MTB-WOC Terrain   Leave a comment

Less than 3 weeks to go, and I'm really starting to look forward to the MTB-WOC. Bulletin 3 was published a few weeks ago, with some more details about the events, and now I'd like to give my perspective on the terrain.
Israel is more suited to MTB-O than to foot-O, with very few fine contour details, but lots of big, rounded hills. Our forests are mainly planted pine forests, with a dense network of wide tracks, and in the past few years the popularity of mountain biking in general has added a lot of single-track paths in many areas.
As a result, most route choices will involve rough topographical detail and easily ridden tracks, but I suspect that the single-tracks will offer some very technical riding in the vicinity of the controls. The competition areas vary from moderately hilly to steep hills, with no real mountains – no map has a height difference of more than 150m.

Part of the long final area (old rogaine map) – 10m contours, 1km between north lines
One thing which worries me (as a knowledgable bystander) is the fact that the organisers are permitting off-track riding. Unlike some areas in the south or north of Israel, where much of the forest is rideable, I would classify at least 80% of the "white" forest in the competition areas as totally unrideable – which means that you may be able to get through with a bike on your shoulders, but probably not. Moreover, the forest is full of rocky areas, cattle fences, cliffs, and pits, which I don't think are going to be marked on the map. So unless much of the forest is going to be downgraded to "green" on the maps (it doesn't look like that on the samples in the bulletin), this rule is going to affect the fairness of the competitions, in that the orienteers won't be able to judge their ability to cross the terrain in advance. Some will get lucky, and some won't. And there's also the chance of injuries from unmarked obstacles. If I was making the decisions, I wouldn't permit riding off the tracks.
Of course, that's just my opinion. I hope that I'm proved wrong, and that we have a week of tough and fair racing…

Posted 22/07/2009 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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