This racing year turned out to be quite interesting and rich and for the last race of the season, I decided to look for a suitable race, participation in which could be completed. He chose the winter mountain race "On the Edge of Winter", which is part of the Adventure Competitions Series, and last year he watched it, as it is the only winter race held in the mountains of Ukraine. but then failed to visit him. This year, it turned out to be the race I wanted to close my running season with and at the same time see what it's like to run in the mountains in winter because I haven't had such an experience yet. Well, a small bonus I can call the opportunity to conquer the winter Smotrych and Eared Stone. And as soon as the registration was opened for him, he immediately decided to register for it, and as a running adventure, he promised to be quite interesting and unusual.
You can register for the winter mountain race "On the edge of winter" through the official website of the running event - acs.ture.ua, where participants can choose one of two distances, namely 32 and 20 kilometers. In addition to the two main distances, participants can take part in a "vertical race" for a distance of 5 kilometers, which takes place the day after the main races.
The 32-kilometer route ran in one circle along the snow-covered mountain slopes near Smotrych Mountain and had two checkpoints (KP) on top of Smotrych Mountain (9 kilometers) and near the village of Dzembronya (15 kilometers). The total height was 2015 meters. The start and finish were at the same point, namely in the camp "White Elephant". In addition, the first and second sections of the trail had their own time limits - 3 hours were allotted for each section, the last section of 15 kilometers had no time limit.
This year's last running trip for me started on Friday on the platform of Kyiv railway station, where a train to Ivano-Frankivsk was waiting for me, and from there the transfer was to take participants to the starting point, namely the camp "White Elephant" a cool winter adventure awaited for several hours. Therefore, as soon as I got to the White Elephant camp, I immediately went to pick up my starter pack, settle in the camp, and change into running gear, because there was not much time left before the start of the last adventure of the season.
The most interesting thing that awaited me on Saturday started at 10 am, the start of the winter mountain race "On the edge of winter" (start for distances 32 and 20 kilometers was common), which promised to be quite an interesting winter walk in the mountains. The 32-kilometer distance could be divided into 3 sections, namely the ascent to Smotrych Mountain (9 kilometers), the descent from the mountain to the village of Dzembrotnya (6 kilometers), and the finish line (15 kilometers).
The first three kilometers of the race were on a snow-covered road to the crossroads, where the participants ran 32 kilometers to conquer the mountain Smotrych and those who chose 20 kilometers to the village of Dzembrotnya. Therefore, we can say that the most interesting thing for me began after this kilometer, namely the ascent to Mount Smotrych.
The beginning of the climb to the top of the mountain started quite easily, here we can only note that about 5 kilometers I broke a stick, which is a little upset, as I used them only during my first mountain race in 2019 - "Goverla Race" and after that I did not use them. But it was a small thing compared to what awaited me a little later.
The fun part of the trail started, about 7 kilometers, because the closer to the top, the less friendly the weather became. But despite the icy wind and frost that pierced his face and hands and from time to time fell to his knees in the snow, the movement to the top and the first checkpoint continued slowly. Finally, the long-awaited peak Smotrych, where you are greeted by happy volunteers, treated to warm tea, rest a bit, and go again to fight the wind, but at the same time with your thoughts that tell you that choosing 20 kilometers would be much easier to run, but you drive them away. , because then you will find no less fun section, namely the mountain Smotrych - the village of Dzembrotnya (6 kilometers).
The conquest of the second section, especially its first kilometers, where the participants had to walk from Smotrych to the mountain Vuhatiy Kamin, was not much easier. that for a couple of minutes someone could run here, as the tracks were very quickly swept away by snow and they were difficult to see. After the mountain Vuhatiy Kamin, the participants were expected to descend to the village of Dzembrotnya and the second checkpoint.
I managed to get to the middle of the trail route, namely the second checkpoint, 4 hours and 37 minutes after the start of the trail, and these first 15 kilometers were the hardest for me to run. And I was very happy to see the tent on the snow-covered meadow because it meant that the middle of the route was in the past and there was not much left until the finish. In addition, volunteers with warm tea and various delicacies were waiting for the trial participants. He did not linger on it for long, because he was waiting for another 15 kilometers, which led to the finish line and which he wanted to overcome before dusk.
Although the second part of the trail was easier than the first, there was not much strength left to overcome them. The final 15 kilometers of the trail were quite difficult, as it took a lot of strength to conquer Smotrych, in addition, began to remind me of my mistakes in equipment and along with you appear various negative thoughts that had to be driven away by mentioning the name of a British film in 1977. "Go forward or die" and these four words were strong enough to find the strength to move forward. But no matter how hard I tried with each kilometer that brought me closer to the finish line, there was less and less desire to run further.
Somewhere 7-8 kilometers from the finish line I was overtaken by Oleg, who removed the markings from the route, so the last kilometers were covered in great company and by various conversations and less attention was paid to fatigue, as the company was easier to overcome the last kilometers of the trail. And 9 hours after the start of the running adventure, he saw the White Elephant camp again, which meant that the last running adventure this year was coming to an end.
The winter mountain race "On the edge of winter" I remembered the good organization of the running event, and most importantly the interesting route of the race and the beautiful snow-covered landscapes of the Ukrainian Carpathians, which always accompanied the participants. The "On the Edge of Winter" trail allowed me to learn what to expect from a winter run in the mountains and what to be prepared for. And as it turned out, running in the mountains is very different from all the races that I ran before in winter, because if at the foot of Mount Smotrych was clear sunny weather, then the top was waiting for completely different weather. In addition, my own experience once again convinced me that underestimation can have a bad effect later.
I was glad to take:
- two buffs and a hat (the first buff was covered with ice until he got the first verse, so it was possible to replace it);
- two sweaters (one warm, the other windproof, which helped a lot at the top);
Did not take and accordingly in some moments, very much scolded himself for it:
- boot covers and socks (the top of the short sock turned into a kind of "ice handcuffs", which later began to rub his feet hard);
- windproof gloves (from the lungs during strong winds was almost no use);
Thank you for reading, I hope you found it interesting.
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