Friday, December 11, 2015

Leoš Bogar: "I wanted to set a really tough course"

Father of two great champions – František Bogar and Kryštof Bogar - Leoš Bogar was responsible for setting the M21 Long Distance course of the World MTB Orienteering Championship 2015. But what's so special he does? In the recent World of O's "Course of the Year 2015", Leoš' course setting was “only” the 5th ranked. A reason of fulfilment to its author and a triumph for MTB Orienteering. And it's precisely Leoš Bogar that we have today with us, on the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's tribune.

I would start by congratulating you and appreciate your availability for answering my questions. See your WMTBOC 2015 Long Distance course setting [HERE] being among the nominees to the “Course of the Year 2015” and then know the result and realize that you reached the 5th position what comment deserves? How valuable is this result, from a personal point of view?

Leoš Bogar (L. B.) - It is satisfying. Like a nice bonus at the end of this year. But, most of all, pleases me that both the race and the whole Championships were such a success.

Have you an idea how many time did you spend on planning and setting the course?

L. B. - I started to focus on this task exactly the year before the date of the race. First, it was the date when I was appointed to be a course setter of the long. And mainly, I started to be visiting the terrain of the competition to ensure that the paths are suitable in respective time of the year, having in mind mainly vegetation. So, one could say that I actually enjoyed the whole year with the course setting. The level of stress was obviously increasing as the dates of the competition were getting closer, but at the end I felt satisfaction. More or less, it all ended well.

By designing the WMTBOC 2015 Long Distance course, in which way did you want to challenge the competitors? Do you think you get succeed?

L. B. - Given terrain that I was supposed to use for Long was technically more demanding than it’s usual for MTBO terrains. I wanted to set a really tough course – but what could we expect from one of the most prestigious categories at the most important event of the season? If I recall well, I didn’t have any negative feedback from competitors after the competition. Only positive comments.

Until the D Day, have you felt some kind of embarrassment?

L. B. - I didn’t feel nervous before the D day, not more than any other time. Operations, coordination with advisors, logistics, media, all of that was sorted continuously and I didn’t notice any more significant trouble. Organizers are more concerned about the things they can’t affect: we will not face extreme weather conditions; there will not appear any unexpected complication in the forest, all competitors will make it to the final unharmed… But these things are everywhere the same.

Among the many legs of the course, can you point your favorite? Why?

L. B. - The courses are obviously spiced up with long legs offering many different route choices. It was also the main concept of my suggestion. The core of the setting was to pick the most demanding long legs which were enabled by the terrain. Topped by interesting outlining. Men’s long actually started with the most demanding leg right after the start. I was curious how competitors will manage. My personal estimate came in the very end true, confirmed by GPS tracking.

Do you consider that this is the best course you've ever set? Why?

L. B. - I can’t really judge if this course setting of the Long at World Champs was my best ever, however it was for sure one of the most important events I was participating at. Main aim of each course setter is usually to set a course which competitors will enjoy in the first place.

When we talk about the differences between a really good Foot Orienteering course and a really good MTB Orienteering course, what are we talking about? In which of the two disciplines the terrain plays a more important role?

L. B. - I can’t really and competently comment on this – I never did foot orienteering in the past and so I don’t really understand its nuances. My sports history includes cycling only. So, obviously, I proclaim that terrain diversity is more important for MTBO.

The recent changes to the Competition Rules, with the possibility to ride off tracks, for example, represents a new challenge to the competitors. In which way, this challenge also extends to the course setter?

L. B. - The course setter is considering all conditions that he is facing – natural and terrain conditions of the competition area and then respective rules, which may vary depending on location of the competition. It’s a combination of different issues which should result into an interesting competition. Riding off-road is sometimes good in some locations, sometimes it’s exactly the opposite. I don’t overrate legislation, I think that individual creativity is more important.

There are very few MTB Orienteering courses nominated to the “Course of the Year” (I could count only five in the last six years). How do you see this fact?

L. B. - It’s obviously affected by the situation and importance that MTBO is having in the overall structure of all orienteering disciplines. I think and hope that this trend is growing. Let’s hope that this year’s WMTBOC helped a bit to this improvement.

You are mainly a course setter or do you see yourself more like a competitor, a coach, a cartographer or something else?

L. B. - I can’t say positively. I’m all in one: competitor, organizer, coach, and cartographer. I’m not a pro, I like the sport and that’s the most important, I believe.

Looking to all courses that you attended so far and where you competed, which one impressed you the most, the one you would like to have been the course setter? Why?

L. B. - I was the most enthusiastic about the competition I was attending this year in Portugal, WMMTBO 2015. There were a lot different environment, nature, conditions. I don’t know if I would be able to handle such area as a course setter. It’s a theoretical question. Anyway, those sports experience from Portugal will warm me up the whole winter time, which I actually don’t like at all.

Are you already working in your next big challenge?

L. B. - My club OK Jiskra Novy Bor and I are organizing last round of the Czech Cup in MTBO including the Team Champs, next year. So I’m again riding in the forests with a map and think about interesting courses.

Would you like to share your biggest wish for the next season, now that 2015 is close to the end?

L. B. - I wish to all health and optimistic mind.

[I sincerely wish to thank you Jana Kosťová for all her kindness and professionalism with the translation work]

Joaquim Margarido

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