Jizerská Padesatka

25. My Worldloppet-triathlon through the woods of the Jizera Mountains

by Arne Zlöbl

First 7 km cross-country skiing

My brother Tristan, a former elite skier, motivated me, a former footballplayer, to join him to the Jizerska 50 in Czech Republic. As I am open-minded for every adventure and I have had heard about super cheap and delicious Czech beer I quickly was on board. Even tough I was not really into cross-country skiing before, especially not in classic technique. But Tristan promised me proper material and his support over the 50 km and this is how I ended up on 7th February 2020 at the starting line of the Jizerska 50 in Bedrichov.

In a borrowed racing suite and with the race skies he prepared for me, I looked like all the others and nobody would had counted me as a marathon skiing greenhorn. With 5000 starters, the beginning pace of the race was quite comfortable. The guidance of my brother helped me a lot and at the first feeding station after 5 km I was confident, that I will finish this race. But 2 km later, after a strong lunge, suddenly, I saw my right ski sliding with a good speed straight ahead, but without me… The sole had broken off my boot. Of course, I was not able to ski on and I started to cause trouble: The tracks there were quite narrow, and thousands of skiers wanted to pass me.

16 km snowshoeing

Since Tristan couldn’t help in this situation neither, we decided that he should go on and race his own race and I would try to make it to the next feeding station, in order to find help. So, part two of my triathlon started: 16 km snowshoeing!

With my skies and poles in my hands and lacking a sole on my right foot, I marched through the woods on the track, always looking out to not cause trouble for passing skiers. Finally, after two hours, I made it to the feeding station at km 23. Totally tired and with soaking wet feet. The staff there was very friendly, offered me tea and bananas, but they didn’t understand my desire. I showed them my broken boot and tried to pantomime, but we couldn’t understand each other. So, I tried my luck on my own to find help. Which is not an easy task in the endless woods of the Izera Mountains, but somehow, I found a small inn. Confused faces checked me out, walking into the inn in a racing suite and bib. And again: Huge language problems. I guess there in these deep woods nobody really had known about a popular skiing race taking place. Somehow, I was able to convince a young man coming with me to the feeding station, where a very helpful staff member helped me to explain my misery.

23 km by jeep

Skeptically, in first place he agreed to drive me back to Bedrichov. I followed him to the parking place where we got into a huge Jeep, packed with chainsaws, axes & other tools. This is where the 3rd part of my triathlon started: 23 km by jeep, next to a lumberjack who couldn’t understand me. But this was definitely the most pleasant disciple of this day’s triathlon. At the finish I also found my brother again, who was able to finish the race in a quite good time, once he got rid of me. I will definitely keep on my mind this adventure at the Jizerska 50. It motived me to do more Worldloppet races coming season: Jizerka 50, I’ll come back!

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