Sunday, February 21, 2010

II Běh Bez Hranic - Race Report

The 2nd Běh Bez Hranic (skiing without border) Cross-Country skiing race started at the biathlon stadium in Harrachov. After a week of being sick and of no skiing I didn't want to jeopardize the safety of the other entrants as it was quite likely that I would fall over at least once! Nevertheless, my friend Iva and I decided to ski to the finish, at a small cottage outside Szklarska Poreba (Poland), following at least some of the race trails so that we could give some support to the competitors.

We waited nervously at the first checkpoint to see the first racers. Luckily we had some tea to keep us warm!

It didn't take long for the first racers to appear, and it was great to see Jan coming in at 3rd place!

We skied along the old train tracks that run into Poland, Certova Hora (Devil's Mountain) sometimes making an appearance out of the heavy clouds. Here, you can see the big downhill ski slope running down the mountain's side.

Arriving at the finish of the race!

The presentations were held in a small cottage outside of Szklarska Poreba. Inside, sweaty Poles and Czechs had soup, tea and cake while waiting for the other competitors. I had one celebratory piece of blueberry cake, and when I told the owners "they don't make cake like this in Australia where I come from," I was treated like a queen and given a souvenir mug and postcard from the cottage! Here we also rendezvoused with Jan - he had beaten us to the finish and managed to place 2nd.

Returning back to Harrachov was uphill...

And as we came close to the border with the Czech Republic again, heavy snow started to fall, making visibility almost impossible, but made skiing so beautiful as the fresh powdery snow gave great conditions for long steady skating! Lovely!

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