victoria

Victorian MTBO Champs – Long

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Today was the day to redeem my self from the middle. The Long discipline is a race about going hard and hitting the trails hard. This type of riding can get you tired real fast and you can easily make forced errors.

First off, I didn’t start well. I didn’t even get to the start triangle before I made my first error by thinking I had already reached the start triangle and turned off before I reached it. After the early blooper I was set flying still a little unsure of my navigational skills.

About a quarter the way around the course I chose a different route choice to most, which at the time I thought was the better route choice (6-7). Based on the information I had on the map it looked like the best way, as it turned out the other route even though it showed a lower grade of track was actually super fast riding. Everything after that was fairly straight forward until the end of the course.

Myself like many other people made a fatal error where you had to ride to a major road turn left then ride into an opening, which the control was sitting in. So I stopped at a major intersection, which was exceptionally sandy and lead towards a rather large mound that was also a clearing. So I ran my bike up and spent the next few minutes there trying to work out what happened. Losing about 3-4 minutes on the leaders spilt.

Like the middle I don’t know why I didn’t realize it was too soon the track junction that I made my huge error on. After the middle and the long I just sat there looking at the map trying to figure out what was going through my head and what I had done right in the sprint.

Still trying to work it out now. I definitely need to get fitter and build on my navigation skills.

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Victorian MTBO Champs – Middle

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The middle was on the same day as the sprint but held in the afternoon. The Middle discipline is similar to a sprint but further in distance and on a larger scale map. You approach the middle as you would a sprint and in general. In reality it is how you should tackle most courses but it emphasizes knowing when to go fast and take caution.

What can I say about the Middle. It was if someone reached into my brain and took everything I knew about how to navigate and plan routes and tore them out.The vague tracks and bad route choices combined pretty much killed my race and I was way off the winners time.

I felt so unsure of my decisions after early navigation troubles. I had trouble with interoperating the map and my route planning decisions changed based on my interoperation of the track grades which other people seem to have less of a problem with. Just another skill that I need to improve.

Looking back at the race I should had of persisted and continued with my routes and had not let the vague tracks and track quality deter me. I still can’t see why my errors came upon me, either I was out of practice or I was tired. When it comes down to it. I didn’t race fast enough or navigate well and I that I will had to pick up my game for the long.

Victorian MTBO Champs – Sprint

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I didn’t know how I was going to go against the seniors this year. Only having roughly three weeks of training on the bike under my belt. I knew the Sprint discipline is all about knowing when to hit the gas and when to practice extreme caution. You have to remind your self to slow down.

Blasting out of the start box I hit the first few controls with no problem. I didn’t put a wheel out of place. Minor errors were made but in reality they were not much of an error. My eyes tricked me, which almost forced a huge error but convinced my self that a track did in fact join (5-6) at the junction on the map.

I had caught some of the other competition and they got a few seconds on me on a long descent. This descent left my shin a lot of pain after a huge rock flicked up under my front wheel smashing directly into my shin.

My head and my legs were all in the right place for this race and raced in and waited for the rest of the field to come in. It had seemed like my semi-clean ride came through and scored me my first senior win. One rider had gotten close, Alex Randall would have had me if he hadn’t made some small timely errors.

Christmas Update

Christmas 5 Days and MTBO training. So currently I am in Beechworth, Victoria for the Christmas 5 Days, which is an end of year carnival that ends on New Years Eve.  For most people it’s a good event to attend to because it’s fairly social and it is held in out of the race season for orienteering. For the serious orienteers it’s great pre-race training for the World Cup event being held in New Zealand at the start of next year. So it has attracted a good selection of the elite racers and some international orienteers.

My fitness in lead up to this event hasn’t been great due to being sick for a couple of weeks, which may have turned out to be a slight sinus infection which I have now fully recovered from. Now I just have to get back into training. So I did just that on Christmas Eve. A friend of mine who lives in Melbourne was happy to take me out into the Dandendongs. He gave me two options to climb up the easy way or the steeper way. I chose the steep way thinking this is what I needed. Although my body told me pretty quickly that I wasn’t fit. Climbing up the side of the Dandendongs was very enjoyable even though I could feel my heart beat rattle my rib cage and hear it through my head pumping away. We did a little more than two and a half hours of riding with a decent amount of climb.

This is the view I got of Melbourne.

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The Christmas 5 Days started off slowly, with a one hour traffic jam trying to leave Melbourne. After that it was smooth sailing even though we arrived half an hour late. It had been awhile since I had run and also navigated through bush. After stuffing up the first control I found my flow and didn’t have any real navigational errors on the first day. Running around the course I felt ok, but after the event it felt as if I had run a marathon. I have absolutely no running muscles and my body was letting me feel it.

Here’s the first days map, I am running Course 3 because I don’t think I can run much further than 5 – 6km.

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Day two was a big day. I decided to ride to the event. It was 26km away from where our accommodation is and the first 7km was downhill. After the ride I ran my course with only a couple of errors at the very end which I was pretty chuffed with, even though I wasn’t that fast on foot.

This is days two of the Christmas 5 Days. Course 3.

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After I had finished the previous coach of the Australian team Kay Haarsma told me to get ready for the MTBO training, which was on the same map I had just raced on. It was a small exercise that I rode with a couple of the senior riders who raced in Hungary for Australia. We did the first four controls with one minute intervals then we rode to the 5th Checkpoint and did started the intervals again to 6, 7 and 8. The minor tracks almost didn’t exist. At times it felt as if you were just riding through the bush guess where the track went.

This is the larger scale map we trained on.

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Training was done for the day and there was still a race to go in the afternoon at 5:30. The race was a scatter race a point’s race and a line course race wrapped into one. The rules were you had 75 minutes to collect 15 checkpoints in any order and then come back to the finish to start your lined course of 5 checkpoints. Each control was worth 20 points. It was held in at the Indigo Vineyard which we raced the Australian Championships relays at last year. They had used similar control locations for the scattered controls and I found it fairly easy picking a route. My route took me down south to the control at the dam and then heading out east to do an anti-clock wise route around the map. My only problem was that I had stuffed my control descriptions under my riding shorts which had the row number for the checkpoints in the vineyards and when I went to retrieve the descriptions they were all wet and had torn when I pulled them out. Luckily my main rival was doing a similar route and I chose to follow his wheel through the vineyards. He was much stronger and perhaps a little fresher than I so at times it was hard to hold his wheel. Even though it would have been hard to pull away from each other regardless. He finished in 37:02 and I finished behind him in 37:22. He got away from me on the last little rise to the finish.

Here are the maps, we had to do the scatter side first before we could do the lined course.

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