Portugal participated for the very first time in a World Trail Orienteering Championships and I had the privilege to be, along with Ricardo Pinto, one of the pioneers in this adventure. With the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, I open now a special page dedicated to WTOC 2012 and where, throughout these days, I will give account of my experiences based on the news, the stories, the interviews, the images and the data analysis. A study as comprehensive as possible of the World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2012 that, enthusiastically, I will share with you, hoping to catch everyone's attention to a reality as beautiful as challenging called Trail Orienteering.
1. June the 5th. I hang up the alarm clock before the awakening. It's 02:17 a.m. and the World Championships starts here. In fact, they have already begun, but now I can feel that reality with the proper measure and account. The omens - the good ones and the bad ones - went back now, the time is not for daydreams. Dundee is in the end of a long line, sixteen hours away from here. Let's go!
2. Lines, bridges, connections. All of them, suddenly interrupted when I look back. This is a new situation for me, a totally different reality and Ricardo is the one who makes the difference. A brutal car accident stilled the mobility of her lower limbs. In that Valentine's Day of 1998, the fate decreed that he found in his wheelchair a lifetime companion. This trip is to him and for him. For him and for all those who, like him, punching hard, found the right way to reopen doors that seemed closed forever.
3. I can't believe this! 03:55 in the morning and here we are, me and Ricardo, in the floor -1 of the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, waiting for an elevator in maintenance. “Every first Tuesday of the month" - I will never forget this! - "the elevators stop in order to do its maintenance”, they tell us. I'm not in maintenance and I demand that someone lead up Ricardo. Twenty minutes later, we are in the departure area, ready to do the “check in”.
4. Plane, train, train and ... train. Travel on the road, long corridors, customs, transfers. Oporto, London, Peterborough, Edinburgh, Dundee. The withholding of this note is the available courtesy of all, everywhere, that assists Ricardo. Absolutely fantastic. The rest of the trip is a green coloured Britain, dotted here and there by little drab villages. And sheep, many sheep, astonished, watching the passing trains.
5. West Park, Dundee. Event Centre, the centre of the World Championships, the centre of our world in the coming days. Clean accommodation, a staff of an unsurpassed attention, an excellent mood. Bib number 248 to me, number 124 for Ricardo, departure times set for the TempO World Trophy and some doubts clarified in an uninteresting Trail-O Meeting. Then it's the dinner, because the hunger tights and the noon sandwich is no longer in my stomach.
6. Table 3. Me, Ricardo and the Croatian Team. Among them I can see Zdenko Horjan, silver medalist in 2008 and 2009 in the Paralympic Class and Ivo Tilsjar, bronze medal in the last two editions of the World Championships in the Open Class. We speak about Portugal and Croatia. Zdenko “scratches” a little bit of Portuguese and takes the opportunity to launch a couple of words with a brazilian accent. Then come an advice to these two beginners. Lesson to remember: "Do what you do on the first day, it doesn't matter. The important thing is that you assure, on the second day, you'll be the last one to leave.”
7. 21:30 p.m. It was an unusually long day and the night falls quickly. I fall asleep within this fantastic family. I felt that I'm already one of them!