Polish Champs in 2008 World Champs Terrain

Sunday, 18 June 2006

I know there's a thousand and one reasons why I don't come to Europe more regularly, or sooner when I do.  But when you get to a place like Wilimy, the scene of this years Polish Champs, with perfect summer weather, I always wonder why I wasn't here sooner.

Wilimy is the baby bear of MTBO areas.  Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right!  Apart from being beautiful forest with a carpet of blueberries the tracks are almost all rideable.  Sure the short-dash tracks are tricky and bumpy, but most people can keep moving along and with a bit more determination at a reasonable speed.  In addition to that the less distinct paths and tracks are visible without being too easy to see or just places without trees.  To make things a bit tougher parts are a little sandy and that saps strength and speed.

In terms of number of tracks, there are lots of them.  The density is similar to the trickier areas we have in Australia, like The Whipstick and Mosquito Flat.  Given that the tracks are a bit harder to ride than the smooth tracks at home, it's very challenging to keep contact with the map and terrain.  And of course the maps are at 1:15,000 scale so that one can read the detail more clearly.  Try it Australia!  It's so much easier to read the detail at 1:10,000 or 1:15,000.  It's time to abandon those larger scales we've been using!

The Polish Champs has an interesting format.  Yesterday was a 9 km sprint race in the morning with a winning time of 25 minutes.  Having a rotten cold I just rode around this easily and came mid-field in 30 minutes.  In the afternoon they had a relay and I was adopted by a local club for the first leg.  My plan of taking it easy went a little westward when I was knocked off my bike at the start.  So I rode a little faster than planned and came in 3rd on the first leg, about 2 minutes behind.  About 14 km in 38 minutes.

Today was the long distance and traversed the western side of the area, which is much sandier and a bit steeper.  The area is pretty flat, but today had a few climbs that were noticeable.  Two Poles rode pretty fast in a little over 90 minutes and then I was 4th with a pack on about 100 minutes.  It was a result I was pretty pleased with as I wasn't sure I'd make it around the course and pulled up ok.

Tomorrow is a mass start, ultra long distance race with three 15 km loops.

Kiwis Darryl Taylor, Rob Garden and Marquita Gelderman are also here and keeping me company.  Marquita is in good form, consistently winning by 5-10 minutes over the Polish girls.  I'm sure she'll do very well in Finland.

Dave Simpfendorfer joins me on Tuesday for training near Warsaw and two more races next weekend before we head off to Finland.

Finally one of those gems of translation you find when you travel.  Found in a gents:  'Do not use.  Toilet not on duty.'

More Stories
New blog site for Australian MTBO team Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Solid performances by both teams in the relay Saturday, 27 August 2011
Middle final and another top 10 for Tom Friday, 26 August 2011
A couple of maps Friday, 26 August 2011
Middle Distance Start Times Thursday, 25 August 2011
Long Final - long, hot and hilly - and a 9th in the junior mens for Tom! Wednesday, 24 August 2011

For more go to News Archives