The European MTB orienteering Championships ended last saturday but we are still receiving some opinions from the participants. We are proud to present you some final words from Kevin Haselsberger, Tõnis Erm, Jiří Hradil, Luca Dallavalle and Emily Benham.
Kevin Haselsberger (Austria): It was a good week, with a lot of challenges during and beside the races. I'm satisfied with the 6th place in the Sprint Mixed Relay together with Michaela Gigon. The results in Long Distance (13th place) and Middle Distance (15th place) are ok, but could be better. With the 7th place in the Relay race we are not satisfied, but the Austrian team will try the best to improve at the World Championships in August, in Estonia. Summa sumarum, let's say there is a lot of space for improvement during the next races.
In my opinion quite a lot of things went wrong during the organization of the EOC. But as Ingrid said [see Ingrid Stengard's Interview at http://portugueseorienteeringblog.blogspot.pt/2013/06/ingrid-stengard-looking-forward-to.html], the reason for this mistakes are maybe in the small organisation committee. I believe that it is important to think in athletes ways when organising events. There are not so many things that should work really well, but these are crucial for the event. For example courses, maps, safety, accommodation and food. Furthermore, I think that the IOF should support more the organizers of such events. It's very important for a sport discipline that there are enough and well organized events. Hopefully we will have four World Cup rounds again in the future.
As I wrote on my Facebook page, I'm not fully satisfied with my results. I know that I can do better and I had chances for better results. I will train hard to get better and hopefully I can reach my goals step by step.
Tõnis Erm (Estonia): To sum up briefly: my races and results were ok, not excellent, but not bad either. The European MTB orienteering Championships organisation was very-very poor and I did not like these competitions in general.
Jiří Hradil (Czech Republic): The European MTB orienteering Championships were my first goal of the season and my wish was to by on top-3. So, two medals was a very good result for me. In the Sprint I had good feelings, but I made a big mistake on 13th control losing more than one minute. The Middle Distance was a very peculiar race, because on first control I caught Anton Foliforov and Samuli Saarela. So we're riding together until the 5th control. Until the 14th control I ran alone and then again with Anton and Jussi Laurila. So I was lucky, because it was a very fast group.
At the Long Distance, my legs were really heavy and I felt myself too tired. I was riding with Jan Svoboda, František Bogar and Martin Ševčík but in the end I made a better route choice (together with Anton Foliforov), I could take an advantage of 5 or 10 second advantage and I spent all my energies in the last three minutes.
The organization was very very bad. I liked the Sprint and Long Distance's terrains but the Middle Distance's terrain was bad for MTB orienteering. Every stage of Czech Cup is much more well organized than this EOC in all aspects!
Luca Dallavalle (Italy): In the Middle Distance I got nervous in the first part of the course, where the map was not so clear, and I made a big mistake of two minutes. After that, my race went quite good without big mistakes but I couldn't keep the high speed because I was alone all the time. Anyway with such a race I didn't expect to end on the 12th position. I liked so much the map, the terrain and the course of the Long Distance race. It is a pity that soon after the start I had mechanical problems with the rear wheel and the frame and I could not ride at full speed and with the concentration high. About the Sprint Mixed Relay, I have to say that I like a lot this kind of format. About results I, m not totally happy as I train more than previous year technically and I expected a little bit more. Now I 'm focused on WOC, my next goal.
About the organization, I think the accommodation and food were good and the races not so far. The only problem were the mosquitos. The maps were weak, especially on the Middle Distance, but I think that a good orienteer has to have mental flexibility and be able to ride also on this kind of map. I have a big respect for the winners. The atmosphere among the riders was really friendly. I liked it.
Emily Benham (Great Britain): Generally, the quality of the races was good. The efforts of the organisers were thwarted by farmers felling trees and make new tracks in places. Some map printing problems led to less than optimal maps, but the athletes are experienced enough to deal with this.
About the organization, I spoke to Jan [Cegielka] at the banquet, and it sounds that the whole event was plagued by many many problems. This came across poorly to athletes, but from what Jan said, we were lucky to have an event to race at! I think we should offer constructive advice to make the World Champs in Poland next year a high quality event, rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of this event. Personally, I like the Polish terrain. It suits my navigation and map reading style. The terrain is unfamiliar to most athletes so the top 6 places are unpredictable and open to more nations! This makes the competition more exciting for us athletes!