Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tuesday: World Championship Sprint Distance (the first official race of the competition)

After getting our nerves, jitters, and crazies out in the official unofficial race on Monday, the team was primed and ready for our first real race: the Sprint (expected winning times 20 to 25 minutes). The weather was cold and rainy, woo hoo! The setting was an urban park in the center of Bialystok, half an open plaza with paved paths radiating from a central square and half a wooded park with many criss-crossing trails. The connector between the two parts was an elevated pedestrian walkway. Both areas were clear and flat, so there were ample opportunities to straight-line through the woods.

Quarantine started at 9:30 for all elite athletes; “quarantine” means all athletes are in a secure location with no access to electronic communication, so that no one is able to talk about the maps prior to the race. This quarantine location was a large arena (a hocky rink with no ice) attached to an outdoor track we were allowed to warm up on.

Indoor warm up area
Thoughts from the athletes on the competition:

Peter didn’t get dirty because he was the first to leave (of the entire competition, not just the our team).

Joe, scheduled toward the end of the day, was not so lucky!

Dave was almost run over a getting to a control.

Nate got to ride with the Fast Boys, since he was toward the end of the line up.

Sarah NAILED her first point!

Sue felt more confident compared to last year and was able to recover from small errors. She was very pleased with her time 9 minutes back from the leader.

Abra was happy with her ability to recover from small mistakes. She learned stopping for 5 seconds to check the map is better than heading off in the wrong direction.

Liz learned that when someone in your class makes a turn you don't expect, it's a good idea to look at the map!

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