The final details of the OO Cup mentioned an MTBO to be held in the afternoon of the Friday after the main foot O competition. After a few helpful emails from Slovenia before departure from the UK I lined myself up with a hire bike and travelled out with pedals, shoes, helmet and mapboard intending to race the event.
Unfortunately I could only hire a fully suspended ‘enduro or all mountain’ bike from Tandem of Logatec. It was a Slovenian manufactured Cultbike with a huge Marzocchi Bomber front shock. It was of quite high spec with XT thoughout and wasn’t too heavy (about 30lbs I would think) but I spent an hour on Thursday night trying to dial out as much suspension as possible, lengthening the reach and swapping the breaks over so I didn’t launch myself into space accidentally (for those that don’t know the Europeans have their breaks set the other way with the front brake on the right). I’ve since learnt it was a prototype model for their new Mania bike. Cults are made in Logatec and a very nice Carbon Hardtail was given to George Bush on his visit to Slovenia last year !
My start time for the foot orienteering race was very late so I only had about 2 hours to get re-hydrated (it was about 34 degrees) and get ready to do battle with the forest again but this time by bike. I started well and took a couple of route choices influenced by the bike. It really didn’t climb well on road or hard packed tracks as the rear wouldn’t fully lock out, so I took steeper more direct routes. I seemed to pass most of the field in front and was going well when I was suddenly caught by two riders who appeared from a different direction having taken a road option. We then had a great head to head for a few controls with each of us challenging for the lead until I took a different route choice option and made a small error. I caught them again just before the finish but by then my legs were feeling the excess’s of the foot O race of earlier and they pulled about 30 secs in front on the last two controls.
I was really pleased with 3rd place as 2nd place went to Slovenias best MTBOer (who hadn’t raced earlier that day) and 1st to a Belgian who again was not competing in the OO cup foot races.
The navigation was very intense on the small rocky tracks and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I spent most of the race cursing the heavy sofa I was riding but a little loving the way it soaked up the huge rocks that littered the paths and liked the way it climbed over particularly loose rocky ascents but a light hard tail would have knocked a bit of time off.
Full results at http://www.orientacijska-zveza.si/index.php?id=43&rid=439
Some photos at http://picasaweb.google.si/matjazmk/MTBOPokalIdrije2009#