Relays. Some days are better than otters

Saturday, 15 July 2006

We didn’t think it was possible, but the relay had even more difficult terrain than we’d encountered so far.  The map is posted in the gallery.

After the very long, long in which Paul didn’t ride and Alex ended up taking it a bit easier after an early mistake, we thought this would be a good start for us.  Both Paul and Alex were relatively fresh and raring to go for the relays.  All three had ridden without big mistakes in the complex middle distance terrain and were confidently looking forward to the challenge in the relay.  Paul had even found what he suspected, and turned out to be, the first and 2nd relay check points out in the forest when riding parts of the B-Final.

But it was not to be.  In fact the day turned from bad to worse, to laughable as we managed to find new and inventive ways to DNF.  Out of 6 riders in two Aussie teams 4 of us didn’t finish.  At this point it’s important to say that Carolyn and Steven were the riders who finished.

So what happened?

Paul started strongly on a medium length split and rode with only a few small mistakes.  He came back 20th, but the courses were split with up to 5 minutes difference, and we were only behind 10th by about 2 minutes.

Relay confusion

The problem was the 5th check point.  We had resolved as a team to check our codes carefully.  Paul did this religiously, but mis-read 338 which he found, as 335, which he should have found.  The offending check point is in the picture below.  Number 329 on the lake was common and then it split to the three.  We were not happy with the closeness of the check points or the numbers and their placement on the map, but there was nothing we could do after the fact.

Alex went out without knowing but Paul was sent to what they call the ‘cry wall’ which we got to know as the ‘wailing wall’.  The organisers confirmed our worst fears – that Paul had mis-punched and that we were out of the race.  Fortunately the organisers were very slow at stopping disqualified teams and we all got to ride before they started stopping teams go out.

Alex also raced very well, only dropping a minute or so on the flying Mika Tervala.  He pulled us up to 7th place.  At least notionally.  But then when Paul went to apologise he found that Alex had mis-punched 3 check points and one of these didn’t have the verification pin prick in the back-up paper.  So he too had DNF’ed.  This was mostly a feature of the emit system used for punching.  It’s far harder to use for MTBO and the card must be put into the check point the right way up.  It seems Alex had put it in upside down, and it didn’t register or mark the paper.  As a result of all the problems at this WOC the MTBO Commission meeting Thursday has resolved that EMIT should not be used for MTBO major events any more.

This left AJ to race.  Adrian knew that our team had DNF’ed but fortunately got out on the course before the organisers starting stopping teams.  As usual he raced fast and sure and had a great ride, bringing the team up to 4th place. (One has to wonder what other riders wonder when someone like AJ catches them?)  Which the finish announcer called briefly, then quickly added that Australia was disqualified.  Then it transpired that AJ too had missed a check point at the same place I did.  He found 335 instead of 337, although, in fairness, I’m sure he would have checked his codes more carefully if he knew we were still in the race.  So I guess you could say we showed great potential, but didn’t really get there.

In the 2nd team, which quickly became our only team in the race officially, Steve also rode really well on first, finishing about 2 minutes behind Paul, on a long split.  Carolyn rode really well on what was a long course for women, at one point catching the New Zealand team.  Dave went out but he too had trouble in some of the most detailed parts of the map and punched a wrong check point.  Both teams DNF’ed in the one race.  We’re still scratching our heads in disbelief too.  Especially after being 4th fastest.

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Latest World Rankings - Adrian Jackson #1 Tuesday, 18 July 2006 Latest world rankings released.
Relays. Some days are better than otters Saturday, 15 July 2006 In a somewhat increadible turn of events Australia did not finish the relay with all riders in the 4th placed first team disqualified for mis-punching.
No gifts at the long distance race Saturday, 15 July 2006 Riders encountered a very tough long distance race with winning times about 25% longer than the upper limit recommended.
Maps and Routes now available online Thursday, 13 July 2006 Maps and Routes now available online
Adrian's Middle Race Tuesday, 11 July 2006 Read Adrian's report of his middle race
WOC Middle distance - spaghetti on a map Monday, 10 July 2006 The Aussies rode well at the WOC middle distance today in very detailed terrain near Joensuu.
Long Distance Qualification - Report Sunday, 9 July 2006 Comments from PD following the Long Qualification race.
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Preview - Long Distance Qualification Race Saturday, 8 July 2006 Course stats and terrain notes for Long Qualification race
News and views from the team Friday, 7 July 2006 With regular internet connection the team is now into full blogging mode. Read on for blogs from the team members.
Please don't make me laugh Thursday, 6 July 2006 An update from Carolyn Jackson with less than a week to go before competition starts.
Cottonwool needed? Thursday, 6 July 2006 Relaxing can be, it seems, more dangerous than racing for the team.
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Initial Impressions of MTBO in Europe Tuesday, 27 June 2006
Mazovia Cup - from the forest Monday, 26 June 2006 Two days of hot racing on sandy and often very indistinct tracks was the theme for the Mazovia cup this weekend
More on storks Monday, 26 June 2006
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Mazovia Cup - Poland Sunday, 25 June 2006 Results and brief comments after day 1 of Mazovia Cup
Of storks and stuff Wednesday, 21 June 2006 Poland has 80% of Europe's population of storks
Results: Polish Champs Wednesday, 21 June 2006 Results now available online
Rider Down but Not Out? Tuesday, 20 June 2006 Carolyn Jackson crashes and breaks 2 ribs in training accident
Kiwi speed Monday, 19 June 2006 Marquita Gelderman wins the Polish Champs with a clean sweep of the women's races.
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Greetings from sunny Finland Monday, 12 June 2006 In the weekends WRE races Adrian finished 8th and 1st, while Alex was 12th and 21st
Fillari Cup, Finland - Preliminary results Sunday, 11 June 2006 Alex and Adrian start their WOC campaign at the Fillari cup in western Finland
The Blog is back!! Thursday, 8 June 2006 The Blog is back!
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More CABC pictures Tuesday, 30 May 2006 A few more pictures to give a taste of what it's like riding in the CABC at Alice Springs
WOC Team Training Camp Tuesday, 30 May 2006 The OZMTBO WOC team is having a final training camp in Bendigo and Maryborough this weekend.
Finnish Maps Saturday, 27 May 2006 A quick intro to the terrain and maps of MTBO WOC 2006
Australian Team Jerseys Saturday, 27 May 2006 The new team jerseys have been released for 2006, keeping a link with the OZMTBO-Scott jerseys recently produced and previous team wear.
Central Australia Bike Challenge Thursday, 25 May 2006 CABC
MTBO Commission Bulletin - New Rule Thursday, 25 May 2006 MTBO Commission Bulletin
Change to 2006 WRE schedule Thursday, 25 May 2006 Change to 2006 WRE schedule
Training Camp Tuesday, 23 May 2006 WOC Team training camp
Team for Finland 2006 Wednesday, 12 April 2006 team annouced