And what’s the best way to learn a new sport? Sign up for a contest! So yesterday marks a few premieres:
– first time ski touring
– first skiing contest
– first time skiing at night
– first time I drop out of a contest
The contest was held in Poiana Brasov and started a little after 5 pm. Most of the 30 or so competitors went off running towards the base of the slope. Meanwhile, I was strolling, getting used to my boots. I didn’t want to finish last and that meant overtaking the elderly woman in front of me. Easier said than done. I was incredibly slow, struggling to push my skis up the slope. I finally overtook her when she had some skin problems. I saw her again after the end of the race and it appears she managed to overtake me while taking a different route climbing.
For most of the contest, I was alone. I kept on climbing, with a layer of ice forming on my jacket and pants. My water bladder froze, so I put it inside my jacket. The wind was pretty strong, a little towards I-can’t-stand-up in some areas. The water cannons were on full strength and it felt like in a snow storm. There was little visibility. making it scary on the descents:
Yet, in sections without cannons, I got some pretty awesome views of Poiana Brasov, with the lights outlining the fast moving clouds:
The contest started with a big climb (700m), followed by two smaller ones (300m each). During the first small climb, with no more water, food or energy left, with the growing wind and decreasing temperatures, I thought it was best for me, as well as the volunteers waiting at the checkpoints, to call it a night. I reached the finish just in time to catch the awards ceremony. I was 19th in my category. Out of 19. On a positive note, it’s the first time I get in the top 20.