The invitation to join a Swiss team came from Lucas, a friend I’d raced and trained with before, who I got along with well, and who had tons of AR experience dating back to his upbringing in Columbia. And despite having another race already on the calendar two weeks later, this one I couldn’t resist. Nirvana was calling.
|Logistics and organization (although it doesn't look very organized)|
|Team Powerbar Swiss Explorers!|
The sun went down, it got dark, the rain started, and at 9:00pm on the dot we were on our way, racing through the streets of Lecco with headlamps on, map in hand and full gear on our backs. The first leg was a short urban orienteering stage which sent teams in all directions collecting five checkpoints before heading to the shores of the lake to assemble our paddles, get into our PFDs, and shove off in our kayaks for the first longer stage, a 14-km paddle southwards till the lake transformed from a massive waterway to a narrow river-like inlet and eventually to a marsh.
But the start didn’t go off as hoped for.The kayaks were not rigid but rather of the inflatable type, which are difficult to maneuver unless you’ve had some experience with them. This had Laure and David, who were in a boat together, going in circles. Lucas and I were quite a bit ahead and after about 30 minutes I asked Lucas if he could see our teammates. He replied that they were one of the three boats ahead of us. I said that I was pretty sure that they were behind us. And after closely inspecting the teams up ahead we realized that our teammates were not only NOT in the group ahead of us, but also not in the small bunch of boats behind us. We’d have to wait and let them catch up. This, of course, is part of the sport. To fruitlessly expend so much energy and then have to sit still and wait may be frustrating but it was our own fault for not having stayed close together from the start. But we knew that we weren’t fighting for the podium anyway. As a team we all have our own strengths and weaknesses, and throughout the event at some stage you have to wait for everyone. And on the bright side, even in the drizzling rain, the lake glistened under the lights of the villages dotting the hillsides. It was magnificent. There was no place I could imagine that I’d rather be.
I was exhausted, which was not typical for me this early in a race. But I knew why and was worried about it and whether I would be able to make it to the finish line. I’d been sick with Covid-19 just two weeks earlier. I had been down for about 10 days with a fever, couch, congestion and exhaustion. But I had been feeling better for about a week and figured that since all my training had gone well prior to being sick, that maybe I could fight it out and make it to the finish of this relatively short race. It wasn’t like I was huffing and puffing, but it was clear that my lungs weren’t functioning right because my muscles seemed to suffer from oxygen deficiency. I had no energy. Nothing in the tank.
|Short nap before the via ferrata|
|Cozy warm hut on the mountain top|
|All teams at the finish!|
And although I didn’t come home with a medal, I did arrive home safely with another ‘adventure’ in the books.
|Cheers and till the next one!|