CISM on homeground
What I want to say..... :)
The 47th Military Orienteering World Championships in Güssing, in the wonderful region of Burgenland, are history. Thus, my last personal summer highlight has come to an end. Having that kind of big event in the "neighbourhood" (50km from my home place) you are facing different situations. On the one hand, people, media, soldiers start talking about medals and high expectations and therefore increasing the pressure (which you also put yourself on the shoulders because you want to perform well, especially at home) and on the other hand, the opportunity of competing at home leads to some extra motivation. The probability of winning a medal, based on my previous CISM competitions was not that high (2 medals so far in the 13 prior turnaments). Furthermore, at CISM, WUOC etc. the probability of good results depends also on the starting field, which was definitely (as usual) not bad at all, bringing a lot of WOC medal winners to Austria.
However, the preparation was good and the batteries recharged after O-Ringen. The first competition was the middle distance. Of course there was some tension and nervosity in the air, but being at the start line, everything worked as usual and as it should. Control after control, I always had the feeling to have everything under control. Approaching the finsih, I was fascinated by the support of the spectators. After crossing the finsih line, I was waiting on the speakers words. When he announced the current second place behind M. Kyburz, I was very happy as he confirmed my good feeling which I had in the forest. But still some "hot irons" were out in the forest. Minute and minute, runner and runner passed, but none got under the top 3. Yesssss, silver medal at home CISM, what a beginning. After this competition, we were on 5th place in the team ranking. As we never made any team medal before and were very close to it 2011, a "secret" goal was to bring that medal finally home :)
Second day, long distance. Not just a few people around thought that winning a medal is that easy. "Silver yesterday, today you will win gold?" "If it was that easy...."
Anyway, as an athlete you should know how to deal with it. Back in the competition, the focus was just on myself. The difference to the middle distance was that I got some problems with the map reading because of the 1:15.000 scale. The first 4 controls were still good, but the first part of the long leg was not convincing and the control approach was also far from perfect. But the real problems started with the butterfly (I had the northern loop first). To at least half of the controls there, I was too far left or right, losing 10-25 seconds here and there. Even if the medal chances were burried latest there, there was still enough power to give to fight for a good position and the team result. Everything turned out to work better after that butterfly. Just the last long route choice was suboptimal, as I lost some time running through the thorn area (green raster just before the small water course), losing about 25 seconds there.
However, the spectators provided a fabulous welcome in the finsih again. 10th place in the end. I had the feeling that the spectators, organising stuff etc. were much more disappointed than I. After my team mates did very good jobs that day we jumped from the 5th to the 3rd place!!! Bronze with the team - that was worth more than f.ex. winning an individual bronze medal that day. Finally, we made this dream come true.
As we didn't want to get out of the competition rhythm, we did a team-internal go-cart competition. As in the formula 1, it's the car, not the driver. I think, I had the best go-cart in the end ;)
With the relay, the CISM came to an end. With Robi, Heli and me, we wer sure to have a very competitive team in the fight for the medals. And we staid in touch to them during the whole race. Robi did an excellent job, coming back in the leading group, sending Heli out even on the first place, a few seconds ahead of the hunting teams. Heli Gremmel did another good job on "his" second leg and sent me out on the 5th place, close behind the teams on the places 2-4 and half a minute ahead of Switzerland 2. Until the finish of the last runner you don't know exactly how the positions are in reality, because the forking could be shorter/longer. So, just give everything you have from the beginning. I tried everything to come closer to the teams infront of me, but instead got suddenly overtaken by SUI2, without a real mistake (just a few seconds to 1st and 8th control). Finally also getting a shorter forking, I got sight contact to Estonia and SUI2, thinking that we are on places 4-6 now. Passing the arena, facing a extremly cheering crowd, I thought that it must be something more than 4-6, unable to understand what was really going on. Anyway, I tried everything to come closer, but failed. In the end, Estonia headed for a third place, SUI2 became 4th and we got the good 5th place. Good, because we were just a short time behind the winners of SUI1 (these guys were winning everything this week ;), good because we were just a few seconds behind the bronze medal and good, because it was our best CISM relay result for ages (my best CISM relay result ever). But there is always a but. If you "lose" a medal that close, disappointement is your partner for a few hours. A few hours only, because a few hours later, we got our team medals handed over by Burgenlands governour Hans Niessl at the price giving ceremony in the Montecucolli Kaserne in Güssing, THE most modern military barracks in Europe ;)
At this point, it's time to say thank you to all the people who made that home-CISM a success. It was a success because the organisation was excellent (ok, some foreign teams didn't know what to do with food like Kaiserschmarrn or Griesschmarrn ;) - which I don't understand because they are one of my favourites :) and it was a success because our team won 2 medals that week.
Coaches, M, friends, family, thanks a lot.
Some more pictures you find on the CISM Austria webpage
Time for training again, after the competition is before the competition ;)