Race date : 19 May 2018
How long can Petrica finish an ultra-100 km tough even for experienced mountain runners? I think in a week with all the thousands of pictures he's doing. But perhaps with the thought of rich and wild fauna in the Carpathians, it will run more and better.
Surely, however, to write this article, it took him a month and probably I won't read it anymore after.Please prepare for a long reading journey.It will be like a reading 100k ultra-marathon ;)
Last year, in September 2017, I finished my first 100 km race in Ciucaş (somewhere near Cheia, Prahova). It had a level difference of 4900 m. It seemed huge at that time, as the distance also. I have explained in detail here. Now I had involved in about the same distance with a few more hills and tough descents, turned on and finished at Dracula's house in Bran: 6700 m.
I was a little afraid, I admit it, of this race.
At start line, I was thinking of a saying, "You do not have to be strong to start but you have to start to be strong."
And at finish line, a message like in the picture.
I spent around 25 hours in the mountains from 5 o'clock Saturday 19 May 2018 and finishing at 6 o'clock on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Some would say how much lost time is from life, others why you are doing such crazy long walks, others simply are admiring, respecting and encouraging these beautiful madness.
I also had a time goal, this time, the only one 24h30m - 24h: 50m without taking into account the weather conditions. This year it was raining, it was a lot of mud, it was cold but a lot less fog. I almost got my objective out and I ended effective tirelessly, happy with my training and equipment. Just as training, there were only 40-50 km more on the asphalt, with some small exceptions. So, completing the race brought me ITRA 5 points, with qualification for international mountain racing.
But let's talk below: detailed for the connoisseurs and succinctly for less connoisseurs. : detalied for enthusiasts and succinctly for less enthusiasts.
The route leaves Bran Castle courtyard and ends here. The vampires are still living somewhere around, and foreigners who seem to be more than the Romans are more enthusiastic to meet them. It looks like only those ultra-runners 100k or 80k have this chance. I have heard that some have brought garlic and crucifix, I do not know how authentic effect they were to the vampire danger ... he he.
I have to say that it is the only race in Romania organized by a sports association in Europe and their marketing ensures the presence of many foreign runners. The association is called Sport HG and all the technical details, very useful, I learned from Andy Heading.
The route is typical by an ever so difficult relief but also very spectacular, with steep ascents and descents, on all types of roads and paths, with a elevation of around 6500 m. I made it in the idea of a similar race at UTMB in France August 2018 but, from the hearing, much easier as relief. The idea is that we climbed to Omu peak twice (peak over 2500 m), then to the "Piatra Arsa" on the "Jepii Mari" hill and reaching the area of the Bolboci cottage then Bucsa peak and Moeciu, finishing with the valley of Gaura and Bran where the surprise of the final was a 5 km valley and hill, a prelude of another 1 hour on the ... hills of Bran.
Strava race here : https://www.strava.com/activities/1584784827
Short description for less connoisseurs (can be jumped by others ;) )I am taking over a wise message heard to some runners: "An half is running, a marathon is drinking and an ultra is eating itself."
And I ate and drank at the check points that I forgot that I had a backpack of 5 Kg increased in weight after 40% of the race distance. It is my second 106 km race, the first real tough race, a 50 place in the general ranking of about 200 brave starters.It is saying that was the year when most of them finished. To my surprise, I did not see Vlad Tepes for a photo at 5 am when started ( maybe only for races less than 50 km) and no colleagues of suffering with crucifix and / or garlic, even fake, in their luggage. For the next race I'll take them in the baggage from Busteni checkpoint (km 48 of the race) not the other but only in the night have the expected effect ;) Maybe that's how I'll run faster.
The 100 km race started at 5 o'clock in the morning along with 80 km, that means with 2 hours before the start of the younger brothers. I was with friends Mihai T. and Alex V., who agreed to run both together.I went with them about 3-4 hours in the beginning and it was extremely good. It started off on the most criminal climb we ever had: Bran - Omu peak through Ţigăneşti Saddle (9 km with the elevation of 1450 m ), then suddenly descending to the Mălăieşti Chalet and swamping on the snow through Hornul Mare to Omu peak at over 2500 m. The descent to the Pestera checkpoint was a piece of cake for an hour and a half. Until Pestera's checkpoint,
they were only 26 km made light in 6 hours and, on top of all, with only 2 km before a hot soup, I had to go through a river swollen up close to my knees.Deh, the only pair of spare socks was consumed and I exchanged it a little later, after the well-deserved soup with noodles from checkpoint Pestera and the delicious cheese. Wait, I'm eating cheese (special cheese with holes like in Tom&Jerry cartoon ) in just one year in a race of that. Even though I seem to be thin, as some say, I really gormandise at these points and drink a lot: water, tea, cola, no beer, unfortunately .. he he. I'm like a black hole when it comes to food.
After the 26 km, they were still 22 km to the next food point Buşteni, but I had to prove the uphill to Babele (5 km), then to Omu peak again on the winter route (10 km) and the long and famous descent on the Deer valley (valea Cerbului ) to the base of Kalinderu slope from Busteni (15Km). It was a thrilling piece, I do not know whether to say it difficult with rain, hail,
portions of snow on climbs and downhill where I even was myself like a sled in the valley.
Another method was to do artistic skating with running shoes. In the detailed section below, I have added a picture. I ran satisfactorily on descent, this time for 100k and maybe something else could grin on the plateau in the slight climb between Babele point and Omu peak. Some well-known runners trained well here, encouraged me and got our hands as professionals : Marcel I. și Dumitru F. Others, less with running and isolated, encouraged what they could and all the respect for their devotion. I also have to say that I lowered a good piece of the Deer Valley with a Bulgarian girl (she knew Romanian), which took it much smarter than me on the twisted curves and on the snow but my lack of orientation on the rocks and curves was compensated, below, in the valley, so I made a good team on this race segment.
The third part of the race, about 20 km from Busteni (km 48) to Bolboci, was also critical for any of the ultras. After ten and a half hours until Buşteni, for me, with rainy and difficult weather, I was determined to eat more, but only after 10 minutes of food, liquids, logistics management of my extra baggage/drop-bag, an unexpected trembling grabbed me. The trembling did not stop. Nor the rain, also.It took me about 30-40 minutes to change, to restore the contents of my backpack to what came from the extra drop-bag, to load the Garmin watch etc. I have successfully obtained a 5 kg luggage, I finally realized that my shoulders were crying. I was wondering why it was still raining, my rain cover did not bear, I took thicker clothes and I was 100% sure they will soon be wet and ... what do I do until the end of the race?
But I got back, warmed up by the new clothes, without too many black thoughts, and I have started myself to push from my running poles up to the climbs that followed, charged with the energy of Latin music. Zuk ... write on me, as Mihaela is saying when I am raising my energy level with Latino music. As I said, it was the critical piece about 3 km until the beginning of the Jepii Mari climb at Piatra Arsa(Burned Out Stone), all surrounded by a continuous rain.
In about 2 hours, I was at Piatra Arsa (Burned Out Stone) checkpoint, I was fast enough, on the hill I was talking with the deity to stop the ruthless rain and I got a whisper that I should go up quicker and go down to Bolboci where it was hot. That's what I did in spite of the fact that the music in the chaps had changed from Latino to something slow for the last climb. I only stood for 7-10 minutes at the Piatra Arsa (Burned Out Stone) for hot tea and cheese and soon I saw myself descending in a running to a dreamed blue sky. Oh, the only concern was not to get wet again to my foot after 10 times crossing a river of one long serpent in the Dorului valley( Wanderlust Valley, maybe, as a translation). It was about 14 hours and 50 minutes and I was at Bolboci (km 67) around 19:50. A coffee was welcome, some pasta, cola and other goodies, which, in fact, passed them to lower categories of food. I was not tired, on the back of that, even happy that it remained only 40 km and I was making a calculation that at most in 6-7 hours I'll finish this unbelievable race. I was really talking to Mihaela on the phone, and I was amazed and excited about what I was saying to her: "There's a little more : to party or to hospital." She was puzzled, but she knew I was feeling good. This 40 km was going to be on an unknown track for me, at night, with muddy mud (the rain stopped) and a slight fear of being alone. But there were two other ladies left alone before, why not? Finally, after the 15-minute break from Bolboci, I left. I turned around for my trail sticks and another 5 minutes went off. It was about 20:15 and I was going up without any thought that other 10 hours will follow until finish line, instead of my optimistic 6 hours calculated.
I was going to hospital, clearly, not to party. All I can say is: to dream that you are advancing with joy and pressure, it's a mind-boggling game and I think I got that right. I spent nearly 5 hours from Bolboci(km 67) at the Moeciu de Sus(km85) check-point for 20 "dumb" km and 5 hours for the last 20 km. Not at all, dangerous climbs and descents, or tiredness or thirst and hunger, simply going forward with difficulty on juniper trees zone, I was walking fast without running, I joined a couple of young Slovaks in the night because they were the fastest of all and we went for a while against others. Sometimes I regret that we went too slowly on the parts of Bucsa peak - "Moeciu de Sus" or Moeciu-Poiana Gaura. But from "Poiana Gaura", I went alone in the night with two powerful torches for the last 3 hours of fast walking combined with orientation, with some fog somewhere, climbs and steep descents thinking of how a normal human can climb or descend on this route from or to Bran.I have overcome many, I think about 20, for only the last 15 km. I was energetic, fast and furious on climbs and attentively on descents with plenty of mud. I could not believe I was going to finish. The last 5 km we knew from the 50k race last year. They were psychological at the entrance to Bran, the trail was left and followed a torment of successive descents and descents passing as a time in 50 min or 1 hour in forced walk. I surpassed other colleagues here too, I was asking them and encouraged them that a small little distance remained, but from their answers seemed desperate for the last piece. The last one was a Czech who responded with "yes" and "I know" when I asked him in English how he feels :)
At the end, it was a sleepy climate, only 6 o'clock in the morning, 20 m before the end I was spotted by a "vuvuzea" and an amateur photografer with the mobile phone has immortalized me in a generic picture only with the Bran castle without the Vlad the Impaler clone. I was very happy with the experience, quite energetic, as I still had a lot of words in the absence of my friend Bogdan P. from the 50k race, his very first ultra. He was a little nervous that I did not call him to wait me to finish line, there was too much trouble. I stayed somewhere around, then I went to the hostel on foot (200 m) and ... My hips, my legs began to scream and they kept telling me to go. Deh, the ultimate emotions were still present. I really fell asleep home Sunday night on Monday.
At the end of the 106 km with 6500 m elevation, I am drawing the line:
- I burned 14,200 calories (according to Strava)
- nutrition and food, perfect for me, as to the book:
- a few days ago, I was really good in carbo-loading mode and Mihaela is to blame ;)
- during the race :
- I have consumed 15 l liquids : 10 l water; 1 l soup; 0,5 l ( less Cola during trail race);0,5 l ( a little isotonic poison at checkpoints); 2 l hot tea (especially during night);0,5 l (gels)
- I have eaten enough -pasta, soups, much cheese, cheese and olives, some carbo (jelly, waffles, bananas, oranges, etc.)
- balanced effort in "negative-split" mode with more energy for some other km
- it is possible to run during the night alone, for sure will meet other suffering collegues on tha track.The sport association recommend coupling in at least 2 runners for avoiding any risks of injury of one racer or existing Romanian fauna (bears, wolves, ... )
- for the next time, if I'm around, I'm preparing myself with some garlic, crucifix, vampire teeth etc; looks safe for a night in the running ;)
- I came back home with all of this from photo and others without consuming a total of 3-4 kg ; my shoulders were crying
Description for connoisseurs :Preamble
My first 100k w/4900m race at Ciucas in 2017 taught me that the trail sticks are needed and I still congratulate myself now for that, after other congratulations have already passed. I just bought some ultra-light sticks from Mountain King (Uk). And they were a "backup pair" for my feet. In the weekend of the race, I stayed blocked in a kind of recovery after a fast trail half-marathon at Macin(http://www.maratonmacin.ro/) where my first podium came in the category. Talking by nutrition, I was pretty careful without junk-food, beer, too much meat and I got out of it. As a rest, the same.
I was already excited to go with my friend Cornel, my team partner for the future ultra 100k with 8500m difference (6 ITRA points) but for Trans 100k he gave up in the last minute.
As I did not find a detailed description of this race on any blog, I thought it was time to do it. It may be useful to me in the future as well as for others. From the beginning, I had the route loaded in my Garmin wach but it did not help me at all where it was supposed to be, that is in the night. He was stuck in showing my route as well as recording the route but finally the distance was ok.
Effective race :
Km 13 - P1 (feeding) - Bran castle(750 m) - Tiganesti saddle(2195 m) - Malaiesti chalet (1720m)
Arrival : 07:50 AM
Time : 2h:50m
Total time : 2h:50m
Break : 10-15 min (aproximatelly)
In such a long race, a first checkpoint seemed very far ... at 12-13 Km. The race begins with a 2 km asphalt section where each accelerates or not as it can. It is a matter of warmth for what will follow: 8 km long criminals uphill to Tiganeşti saddle, through Clincea. A total of 10 km with an elevation of 1450 m that I approached at the same pace with the close ones Alex V. and Mihai T., a proposed negative split for me. A fairly steep hike through the forest to the exit to the alpine hole where the climb continues. I think I climbed about 2 hours and 20 minutes to Ţigăneşti and then another 30 minutes down 500 m at an altitude of about 3 km to the Malaiesti Chalet, very steep for the last 500 m (Padina Crucii - Malaiesti Chalet). I got 1.5 liters of water, normal for me. Because of the rain that just started, I equipped myself with all the rain equipment. I ate something sweet and drank the water. I have recharged another 1.5 l to the next point at the "Pestera"(km 26) and left after 10-15 min break here.
Km 17,5 - P2 (control) - peak Omu 1 ( 2505m)
Arrival : 09:45 AM
Time : 1h:40m
Total time : 4h:45m
Break : 0 min
I leave the cottage through the Malaiesti Valley in a progressive climb, prepared for rain and bad weather, but eager to turn the engines just heated up until then.
I could say that the portion up to Omu peak is splitted into two pieces:
- 3 km tough with an elevation of 570 m to the
peak of the Great Horn (photo with the line of
people) - about 1h:20m
- 1,5 km with an elevation of 200 meters from the peak of the Horn
until Omu peak (20 min)
Easily, I did and I still took pictures as shown. Even I have captured pictures with Mihai T. and Mr. Stan T. here. Arrived to Omu peak where it was cold and it was raining or snowing, I do not know, I was decided to take it down on the red strip to the refuge Batrana and the Pestera checkpoint.
Km 22,5 - P3 (control) - Batrana refuge ( 2160m )
Arrival : 09:45 AM
Time : 40m
Total time : 5h:25m
Break : 0 min
The route is run over on elevation, more down the hill than up, and near the refuge is a 500 m high juniper area where it is recommended to scream or use the whistle. I did not forget the water and occasionally a gel because it was still acceptable by my body. As shown in the picture below, the route make it to the bottom right of the picture, obviously on the left side of the snow cover. Usually, this is the month of May, with pieces of snow somewhere. There were many volunteers here and even Marius Popescu from "Rescue team" encouraging us frantically.
Km 27,5 - P4 (feeding+soup) - "Pestera" rescue ( 1600m )
Arrival : 11:00 AM
Time : 35 min
Total time : 6h
Break : 15 min
The piece from Bătrâna rescue to the Pestera cable car is identical as an evelation in descent and distance. It is about the same time with the difference of a more inconvenient terrain to the Pestera, a kind of unstable grass clusters and the terrain is not straight and the foot will traverse at an angle of 20-30 degrees. On other pieces the ground is rocky but in general is getting down well.
The surprise part of this portion is the passage over a whirling river, and there are more mild portions where the water just reaches the calf. I actually went through the water hoping that later on, both the stockings and the shoes would dry up. But prolonged moisture leads to the appearance or favoring of the wefts. I had all kinds of Compeed patches on both legs but they did not keep any when later (up to Babele control check) I changed my socks.
At the checkpoint, I stood for about 15 minutes, reloaded all the pots (2x600 + 800 = 2 l) for the next long portion (4 hours and a half), I even took 2 soups, some "soup juice" with many noodles, seasoned with cheese directly in my belly, some sweets and a cola. All liquids (including soup) served in the 800 ml bidet because the BIO trend of this crazy world has forced us to have an extra cup with us. Before leaving, I was wondering when friends Alex V and Mihai T came in, and I left a little grieved at Babele's control point.
Km 30,5 - P5 (control) - Baba Mare( 2190m )
Arrival : 11:50 AM
Time : 50 min
Total time : 7h:05m
Break : 10 min (aproximatelly)
It's a simple control point and climbing is approachable on a 3km stretch with a 20-35% slope. Right from the start of the ascension, Marcel I. is calling and encouraging me. He was in a fast descent, into a training and not at all in current race that strucked him physically and emotionally in 2017. He's the author of the article that helped me a lot to understand this 100 km race and to be mentally prepared. Many thanks, Marcel!
Up there to "Babele" control point or "Baba Mare" (like on the map of Transylvania 100k), I thought I had to change my socks yet wet. From now on, I did not have any other pair ready. I moved very slowly about 10 minutes. The shoes were already dry. The rain at Omu peak did not exist at the Pestera or Baba Mare, but I would meet again at Omu with a kind of hail.
Km 36,5 - P6 (control) - VF Omu 2 ( 2505m )
Arrival : 13:27
Time : 1h:27m
Total time : 8h:27m
Break : 0 min
I'd rather say I spent too much time on distance between Baba Mare plateau - Vf Omu peak. I ran too little time, tried to eat (again, I was wondering :)) a bag of pretzels. I could barely swallow them ... without water. I felt good, with earphones on my ears, with no music but only to protect my ears against the "mountain whisper".
No any remark here, a normal mountain plateau. Around Omu peak, I thought the route met the competitors from the 50k race, but there was a path on the snow parallel to their descent from Omu peak to the Pestera. It was not to meet my friend Bogdan P., who became fresh ultras of mountain, or Elena P. at her first 50k. The volunteers from here were remarkable and it cost me nothing to congratulate them for their will and their support in such an adverse weather. I gor some energizing smiles ;)
Km 46,5 - P7 (feeding+drop-bag) - Kalinderu Busteni ( 980m )
Arrival : 15:27
Time : 2h
Total time : 10h:27m
Break : 30 min
From Omu peak 2, there was an extremely demanding descent on the Deer Valley, about 7 km long, with an extra 3 km of fast running. I never manage to find the ideal path or track full of curves, I take it straight and I'm guiding after others. I was trying to avoid the snow large pieces, but I got to the same points with a Bulgarian girl who was speaking Romanian. I followed her, I even copied her method and gave my ass to the snow where it was possible. A bit lower, the weather turned and the hail turned into rain, an irritating rain but acceptable in two;) It went pretty well running on snow portion, rocks, narrow paths, forest, even we passed the point of getting lost and missing the correct path on helping her, new my trail partner.
I knew that I had to avoid forcing the muscles and joints on the descent. It was too early. On the 3 km extension I let go of running and I arrived in 10h:27m at the slope base (Kalinderu Busteni), surpassing many runners. I was well and ready to recharge.
It was constantly raining and the landscape was quite monotonous. Some volunteers were also tired by the rain. I took some sweet stuff, sticks and gels, pretzels, other sweets, a liquid bucket, without filling up both 600 ml cans. After 10 minutes, I caught a real trembling that "paralyzed" me and did not know what was going on .The Garmin watch warned me that I have to load it. I stopped on current workout to reboot it later. Badly my procedure, later ion Bolboci checkpoint, I realized that the arrow on the watch did not follow the loaded route. In addition, the drop-bag from Busteni had to place it in my backpack.No any return to finish line by organizers.
Just occurred a stress ... I've decided to change all my clothes (just T-shirt + hand warmers) and get my long-sleeved compression blouse and the merino bought recently from Decathlon. On top of this, the coat for rain and wind was perfect. My hands are still trembling and I almost could not change my clothes and gloves. Hardly, I found some places in my backpack, place on load mode the Garmin watch, packed everything in the backpack, put the music in the headset and finally dressed the same 2 pairs of wet gloves (with long fingers from Asics and short fingers). I started to warm myself up and I left quite energetically and, I can say, angrily that I spent 30 - 40 minutes time when I was overtaken by many. Follow Kalinderu - Jepii Mari and then Piatra Arsa checkpoint.
Km 54,5 - P8 (feeding) - Piatra Arsa ( 1970m )
Arrival : 18:00
Time : 2h:10m
Total time : 13h
Break : 10-12 min
I'm moving up wild, energetic, with good music in my ears that kept only 30 minutes, even I was going to sing despite of rain. The trail poles has made me lighter. I feed myself with liquid like it is writing in professional books. Climbing up about 1000 m altitude over a distance of 5.5 km through forest land and with a steepest portion of the rocks and cable on the top. I was still motivated and in time recovery. At the checkpoint, there were quite a lot, 2 hot teas with cheese were more than welcome. Quickly to Bolboci Chalet, the next point, I wanted to get rid of the heavy rain. I knew that down in the valley it was not raining. After 1 km, I was confirmed.
Km 65 - P9 (feeding+pasta+coffee) - Bolboci chalet ( 1430m )
Arrival : 19:52
Time : 1h:40m
Total time : 14h:52m
Break : 15 min + 5 min(forgot my trail poles)
For just 10 km, it seemed like I did quite a lot of time. I ran to a pace of 6 and more on the straight portions as well as on grass clusters but the most annoying thing was the 10 passes over the brook in Valea Dorului which was flowing down like a snake.Later, it enters a forest road and descends through the forest to the road beside Lake Bolboci. I was running faster on the road at 6 miles combined with walking in about 2 km until I passed the Bolboci dam. At Bolboci Chalet, many runners were at the table, I found a hard place and the volunteers there, very nice, otherwise, they loaded me both of the rucksack flasks while I was serving pasta. A coffee and a cola were welcome. I was happy I did not know what was waiting for me. I did not know the route at all and I calculated that for the last 40 km of the race I could not take more than 6-7 hours (the most pessimistic version). I could not believe I would have finished in 22 hours if everything was like in this moment. I called Mihaela that I was fine and that it was the last few kilometers and that the phrase "To the party or to the hospital" gave me the most motivation ever. She was pleasantly surprised and her laugh transformed me into a warrior able to come back victorios home. I think I'm exaggerating, maybe I've been watching to the wrong movie. I left the checkpoint quickly and I went back the same way. I forgot my trail sticks. I lost 5 minutes, do not worry againts how many hours have the race. It was the night that I was most afraid of being surrounded by the rich fauna of Romania. The worst is that I realized that the arrow on the Garmin route was not on the way before. It had somehow been stuck though the GPS on my watch worked and showed me the number of miles passed.
Km 76,5 - P10 (feeding) - Vf Bucsa ( 1720m )
Arrival : 23:12
Time : 3h
Total time : 18h:12m
Break : 5 min
I left at about 20:12 from Bolboci. We started a slight climb on a forest about 1.5 km. I walked fast. I was good, I pulled out my music, I did not need it. At one point, the road made a right climb to the beginning of a juniper area. The darkness began to come. I even surpassed girls who went on their own. I got courage after a little technical break. From the 2017 article of Marcel I was expecting to many in this area when he was lost here. The sharpened racetrack was not phosphorescent and I was watching him paying attention. I had to set my foot carefully beside the small juniper bushes, the path was not defined, even lost in several parts. The additional mark has been done very well for next 3 hours until Bucsa peak. I was so happy with the intermittent red lights on the poles (it was not the tree area) that I was stepping up. I was walking fast but hard. It was the 1 Km distance after which ascending and descending continues on a terrain combined with land, stone and a lot of grass. Rarely, I ran in descent. We were a lot of people who were all over us. A Slovakian couple came who surpassed us all.They went very quickly and I said they were mine, the same height of 1.85m and the same step size. I found night partners finally. We passed Bucsa peak(1848m) and after another 2km was the checkpoint (1720m). I could not believe how much I could do ... 3h , screaming. It was already half of the estimated 6-7 hours until the end and I only made 11 km ? I was going to run it down the valley to Moeciu but I was thinking of doing the same team with the Slovaks. I headed for Moeciu alone and, after a technical break, I stayed in the same team. They did not have a clock track, they looked very well after bookmarks.
Arrival : 01:07 AM
Time : 1h:50m
Total time : 20h:07m
Break : 20 min
I left the Bucsa checkpoint in stepless alert without running down the valley. It was possible to make the most of it here. I went to the mutually agreed pace. It was 4 km downhill 700 m in altitude. Wet but not muddy land. After this descent, the psychological part was that you entered in Moeciu on a flat forest road and the route left it on a tour of a walking ride up another 2 km. If I was alone, even as I was asking questions to divinity. Otherwise we were in a bigger group with many runners who came to us. But our team took the climbing distance again, finishing with the last 2 km of the steep valley on full mud paths and walked carefully like we swam in a pool. The last kilometers to Moeciu were, in fact, the first miles of loop 3 from EcoMarathon those km cursed by many.
A note from me: I've jumped some big and closed fences out of thin tree trunks. I do not know if the route was right through the gardens of people, that is, private land. If so, do not try outside any contest. I finally got to the Moeciu checkpoint with the thought of the next kilometers and the end. I spent some time eating pasta, drinking cola and coffee, take the winning cheese in this race, refueling flasks, etc .. these kind of stuffs. Groups of runners came and stayed a little. I waited for the team I had been with until then. And I did well.
Km 90,5 - P12 (feeding) - Poiana Gaura( 1435m )
Arrival : 03:07 AM
Time : 1h:40m
Total time : 22h:07m
Break : 5 min
I left after about 20 min from Moeciu. The trail is 200 m on the asphalt and then suddenly turns left on a path between two fences. I was not careful, but I see two strangers have a good track on their watch. At the end of the path, a little bridge was passing and the sudden and steep climb began. I was wondering where these hills are in Moeciu. We were more and my team was getting up fast. I stayed hard and I was walking up to the hill because for a long time the track was no longer on the clock. It was blocked from Busteni (km 47). So until Poiana Gaura (the next checkpoint) we were going together again on a part of the last part of Ecomarathon passing through Gutanu meadow.I scared in vain because the steep climbs are at first and then I went legged 5 km on the flat. Next time I'll know how to run well here. My only perplexity is why I have done so much from Moeciu to Poiana Gaura: 1h:40m, I do not even realize now, being only 5.5 km with diff. 500m.
At the checkpoint, to my pleasant surprise, he was the one who knew the route in detail and who conceived it, I think: Andy Heading.He gave me all the details of what is in next km. He's the one to know all about the route. After a warm tea, I went alone with a big and fast step for the last 15 km.
Km 106 - P13 (finish) - Bran castle ( 1435m )
Arrival : 06:12 AM
Time : 3h
Total time : 25h:12m
The next part of the route is horibble I would say especially when it's muddy. In fact, after the next 10 km, the race on the mountain is almost over. They were doing in 2h:10m.Prepared psychologically and with technical details in my pocket, I began to climb up the forest road up to the forest in a hurry.
It is a progressive climb that stretches up to the forest at a distance of 2 km and reaches an altitude of 1615m. It is a marked tourist path but there is a race track also. Nothing phosphorescent. I overrun some runners before entering the forest then I've been alone for a long time. There followed a downhill suddenly crumbling down to 1 km and the most difficult climb in this race: comb in about 500m with 88m difference level. Nervous I found resources to get up quickly without complaining knowing it followed an endless mud of about 5 km. I have continued carefully through the mud in the descent surpassing about 20 runners. At the asphalt entrance already dawn began to make their presence. It has already been 24 hours and I'm still standing awake and going straight :)
I combined the asphalt run to the entrance to Bran and left to a nice forest that climbs and descends to infinity. I was going lively, cheerful, even asking where this energy came from, empathy with those surpassed by me. It was about 4-5 km that I did them in 50 min. I would say that the cherry on the cake was a nearly 5-10 m of downhill descent almost vertical right next to the Sports Hall where I took the race kit. I even surpassed a Czech competitor before this descent that answered "Yes" and "I know" to my questions about his state and condition. I decided quickly to let the coversation as it is, walked into the courtyard of the castle, and crossed the finish line to the applause of the few volunteers present. One minute later, the Czech and another Romanian runniner with a flag on the shoulders came.Urraaaa !
That was 100k Transylvania and the Carphatians Bucegi / Leaota Mountains.
- I ended up even more energetic than the Ciucas 100k 2017 (the first ultra high) and I felt somehow like a professional.
- I had the feeling that I followed the nutritional plan and feeding close to the ideal and that the energy savings were maximally possible.
- As time, I'm super-excited being very close to what I've been proposing: between 24h30m and 24h50m. I felt the big difference between having a single objective quite realistic and clear against the option of having multiple variants / time scenarios. I think , it's like in life, when you have more options, you are not quite focused and motivated on the goal.
- I have learned what an extremely difficult race means, made me stronger. And it was a very good experience of what will follow :
- Marathon 8500 ( the most difficult ultra from Romania with elevation 8500m - July 2018 )
- UTMB CCC 100k in France August 2018
- I took the 5 ITRA points for international races like UTMB from France
- I have experienced how to run having back weights into a 5 kg bag after I loaded it more with the extra and non-refundable drop-bag from Buşteni checkpoint
- The saddest part is that the time spent preparing such races can be quite high, with mountain walks with longer runs, and, as we are not alone in life, it can leave an impact on our partner's life. In my case, I train quite a bit (40-50 km per week), but I will have to revise the time allocated to this hobby.
Congratulations on the final
Excellent organization this year, almost perfect markings, abundant food (some would have more to add), exceptional volunteers and honest people without whom such a contest would not be possible. Congratulations everyone !
Note : A very good idea this year was the presence at each checkpoint of the profile of the next piece of route what I did not see in other races in Romania.
And last but not least, congratulations to all my friends trail runners who have tried the amazing experience and those who have not tried it yet : Mihai T., Alex V, Cornel I. (partner to Marathon 8500), Bogdan P. , Adi U, ...
Things to improve
And because organizers take into account any suggestion about organization, I would say the following:
- the first would be the faint gluing of the face number. I had to keep the chip in my pocket almost all the race.
- paper used in number should be of quality, at least for those from 80k and 100k. I had the number on a number belt and it broke. I placed it in my pocket because it was important.
- signaling more clearly with a phosphorescent light at the intersection of the asphalt road that starts from the "Moeciu de Sus" checkpoint with the path that passes a runlet and immediately climbs steeply. Many passed and turned away from the road, losing the entrance
- I prefer to improve others small things instead consuming paper for below diploma or the money spent on paper an dprinting to be donated