Someone rightly suggested that the name of the Medias Medieval Marathon should be changed to Mudieval. Except for snow, there was something for everyone: mud, sun, heavy winds, scary clouds, torrential rain and hailstone… Our friend and fellow mountain biker, Mihai Constantenec, tells his story of that day of extremes:
I finally manage to squeeze in somewhere in the back of the start line. Oh well… it wouldn’t be the first time. And here we go, I start overtaking many of the guys, but when I reach the mud, there are still many more before me. Not a surprise. So, I pick up the bike and start to run, hoping my biking shoes will find some grip in the slime. The effort takes its toll on me, but I finally reach the observatory and hop on the bike again. It goes pretty well, not too much mud. And then downhill…. speed! Ooops, it’s not going as well as I expected, I start skidding and decide to slow down a little, or I might eat some mud.
From here on end I keep on going – the marathon is 80 km long – I do pretty well on the climbs and relish in the descents. I overtake and am at the same time overtaken. Finally, in one of the check points I find out I’m the 18th. Many participants fall victims to the mud, but I survive, till finally the bad luck catches up with me too, and I find out I’ve got a flat tire. I take a deep breath and start to fix it. Contestants pass by, but I still think I can regain the lost time. Finally, I’m almost finished. And then, the valve breaks. I too start to deflate. More cyclists pass by, most of them are sympathetic. I do a patch up job, just to keep me to the finish line and decide to get going. Not so soon, though, one of the breaks comes loose so I need to tighten it back. I get on the bike eventually and hope the snake bite will elude me.
I get back in the saddle, re-find my rhythm, and my muscles start to respond once more. I get to another check point and find out I’m number 41 now. So, I push myself harder and I get into the flow. I feel good and really enjoy the ride. Still a lot to go, up and down, up and down, while dark clouds start to hover above us. We finally reach the Medias Citadel. Only now I notice it started to rain. Quite heavily. Then there’s lighting and I begin to contemplate my after life. Anyways, the rain washes away the mud and things get actually better. I don’t even bother to put on my rain cover, I just enjoy the sensation. Finally, the last climb, on the bike and off it. I have muscle cramps, the rain is pouring down on me, but I keep at it and finally reach the last descent. Everything is going just right. Speed, adrenaline, speed… I see the finish line and finally I cross it, the 23rd. There was mud, bad weather, hunger, muscle cramps and stomach pains, bike troubles – but in the end all I was left with was the joy of the ride.
And here are some photos from our local correspondent, Christi: