required stressful commute and I did nearly no physical exercise, my health deteriorated a lot during the 1-year contract, which made me discontinued that job at contract maturity (October 2017) even that job was good for me. I rested for a few months, found another job out of the city closer to my home in March 2018, but I couldn’t find a reputable club focusing on open water swimming there so I didn’t have any structured training, and just swam on my own, and I didn’t any know any swim coach as well.

In summer 2018, I found out that I might be able to catch up with the B team, judging by my pool time, of the Saturday open water swimming group led by Olivier, and tried joining their group swim after I disappeared for 3 years, and I finally caught up with the group without the group waiting for me so long, though still in the rear of the pack. That speed was also enough for me to join some of the sessions in the squad of the triathlon programme at HKU.

In September, the Saturday open water swimming group did a 2.4 km time trial, which turned out to be lengthened to 3 km without prior announcement, and I completed it which made that my longest OW swim till that time, though I finished nearly the last. And a super typhoon forced the McBean Middle Island Challenge, a 3.7 km race around Middle Island, originally scheduled on 22 September which I was not free, to be postponed to 3 November which I could make it and allowed another month of training for me. I immediately signed up for the race without doubt, and completed it.

As the new job was crap, I resigned after the probation period, and made my decision to return to my first job at HKU, and arranged for a subdivided flat from my family in the city to avoid the long travel in my first year in the job. An important benefit of the job at HKU now is free access to the sports facilities since the end of 2017, as part of the university policy to promote exercise among their staff, including the 2 swimming pools which are not temperature-regulated at all – hot in the summer, cold in the winter. I finally made the move on 22th October, bought all my equipment and started squad training on 30th October. I then trained regularly in the squad, one or two sessions per week afterwards.

By the end of the year, I was daydreaming about some big stuff, then made a very concrete goal for me to train and achieve in a year – to complete a marathon swimming race (>= 10 km) before March 2020.

To be continued in part 2.

Year review of 2018

The year of 2018 comes to the end soon, and it’s time for me to review my life and work in this year, and plan and set targets for next year.

Starting with orienteering, this year is the first year of TrailO world ranking scheme. I have participated in 8 world ranking races in Africa and Europe, and got 50.19 in the best 6 (0.00 is theoretical best possible score, and 90.00 is the beginner score), ranking at the 94th in the world. While, in FootO sprint, I have participated in 3 world ranking races in Asia and Africa this year, combined with the latter half of 2017, I have got 607 points in the best 4.

I participated in the TrailO world championships the second time this year in TempO, but didn’t advance to the final. Despite this, the race was my best race in this year, with 5.59 world ranking points.

Locally, this year is my best year in sprint orienteering, in which I achieved more than 900 points in a ranking event the first time, and also ended up with a best-3 average of more than 900, making me qualified for elite class next year, in 2019. Also, I performed a duty of key official the first time, in the TempO qualification race organised by Y2Y where I was the course setter.

Due to orienteering, I also travelled a lot this year. I have been on 4 trips this year (January – February, March, July and October), and visited Europe 7 times in total (1 time in January, 3 times in February, 1 time in March, 1 time in July and 1 time in October). I have travelled to China, Finland, Egypt, Lithuania, Latvia and Czechia this year for orienteering, and visited Macau, Turkey, Taiwan and Russia in addition. I flew so much that I got SkyTeam elite status as a result.

Apart from orienteering, I also started serious swimming this year. Before this year, my longest continuous swim was 2.6 km Tolo Harbour race done in 2010. I did a 3.7 km round Middle Island race in November this year, and performed longer training up to 10 km afterwards. I have also joined the regular Saturday sessions by Open Water Swimmers of Hong Kong in the B team since summer this year.

In terms of speed, I have started taking my 1500 m times since May, and my time improved from 35’8″ in May, to 31’42” in the end of November (and an additional time of 29’56” in a short course pool in the end December), although my target of 30 minutes hasn’t been reached yet. I have joined the squad training of Swim Lab Asia (IHP Triathlon Program) since October, which I already hoped to join a few years before my graduation but didn’t got the prerequisite level at that time.

I didn’t devote much time to sailing this year, especially in the latter half, since the usual time allocated (Saturday afternoon) has since been used for open water swimming. However, I completed the intermediate windsurfing course in January, this was probably my only achievement in sailing this year.

My career has also gone through a major change this year. I started a job in an e-commerce company in March, however, I though the company was completely crap, therefore I quit after the probation period, ended the job in July. I returned to the iClass team in October, resuming the duty a year ago. (I joined the iClass team in October 2016 and left in October 2017, and returned in October 2018) One of the major reason that I returned was the relationship with HKU. As I work in HKU, I can join the IHP Triathlon Program squad training mentioned above at the HKU pool after work easily, and also visit the pool at other free times using staff or alumni membership. I’ve also met with Cameron Lai to discuss about OpenStreetMap, open data and GTFS, which is currently the technology which I am the most interested in.

I also started to learn Swedish this year, in order to prepare for possible a working holiday in Sweden after 2020.

I have some plans and targets for 2019. Orienteering will remain my first and foremost priority, which my targets include:

  • Remain in the elite class in local sprint ranking in 2020
  • Become a Hong Kong team member for the 1st Asian Trail Orienteering Championships, and get good result in it.
  • Decrease my TrailO world ranking points to below 45.00

While for swimming, I have a very ambitious goal which I don’t know if it is achievable or not – swim the channel in 2021, during a working holiday that year. In order to know if I am ready for that challenge, I would like to try the cold half (a 15 km open water race in Hong Kong in winter) in 2020, if I can complete it that means I am ready for that challenge. Therefore, I need to train a lot in 2019, eventually build up to 15 km without wetsuit by the end of the year. Moreover, I also need to work on my speed as well. I hope I can get my 1500 m time within 30 minutes in February once the HKU 50 m pool reopens, 27 minutes in July to qualify for the Hong Kong cross-harbour race, and 25 minutes by the end of 2019. I will probably take 1 or 2 coached sessions at the squad, 1 or 2 additional sessions by myself, and also an open water session on the weekend every week, in order to have maximum benefit.

I also need to have more exposure in Swedish, in particular I have planned travels to Finland in May and July 2019. Some basic Swedish can help a lot in my trips to Finland. In this year, I travelled to Russia and Latvia knowing no Russian, and everything was troublesome. I couldn’t even read a single word in menus.

If I have time I would also like to work on the GTFS project with Cameron Lai as well.

I wish I can achieve my targets above, and also wish everyone a happy new year!

Conclusion

During this 22-day trip, I went to a total of 7 museums on Soviet history, 9 beaches on the Baltic Sea, and participated in 11 orienteering competitions.

In the museums of the two regions, we can see the different feelings of the people of the two regions in the same period of history. Russia regards the Soviet Union as the most glorious period of its country, as a world superpower at that time. Russian museums display many Soviet leaflets on conquering the world and inserting the Soviet flag into the poles of the earth. On the contrary, Lithuania and Latvia regarded the Soviet Union as an illegal occupier and placed the Soviet Union and the Nazi exhibition together, showing the brutal totalitarian occupations and the determination of freedom of the people in the later stages.

In the previous travel logs, I have used the words “communist bandit” and “occupation” etc., those used in Taiwan during the martial law period. Apart from describing the China communist occupied area in Free China, they can also be used to describe the Soviet occupied areas in the Western Free World during the Cold War.

After the Second World War, the Communist Party which maintained power using violence, carried out massacres, genocide, and population transfers in its occupied areas, and set up an iron curtain on its borders, causing numerous families to be broken, including big cities such as Berlin, fishing villages such as Shenzhen, and even as far as Diomede Islands with ice and snow, where only primitive people lived. After Stalin’s death, the level of violence has decreased, but censorship, imprisonment, suppression and exile were still common. In the late 1980s, when the Soviet Union was in a recession, Gorbachev tried to save the economy by removing the bandit behaviour of the Communist Party, including no longer interfering with other communist countries, redressing millions of political prisoners, re-launching the banned books, and hope to establish the legitimacy of the Communist rule by democratic process. However, after the election, the result was not he wanted to see: the Communist Party was overthrown and the Soviet Union was disintegrated.

After the world-wide democracy movement, the iron curtain in Europe had completely fallen, and there was no place for burial of the communists. However, in the area of ​​Communist-governed China, the Communist Party’s bandit behaviour remained the same. The democratic movement in the Communist-governed China in the 1980s ended with a massacre. So far, the Communist Party has been arbitrarily suppressing and detaining ethnic minorities in China.

Hong Kong, then a member of the Western Free World, although not democratic and sovereign, was one of the most developed regions in the world with the best rule of law and freedom, countless people in the bandit-occupied area fled to Hong Kong in order to escape the Communist’s bamboo curtain. No matter how many propaganda machines were operated by the Communists, the fleeing couldn’t be stopped. However, time has always been borrowed. Hong Kong has fallen into the hands of the Communist Party since 1997. Although the Communist Party has promised to retain the original system for 50 years, things that have happened in recent years, such as the tear gas in Admiralty, disqualification of Legislative Council members, political parties stated to be illegal, and even the Communist authorities have publicly stated that the “Sino-British Joint Declaration” is a historical document. It has been shown that although the Communists cannot directly control Hong Kong under the system, it can be manipulated through puppets in Hong Kong. Since there is no democracy in Hong Kong, these puppets are actually not authorized by the people of Hong Kong. This has caused Hong Kong people to worry that Hong Kong will lose its original advantages and become part of the bandit area. Some even used Tibet as a metaphor. In 1951, the bandit army entered Tibet, signed a treaty which retained the original government and system in the Tibetan area. However, in 1959, the Communist bandit used a riot as an excuse to completely tear up the treaty and completely communise Tibet, and deliberately slaughter the people.

“Hong Kong independence” has never been heard before, because Hong Kong people’s ethnicity and cultural identity are both Chinese. However, in recent years, as the communists strengthened the control, the radicals have begun to emerge, and “Hong Kong independence” has been stated openly as a political goal, and the communists used whatever means possible to suppress (the “Hong Kong National Party” is an example). Although “Hong Kong independence” is not feasible in mainstream public opinion, perhaps from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the story of independence from the Soviet Union may give some inspiration. Leung Kai Chi launched a new book: “On The Road of Indenpendence: Thinking about the Future of Hong Kong from the Former Soviet Union”, which tells about the experiences of seven countries after the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the future of Hong Kong.

In addition to going to the museum to experience history and reflect on the future, I also went to a number of beaches, both in the city and in the suburbs, each with different characteristics.

The beaches I have visited are, in the order of coastline, Yantarny (Янтарный), Svetlogorsk (Светлогорск), Zelenogradsk (Зеленоградск), Morskoye (Морское), Nida, Juodkrantė, Smiltynė, Jūrmala and Vecāḳi. I think the environment is better in Yantarny and the beaches along the Curonian Spit (Morskoye, Nida, Juodkrantė, Smiltynė).

Although Hong Kong is located by the sea, the coastline is curved and its beaches are quite short. Because Hong Kong is located in a subtropical area, the summer is quite hot and the water temperature is 28 °C, a bit too hot to swim. Russia’s Baltic coast is very different, the beach can be more than 100 kilometers, from Zelenogradsk continuing uninterrupted until Smiltynė. The water temperature in the summer is generally 18 ° C, but unfortunately I encountered a historical heat wave during the trip, the water temperature reached 21 ° C or even higher, there is no cooling effect. The coastline there is quite flat and the water is very shallow. It is only a few meters deep even a few hundred meters out. I can easily stand on the bottom of the water at all the beaches I went along the coast, unlike some places in Hong Kong where the water depth can be 10 metres or more just by swimming out a hundred metres or even less, difficult to reach the bottom.

Another feature of the Baltic Sea is that the salinity of the sea is extremely low, almost fresh water. In the middle part of the Baltic Sea I visited, the salt content was only 7 in thousand, which is one-fifth of the ocean. The feeling of swimming there is very different from that of other places facing the ocean, like Hong Kong. Because of the low salt content, the density of sea water is relatively low. The buoyancy provided is relatively small, and it is easy to sink the bottom with a little exhalation. In the northern part of Bothnia Bay, the salt content is only 2 in thousand. The creatures inside are freshwater creatures, and the sea is frozen for half a year.

Zelenogradsk Beach is the most special one. The beach has rows of wooden walls to protect the coast from being eroded by big waves. The pier there is a popular spot for pier jumping, where everyone queues to jump.

I participated in 11 orienteering competitions on this trip, including 2 ranked competition. But unfortunately, I did not perform well in these two competitions. I didn’t score very low. (In TrailO ranking, low score means good result, 0 score is the level of world champion), however. I achieved 58/61 result in the subsequent training competition. For TrailO, this is my first time to go abroad to participate in the forest orienteering competition, and I finally finished it with lots of mistakes. Overall, I feel that my orienteering technique has made progress in the trip. But unfortunately, this sport has not yet matured in Asia, there is little room for improvement in Asia, but I can’t afford to take long-distance flights to Europe every few months (for example, going to the Czech Republic in October). I plan to wait until the 2019 calendar come out to decide my further action, and hope that my world rankings will return to within 100 or even 50.

August 13th to 14th: departure

The trip finally came to the end. I took number 22 bus from Riga to the airport, then took an Aeroflot Russian Airlines plane back to Moscow.

Riga Airport is the largest airport in the Baltic region, but I only see it as a medium-sized airport. I only see narrow-body airliners. The vast majority of the aircraft inside are on domestic lines, and only the two gates in the farthest are used for international lines. And I am taking the international line, so I need to go to the farthest side for border inspection.

Riga is the hub of Baltic Airlines, a state-owned low-cost airline in Latvia, and recently opened a route as far as Almaty.

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I took an Aeroflot flight from Riga to Moscow and a China Southern Airlines flight from Moscow to Guangzhou. The baggage could be checked through to the end. However, only the first boarding pass was obtained in Riga. After arriving in Moscow, I got the boarding pass for China Southern at the transfer counter. There are two flights per day from Moscow to Guangzhou. The Aeroflot Russian Airlines flight took off from terminal F, while the China Southern Airlines flight took off from terminal D. Therefore, I only needed to stay in terminal D to transfer.

The aeroplane food of China Southern Airlines was much better than that of Russian Airlines.

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The flight was an overnight flight. I finally returned to Guangzhou on the morning of August 14, transferred to metro and conventional speed train to return to Shenzhen and Hong Kong to end the trip.
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August 10th to 12th: Last days in Riga

After I returned to Riga, there were two Latvia O-Week competitions remaining. On August 10, I went to Mazie Kangari to participate in the middle distance race. On August 12, I went to Turaida near Sigulda to participate in the long distance race.

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On August 10th, I returned to Riga after the competition and took the Ollex Express to the Hill of Crosses. The crosses originated from the Tsarist period. In order to commemorate the dead whose body couldn’t be found, the Lithuanians inserted crosses on the hill. It became a symbol of resistance to the bandit puppet government during the occupation period after the Second World War. The communist bandit considered the hill as forbidden land and tried to eradicate it. It has repeatedly set fire to the hill, but the Lithuanian people have been constantly re-inserting new ones. At one time, it even wanted to build a dam nearby, so that the Hill of Crosses would be buried, but in the end it did not happen. After Lithuania regained its freedom, the hill became a symbol of peace, and the people were free to put crosses. It is estimated that more than 100,000 crosses are on the mountain.
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On August 11th, I didn’t have a competition, so I went to the Occupation Museum and the KGB Museum.

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Article 58 of the Criminal Law of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic “Counter-revolutionary crimes” was used as a legal basis for arbitrary suppression and massacres of the people for the purpose of population cleansing. For example, a political joke could be seen as “Anti-Soviet and counter-revolutionary propaganda and agitation”. Once reported, it will be imprisoned for years.

The museum also displays a large number of celebrities who was jailed, including the leader of the Latvian Scouts. A considerable number of them were eventually executed, and some of those who were not executed were released after the death of Stalin.

I went to the beach of Vecāḳi. The heat wave had already passed. It was raining earlier that day. The air temperature was only 16 °C, but the water temperature was still 21 °C.

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After the competition on August 12th, I went to the beach of Jūrmala. The wind was very strong on the day, the current was very fast, and a red flag was hung on the beach.
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I took a commuter train from Riga to Jūrmala. This route uses electrified trains. Majori Railway Station is the central station of the town. It has only two platforms, and the bus station is directly next to the platform without any obstruction. The train station is built on the edge of the lake, and crossing the rail is needed to reach the platform to the direction of Riga. Its ticket office does not open continuously for a long time.

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August 4th to 9th: World Orienteering Championships (sprint), World Trail Orienteering Championships

After arriving Riga, I reached at the main part of my journey: orienteering competitions. This year’s World Orienteering Championships and World Trail Orienteering Championships were held together.

I am an official representative in TempO only, so I participated in the public events for the rest of the competitions. August 4th was the sprint World Championships, the preliminary was held in the park, and the final was held in the old town of Riga.

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In the afternoon finals, there were live broadcast and GPS tracking, but the Hong Kong team did not have a finalist.
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The Occupation Museum is under reconstruction.
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A photo of our Hong Kong team, including FootO team and TrailO team (photo taken from OAHK)
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As the TrailO competitions were held in Daugavpils, we drove there.

On August 5th, in the model event, we made the final practice before the competition. After the model event, we paid, turned on the TV and computer to watch the sprint relay live broadcast and GPS tracking.

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August 6th was the TempO World Championships, held at Daugavpils Fortress. The Hong Kong team had 4 official representatives and I am one of them. The competition is divided into preliminary and finals. The preliminary was divided into 2 groups, and the first 18 competitors in each group entered the finals. In the preliminary, there were 6 stations, 4 questions per station. My score was 460.5 seconds and I could not reach the finals. The Hong Kong team eventually had 2 participants to enter the finals.

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August 7th is the first day of the PreO competition, the event centre is in Daugavpils 16th Secondary School. I was not an official team member, so I participated in the public event (the same course as the World Championships). My score on the day was 26/28, which was better than all official Hong Kong representatives, but this was only a practice competition and had no effect on the world rankings (only the official World Championships would be counted).

After that, I returned to Riga and went to Laurenči near Sigulda on August 8 to participate in a middle race of Latvia O-Week. The train from Riga to Sigulda is quite outdated, using a diesel train. However, the ticket purchase could be done using a webpage or an application and displayed to the train controller, without any gates.

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At the arena I met with the chairman of the Orienteering Association, and members of the Scout Orienteering Club.
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Then I returned to Daugavpils again.
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Daugavpils Railway Station is a railway station that was rebuilt in occupation era 1951. In the picture above, there are traces of suspected dismantling of Russian station name. Trains run to Riga, Vilnius and Minsk.

August 9th was the second day of PreO competition. I participated in the public competition and got 32/33. It was also better than all official Hong Kong representatives. The total score of the two days was 58/61, which was equivalent to about 20th place in the World Championships. I returned to Riga again after the competition.

August 1st to 3rd: Falco Cup

The three-day Falco Cup competition was held in Smiltynė. Our Hong Kong team travels daily between Klaipėda and Smiltynė.

The first two days of the competition included PreO and TempO, and on the third day there was only PreO, which was a world ranking event. In PreO, I got 13/21 on the first day, 17/23 on the second day, and 18/28 on the third day world ranking event. The TempO competition had 3 stations each day, with 5 questions each. The total score of 30 questions on two days was 747 seconds.

After the second day of the competition, we went to the south for bike training and went to the beach. At that time, the sea temperature was as high as 23 degrees.

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Photo taken from Orienteering Association of Hong Kong
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The northern terminal of the 239 line bus operated by KönigAuto (КёнигАвто) is located at the old pier of Smiltynė, where the bus parks in the afternoon, which may be with Russian license plate.

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Although the routes 239 and 384 are both advertised to be between Kaliningrad and Klaipėda, the two terminals are different: The Kaliningrad terminal of route 239 operated by KönigAuto is located at the company’s private “international bus station”, some distance from the city centre, and the bus only reaches the old pier of Smiltynė at the northern end of the Curonian Spit for Klaipėda, passengers must take the ferry to cross the harbour to the city centre; route 384 operated by Klaipėda Bus Park starts from the bus station in Kaliningrad city centre near the South Railway Station, and the bus cross the harbour by vehicle ferry and arrives at the bus station near Klaipėda train station.

After the competition on August 3, we drove to Riga to prepare for the sprint race of the next day. On the way, the internal border between Lithuania and Latvia is crossed.

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July 31th: Klaipėda museum tour

On the last day before the arrival of the Hong Kong team, I visited the museums in Klaipeda. I first took a ferry from Smiltynė to Klaipėda. At that time, the ticket office was not open, and no one checked the ticket at the gate. The ferry was therefore free of charge. (Passengers generally buy a round-trip ticket in Klaipėda, because the vast majority of visitors are round-trip).

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After going ashore, I went to the 39/45 museum. 39/45 refers to the years in which the Second World War began and ended.

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Then went to the Lithuanian Minor History Museum.

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Finally went to the clock museum

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I intended to go to resistance and deportation exhibition. The information I found says it closed at 17:00, I went there before 16:00, but it was closed.