There were fewer competitors, but due to logistical problems and a missing signal it was not possible to write a report yesterday. So we are making amends here and recapping the last two days under the magnifying glass. These were in the form of challenging completions of the 300km route and even more challenging continuations on the 600km route. So let's start with the weather, which has played a very significant destabilising line of morale and will this year. When one day the heavens gave the racers a reprieve from the rain, only producing strong winds, it didn't take long for the wetness and wind to be back in full force.
Matěj Jakoubek took the attack on the target seriously and from the shelter on Hanička he marched nonstop. On the way in the Orlické Mountains he broke his already broken stick completely, so he fixed his skis firmly on his backpack, hid his skis and concentrated only on walking. As a bonus, he discovered that his headlamp was dead. So he took a spare and found that it was almost dead too, only one line. So he lit his way with his flashlight, which fortunately had a white mode, and even the light on his key chain to save his headlamp for a rainy day. It must have been a great show. It had been a long journey to Sněžník, and when he finally conquered it, it was deep night, the wind was blowing mightily, and you couldn't see the tip of your nose. When he took shelter for a while in the lookout tower of the Snowman, it was quite eerie, the fog even inside and the whole structure humming mightily under the gusts of wind. It's not exactly a pleasant situation when you're there alone, in a miserable physical state, with the prospect of the journey ahead taking many more hours. But Matej switched to flight mode and just pulled. Over frozen snow, over pine needles, up the steep Jesenik hills and at about 6am the headlamp appeared, followed by Matěj. He went through the whole night, still laughing. We tip our hats and congratulations to Matěj. He was originally registered for 600 km, but everything in moderation and this load of experiences was enough for him. He says he has to save something for next time so he can participate again.
When dawn broke, Martin Lazar packed his few plums and set off. Those plums are really few, because you wouldn't want to go on an afternoon trip to Bohemian Paradise with Martin's backpack. He's a mathematician and his gear and itinerary is thoroughly thought out down to the smallest detail. Nothing weighs more than it should, everything is efficiently stored and prepared. Even his diet is precisely counted in calories and grams. The opposite of Tomas Kadlec. However, he was surprised that his phone didn't work, but we were sorry not to let him in because of that, and thanks to the new tracker we at least have an overview of where he is. Thanks to the non-functioning phone he also couldn't pick up his special food in the Z-box, so he had to rely on improvisation and air 🙂 However, he was not afraid of anything and even with the inflammation in his periosteum he went on at a brisk pace. He told us that he would catch up with Thomas, who had a roughly 40km head start. Being a mathematician, he told us that if he ran, he would be at the finish line on Saturday morning. If he walks, he'll be at the finish at 4:40pm on Sunday. So we'll see what his leg will allow, and how his equation works.
During the day the race was quiet, and we had our first day off for a marital outing to Paprsek. It had been raining again since the morning, so that was good because we didn't have to pull the sled and could turn around when we wanted. Unlike Martin Silhan. He had a long way to go through Sněžník. It looks relatively short on the map, but it's an incredible distance. According to the map, Martin bivouacked at the station in Kraliky and set off in the early hours of dawn. The rain had been with him since the morning and the wind was even stronger than the day before. He was pulling at a very steady pace and we were placing bets on when he would reach us in Petříkov. We were aimlessly looking for a signal every now and then to see him move a little bit. His wife Petra is skilled at this and has taken the liberty of looking at the tracker once every 4 hours, which is reasonable in many cases. Martin wasn't physically bad at all, but he was having a lot of trouble with his ankle. After all, the walking was unhealthy. He had his fun on the ridges and had to experience and experience a lot in those conditions. He's a tough guy and nothing can throw him off. At about 11pm he broke away from the sled at the 300km mark and was happy. With his ankle, it would have been unwise to continue, so he too was among those who had completed the 300 km. Congratulations to Martin and we are incredibly glad he made it here and was part of this adventure.
And when we wanted to see where Tomas Kadlec was, we always had to move the map significantly to record his location. After an hour break he started from Petříkov and in the late evening he arrived behind Praděd to Ovčárna and started to climb to the ridge of Vysoké Hole, the highest point of the race. It was very thick fog, the wind was absolutely crazy and something was falling from the sky. As the ridge is completely exposed, the combination of all these phenomena caused him to completely lose his bearings and he sensibly decided to descend back to the Sheepfold and spend the night there. But when he thought he was going back to the top station of the lifts, he arrived somewhere else. Tomas only uses paper maps, so he had to call home to be guided in the right direction by gps tracking. Due to the delay in the gps signal, it must have been quite a communication challenge. However, he made it and outside the Figura Hotel he laid his head down somewhere tucked under the open sky. Nothing broke him though and he set off early the next day for a second successful attempt. At his own pace he rolled the kilometres like a bulldozer and soon left the Jeseníky Mountains for good. He stopped just outside Budišov nad Budišovkou, where he spent the night in the abandoned ruins of a campsite next to the Budišovka River. When I passed by this place last time, it looked quite mysterious to me and it takes a lot of courage to spend the night there. Tomas certainly has enough of that. After Jeseník nad Odra he took the imaginary scepter and became the pioneer of the route, because no one has gone further than him. And if nothing serious happens, it is clear that we will see him in Havířov on Saturday. The guest met him on Svinci, which is a pretty crappy hill and he looked classically neutral and cool.
So the 300 km route is successfully completed and we congratulate Martin Gabel, Matěj Jakoubek and Martin Šilhán for successfully completing it. And we would also like to thank Eva Zemínová for providing her cozy cottage, which served as a refuge for all of us. Thank you.
And now we just have to watch the duel between Martin and Tomas. We'll see how it turns out over the weekend.