Back home now, Ant writes...
It was a tough day. Very hot. Lack of practice and general disorientation didn't help. Tom enjoyed it. He did it 30 min quicker than me and although he was 45th I thought he did well. The different terrain made it quite difficult. His MTB racing has been very good . The event itself was fantastically well run the setup was huge. We meet the Miry (mapholder) man, he said to say hello. You couldn't miss him, he had a map holder on the roof of his van.
The world MTBO champs were held near Verona in Northern Italy in late August. Tom Bradshaw was entered in the Junior mens (under 21) class middle distance race and Ant was in the open (social grade). The week we arrived in the area it decided to turn into a heat wave. On the day it was in the high 30's. Finding the start would have been a mission in itself if Lucy, our in-car GPS, hadn't had Pozzolo di Villaga already loaded.
The village was just a church in the middle of nowhere. We arrived at the event to find that the start location was diferent to the finish location. Everything was very well setup. We even had our own tent setup which wasn't much use as Tom was the first starter in the day having been on the mens start list not junior mens, an improvement from the girls start list where he originally appeared.
The course Tom did was very much the same as the map attached. He wasn't the first to control 10 but was the first home as the last few controls were far apart and he could use his pace to some advantage. Having competed in the world cup cross country race in Val di Sole where he came 22nd he was very fit and fast and although it was very hot we had gotten used to it. In the end he finished 45th and was 22 minutes off the winners time. He really enjoyed it.
In the afternoon a open competitors could do the course. Fair to say that I made a very bad job of it. I found my sense of direction was at times completely gone. The 5 meter contours made interpreting the maps difficult and having no legend didn't help with land descriptions. I was like a complete beginner and my time showed it. The terrain was so different from NZ with hollows, fields in the middle of forests and countless tracks to confuse. I was impressed with Tom's time given how difficult it was.
After this event we went to the world cross country MTB champs in Champery in Switerzland where Tom came 31st. The MTB cross country racing was very technical and the starts with 120 competitors are like rugby on bikes, lots of pushing and shoving, not for the unfit or faint hearted. Anton Cooper a 17 year old from Christchurch did extremely well winning two world cup races and coming second in the world champs which made for some very exciting spectating.
NZ had no other riders in the MTBO Champs this year, but Australia's top junior Tom Goddard did very well with 17th, 10th and 9th in the three distances.