Czech

Selection Trails and Update


I am not sure if I want to write a lot to explain what has been happening in my life during these unscheduled and spars blog updates. Or if I should shoot out the recent update and news in my cycling career. I think I will stick with a recent update since it’s easier to write. So heres a wordy text post update.

 

The Australian Mountain Bike Orienteering Team selection trials were being held down in Newcastle on the 21st and 22nd of March. I had to attend these trials if I were to be considered for the Australian team. I hadn’t really planned to attend to race any MTBO events this year. My sights had been set on XCO. Since December 2014 I have hit a slump with training, relative to the amount I have been doing the past 3 years. So I popped the selection trails back onto my race calendar.

Long story short, packed up the bikes into the car, drove 9hrs to Newcastle with Mum and dad and competed. Unfortunately the first day I performed poorly, I guess I was still rusty from not having seen or raced an MTBO map since last world champs – thats the last time I can remember racing MTBO. Fortunately, I found my brain and won the Sprint and Middle the following day, which was enough to secure my spot with my mate from last yeah, Angus.

There was a lot that went wrong with my bike in the poor conditions, wet, muddy sandy crap. My poor bike had some TLC once I got back to Brisbane.

 

Kay, the high performance coach for the MTBO team briefly explained the high performance funding changes to me in Newcastle. It turns out this may be the last year Orienteering Australia (OA) sends a team that will be funded, since Australia is cutting funding from high performance programs and moving the funding and focus in to getting people to participate in sports. So we will have to seek funding from other means like sponsors or fundraiser to support our high performance teams in the future.

So Angus and I will be flying over in August to race in Czech and represent Australia in MTBO. This has been a big change for my race calendar and a hard choice to make to head overseas for multiple reasons which I will try and sum up.

Firstly, I had focused on mainly racing and training for ‘pure’ cross country racing (XCO). So my race season had been focused on just that, but since around December I have hit a training slump (it’s a bit more than that but I won’t go into it now). I am still training more than most people, but compared to the past 3 years it’s roughly halved. It’s enough training to keep me fit and racing in the state XC races, but not quite to keep me in the pointy end of the races. More on that in a little later post.

Flights are not cheap and I explained earlier this year to the selectors that I may not be able to go afford flights for this years trip. With funding being cut and having such a small team there will be no excess to travel with the team, so it will only be flights I will have to pay for which makes this trip more manageable on my bank account. There is also another issue of being focused and driven for these races which didn’t make the choice clear. Do I travel over and risk not being motivated and in poor form and spend all the money or do I stay home train and race and save my pennies.

In the end I decided it was worth one last trip to compete overseas. Through these weeks of racing and decision making weren’t made easy and was helped by my coach Ashley Druve who has been more than a coach, a mentor and a friend. I don’t think I would have competed at this level ever or gotten to these points without his help.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic. I don’t know where to start. I am fortunate to know some of the best, most talented and driven cyclist from Czech. The cyclists in Czech, to me, are the most pure and show that rare love for cycling. Having spent almost a week in Czech I don’t think I could ever forget the good time I had there.

I think this week was the stand out week out of all the time I spent in Europe. My friend Vojtěch went above and beyond as a friend. Not only did he come out late at night to collect me from the airport (after some confusion of what day I was arriving), he also let me stay at his place in Prague that he only just moved into.

He also showed me around his home town and organise for me to race in a local race. Vojtěch really made me feel at home, he also organised a bike for me to ride through another one of our friends, Kryštof who is the best Mountain Biker Orienteer-er in the world and is climbing up the ladder on the World XCO (Coming 3rd in the WMTOC Sprint and 1st in the Long and recently racing in the Noway World Cup round for XCO getting 12th and racing the XCE) . I got to ride his winter bike for my time in Czech. This kid, lives and breaths bicycles and mountain bike. It’s refreshing just to be riding with a guy with so much passion and talent.

Czech’s know how to ride. The first ride I did in Czech was just a 100km ride with Kryštof, riding back to Prague from collecting his bike from his place. I faded pretty fast in the last 20km. I hadn’t touched a bike since my ride in Helsinki and I was suffering. Luckily the last 20km we were zig-zaging our way in to Prague.

One of the funniest things I remember from my ride with Kryštof to Prague is when we briefly stopped half way through our ride because, Kryštof didn’t know where we were. Couldn’t help chuckle and smile hearing that come from the best Mountain Bike Orienteer-er in the world. Although to be fair, I was completely lost and we didn’t have to wait more than a minute or so to work out where we had to go.

Not only did I get to ride with some great friends, I got to race and attend a cool uni-party/concert sort of part in Prague and roam the street with Kryštof. Again, this was so amazing and was a real high light of my trip. Thank you Vojtěch and Kryštof, I will definitely come back next year and ride some more with you guys.

Life Experienes

So I haven’t been updating my blog for quite awhile now, and there is are reasons for that. But I can’t list them all at once so I will say  that I think I need to do a quite a large cover of where I have been since WOC. This will be a quick post about places I have been to.

After the Mountain Bike Orienteering World Championships I traveled to Helsinki by ferry with a friend of mine, Karl. Helsinki was certainly a life experience all on its own for many reasons. After that I flew to Berlin in Germany and my mate Karl flew back to Australia.

In Berlin I went on a few guided tour walks around Berlin. Berlin has very interesting history and fantastic vibe to it’s always buzzing city. I did a secret diet in Berlin too! After Berlin I took a short seven hour train trip to Arhus in Denmark. There I stayed with one of my good Mountain Bike Orienteering friends Camilla. I had probably some of the best days on this trip in Denmark.

With a short flight to the UK to stay with some relatives. It was nice to have a bit of down time, which I could of used to write this blog, but I was enjoying not having to move my stuff every second day and not having to be and adult. After my nice break in UK I hopped onto a plane and was flown to Czech where I stayed with another good Mountain Bike Orienteering friend of mine, Vojtěch. I had an unbelievable time in Czech. Definitely a place I would come back to and stay for awhile, there is fantastic riding there in Czech.

Then I spent almost a month in Vienna in Austria trying to learn German. This was a mixed experience and another life experience of sorts. Finally I am now in Nice and hanging out with my parents. My project from now will be writing about each places I have visited and what has been good and bad. Knowing what to avoid and what to do better.

Berlin bicycle love.

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What has been happening Chris?

Flying out on the 21st of July to Italy is what is happening!

I have been fairly pre-occupied with racing and training as well as planning my trip and finalising dates for my overseas trip!

From the 22nd of July to the 17th of August I will be in Italy training with a friend of mine in Turin, then we will head up to Feltre for a final week. We will be close to the Italian alps and MTBO maps as well as some nice single track, if we can find it. I can already feel this trip is going to be great experience.

I will be in Estonia, Tallinn from the 18th of August to the end of August where I will be training with the Australian Mountain Bike Orienteering Team and competing in my first World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships. Since I have turned 21 this year I am not eligible for the Junior World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships.

So from the 1st of September I get to travel/holiday with my bike for 30 days – tricky. What I have whittled my options and interests down to is taking a ferry to Finland, Helsinki for a few days before flying to Germany, Berlin. I’ll spend  a few days in Berlin doing some touristy things as well as trying to find some cool trails to ride on. I hope there are some club XC races happening that I could attend while I am there.

After Berlin I will be jumping on a train to the Netherlands and down to Belgium for a week or so. I want to try and do a bit of riding here and exploring. Then I will head up to Amsterdam for a bit then off too Czech to stay with some friends and do more riding.

This should bring me up to the 28th where I have to make my way to Austria to be there on the 29th to start my German Language course. I have wanted to do something like this for awhile because of all the competitors who come from other countries and have learned English to communicate with other people, makes me feel selfish. So I am putting myself through a four week German beginner course and I hope I learn enough to talk to some people in German.

After mastering German in four weeks (haha I wish) I fly down to France, Nice to meet up with my parents and I will spend a couple of weeks there, then heading home. I think the trip will roughly take me about four months. My bank account is going to be feeling fairly empty by the end of this.

While I am over there I hope to blog a lot more and write a race report for each day of the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships.