My final JWMTBOC was a huge success! I became World Champion Middle Distance, won the silver medal in the Massstart and we got a bronze medal in the relay with the swiss junior team! It was an amazing week in Austria!
After the European Champs which turned out very badly for me, I had 4 weeks time to prepare myself perfectly for the World Champs in Zwettl, Austria. I did this with many trainings on mtbo maps, together with my friends from the national squad. I trained very specifially for the Austrian terrain, for example in the alps in Lenzerheide. And I drew my own maps of all the terrains of the world championships. I used the digital height model, openstreetmap data and old maps, where available. Thanks to this perfect preparation I always felt ready at the start and I knew what will face me during the competition. I had the goal to do the best Junior World Championships of my carreer!
I felt very good at the start of the first competition, the massstart race on Tuesday. I was happy that all the preparation is done and the competitions finally start. I knew how the terrain looks like, where the valleys and where the ridges will be. The start of the race was chaotic, and I did a few mistakes too much. After 2 of 3 legs I was riding together with Thomas Steinthal, sitting in 4th and 5th spot. We had different forkings on the last leg, but came together with about 3 controls to go. The french rider Anathael Dott was riding with us as well. We had with Jan Hasek still someone ahead of us and would have been battling for a the medals. Would because the final of the race was as chaotic as the start. In a climb Anathael lost touch, and just a few seconds after Thomas took a wrong turn into path and was gone as well, I was riding alone in the 2nd spot! At the 29th of 30 controls I saw that the Lithuanian guy Ignas Ambrazas was riding in 3rd spot about 20" behind me. I only had to push hard until the finish line and the first medal was in my pocket! A silver medal was a nice start to three epic days!
The very next day the middle distance race was on the schedule. It took place in very hilly terrain with some tough route choices. I lost about 1.5 Minutes already before I punched the first control. But afterwards I found the concentration, kept calm and just did my thing. I did it very well, at least that's what my final rank said. I'm Junior World Champion in the Middle Distance! And the fact, that Simon Brändli won his first Elite World Champion title on the same distance, at the same day, in the same terrain, made the 8th of August a very special day for our team!
The day after, we started with the first Swiss Junior Relay team since about 10 years into an amazing competition. Noah Rieder, only 17 years old, did an awesome job on the first leg and came back in the 4th spot, only a few seconds behind the medals. On the second leg, Silas Hotz, a JWMTBOC rookie, was performing very well too, until the spectator control. Sitting in 3rd, he was maybe a bit overmotivated and some mistakes which costed him quite some time. But he still came back in 4th place, only 45" after the 3rd placed Lithuanian team. So it was my job to get ourself a medal. I started calm and foccused, but still I could ride reasonably fast. I catched the Lithuanian guy at the second control already. I choose some slow routes afterwards and we were still together at the 5th control. Afterwards I was able to drop him. Luckily I gained enough time to still do some mistakes without getting catched again. In the end we won the bronze medal with a comfortable lead of about 4 minutes. The first ever medal for a Swiss junior relay team!
I had the fastet leg of the whole race. Sure, I haven't had the longest forkings, but I think I can be very happy with my performance, and most of all with the performance of my team mates!
After a restday, the long distance competition took place. Somehow, the success of the first 3 days stole some of my will to suffer and made me feel being full up. I think that's the reason why I was just not riding fast enough the first few controls. At the 8th of 19 controls I was already catched by the two riders (Jan Hasek CZE and Teemu Kaksonen FIN) who started after me. That was the moment when I woke up. We did a few controls more or less together. At a climb on an asphalt road I decided to go for it and attacked. Jan was able to respond, but Teemu lost touch with us. I was riding the rest of the race together with Jan. Because we know each other quite well, we helped each other and raced almost like a team. That's what helped him win the race and me win a diploma for the 4th rank.
The last competition of my last JWMTBOC was the sprint, which is my weekest discipline. Anyway, I haven't had a bad race, but did 2 mistakes which costed me about 20" each, and that was already too much to be part of the fight about the medals and diplomas. The sprint was very chaotic, and I think the course was planned very badly. We had to race through riders which were warming up, through parked and moving cars. It was very dangerous and unnecessary. Also the bad was poorly drawn in some places, with overprint and badly readable details. One of my mistakes was that I was expecting a building, which was a "path" in fact. In reality it was a parking place which is drawn differently in every other place. In the end, my time of 17:39 was enough for the 9th place, my worst result this week (which is good :D).
Now, my time as a junior athlete is over, I will have to ride in the elite category the next years. I won 7 medals at international championships in my 3 years as a junior, 3 of them golden. And I won at least one medal in each of the 5 disciplines! It was an amazing time, I found many new friends and enjoyed every race, training and banquet! Thanks for everything mates!
From now on the competitions will be longer and harder, and the field will be stronger. But I like this new challenge and I'm looking forward to start it at the World Cup Finals in Portugal this September!