Intershoot 2012 Notes for next time

A collection of notes for the next time, taken as I went through the week. If someone else is going next year, this might be useful.

  • Never. Ever. Fly KLM.
  • Pay the rifle baggage charges for both legs of the trip in Dublin, get and check the receipt there.  If KLM try to charge you for excess baggage, the receipt is your defence.
  • A netbook is an excellent idea
  • Wifi in the campsite is dire at best, and costs about €20 for the full week.
  • Bring a kitchen knife and a potholder. The chalet’s self-catering, but you don’t get a decent knife.
  • Camera’s useful.
  • A small pair of binoculars or a monocular would be useful.
  • Coldgear underarmour kit is needed if the temperature is below zero!
  • Sunglasses were vital after the snow fell.
  • Bring some dishwasher tablets (5-10).
  • A water bottle (the ones with the carbon filters, Bobbles) are a good idea.
  • The small messenger bag worked very well indeed.
  • Bring food for the first night and first breakfast; you won’t get to the shops until after that.
  • Earbud headphones would be useful off the range, but the over-ear headphones are better on-range.
  • Ensure everyone on the team has each others phone numbers *before* meeting at the airport.
  • Have cables to transfer files between all cameras and computers.
  • Do remember deodorant – the washbags sold after security sometimes don’t!
  • Slippers are not silly at all.
  • Remember swimming trunks for sauna use.
  • Transcribes startlist details (esp. firing point number) to shooting diary the night before the match.
  • Small, loud noisemakers for cheering tens during a final are a team requirement!
  • Need local area maps, offline language dictionary, restaurant locations, bus routes, etc.
  • Bring spare boot laces. Not just for shooting boots, for walking boots too.
  • Bring a spare pair of T-shirt, socks, shorts, over the amount thought to be needed.
  • Bring respectable-looking clothes for the team dinner at the end of the competition.
  • Bring yak-trax (not the spikes) if the temperature is going below zero to avoid ice/snow accidents.
  • Cut your damn hair before the trip you hippie!

RIAC 2011 Notes for next time

A collection of notes for the next time, taken as I went through the week. If someone else is going next year, this might be useful.

  • A grab-bag of some sort to carry books/papers/a netbook/water/food to and from the range is a good idea – your kitbag and rifle case stay in the range, your rucksack is too awkward and a suitcase way too big. A small messenger bag or bumbag would work well.
  • A netbook would be very, very useful. A good smartphone with a lot of storage would be okay too, but a netbook would make blog entries, facebooking (which you *will* wind up doing), skyping home and so on a lot easier.
  • Bring a sewing kit.
  • Bring headache pills. You can’t just buy asprin over the counter in the local petrol station shop it turns out. Hit the pharmacy after security in the airport on the way out.
  • Bring talc and/or foot powder.
  • Bring a few bandaids.
  • Check to see if you can get a data roaming plan for your phone that doesn’t include the phrase “first-born child” in the tariff.
  • You need an MP3 player and large, visible-to-everyone-else, over-the-ear headphones. In-ear earbuds will work for sound reproduction, but nothing says “Leave me alone” like the large visible headphones. Hell, even ear defenders would work…
  • Hydration. 2 litres of water per day as a bare minimum – the cold and the hotel air suck the moisture out of you. Also, remember to rehydrate aggressively on arrival – the plane’s air is even worse. Also, drink some fruit juice – you sweat more than pure H2O. Hit the local shop and buy large 2L bottles of water on the first evening.
  • Nutrition. You’re burning more calories than you think. Swipe fruit from the breakfast buffet, eat lots of carbs in the evening meal. The hotel’s breakfasts, alas, don’t really do hot food well.
  • Bring a pen, sideshow bob…
  • A small pair of binoculars or better yet, a small monocular would be useful for the observation deck.
  • The targets used by RIAC (and Intershoot) don’t show a timer in the screen and you can’t always see the range clock. Bring a watch to the firing point!
  • Hide your TV’s remote control. There aren’t any english channels and you need the sleep, but the eurosport coverage of biathlon season will be hypnotic…
  • If you forget to book lunch on the range the day before, ask on the day anyway; they usually keep a few extra servings just in case.
  • There’s not much in walking range of the official airport hotel (neither the IBIS nor the ETAP hotel, which are side-by-side and interconnected and seem to share a kitchen for breakfast and dinner); a large team ought to hire a car if possible. There are a few places though, enough to get by on. But you’ll end up eating hotel dinners for a few days…
  • …but the hotel actually does a decent hamburger. You just won’t get enough calories from the main meal to replenish what you burnt off during the day, especially if it’s cold.

 

Kuortane’09 – notes for next time

A collection of notes for the next time, taken as I went through the week. If someone else is going next year, this might be useful.

  • Don’t lose your mobile phone
  • Don’t use KLM
  • Fly direct if possible, check rifles and bags through if not
  • Keep all travel/licence documents in a seperate pouch for easy access while travelling
  • Pack laptop securely
  • Pack a change of clothes at the top of the rucksack for the first night in Helsinki, unpack the rest from the bottom of the rucksack on arrival in Kuortane
  • Remember the shopping center near the Airport Bonus Hotel in Helsinki closes at 1800h on a saturday in case you need to buy anything there
  • Bring one torque wrench per group, not per shooter
  • Bus from Airport Bonus Hotel to Helsinki centre is the 650, fare is €4, trip time is 30-40 minutes
  • Fly SAS to Stockholm then Vaasa next time instead of the Helsinki route?
  • Luggage lockers in the basement of the railway station in Helsinki will take range kitbag and backpack, luggage office will take the rifle cases. €4 for the locker for 24hrs, €3 for the luggage office
  • Don’t need so many clothes as you’d think, there’s washing and drying facilities in the apartment in kuortane (the tap for the washing machine’s water is on the faucet in the bathroom)
  • Only need one set of underarmour and socks for the range
  • Need coffee for the room and filters. The shop will sell you these, but the smallest size is a pound of coffee, and a box of 40 filters, and unless there’s two of you sharing for two weeks, you won’t drink that much coffee because you’ll only have a cup in the evening (the rest of the time, it’s in the canteen downstairs)
  • You need your mobile phone, both for the phone bit and for the other bits like alarm clocks and cameras
  • Need your skype setup working with webcam – it makes it a lot easier being away from home when you can video call back home for free
  • Ensure your laptop is working and stable before going… an hour fixing it there is a right pain in the neck
  • An ethernet hub would be good as there’s only one working ethernet point in the room, but two PCs. If one laptop has an adhoc wifi router setup working, that might work too. There’s a 256Mb line into the room, so you’ve plenty of bandwidth even if you saturate the wifi link
  • Powerade is a lifesaver, you dehydrate fast in the dry air in kuortane, especially when exercising. €3 per bottle in the shop and you’ll go through three a day. Or you can bring sachets and you can make up your own
  • Long sleeve t-shirts are a good idea
  • Jacket doesn’t have to be as heavy as the ski jacket I wore this year, you just wind up sweating in it and leaving it open all the time if the temperature goes over +3C
  • Don’t need flip-flops for the hydrotherapy centre
  • Shot less than 500 rounds this week. Not sure if I’d shoot more if I was working on something else though. 1000 rounds seems a safe margin per week here
  • Ensure you have enough diskspace free on your laptop or bring blank DVD-R’s or a small external hard drive. HD Camcorders generate a lot of data
  • Pack as lightly as possible!
  • GPS would be handy, especially when on the bus from Helsinki to track where you are (there are easily recognisable landmarks at the hotel, but you do a close approach, swing out through a few housing estates and then back in – it’s easy to get disoriented)
  • Bring tools for each and every single nut, bolt and screw on the rifle, no matter how obscure. Jozef will figure out what tool you need and don’t have and then have to adjust that part 😀
  • The mountain hat is a good idea. Cold ears aren’t fun.
  • Panadol. Deep heat. Day two. Say no more.
  • Shaving kit is needed. Grizzly Adams gets looked at funny by airport security.
  • Get some business cards with email/phone/facebook/blog/etc contact details on, it’s easier than trying to swap emails and not managing to. Facebook’s handy for that
  • A small gymbag/totebag would be very useful in Kuortane itself for going to/from the gym and hydrotherapy centre every day, as well as into Kuortane village or Senajoki
  • Bring the docking station for the HD camcorder and the component cables to display video on the tv in the room for post-shooting analysis.
  • Need two locks for the peli case, one for each end.
  • Cut hard foam for the peli, soft foam doesn’t cut it – it deforms too much and risks damage to the rifles. Get it cut in two layers if possible and you can fit more stuff in – tool in the bottom layer, then a cloth, then the rifle or whatever above it.
  • Pens and paper (a notebook) is a very good idea
  • There is absolutely no time to get any work done, so don’t plan on getting any done in the evenings. You won’t have the energy anyway. Post-shooting analysis, writing up notes and blog posts, editing photos and skyping home takes all available time and plan to get ten hours of sleep a night if you can
  • Two weeks would mean nine days of training, not eight, more if you shoot on the weekend too.
  • MP3/MP4 player would be useful on trains/planes/buses/taxis where there’s no room for the full PC
  • Luggage carts ftw!
  • Always get luggage checked through. Trying to chase a rifle round an airport is a royal pain.
  • Excess baggage charges are huge. €210 out, €225 back.
  • Dressing in layers isn’t just a better idea, it’s more convenient. Long sleeve t-shirt or compression-wear, overshirt or fleece, outer lightweight rain/windproof jacket. No more is needed – it’s -7C but doesn’t actually feel that bad. Neck gaiter would be good too.
  • Remember to leave room for gifts in luggage on the way home
  • Internet in kuortane is free; in Helsinki it’s expensive (€15/24hrs) and not anywhere near as fast
  • Maps and tourist guidebooks are dead weight in your luggage. The hotel has free maps and you’ll never use the guidebook.
  • A laptop totebag with a handle is a good idea in the airport. Maybe a hardshell one?
  • On the plane, get the emergency exit overwing seats for the legroom
  • If not going direct, don’t go through schiphol unless you’ve at least 2 hours between connecting flights or the baggage won’t make it