A hot afternoon brought us back to the same start as the middle earlier in the day. We watched as most starters turned right up the 60 metre climb and wondered how ‘sprinty’ the event was going to be. Apparently the organisers bounced in and out of permissions to use the touristy parks which would have been amazing but in the end we ended up back in the same forest as the middle race.
The route to number one had me off the bike, pushing and then the bike up and on my shoulder as I negotiated a really steep rocky gully. I was drenched in sweat at the top! The course was fairly straightforward with a lot of climb but there were some good route choice options including #5 to #6 where I took the ridgeline, a fantastic singletrack, whilst fellow Brit Pete Simmonds took the southern route. The decent into 7 was sketchy and fun before the road crossing onto the last couple of controls before the finish. I had to pause at the junction to double check the route out and then made a little error forcing me to cut through the trees for 50 meters to #13. I think with so much doubling back in the last few controls, if there were more competitors, it could have been dangerous but it was fine.
I finished well, enjoying the SI Air contactless punching which saved significant time on some of the legs but was 17 seconds down on Pete who won.
The numbers were low but the M40 and M45 age classes were combined and we were surprised at the prize giving that we qualified for the Polish Masters Sprint Championships – Brits taking Gold and Silver…. The medal is lovely, almost a piece of artwork.
Not really a sprint, more of a short middle – but enjoyable all the same!