Ending on the second position at the Long Distance course of the MTB orienteering World Cup 2014's opening round, Davide Machado got another historical achievement. The best result ever for a Portuguese MTB orienteer is remembered here in the first person, the emotions of the past mixed with the ambitions of the future.
With the movie of those 95 historical minutes very much alive in your memory, I asked you to summarize the Long Distance course and your second place?
Davide Machado (D. M.) - After a suitable result in the Sprint, I knew that I would have the chance to do something more in the Long Distance. The start wasn't the best. I lost some time to put the map on the bike and, the next moment, I was well back from the head of the race. The early kilometres were made in “sprint mode”, trying to recover some positions. Even so, for the first control point, I lost enough time. The fact that all athletes have the same first control created a lot of confusion, forcing me to follow further back to a complete stop in a narrow passage preceding the control. From there, it was to put on my pace, to focus on the map and try to abstract of other athletes in the course. Yet, even made some small mistakes in the first map and having lost about one minute, I could “compensate” it with the physical aspect in the rolling paths. Still in the early moments, near to the 7th control, a frontal collision with a Swedish athlete (Linus Mood) scared me. However, unlike him who broke the derailleur and was forced to quit the race, I was lucky, I suffered only a few scratches and misaligned the bike's direction. Apart the GPS and a pocket tools game, I lost some time and, briefly, the concentration.
It was a course where the good physical sensations allowed me to walk on the limits always, in which I could be, technically, very regular. These sensations showed me, from time to time, that I could be in a good position , but I had no idea which it was, because of the dispersion controls. Already in the final part, following only three athletes in the lead, we made a small mistake and the second group reach us, but for the penultimate control, Pekka Niemi and I took a different option which earned us a small advantage, allowing that only the two of us could discuss the sprint to the finish. However, I just knew that I had achieved the second place just some seconds after crossing the finish line. I could not believe!
You've rolled most of the time in front of the race (Giaime Origgi dubbed you as a “motorbike”). Did you felt, for a moment, that you could reach the victory?
D. M. - Apart the initial moments, I often rolled in front of the race, or rather, in front of the groups that I picked up along the way. For some time, I was in the group where Giaime Origgi followed and, as the sensations were good, I always tried to walk ahead and to escape for the confusion, so he nicknamed me “motorbike”. However, at any moment entered in my head that I could walk in the lead, since we didn't have the same order on the course. Amazingly, I realized only my position few seconds after to cross the finish.
How the “mass start” format may have had an influence on the achieved result?
D. M. - It wasn't my first course with a start in this format. Personally I don't like it, especially the way how it was done. First, because the starting location was cramped for the participats; secondly, because the first control was the same for everyone and the path to the control was really tight, causing much confusion. One of the reasons why this format could be crucial to my result has to do with the fact of knowing that I was back in the course and that I should do everything I could to get ahead as quickly as possible. As well as the fact that, along the course, to catch some big names can give you an extra motivation.
What value has for you this second place ?
D. M. - For me it is a tremendously valueble result. An outcome that, somehow, compensate me for all the effort and dedication of these last years and, at the same time, motivating myself for what is yet to come. After haven't achieved the results expected last season at the international level, this result makes the present season to start in the best way. Beyond the personal factor, I look back on this result a sort of reward for all the people around me, for all the people who supported me and believed in me. Specially to all entities and sponsors who, in one way or another, did everything to make possible the best conditions. Within all these, I highlight the Portuguese Orienteering Federation, who believed and bet in my development, my orienteering club (. COM) who have always supported me, the FOCUS bikes , represented in Portugal by Tecnocycle, my Physicists coaches (Bike-Training) and allsport.pt, among others .
The next challenge is called...
D. M. - On a personal level, to finish the degree in Management is the next challenge. These recent times have been complicated, the trainings and the competitions “stealing me” too much study time. At the sporting level, I have several national challenges, as the MTB Marathon National Championships and the Olympic Cross-Country National Championships, tevents where I hope to make a difference and try to promote the orienteering next to another public. Internationally, to train and anxiously wait for the World Cup's next stage, to be held in Sweden, from 17th to 21st July.
What is your biggest goal for the season?
D. M. - Once more – as in the recent years -, the main goal of the season lies in the World Championships, and in particular in the Long Distance course. Despite the great result achieved in this World Cup stage, I know that all the athletes are preparing for the World Championships. The level is high and it will still increase, but I'm ready to fight. In the past four years, the main goal has been to maintain the status of high performance level A, which is only achieved with a result within the first eight places in a World or a European Championships. This will be a year where I just have the World Championships to get it, which always carries an added pressure, but I know that I have the ability to achieve more and I am motivated to do so. A medal in the World Championships is an old dream. I know it's not impossible and I proved it to myself, but at this level all the details count and a good portion of luck or, at least, to stay away from misfortune, is always important.