The following is an update from our dear friend and fellow adventure racer, Liz Notter. Liz shared an update with us from the field and we wanted to share with you! Enjoy! For those of you who don’t know, I’m racing for the US team in the Mountain Bike Orienteering World Championships in Bialostok, Poland. Nike Air Max 2017 Dames roze The team came over a week early to participate in a training camp put on by the race organization. The USA is the admitted underdog…. we are the Team of Trying Very Hard. Solde Adidas Not only do the Europeans do this stuff from elementary school on, we have no local or national series, and some of the team members have no place to even practice. I’m lucky, with 2 meets a year and some great maps (thanks Victor!), but for some of the team, their only meets are the ones they put on. The Camp The camp is basically daily practice courses on terrain similar to what we’ll be racing on for the WC (not the same forest/towns, that’s all embargoed). We gather at 11 am a pre-arranged spot in a local forest (they are using three different forested areas for the week-long camp), they hand us a map, and we go out to ride the practice course. We have a printed schedule of which course we will be doing on each day. We’ve done 3 Middle distance, 3 Long distance, 2 Sprints, and one mixed relay sprint (4 legs of 12 controls each, teams of 2 (male and female), 4 different maps). goedkoop nike air max 2017 Middle and sprint are usually together on the same day. All of the courses are e-punch, so we are able to print out our splits for later analysis, but not all of the maps are accurate and sometime punches are missing. The courses are unbelievably hard, and like nothing any of us have seen before. The main benefit of coming to Camp has been to be able to match the different types of lines on the map (they’re by difficulty of travel) with what the trails/logging road/etc. actually look like. The courses we’ve been riding have mostly been logging/fire roads laid out in a grid, with trails going off of them in various ways. Lots of fencing for logging areas. No single track like we’re used to…. more like social trails than anything else. The narrow trails are overgrown and have deadfall every couple of feet. Nike Dames I’ve attached the middle distance course map from yesterday so you can see what I mean. Today was the first day we had hills, and they were steep, but small. Mostly it’s flat double-track, some with deep sand. And NETTLES. They have nettles from hell here. They sting like the ones at home, but then they itch, sting and tingle for DAYS. I’ve learned to look for them, but there’s not much I can do to avoid them if they’re on the track I need to go down! The first day of camp we were one of the few teams here… it was just us and the Chinese (two guys, one with flat pedals). Adidas ZX Flux Heren We had the hotel mostly to ourselves. Teams have slowly been arriving over the span of the week. First the Russia junior team (it’s huge and very very good at this), then the Bulgarians, then the French junior and elite teams, the Aussies, and the Kiwis. goedkoop nike air max nederland It’s like a very FIT United Nations here now. My Experience I’m glad I came to camp, because it took me three days just to get myself oriented to how things look here. nike air max 90 vt femme The third day was truly horrible, I had two 20 minute control mishaps, wandering around the woods completely lost. A “What the hell am I doing here” kind of day. The day was not helped by my near drowning in a canal, after I stepped on a bridge where the boards were not nailed down and it literally launched me into the canal, with my bike on top of me! That stupid bridge was on both of the maps the next day (it was deemed unrideable by the race organization late in the day after at least two more people went in and half of the boards ended up in the water). adidas superstar Since then, I’ve gotten much better. I had a clean run yesterday, with one bobble, and a clean run today with no bobbles but with a couple of stupid route choices.) I’ve actually enjoyed the Sprint courses quite a bit. They are GREAT practice, without all the back and forth of the longer courses. From what we can tell, at least one of the Sprint races will be in a zoo, which will make it even more interesting. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Poland Is beautiful, very picturesque. Tiny villages on dirt roads, surrounded by thick forests and farmland. The Poles are very polite but not friendly. Most speak excellent English, and I am trying VERY HARD to learn some Polish, but suck at it. They’ve only had a free-market economy since the mid-90s, it’s amazing how far they’ve come in that short time. Anyway, that’s it’s for now. I’m taking a rest day tomorrow, then opening ceremonies and a model event are on Sunday, racing starts for real on Monday.