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2023 Ben Houlihan, World MTBO Championships, Orienteering

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I was recently given the opportunity to race at the U23 Mountain Bike Orienteering World Championships in Folgaria, Italy. 

Having just finished my U23 road race season, it was certainly a new way of racing, having to balance both MTB and map reading. 

After 2 model events to refresh everyoneโ€™s map reading skills, the championships would start with a middle distance race. Being my first race since 2016, it was important to treat it as a learning race. Primarily learning the importance of slowing down and staying in contact with the map! 

The long distance event was raced over quite technical terrain, with the worst weather conditions seen at a championships in recent years! Ideal for me. 
For most of the race, I managed to stay in contact with the map. However, I lost some time on the final 3 controls, partially to fatigue and technical map reading. Finally, finishing 11th in U23 and 28th elite overall. 

A massive thank you to the Jack Bloor Fund for supporting this trip. Without their support I wouldnโ€™t have been able to experience the races. Additionally I have experienced first hand the skills I need to build on for future races. 

I look forward to working for next years races!

Ben Houlihan