Category Archives: Races in Slovakia

VMK Attempt (Východokarpatská magistrála)

About 2 weeks into the TTNV challenge I received a message from Silvo asking me if I am into some multi day stuff. The idea was to follow the red trail from Ubľa on Slovak – Ukraine border, then along the Polish border to Minčol some 240KM away. After some very short period of thinking I decided to join. With that in mind I took the last week of TTNV easier and more less rested my legs for 2 weeks later.

The first challenge was to pack for the journey. There are very limited options when it comes to refuelling on the way so no matter how hard I tried with all the food, equipment, sleeping back etc the best I could do was about 7kg heavy backpack + water. And included were for the very first time since Andorra 2019 my poles.

We started on Thursday evening around 8pm from Ubľa after about 2 hours long drive from Košice. The plan was to do the first about 30km section and then spend the night in the shelter that hopefully would be somewhere there.

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Tri týždne na vrchol – Three weeks to the top – 2nd edition

Three months ago sometimes, in January, just for fun, I joined the virtual challenge Tri týždne na vrchol (Three weeks to the top). Three weeks (21 days) long climbing challenge with very simple rules. Accumulate as much elevation as you can as long as each activity has average speed faster than 5km/hour (12mins/km). It did not go too well for me. My very first activity was nice, over 1600m, but thanks to treacherous winter mountain terrain it was too slow. So it did not count. I slowly clawed back the deficit, made it to the lead after a week or so. But then on day 13 (lucky number 🙂 ) I slipped on invisible ice, landed backside on a root and could barely walk for 3 weeks after that. Game over.

So when the second edition was announced I decided to go for it again. Of course there is that competitive part of the challenge but for me it was mainly a personal challenge – see what I can do, how high and far can I make it in 3 weeks.

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Štefánik Trail solo challenge

I never had chance to run this officially 140km long race in the past. May date was simply not working for me while I was still in Hong Kong. I signed up for the 2021 edition though. However as the 2020 one was cancelled due to Covid situation a virtual challenge was announced. Without thinking too much I signed up. All I needed to do was to run the whole route in one go anytime between June 15 and Oct 15. What could go wrong, right ?

Well quite a lot actually 🙂 . My intention was to go totally solo, on my own, without any pacers or support. Having been back for only couple of months I would not even be able to organize the support. It was much simpler to just rely on myself. This however meant to carry all I would need with me, including most of the food, quite a lot of water as well as some basic change of clothes for the train ride back home. Once I started to research the route it became clear that the logistics of food and beverages will be the main challenge. There were few places early on where getting some drinks and snacks was possible. Very few… And whether I would be able to buy something depended on what time of the day I would get there. I found online where in theory I should be able to get some water from springs along the route. I could only hope that the info was accurate and up to date.

My trusted UD backpack never carried as much stuff as this time. I could not believe how much I could actually fit in 🙂 . I had with me about 10 energy bars, pack of figs and dates and some home made rice balls mixed with salted dry seaweed. Three soft flask (2 filled from the start, one extra for later when more reserves may be needed) and one more flask with filter in case I get desperate. Then the usual primary headlamp with spare power and a back up headlamp, power bank, first aid kit, stronger waterproof jacket (I deliberately picked hot and sunny days with no rain forecasts but one never knows in the summer…), change of clothes, sports towel, sunblock, headband for the night, money, phone, route plan with potential F&B points. On the train they gave me a bottle of water. I decided to take it with me too just in case (what a wise idea it proved to be…). Poles I left home. Haven’t used them since Andorra last summer and I realized that life is easier without them – one less thing to worry about 🙂 .

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2020 – Malofatranska Stovka (MF100)

This is a weird year. When it started I was still in Hong Kong, preparing for HK4TUC and contemplating whether I should or should not cancel my registration for the 3rd Ronda dels Cims attempt (due to condition of my post-Ronda shoulder still not ideal). Six months later the world is (still) a mess, Ronda is no more, I am no longer in Hong Kong, international travel is pretty much non existent and I joined for the first time ever an ultra right in the backyard of my youth.

Remembering some hikes many years back and after few memory refreshing training runs in the hills around I had no doubts that this one will be a tough one.

I picked up my bib as instructed the day before but selected the sleep home/early morning taxi option rather than sleeping bag in the gym at the start.


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