Some Races on the Continent
(or how to grow old gracefully ! )

World Masters 2008 Dolni Morava
Held in the far corner of the Czech Republic near the Polish border which perhaps explains the relatively low UK turn out. For me, car from Italy to my daughter in Bavaria then train to Munich, overnight bus to Prague then another 4 hour bus to Kraleky and finally a hired mountain bike due to the sparse local buses to the course. For Keith a 200km tandem ride from Prague!
The course of 9.9Km had 700m total climb and 100m descent in bits and pieces with only two shortish steep parts. Three Germans and the Czech winner went off like greyhounds over the first kms of meadows ,roasting hot, but managed to pass the remaining German in the last Km to finish 2nd over 70.
Alex Menarry was 1st over 75 and Keith Burns, recovering remarkably fast, 14th in the over 65s.
Brian Waldie on the podium - Silver Medal at World Masters Over 70 ! Alex Menarry gets gold in o75 Brian on the climb Keith Burns at the World Masters

Iscarex Grand Prix
Held the next day on a real mountain course, 13 Km and 963 m climb to finish in the mists on the Polish border. Having travelled so far it was worth the extra 5 Eu to have a go . Sponsored to over £3,000 by Iscarex a machine tool company and several others including Holba beer!.Much cooler but still a fast first few Km over the same meadows.The last few a long climb on rocky tracks where I passed Jiri Libri yesterday’s gold for 1st over 70, breaking his over 70 record in1hr 24 .
Stuart Symington,Keith’s friend from Dunbar, was 7th in the over 50’s in1;14. Keith
1:35 and Alex 1:51 but no over 75 category this time. A long cold jog down to the buses with blaeberries for refreshment the hills here and yesterday being covered.
Iscarex Grand Prix
An evening street race,8km around the local town. 40th of 160 of all ages! and the prize for the oldest.The usual extensive range of sustenance after races in Italy with the addition of seasonal hot chestnuts ( Castagne ).

Rampa Paganella
Something different next day, a continuous climb of 2000m over 12 Km to finish at the top of Paganella overlooking Trento and the Brenta Dolomites. Snow lying above 1400 m whereas in 2006 it was stifling hot. Again battling with stick people on the steep narrow first 1000m but gained more places later on the snow despite not having sticks.Finished in1hr 52mins. Only 2 mins slower than last time so the lower temperatures perhaps compensated for the slithering in the snow. 74th of 180 finishers and 1st over 60. Great 2nd breakfast at the top after four restoros with hot tea on the climb!.Fabulous views of the Brenta then a long jog down the ski slopes to a sit down meal.
Italien fell running !

Brian Waldie



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