European MTBO Champs Travel day – Model Event

As always travelling with a bike brings is challenges. At Gatwick we were marched off to have our bike bags weighed at the oversize luggage check in before we were formally allowed to get our boarding passes. Luckily I thought we had 23kgs so when I found out we had 25 I squirrelled a few of the heavier items out of my hand luggage to take it to 25. This was fortuitous as they then proceeded to weigh our hand luggage, oops, I was way over but a smile and shrug got me through without any payment.

And so to Russia. Our first brush with very slow official formality we were to find time and time again was car hire. It took nearly two hours! After that it was an unscheduled visit to the centre of St Petersburg where we relocated on the Winter Palace before finally getting the right road out towards Vyborg and our accommodation which was a very pleasant surprise. Its a sort of upmarket center parcs without the swimming pool. The food is great and we could not ask for anything, its all provided. The lengthy process’s of form filling and judicious use of huge rubber stamps continued though and our passports whisked away to ???

Daylight saw us to be in a gorgeous sandy forest with huge pine trees stretching straight and true towards the sky. Another pleasant surprise was the SFR punching system which turns out to be much easier to use than EMIT which it is closest competitor. After a leisurely morning we completed the model events before a visit back to the forest for some team building and photo taking before a quick ride round the sprint model area. We even have a bike wash outside our block which I had to use a little earlier than I intended after riding through what we can only assume was Bear poo, it went everywhere and stunk

Tomorrow brings our first race the Sprint in Vyborg.

Some photos here https://picasaweb.google.com/mark.stodgell/EuropeanChamps2011?authuser=0&feat=directlink

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