Thursday, 25 July 2013

Up an anthill** and down a mountain

With the threat of thunderstorms hanging over us as I write this and record temperatures forecast for the coming weekend yesterday was the chosen day for my annual* walk, as I call it, with my friend H. 


The second photo shows the summit we reached (via Hinternaßwald, Reißtalklamm, Naßriegel, and Naßkamm). It's the 1828 meter (5997 ft) Ameißbichl (Anthill) and it lies directly north of the Lurgbauer Hut on the Schnnealpe massif. It was at the said hut that we stopped, some 3 hours into our leisurely walk, for traditional bowls of cheese dumpling soup. 

On the Anthill

We then left the hut and walked to the summit of our Anthill. There we settled down and enjoyed our sandwiches in the sunshine. 

Maybe my wearing my favourite luminous green t-shirt was not such a bright idea for I was soon attacked by an angry bee. 

From our vantage point I was able to make out the distinctive bulk of the Gemeindealpe in the middle distance and looking in another direction the nearby summit of the Rax. I had taken part in a mountain race on the Gemeindealpe only 3 days previously (see post below).

View to the Rax

After our meal we traversed a long narrow ridge resplendent with alpine flowers and numerous anthills to reach our next landmark, the Eisenkogel (1513 mtrs)(4963 ft). As we walked along towards our next place of interest, the Kreuzsattel (1368 mtrs)(4488 ft)  my friend informed me that much of Vienna's water supply lay within the rocks which lay beneath our feet. On one side of the ridge all the land and its resources belonged to the City of Vienna and on the other side of the ridge to the Province of Styria.

 Alpine panorama

We dropped off the ridge at the Kreuzsattel and because of the accumulating clouds we decided to make our way via the Loskogerl path to Hinternaßwald (712 mtrs)(2335 ft) rather than take the path over Groß Sonnleitstein (1639 mtrs)(5377 ft).

This proved to be the correct decision for there was soon a distant rumble of thunder followed after a short while by a torrential downpour which lasted 20 minutes and drenched us almost to the skin before we could reach the Hinternaßwald car park and its bus shelter where we encountered a couple of walkers changing out of their wet clothes.

And then the sun came out.

Ascent and descent: appx 1250 mtrs (4100 ft). Distance: appx 16 kms (10 miles).

*sometimes we walk in the mountains a couple of times a year!
**it turns out that the name of the hill has nothing to do with ants, although there were lots of ants and anthills there, but with the word 'Meiß' which means 'a young forest'. This is also a strange thing because, as can be seen in two of the photos, there are next to no trees on the slope of the hill and none at all on the top.

Monday, 22 July 2013

The 9th Gemeindealpe mountain race

plenty of suncream on my sensitive area

I am planning to enter a major race in a few months time to celebrate my 65th year to heaven. All my races from now on will be training runs to build condition for a successful completion of my target race.

That is why I travelled to the Mariazell area at the weekend.

The Gemeindealpe is the mountain in the foreground in the picture behind me. I am standing near the race start line in Mitterbach at 804 mtrs (2638') above sea level. The finish line is 6.4 kms (4 miles) away and is situated on the summit plateau at 1610 meters (5282') above sea level.

I have my water bottle with me. It's a warm day. I turn my cap back to front so that the peak is protecting the back of my neck and I start slowly, a mere jog  almost. I've seen the course profile. And so I know what to expect.

I salute the nordic walkers who are also going up the mountain.

reverse hat protection and water bottle full 

A big blue bird overlooks the start area which is the finish area for the downhill 3-wheeler racing carts. Behind me is the chair lift to bring the runners back down the mountain. I shall not be needing it because I'm planning to jog down the other side to the Erlaufsee Lake immediately after the race.

The local runners look lean and hungry for the fray. There are valuable championship points at stake. One of Austria's best mountain runners, Alois Redl, is here, despite the competing attraction of the International Großglockner Race in Carinthia.

The list of previous winners of the Gemeindealpe includes the names of some notable international runners; Helmut Schmuck and Andrea Mayr for example.

one for the album

Over the first 5 kms of the race we serpentine the forest trails to reach the so-called 'midway' checkpoint at 1380 mtrs (4528'), a height gain of 576 mtrs (1890'), and then it gets tougher!

We leave the trails and slog up a narrow rocky path to the summit. Nobody is running now as far as I can see. I have spent most of my race following in the footsteps of the experienced ultra runner Leopold Eigner who is using the race as part of his training for an upcoming 100 km event. I am content to follow him over the finish line.


1 - Alois Redl 37:36
31 - Willibald Hochfellner 1M60 49:57
54 - G Williams 5M60* 61:08

64 finishers

*(no category for M65)

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Round the Lainzertiergarten Trail Race

Race organizer Walter Zugriegel put it about that I'd sneaked off to a nearby pub for a pint of Guinness midway through today's 25 km trail run around the perimeter wall of the ancient royal hunting grounds on the outskirts of Vienna and that this excursion explained my 'slow' time. Mind you, he had earlier started the rumour that America's #1 fugitive Edward Snowden had not pre-entered today's race.

Humour is a great asset. 

In the final analysis I was runner-up in the M65 age category. I duly received a suitable cup and a deliciously green chocolate pig as my reward.

The actual reason for my race time being slightly slower than I had predicted was that an unknown miscreant had placed a false direction arrow on the course at a vital point early in the race. A group of runners, including myself,  had fallen for the ruse.

Perhaps the world's most famous fugitive was somewhere about after all?

I should have followed my instincts and stayed on the trail. I had local knowledge and had completed the race, of which this was the 25th and final running, on previous occasions. I can really only blame myself for my error.

Sidetracked we hunted for markers in vain. After several minutes and perhaps a kilometer down the wrong trail it dawned on many of us that we had been sent on a wild goose chase.

We retraced our steps and regained the correct track.

This episode didn't spoil my enjoyment of the race nor from the smiles I witnessed at the presentation ceremony that of other runners.

Round the Lainzertiergarten Trail Race
24.2 kms / 660 hm  -  7/7/2013

01. O Janercek CZ 1:43:33
59. M Reither AUT M65 2:34:31
66. G Williams GB 2M65 2:49:50

76 finishers
1 dnf

It would be a good thing if a local running club or other organization could take this race on board. It has great potential.