No preparation for a race is perfect. It can always be better, in my experience. This year, apart from not getting a visa to Belarus, my preparation for WOC has been very good. Isolated in the housecar with HJ for 5 weeks, on an altitude camp in Italy, and then (what turned out to be) a 1.5 week pre-WOC camp in Poland.
We were hopeful the training camp should be good, although we fixed our training so we should only ride on each map once, rather than the multiple times that was in the ‘bulletin’. On arrival we found maps that hadn’t been updated recently, and controls not in the forest despite a late start of 11am each day.
HJ and I, by Wednesday, had become increasingly fed up of playing hide-and-seek with the trails and controls. So we decided to take control. We got hold of a map on the website of a non-embargoed area that looked relevant to the sprint. Technical, lots of trails and forested. The map online was from 2008, and given our experience on the camp, we decided to spend the afternoon remapping the forest. At 1:5000 and just A4 size, we underestimated the extent of the change to forest, but after a combined work time of 7 hours, we had a map that would at least be navigable. The purpose of drawing the map (as well as giving us a good technical map to train on), was to test the MTBO mapping proposal: how was it to use for a new map, how easy was it to mark the tracks, and then how good was it to use in a ‘race’. I did the cartography while HJ did the survey (so I shouldn’t see the terrain).
We used the maps for interval training, and although there were some mistakes (just 2hrs survey), it was perfect for some hard training; both mentally and physically. The maps are below, and although they look a little strange, it is just because we were testing the proposed symbols. (There is still much discussion to happen in the group and with external mappers. We invited a small group to join us and the feedback from them was positive. In this type of terrain with many indistinct tracks and paths, the use of a corresponding indistinct symbol was very very useful.)