I'm now up to Race 9 in my 3 weeks of racing. Fairly intensive but fortunately I have the fitness to deal with it. Prior to todays race I was ranked =3rd in the world, and including today I currently lead the World Cup (based on our prelim. calculations!)
This time the race spent most time the forest, so I knew short cutting would be crucial. I also knew I have the speed to match the world's best now, so if everything went well, it could be another medal.
|With my medal, bike and Orifix board!|
On the start line I saw no other option to the first 3 controls apart from short cutting completely straight. Taking a bearing, on a bike, isn't the easiest skill to master so most bearings end up being very rough and direction is generally dictated by vegetation anyway. After nailing 1, 2 and then 3 controls, I caught Stengard my 1 min woman, and Rothweiler my 2 min woman. I decided to stay with them for a few controls and see if there came any chances to make a break.
Annoyingly I got a leafy bramble plant wrapped around the lower gears, so I had hopping gears to contend with. It also meant I couldn't power through to maintain speed and I lost about 30 seconds over the next 5 controls to Stengard. Stopping to sort the problem when there are 4 of the world's best girls speeding through the forest wasn't an option. I just had to wait for the foliage to get bedded into my cassette so I could ride full speed again.
The route choice leg caught me out and I lost a minute here. I saw the right and left options but missed the middle choice. I started off the left and then changed to the middle half way. I would have lost a minute staying to the left choice anyway, so it was the plan change that cost me. Rather the lack of planning the early part of the leg. Stupid.
|Another celebratory pic!|
As I sped around the lake I could see Stengard and Rothweiler on the other side. Interestingly here my split times picked back up again and I was never far from the fastest time for the final half of the course. I lost the silver through one 'mistake'. And it wasn't even a mistake. A concentration lapse that I paid for. Big time.
Tomorrow is the long distance mass start. It's a race I've not focussed on all season, preferring to see what happens. There are a handful of really fast women, who can be slightly flakey at times with their nav, so it will be interesting to see how this race pans out. I can't wait to get head-to-head with the whole women's field and really see how the results go. I have the speed to get a result, it just depends on how well gaffled the courses are, and whether the athletes lower down the ranking list can hold their navigation together. I hope it doesn't turn into a XC course like we had some years ago.