Wednesday 29 August 2012

Elite long distance race Saturday 25th

I was 52nd in the long distance race. Marquita had an awesome ride and came in 18th. Well done Marquita!

It was an early start compared to other days, 9:54am. We had what we thought was potentially a 30min ride to the start from the vehicles near the event centre in Veszprem. I made sure I was at the bike shop doorstep at opening time of 9am to enquire about getting another sealant-filled tube and get them to fix the seating of my tyre. They could only do the latter, so off I pedalled to the start knowing that I would have to be careful about off-track riding with my plain tube so as not to puncture easily.

The map area is called Veszprem battlefield. It certainly was interesting however I missed a lot of that significance during the ride. We had been told via the managers meeting that we had some maps changes during the course. We were expecting 3 maps in total. So when I saw the size of the first one I decided I was in for a long ride.

I had chosen a fairly straight forward route to the first control and use the grid system to get to it. Somehow I must have missed seeing some tracks (still can't fathom that one) and ended up on a track nearly off the map. Not a good start!

I settled into better nav after that but I would describe the race in one word 'tentative'. For two reasons really. I hadn't had a good nav start to the first control and I was wary of my tyres puncturing again so I needed to limit off track riding if possible.

We had a butterfly loop so it was important to closely read the map. We visited one control 3 times with a loop of 2 other controls in between.

We came into an area of old 'tank hides' and ditches and a demolished small township. All part of the battlefield.

We also had 2 narrow tunnels under the railway line and a small bridge over a stream especially made for the event.

Our map swap ended up happening only once and we went from the 1:20000 battlefield map to a 1:15000 Veszprem city which took us to the finish. I took a wrong turn at one point and rode through some sprinklers covering the road which was great in the heat!

We had a final climb up the hill to the last control before the sprint for the line.

There were several cameras feeding footage from the finish to the website. I was getting texts from home as to where to stand and wave so I could be seen on the other side of the world.

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