Wednesday, May 20, 2015

EMTBOC 2015: Meet Jan Svoboda (Czech Republic)

Name: Jan Svoboda
Age: 36
Home location: Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic
Profession and educational background: Freelance Web Developer; webmaster; sports clothing designer
Years in sport of any kind: 30 years - bored of being a football player for two years and after that enthusiastic orienteer across o-disciplines: Foot-O, Ski-O and, in the last years, mainly MTBO.
Years in MTBO: 19 years.
What got you started: As a child, me and my friends, we spent some time on BMX track at my hometown. At the early nineties the boom of MTB was around us and we wanted it so much. At these times, we competed in Orienteering and MTBO grew up in Czech Republic. My first MTBO event was the Czech Championships in 1996 on my younger brother's bike with a small frame, because my first MTB was stolen. I didn't have a map holder so I put my map to the foil which was tethered around my body and to my wrists (laughs) and I was kicking to the handlebars with my knees, but I enjoyed it so much and, as a bonus, I was second at junior class.
IOF World Ranking: 19th position
MTBO World Cup 2015: 6th position

What is your best moment in MTB Orienteering so far?
- There were some big moments in my career but the best is every moment I am behind the handlebars, in a nice location, good terrain and interesting map course.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
- I am a “training type” so I don't need much motivation, because I like it. Otherwise there is a lot of older grand masters of different sports around me and these days there are some young guns which are also a good inspiration.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
- Competing at various other disciplines like XC, timetrial, MTB and ROAD marathons or Orienteering and Ski-O. And other challenge is to compete on with strong non-MTBO guys on interesting technical trails, downhills and tough climbs.

What are your goals for the European Championships, in Portugal?
- I want to enjoy every minute, stay relaxed and it could be the right recipe for some good result.

What is your biggest challenge in the competition, and how do you intend to manage it?
- I fulfilled some of my dreams in past years so now the biggest challenge is maybe to show that I am not so old (laughs).

What would be your ultimate achievement for the season?
- As usual, make most races with a minimal number of mistakes.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
- Go to everything with full gas (laughs) and stay positive at hard times.

Anything else you’d like to share?
- Thanks to everyone on the massive list of people who support me and give me some advice or inspire me.

[Photo credits: Kateřina Hanajová]
Joaquim Margarido

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