Success at MTBO World Masters!

Tue 30 Nov 2021

Charlie Somers-Cocks recently participated in and won 4 gold medals at the Mountain Bike Orienteering World Masters event in Portugal - an amazing achievement ! Charlie has sent the following report on the activities.

The MTBO World Championships did not happen in 2020 and it nearly did not happen this year. Fortunately Portugal offered to run this event in the Autumn when the original one planned for earlier in the year could not happen. Whilst overall numbers of entrants were down, many of the top people were there, however in my class certainly some of my usual competition were missing.

With four different races over four successive days it is a demanding schedule however this is what I train for and so it was slightly disappointing that all of the races were a bit too short. It is a frustration for the older women in particular that organisers underestimate our capabilities. The Mass start should have a winning time of around 80 mins but I won in 62 mins with second place only 15 seconds back however 4th place took 79 minutes – a gap that would normally have been filled by the missing people. (picture racing at the last control). The Middle distance was a fantastic area with a complex network of paths in an undulating area requiring intense concentration to maintain contact and execute legs accurately. I ended up 6 minutes clear in 42 mins as opposed to the supposed 50 – 55 mins. The Long distance had some amazing route choice legs (see map) where factoring in the climb was key to spotting the optimum route. I came away with the win, 9 minutes clear. The final race was the urban based Sprint. I knew I had missed one slight short cut route but had pushed hard all the way. My Strava recorded me crossing the finish line at 24 miles per hour which is not bad on knobbly tyres at the end of a hard week. My nearest rival who had an earlier start, met me at the finish with a big smile as she said she had done a perfect race. Unfortunately for her, despite my one missed route choice I was 3 seconds faster so taking my 4th Gold for the week. From technical washed out forest tracks, small single tracks weaving through the Eucalyptus forests to the roads, pockets of woodland and pavements in the sprint it was four days of fantastic racing on top class maps. The GB team of 8 people came away with 6 gold medals and 7 silvers.

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