MTB WOC – situation report   Leave a comment

Today was a rest day at the MTB WOC, so I was back at work, and now I have some time to summarise and look forward to the next three days.

The weather has been good, "only" 30-32°C in my opinion, and the forecast for the weekend has changed from hot to normal, which is better than I feared. The riders have coped well with the conditions, but it is quite obvious that the later starters suffered more, and this will be a significant factor in the Long Distance race on Saturday. I was in the forest throughout the races, and I could feel the temperature climbing from 10 until about noon.

The terrain and courses were certainly challenging for the riders, and there were many route choices and also mistakes. Yesterday I stood at two different controls, and at each of them riders came from three different directions (I can't show the map until tomorrow evening). Yarden Golan (our top woman) rode with one of my GPS units, and when I looked at her route I saw what seemed like a bad mistake on one of the legs. Then I thought about it, and it was simply a very unexpected route choice, which may have even gained her some time (according to the splits).

The riders are nearly all very strong, physically and technically (from the biking point of view). They move very fast downhill, but with good control, and can ride uphill on some of the roughest and steepest single-tracks. Most of them obviously read the map on the move (note for the Israeli team), because they stop at the controls only to punch the Emit and turn their bikes around, with barely a glance at the map.

I'm well on the way (391) to my 1000 photos, but I probably won't make it in the end. Most of them are from the forest, and I'm trying to get different types of shots in different places, while catching as many of the participants as possible. If that sounds like an excuse for quantity over quality, it is – Ilan Shacham (planner of the Middle Distance) was in the terrain yesterday with a better camera and great technique, and got some really good photos. I'll continue my way, knowing that 80% of my pictures will be just good ones, and hoping to get 20% of them very good, and a few fantastic photos for the Ultimate Orienteering Photo Contest. I've been calling it "Paparazzi-O".

The relay tomorrow is on the same terrain and map as the Middle, and we can expect some fast and furious riding, with interesting splits and route choices, and some controls in dense single-track networks. Then the Sprint on Friday is something special – a historical park with lots of narrow, paved paths, where every second will count and concentration will be essential. And on Saturday, the Long Final, on the best MTBO terrain in Israel (in my opinion) – hilly and steep, with tracks everywhere and countless route choices. I'll be at all of them helping out, and of course with my camera.

Posted 12/08/2009 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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