Long Distance Qualification - Report

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Today was the long distance qualifier and, as usual, not a day without drama.  Only Alex and AJ qualified in the men and Carolyn, of course, qualified comfortably.

My plan was to start steadily and ride my own race.  I did this very well until our 9th check point.  Then I took a poor route and lost about 2-3 minutes stuffing around, even though I was very close to the check point.  Here we had a map change (maps are attached) and I was a little scrappy in the next few, but didn’t make any mistake.  On the way to 13 though I did have a bit of a blow out.  I took the obvious route, although as I rode past some houses, realised that it was marked out of bounds on the map.  Albeit a little unclearly.  By the time I got out of it I’d hit some officials with a sign.  So I asked “am I disqualified?” and they said, not if you go back.  So I rode back straight away and did the leg they way the organisers had intended it.  But lost 2-3 minutes.  At this stage I knew that I would be borderline for qualification for the long but pressed on.  I immediately took the road route to 15 to steady myself and did this quite well.  From 15 you could either go a long way around on the flat or go straight with a very steep, walk only, hill to start.  I chose the round route and it wasn’t good.  I lost about 3 minutes on this and that was that.  I pretty much knew before I hit the finish.  One mistake on this terrain is ok.  Two was a problem, but 3 was too many.  So I ended up 22nd, I think, because we haven’t seen final results.  And many people have been disqualified for riding out of bounds.  Also there will be many protests about this, as you can see, it wasn’t that clear.  Of course it’s easy to see when you sit on your bed afterwards!

The area was quite small.  And interesting in that it had no big hills.  But they are really steep.  And the contours make it very hard to tell what is up and down.  So it was not unusual to expect to come to a big hill and find yourself careering down into a depression.

So I’m feeling a bit disappointed with the day.  It would have been quite easy to qualify, but I didn’t.  Others are far more disappointed and some of the big names of MTBO were disqualified.  Many of them didn’t realise until they got back and saw their results go up.  Or not go up as was the case.  So a bit of a rude shock.  No doubt the team leaders meeting will be entertaining tonight!

Alex and AJ qualified strongly.  Of course.  The Finns won all the heats on their home terrain.  It will be really hard to beat them on this stuff.  It’s just so tricky to keep navigating accurately.  Around our number 9 I could hardly read the map when I was stopped, let alone riding!

Dave was in the same heat as me and only one place behind.  He said it was just too hard for him and he made a few mistakes in the tricky stuff, but showed good speed.  Steve is kicking himself because he rode really fast, but punched a wrong check point at the 2nd.  So he will be double checking control codes from now on.

The punching system they use is emit.  It’s a bit strange because you have to put the emit ‘card’, which is a plate, into a corresponding shape at the check point.  But it’s not symmetrical, so a little trickier and slower than sportident.  But it’s just one of the things you have to live with.

Apart from that there are no real dramas.  We’ve had a bit of trouble with food and had to wait to have breakfast this morning.  Not ideal when you’re heading for a big race.  Then our official food has been meatballs and potatoes for the last few days.  For dinner and lunch.  So we’ve not seen anything green or fruity or the like and are having to organise other meals.  Hopefully the complaints will be loud enough from the teams to get some changes.

The middle distance race is tomorrow.  Hopefully we’ll all ride smoothly.  Speed is a bit of a non-issue here.  You just ride as fast as you can navigate, so that often means, not very fast!

Paul Darvodelsky

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No gifts at the long distance race Saturday, 15 July 2006 Riders encountered a very tough long distance race with winning times about 25% longer than the upper limit recommended.
Maps and Routes now available online Thursday, 13 July 2006 Maps and Routes now available online
Adrian's Middle Race Tuesday, 11 July 2006 Read Adrian's report of his middle race
WOC Middle distance - spaghetti on a map Monday, 10 July 2006 The Aussies rode well at the WOC middle distance today in very detailed terrain near Joensuu.
Long Distance Qualification - Report Sunday, 9 July 2006 Comments from PD following the Long Qualification race.
WOC Eve Sunday, 9 July 2006 The final sleep before the racing starts.
Preview - Long Distance Qualification Race Saturday, 8 July 2006 Course stats and terrain notes for Long Qualification race
News and views from the team Friday, 7 July 2006 With regular internet connection the team is now into full blogging mode. Read on for blogs from the team members.
Please don't make me laugh Thursday, 6 July 2006 An update from Carolyn Jackson with less than a week to go before competition starts.
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Finland - the team comes together Saturday, 1 July 2006 The team came together on Tuesday this week for the beginning of the final training for WOC.
Initial Impressions of MTBO in Europe Tuesday, 27 June 2006
Mazovia Cup - from the forest Monday, 26 June 2006 Two days of hot racing on sandy and often very indistinct tracks was the theme for the Mazovia cup this weekend
More on storks Monday, 26 June 2006
Results: Czech Champs Monday, 26 June 2006 Results from Czech Champs. Adrian competing.
Mazovia Cup - Poland Sunday, 25 June 2006 Results and brief comments after day 1 of Mazovia Cup
Of storks and stuff Wednesday, 21 June 2006 Poland has 80% of Europe's population of storks
Results: Polish Champs Wednesday, 21 June 2006 Results now available online
Rider Down but Not Out? Tuesday, 20 June 2006 Carolyn Jackson crashes and breaks 2 ribs in training accident
Kiwi speed Monday, 19 June 2006 Marquita Gelderman wins the Polish Champs with a clean sweep of the women's races.
Polish Champs in 2008 World Champs Terrain Sunday, 18 June 2006 This years Polish Champs are only a short distance from the areas which will be used for the 2008 World MTBO Champs in Poland.
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Fillari Cup, Finland - Preliminary results Sunday, 11 June 2006 Alex and Adrian start their WOC campaign at the Fillari cup in western Finland
The Blog is back!! Thursday, 8 June 2006 The Blog is back!
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Finnish Maps Saturday, 27 May 2006 A quick intro to the terrain and maps of MTBO WOC 2006
Australian Team Jerseys Saturday, 27 May 2006 The new team jerseys have been released for 2006, keeping a link with the OZMTBO-Scott jerseys recently produced and previous team wear.
Central Australia Bike Challenge Thursday, 25 May 2006 CABC
MTBO Commission Bulletin - New Rule Thursday, 25 May 2006 MTBO Commission Bulletin
Change to 2006 WRE schedule Thursday, 25 May 2006 Change to 2006 WRE schedule
Training Camp Tuesday, 23 May 2006 WOC Team training camp
Team for Finland 2006 Wednesday, 12 April 2006 team annouced