28 January 2010

Winter Xdream 6

As promised, I took part of this years Winter XDream, which turned out to be a lot of fun! The terrain and nature was beautiful, especially in -29°C, when everything was white and frozen. What made the day even more pleasurable, was the great company: I teamed up with experienced orienteers Andreas Kraas and Olle Kärner. Although we had agreed previously that it would be wise not to start in extremely cold weather, we didn't even think about the cold in the morning. The nature of the event is simple: (preferably) get all the controls using your own muscles. That means you can either run, ski, bike, use a sleigh, etc. We, as traditional orienteers, chose running of course. We had also agreed, that we would consider this competition as a good training, not a way to kill ourselves.
Our team in the start
The event centre was set in Jõulumäe ski resort, where Andrus Veerpalu used to train in his youth. In the start we decided to take the 5 controls from the north and hope that the first ones going south, had already made tracks in the snow for us. After one hour into the race, we had basically only been running on narrow skiing tracks and thought that the winners will definitely be skiers this time. But in the southern part, the odds of skiers winning, grew less and less. The southernmost controls were almost untouched when we got there and the tracks were basically non-existing. Things were starting to look up for us. With good decisions and a brisk pace, I was getting more confident in winning the race. Since I enjoy hard trainings, especially in soft ground, getting the controls in the moor was rather enjoyable.

In the moor

When approaching the event centre before our last control, there was a special task, which went really well for us. The task was to make one successful slide in a game of curling. Andreas was quick about it and made it on his second try. Then it was just one last control and back to the finish. Approaching the finish-arch, the speaker was introducing us as the first finishers. That was just music to my ears - we had won the race! Our time was 2 hours and 58 minutes and our distance was roughly 29 km. The 2nd place (ski-orienteers) lost about 6 minutes and the 3rd place about 10 minutes.
When looking back at the race, I'm amazed how well I lasted through the effort and how I didn't feel cold even once during the whole 3 hours we spent on the course. It was a perfect ending for a great week of training!
Photos by Anniki Inno

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