We have been doing the OSMO for about half a year now. An excellent moment to look back and see what everyone thinks. What can be improved, what are our tips and tops. We asked the AT’ers what they think so far. (Note that this is being updated regularly as it takes time to take reviews).
Douwe, (Orienteering, Mountain biking, Kayaking)
After the third OSMO course, kayaking, it is time for a quick recap. Of course, it all started with orienteering, where we learned how to mark coordinates on a map and choose the most efficient route between them. A very useful skill to have for droppings and the like. After that, we did mountain biking, although I joined only one training it was still very fun to do. In the forests near Best ones who already did multiple trainings showed their skills, while we got instructions on the basics. For the most recent session, we went kayaking on the Dommel with the wonderful trainers of Okawa. It was very fun to see the Dommel from a new perspective. Here we learned that it is surprisingly tough to paddle against the stream of the Dommel and how to help each other out if you flip over with your kayak. All the courses combined were actually a perfect training for an adventure race!
I recommend anyone to an OSMO course, even when you can only join one of the sessions of a specific sport!
Guus, (Mountain biking, Kayaking)
Next to our normal training at the construction, a couple of All Terrain’ers including me ventured out for some other adventures! We would not be All Terrain to test all kinds of terrains, so we went mountain biking in the woods of Eindhoven and kayaking on our beloved Dommel!
These activities are part of the OSMO activities. You could expect this is a fancy abbreviation, but it’s just a fancy way of saying the activities are organized by our one and only Laurence (the Outdoor Sports and Materials Officer). Below you can read my experiences to hopefully convince you to join next time! I heard a rumor we are going to learn how to build constructions, so stay tuned!
We met up far up north in Eindhoven for our first mountain bike training, where we could borrow some fancy mountain bikes. Under the watchful eyes of some more experienced bikers of the mountain bike group of All Terrain we began our journey to Aquabest. Never knew we had such nice mountain biking paths around Eindhoven! After warming up by driving around, we had our first challenge, drive as slow as you can. You maybe think ‘huh’, but ever tried playing tag on a bike? A very useful skill to drive as slow as you can without falling. Hereafter we conquered the mountains hills bumps the woods had to offer. Dry loose sand is quite tricky! We ended the day by driving a couple of laps on a small circuit in the woods to improve our technique and speed.
From the woods, we switched to the water to go Kayaking with Okawa, the student kayak association of Eindhoven. As the outside temperature is getting cold enough to even let All Terrain’ers prevent getting wet, we suited up in a wetsuit and Anorak (waterproof jacket). After choosing an appropriate size kayak, we plunged in the water and went upstream. Our first obstacles were the ‘vissentrappetjes’, special parts of the Dommel were fish can swim through more easily. Due to faster water speeds and height differences, these are challenging to get up to. During kayaking, it is important to be able to get out the kayak easy or get yourself upright in the case of tumbling over. This is quite difficult when water is pouring into your kayak, so that’s why you can use a spray deck (spatzeil), which seals up the gap of the kayak. Before using these, you have to master removing these to prevent being stuck, luckily this is very easy if you know what to do..
Now how to get upright again? You make use of a fellow All Terrain’er who is also in a kayak. By banging on your kayak you make clear you need help, afterward, the closest person will bump into you so that you can lift yourself on the nose of the others kayak. Teamwork for the win! Next to these adventures, it was also very relaxing to just peddle along and enjoy the green around the campus. To conclude the kayak training, we will join Okawa on a trip to a German river which will be a bit more challenging than our Dommel!
Thanks for reading!
The single OSMO reviews:
Olivia, (Kayak day)
After three OSMO kayaking training evenings, it was time to test our skills on a real river! A group of five All Terrainers and three Okawa members gathered at the shed at eight o’clock on a very cold Sunday morning. Little did we know we would be waiting for an hour while we picked up the van , which then didn’t connect properly to the trailer lights. However, we were eventually on our way, with a fully loaded trailer, and heater turned full blast to defrost our fingers. We were headed to the Elbe, a river near Düsseldorf, Germany.
Upon arrival we unloaded the kayaks, and dressed warmly under our wetsuits. A few fun warm up exercises, and we carried our kayaks upstream to the slalom course. We familiarized ourselves with our kayaks again, were taught some communication signals we would use between us, and then dropped straight down to the slalom course. Our first task was learning how to cross a river with a stronger current, turning in and out of eddies correctly. We discovered just how important it is to use your hips to turn your ‘ass to the current’ while paddling hard across the main current of the river. Our three instructors from Okawa, Ron, Auke and Jordi, did a great job explaining the techniques and then rescuing us when we turned over anyway… the stronger current proved to be pretty challenging and we spent some time swimming when the current tipped us and our kayaks upside down. A few, Guus especially, managed to turn themselves back upright very well using the nose of another kayak, as we had practiced during the kayaking trainings. Laurence in particular seemed to spend his time swimming more than kayaking. Happily the water was not as cold as I thought it would be.
We also enjoyed watching the pros playing around on the rapid; they made it look effortless. This was particularly impressive after all of our struggles just staying upright across the current! After playing around here for a couple of hours, we headed downstream to the next rapid. This was also a nice drop, and paddling straight down it was a lot of fun. Then for the tricky part… On this wave we were going to try ‘surfing’. It was our goal to paddle in perpendicular to the current, then by tilting the kayak toward the current, surf over the wave. Ron, Auke and Jordi demonstrated, and then it was our turn. After paddling in, I managed to stay upright longer than I expected- but then no matter how hard I paddled, I could not get out of the rapid. So the current pulled me back in and rolled me over again. At this point we had all been for a swim, so we didn’t mind giving it a few attempts, but each one ended with being upside down, draining out the kayak and trying again. Thank to Carlijn we have some great photos of our efforts. Perhaps next time one of us will manage it!
After a short muesli bar break, we headed downstream once more. We followed the river down several rapids, each one a little bit different, but lots of fun to kayak down. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and in amongst the autumn foliage was particularly beautiful while kayaking down the river. We followed the Elbe right down to the Rheine, and then turned in to a dock where the van was parked. Then our tired arms carried the kayaks back to the van, loaded the trailer, and we were on the way home after an awesome day. Being on the water for a long period of time meant we all became much more comfortable in the kayak, and we were all challenged at different points. I had heaps of fun and would definitely recommend it. After the trainings, this trip was a perfect follow up. A fantastic day out on the water with a great group of people. Of course, many thanks to Ron, Auke and Jordi, our Okawa experts, and to Laurence for organizing the day.
Are you ever walking around campus and think “wow, I would just love to jump into that river”, then OSMO is for you! I did both kayaking and mountain biking, and both were a great way to get outdoors and have some fun.
Mountain biking was in a forest biking distance from the city, with some varied tracks and open fields as well if you’re new and want to practice quick breaks or control better. We got to do kayaking on the Dommel on university campus, which can be very pretty as the sun is setting. We worked mostly on how to get up currents and use them to your advantage to turn (or flip over if you’re me).
The activities were very fun and a nice way to start a sport you’ve always wanted to try. If you like to try new things (I was a total beginner at both) and you’re not afraid of mud or the Dommel, then this is the place to be.
Gijs, (Mountain biking)
Last month it was time for another OSMO activity, more specific, mountain biking! we gathered at Op Noord to pick-up a few rental bikes, and than we set course to the rough terrain in the harsh woods of Best. Because we were a mix of talented and not-so-talented people we started with the basics of how-not-to-kill-yourself-with-a-mountainbike. This worked out quite well because we survived and had a lot of fun racing around in the sand and mud.
Bart, (Mountain biking)
I joined the OSMO Mountainbiking workshop on september 24th. The weather was horrible… so perfect circumstances to have some fun mountain biking in the mud!
We were a group of 4. (perhaps others were dissuaded by the weather?) After gathering, we drove off in the direction towards Best. First we played some bicycle tag, afterwards we raced through some of the MTB routes there.
Towards the end we were instructed to ‘jump’ over a big log/obstacle… which I eventually (barely) succeeded to do (suck on that Laurence! :D). By then it was getting dark, and we were getting tired, so we had to call it a night.
Thus we parted ways. When I arrived back home, covered in mud and chilled to the bone, I enjoyed the hot shower almost as much as the activity itself.
Marc, (Mountain biking)
I really enjoyed the mountain biking, something I wasn’t expecting to find here in the Netherlands to be honest. Also the possibility of joining without owning a mountain bike was perfect, since I don’t have mine here. It was a good opportunity to practice and get proper tips, improve my technique and be more confident on the bike. So to sum up, I’d strongly recommend it.
Under the supervision of Justin and Remy, we learned how to correctly mark coordinates on a map. After that, we had to run to these coordinates and do a fun task or write something down as proof that we had been there (like taking a selfie with a specific object). The goal was to visit as many of the coordinates as possible within the time limit, so taking an efficient path between all the coordinates was an important aspect as well. Overall, we learned a lot about orienteering during these first OSMO trainings.