Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Wiltshire Sports Personality of the Year

A few weeks ago I found out I had been shortlisted for the Wiltshire Sports Personality of the Year award, after having been nominated by my Orienteering Club. The winners ceremony was last night, but I couldn't attend due to being in Austria. I didn't think this would be such a big deal given that there was no way I would win - surely there are better athletes in the county than me who have acheived more this year. So I politely declined stating that I was on a training camp.

Little did I think I would win! :-)

After a video session of me receiving the award a couple of weeks ago, the winner was announced last night, and my video played! My parents had been invitied and decided to attend to represent me. I am really disappointed I couldn't make it, by all accounts it sounded like a great evening.

I would post the video, but I don't have a copy yet, so you will have to wait for me to return before you can have a laugh!!

World Cup Italy

The World Cup in Italy is held this weekend near Venice in a small town called Teolo. Originally planned as a middle and long distance - due to bad weather several weeks ago which felled many trees on the long distance terrain - the organisers changed plans to a sprint and middle distance. Perfect for me!

The top two in the World Cup standings - Christine Schaffner SUI and Michaela Gigon AUT - will be battling all weekend for the title of World Cup winner 2010. Both clearly ahead of the rest of the field, Schaffner leads by 3 points to Gigon.

In the men, Erik Skovgard Knudsen DEN has a 30 point lead to Beat Schaffner SUI, who leads another 38/39 points to Anton Foliforov RUS and Samuli Saarela FIN..

Competition will be close fought - with hopefully some technical terrain and technical navigation testing all the athletes to their limits under pressure.

Entries are now online

Monday, 13 September 2010


Since Thursday 2nd Sept I have been in Austria. First was the WRE in Faak am See near Villach, before travelling to Wiener Neusadt to stay with one of the Austrians. Aside from the car breaking down in Graz which meant and unscheduled stop in Graz overnight - actually good fun since I got to see the city and the Schlossberg.

My time in Wiener Neustadt has also been fun. Friday saw us heading into Vienna, Kevin for a sport conference, whilst I met up with Michi, Per and later Andi and his friend at the FilmFestival at the Rathausplatz. I was at the filmfestival in August after the TransCarpatia and really enjoyed the atmosphere, so I was happy to go back to try some more food from around the world - even if I did have Australian Hot Billabong Prawns and wildreis! Several drinks later and it was 11pm - time for home.

Sunday was another day trip to Wien, this time to the zoo at Schlossbrunn, which was really really great fun. It's been years since I last went to a zoo in England, so to see all the animals was cool! The weather was also perfect for a day out, and more dinner at the Rathausplatz before ice cream at Zanoni's :-)

Training is going ok. I am trying to avoid getting too tired and exhausted by biking every other day for 90minutes maximum, today finding a really great downhill track in the forest!

Tomorrow I travel to Leoben to stay with another friend, before finding my way back to Villach on Thursday evening prior to Italy!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

World Ranking Event

The weekend of 4/5 September saw the Austrian World Ranking Event held near Villach at Faak am See. Having told everyone I would be there, and not wanting to miss, I decided to attend. In the hope of saving money, I borrowed a bike from one of the Austrian team - I should add that the bike was the Merida O.Nine Multivan team bike, which has been the bike of my dreams all. The event, I hoped, would be a good opportunity to try out the bike I would dearly love to own!

The only disadvantage of a continental European bike is the brakes are back-to-front! Back brake for the right side, front from the left, whereas British bikes are the other way round. It seems the rest of Europe abides by different rules to the Brits, and has to do everything the wrong way round. But, given my ease of adapting to drive on the wrong side, I didn't think it would be too much trouble. I am having more difficulty with the different key set out on this laptop!

I arrived on Thursday and was picked up by Kevin. Mel, David AUS and myself were staying at the Haselsberger house for the weekend, where we enjoyed some really great meals courtesy of K's grandparents!

Saturday was the middle distance race, where the starts were based on reverse order of the WRE list. I had a scrappy race losing a good 5 minutes throughout the course, and catching Sonja Reisinger-Zinkl AUT didn't help my navigation. Too many mistakes, but I was leading for the first 50% of the course, and ended up second - a mere 19 seconds from Michi Gigon AUT. This race then counted towards my WRE points boosting me up from 20th to 15th.

Waking up on Sunday I felt really tired and fatigued. Mentally I was in a different place to the previous day, and knew I would struggle with motivation when the course got tough.

The terrain around Faaker See is really uber physical. There is no relief from the roots and mud, and the onslaught began from the word Go! The Merida coped well in the terrain, and I felt that I owned the bike, telling it where to go - rather than the bike telling me where to go. My downhill, root and mud handling was considerably improved and I had no headache at the finish! Result!

At 65% of the course in the long I was dieing, and by 75% I was dead. It was really all I could do to ride the rest of the course to the finish. But another second result followed, which makes this one of the more successful weekends this year in terms of results.

Photos to follow later.