The whole New Zealand WUOC team is now together in Olomouc and we have had a good taste of Czech forests in this area. We have had model events for the middle and long and I think I have a good idea of what the race terrain will be like. The team is really enjoying the accommodation here now that the meals are up to full size with all the other teams here too.
The long model area was fast running forest with small and distinct patches of dense young trees and going straight was always fastest. However the race looks twice as steep as this model so going straight won’t always be best on race day. The most significant thing we found while out on this model was that the tracks and rides were very hard to see because they were covered in needles and leaves exactly the same as the rest of the forest. I ran past a ride and a track near 6 without seeing them. I also used this model event as an opportunity to get a better feel for some more route choices. Going my way to 6 was between 30 seconds and 1 minute slower that going straight.
The middle distance model was on the northern end of the race area and was extremely relevant to race day. The map is very flat and the contours offer very little navigational aid. I jogged half of the training to get a feel for the map and I was feeling pretty confident with how I was going. I made one small mistake at 3 where there appeared to be a clearing about 50 meters prior to the control which I had seen from I distance and was expecting the control to be there. This took me 30 seconds to work out and also tricked a few others too. The green areas are low trees with nasty spikey branch which try to poke your eyes out. Generally you can still stay on a compass bearing fine in these areas but if you want to get through these areas fast you can to expect to take a fair amount of pain. As with the long model, the tracks and rides were not very visible.
We have also been romping around Olomouc looking at old building and eating gelato and have got our party uniforms sorted already so won’t have to worry about them during the race week. Which one these item ended up in our party uniform?
After one of the training events we were allowed to have a crack on this downhill minicar course. There was a ridiculous amount of crashing during the first few runs, but by the end of the hour there were 5 of us in a very tight battle for the fastest time. I managed to role my minicar on my second run and pull a muscle in my back but that has fixed itself now and I only have a few grazes to remind me.