Saturday, August 18, 2012

Meet the Team: Rebecca Jensen

Rebecca Jensen
Age: 27
Occupation: Sales Manager at a bike shop
Bike: Niner EMD (hardtail), Stan's handbuilt wheels, SID XX fork and a hodgepodge of other parts
Favorite map feature: Form lines, since it's the most revealing of the subjectivity of the map!

(When and) How did you get into orienteering? What attracted you to it, or what did you find interesting about it?:
I had just moved back to the westside ("Seattle") after living in Walla Walla for 6 years, where I rode every road I could across rolling wheat fields. The roads in the city, however- were less inspiring. So I looked for activities that would take me to the forest and that's when an internet search led me to the Cascade Orienteering Club. I showed up to a local meet on a wet fall day with an old high school cross country friend. After an hour of laughing, sprinting, bush whacking and skipping gleefully through puddles, we both declared that we had to do more of it.

(When and) How did you get into mountain biking? What attracted you to it, or what did you find interesting about it?:
Having just moved to the Seattle area, I was on a mission to find a way to adapt to the landscape. Road riding became less enticing in the city, but trails offered respite. I also found that mountain biking really required me to not zone out but pay close attention the task at hand. It's therapuetic.

What changes have you made to your training plan to specifically prepare for MTBO WOC?:
I spent time at a local park on a map my coach, Mike Schuch, had made. The park is a dense web of trails, without any major elevation change- so it was a great place to practice the mental game of memorization that MTBO requires.

What bike will you be riding for MTBO WOC? Did you specially prepare it for MTBO WOC?:
I sold my 26" full suspension trail bike to build up a 29" rigid cross country bike- a Niner EMD. I am aboslutely thrilled with the Niner- as it's a rocket uphill and floats right across roots!

What have you learned about MTBO in your preparation for MTBO WOC that you did not know before?:
It's more common in MTBO to really STOP in your tracks to read the map, formulate a plan, then go. It's because in MTBO, you're mostly limited to trails- so once you're on a route, you're really committed to it, as your options to change directions are limited. In Foot-O one can change their direction any time without the penalty of having to backtrack.

When you saw the call for applications for the first US MTBO team, what made you apply?:
I was an avid orienteer and an avid mountain biker, but I hadn't really put the two together yet outside of adventure racing. This would be a new challenge! I'd also been daydreaming about opportunities to compete internationally, so it was the perfect fit!

What are your goals or expectations for MTBO WOC?:
Really, to learn. Since we do not have a MTBO A-Meet circuit in the USA- there is absolutely no way for me to measure myself against the competition before the event. Any results I earn will be benchmarks to improve upon next year. I've also had only a short time to prepare for the event. My expectations can't involve results, I can only learn more about the sport and the challenges and pressures of competing abroad.

Which event do you suspect you'll perform the best in?:
The Long event offers longer legs, which will give me more time to study the map between controls as well as use my fitness to pedal fast!

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