Joe, Fletcher, Dash and his wife Diane all arrived in Rakvere just after the rest of us checked into the hotel. First things first: we were all hungry, so went for lunch at the "Englise Pubi" next door. We caught the jet-lagged crew up to speed on local maps while we waited for food.
Earlier, Sue won the first round of Tetris on the first try. I would have wagered it couldn't be done, but we got all of us and all of our stuff into the van (and the rental company will be glad to know we didn't have to leave the third seat behind)!
It was a 40-minute drive to Pikasarre for the fifth and final training course. It looked complicated on the map with lots of lakes, bogs, barely-there trails, and hilly terrain. Some of the "barely-there" trails turned out to be pretty fun to ride and the open, moss-and-lichen carpeted forest was beautiful.
Lots of mushroom-pickers out today.
Approaching control #5, a stick flew through my rear wheel and snapped off my valve stem giving me an insta-flat. I wasn't carrying a flat repair kit, so had to walk a mile or more to the start/finish area to take care of the job, but determinedly set out to complete the course. For the first time all week, I absolutely nailed the navigation--no wrong turns, no uncertainties, just CP to CP to CP. Bam! Sue and Abra both have international race experience and Tom has been rocking the courses, so I really needed the confidence I gained today to make me feel worthy of being here.
While nine other teams participated in the training camp, 26 are competing this coming week in the MTBO World Championships. The gravel parking lot of the hotel was an ad hoc bike shop while high-end bikes were tugged from travel boxes and assembled while we waited for check-in time. It's rather inspiring to be surrounded by so many world-class athletes, known for both athletic and navigational prowess.
Michaela Gijon, a top-ranked racer from Austria, is continuing her tradition of sponsoring a "fantasy team" competition; you have 30 points available to buy three male and three female racers from six countries to fill your dream MTBO team. The US racers are pretty inexpensive right now; we're curious to see how often we get picked!
Rakvere is an adorable town of 16,000 with human history dating to the third century. For those of us who have been sequestered at the "country manor" for several days, it's a relief to have restaurants, banks and shops handy and we're looking forward to exploring by foot and by bike!
Off to bed--tomorrow is the model event and opening ceremonies.