I relegated myself to the 'slow' group under the guidance, if not tutelage, of local man Arthur (pictured bottom). 'Slow' is something of a misnomer - I struggled to keep up at times.
We found the J50 loop a little monotonous. We covered maybe 15 km of the loppet route on our 26.5 km ski. With the ski trail being very slow today due to snow conditions on another very cold day (minus 15°C plus windchill) it was rather hard work on our waxless skis.
After 13 km Arthur enforced a coffee stop when the majority would have preferred to continue to our pre-arranged lunch stop. We watched Arthur enjoy his lunch - it was after 12.30 after all. A cold climb after that saw my electric gloves come into use again, and several of the others were suffering from cold hands.
Eventually, probably around 2 pm, we reached our designated lunch stop after nearly 21 km of laborious skiing. Using waxless skis with little glide, most of us were finding it hard going.
My lack of Czech currency meant I had no money for lunch, so I can thank Ellie for the provision of funds for some excellent noodle soup and a shared bowl of chips. Thanks.
Our little unit - Jenny, Jim, Karen, Lynda, Maureen, Ellie and me - then tried to warm up again on the final 5 km ski back to the bus. The 'fast' group had been encountered at lunchtime after their 17 km ski, and had chosen to ski an adventurous 7.5 km route back to our hotel. They got there before we did, partly because of our 20 minute bus journey and partly because we all took our skis off to avoid a large patch of steep ice on our descent route.
Sue seemed much better on our return, but didn't feel like joining the group at a restaurant in a nearby town, so we've eaten here at Hotel Biathlon. Tomato soup for Sue - better than nothing!