WUOC - Helen Bridle

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Nopesport – With two medals and a further top ten result, last week's WUOC must rank as one of your most successful o weeks. Has it sunk in yet? How does it compare with past results?

Helen Bridle - It was a totally brilliant week and definitely my most successful ever. I´m not really sure if its sunk in yet - it feels a bit unreal, i have had so many congratulations and I even got fan mail yesterday! I think my woc 6th still is the best result ever but WUOC was fab ‘cause I was so consistent over the whole week (have less than a minute of mistakes in total over all the races) and being at the top of the podium for the relay was amazing.

NS. - Can you tell us a bit about your classic race, where you took silver behind the huge favourite Dana Brozkova? The terrain, how you coped with it and your tactics?

HB - I really enjoyed the terrain in the long. Beforehand i was really looking forward to racing in such amazing negative terrain. It was open, runnable forest though a bit stony in places with loads of big depressions. My tactics were to always have a good plan, to always check my compass as it was easy to lose direction among all the holes and to have a good picture of the circle as i thought it would be likely that we´d have a lot of controls on the sides on the holes among rocks and crags. I had a really good race and although at times the big pack of people I´d caught up were quite distracting, but they could be useful as well, I got some help from Seline Stadler.

NS - After your podium finish in the WOC sprint, were you a bit disappointed with 8th place at WUOC? How did the course and your run compare?

HB - I think my WOC result made me think if I had a really good run then I should be able to beat whoever was at WUOC so I was expecting to be in the fight for the medals. However i had a good clean run so I was happy with that but I was just not feeling my best and fastest that day. At WOC i was feeling really good, the running never felt like hard work and I think I was more focussed. Both courses were good - I enjoyed the mix of tricky short legs and the long route choice at WOC whereas WUOC was a more typical town sprint with a good mix of parks and alleyways.

NS - Now, the relay! When you started, 7 minutes behind Seline, it looked like you were in with a fight for a medal, but gold looked out of reach. Care to tell us the story of what happened out in the woods?

HB - I figured that it would probably be me and Maria Rantala (FIN) fighting for the bronze but in fact we had different gaffles at the beginning and I didn’t see her until the end. At the spectator control I was just behind the Norwegian girl and heard from Jon (Musgrave – British coach) that it was 1:30 up to silver but as we only had 1.6k left I thought it would be a bronze for us. Then on the way to number 10 I saw Seline heading to a different longer gaffle and I realised I was ahead of her. The next control was a small crag half way down the hillside and it looked quite tricky. I got it perfectly and just as I was coming into the control I saw Maria Rantala coming back up the hill towards it. at first i was really excited as I realised we were in the lead but then I felt really scared as there were still 2 controls to go and I knew the other girls were really close and that the forest was so open that they would easily be able to see me.
Coming into the finish there was so much cheering that I couldn´t hear the last control beep and I didn´t know how close they were so it wasn´t until I crossed the line that I was sure that we´d got the gold! Thanks to Mhairi, Helen P and Rachael for their good runs and to all the team for all the cheering and support.

NS -. This year it seems like you have really stepped up a gear, with a stream of world class results. Have you changed anything in your training to achieve this and if so, what?

HB - I don´t think I´ve changed anything specific. I had a good year last year where I increased my training and had lots of fantastic races just unfortunately not when it counted. So this year I was able to build on last year’s good training and I have increased the amount of training quite a bit as well as having with me confidence from the good runs last year and lots of learning from the mistakes in the bad ones. Additionally I changed clubs at the beginning of last year here in Gothenburg to Göteborg-Majorna and have had really good support from them and it was has been really good fun training with them.
I´ve also been working with a pyschologist, Margareta Hultmann, for the past 2 years and i think that has been really helpful.
NS -. What are your plans for the rest of the year, and next? Any big competitions coming up? How will you be training with a view to next year's WOC in the Ukraine?

HB - The next thing is the World Cup Finals and I´m hoping to have some more really good runs there and hopefully move up a lot in the overall world cup standings. Otherwise this next year I´ve got to finish my PhD and there is an awful lot left to do :( So I´m planning to increase my physical training again and be in really good shape for Ukraine but unfortunately there probably won´t be too much time for training trips there.

Don´t think there;s anything else I want to say but just thanks to everyone (team mates, team managers etc and everyone thats e-mailed/texted and especially sofia for her fantastic rhymes) for their support!

NS – and thanks to you for taking the time to speak to us! All the best with your upcoming training and races then!

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