Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sprint done and dusted, now for the middle

Todays sprint was a very interesting experience for MTBOers. There were multiple controls off tracks, the track network was thick woven through generally open paddocks – I highly recommend looking at the route gadget which is available through the official website. It was imperative to stay in contract with the map, and small navigational mishaps could quickly become confusing. This is reflected in the results which are unusually spread out for a sprint race.

Marc learnt from his difficulties yesterday and focused on navigation. He says his ride felt slow, but backing off the pace obviously paid off as he rode into 16th place, a little under 7 minutes off the winner, Grigory Medvedev (RUS). Karl made some small errors, and placed a promising 27th place in his first junior world championships. Chris made some early errors, however couldn't . Tom and Heath were disappointed with some substantial errors in the complex network of tracks and open ridable areas. They finished in 45th and 54th respectively.

The senior men was won by Tobias Breitschadel of Austria, who won his first world champs gold, and the medals were rounded out by Marek Pospisek (CZE) and the ever consistent Ruslan Gritsan (RUS). Steve made large errors on the 4th and 5th controls before he settled into a good pace and rode solidly for the rest of the race. He is recorded as a ''mp'' after one of the controls failed to read his SI-stick and then his back up punch strip fell out of his map board. Apparently, the units have been affected by the heat and have either failed or taken a long time to record.

The women's race was won by Christine Schaffner (SUI) and silver went to Emily Benham of Great Britain who had an impressive ride in her first major international event for the year. Anna Kaminska (POL), gold medalist in 2010, got the bronze medal. I (Mel) was pretty disappointed with a very messy race, with a combination of poor route choice early and confusing myself with a control in a parallel gully through the middle of the course.

I think everyone in the Australian camp is happy that tomorrow will be a return to more conventional MTBO with controls on tracks, but we have learnt some good lessons for the relay which will again be approximately 40% off road riding.
This evening was the official opening ceremony, which had been delayed to allow the masters categories to participate. I think Heath was the most enthusiastic participant of the Australian team and was heard afterwards saying: ''The opening ceremony was not only riveting, but a cultural experience. One was immersed in a myriad of authentic Hungarian aficionados, which included gum boots, a g-string and Queen sung by a Jesus look-alike. I am truly looking forward to Estonia equivalent.'' Chris just remember the middle dancer.

Start times for Middle distance:

Karl: 10:59 (6:59pm)
Oscar: 11:00 (7pm)
Chris: 11:09 (7:09pm)
Tom: 11:39 (7:39pm)
Ricky: 11:40 (7:40pm)
Heath: 11:53 (7:53pm)
Steve: 12:22 (8:22pm)
Marc: 12:25 (8:25pm)
Mel: 12:30 (8:30pm)

The masters start tomorrow with a middle distance race in the same area as the elite and junior athletes. They are starting earlier than the elite riders. I personally am really hoping to see some great riding from Carolyn Jackson. Her age group has been dominated by a British rider over the last couple of years, so it would be good to see her have to work a bit harder.    

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