After a long week of Training Camp, we were excited for the first real day of the World Championships.
On the schedule for Opening Day were two Model Events: a long/middle/start and finish model in the morning and a Sprint model in the afternoon. Opening ceremonies, including a parade of teams through the streets of Bialystok, speeches from the organizers, and two bands, were to be held late in the afternoon.
A Model Event is like a practice session for those racers who didn’t spend the week at training camp; it looks like a real event but it doesn’t count…racers can do as many or as few of the controls as they like. The start gate was set up as it would be at the races: two lines, separated by tapes, one for men and one for women. There are three “stops” leading up to the start tent. Racers progress by a minute each stop through Clear, then Check, then one minute before the start each picks up a map from the center table (labeled by race class), folds it if necessary, places it on the map board, and then hopefully has 20-30 seconds to figure out where the first control is.
The finish was also set up as it will be at the race, sort of. The last control on the course is called the Go Control, after punching it the rider can go all out to the Finish control. At the championships, we are using a timing chip attached to the handlebars, so the finish is actually a line like at regular mtb races; we still punch the Finish control but the time has already stopped.
It started to rain during the event and didn’t stop for the rest of the day.
The team decided to walk the Sprint event, rather than ride, because of the rain and the fact that we would be going straight to the Opening Ceremonies. That was a good decision, as the model area was TINY and took about 20 minutes total to walk.
Despite a cold rain, the team made the most of the Parade of Teams, proudly carrying the flag and our sign.
The speeches were thankfully short, as we were all standing outside in the cold rain. Then the officials left and a fantastic Polish rock bank took the stage. The music was rather traditional, and the instruments were very traditional (clarinet, violin, electric string base, accordion, and drums), but the beat, and the way the musicians played, was anything but traditional. The Americans were, naturally, rocking it out in the front row ☺.