In the mountain race “Saudehornet rett opp” by accident…
The weekend was coming up, and with an emerging inflammation in my right knee, I decided to take it easy. Sometimes, one just have to do the right thing.
But on Friday evening, my friend Terje Bergset texted me and asked me if I was up to something on Saturday. I replied that I wasn’t really, but didn’t see it unlikely that I could walk the dog up to Saudehornet. As Terje hadn’t been to this top before, plus the fact that he was training for a very hard upcoming biking competition, he wanted to come along. As I felt tired, and didn’t want to get up early in the morning, I said that we could meet in Ørsta at 11am the next morning.
When I arrived Ørsta the next morning, it didn’t take long before I understood that the annual mountain race “Saudehornet rett opp” was today and I asked when the race was about to start. “11am”, the answer was. When Terje arrived, I asked if we should find another mountain top or stick with the plan. I guess we both knew the answer. Both of us wanted to give some of the “competitors” a little bit of “hell” up on the mountain.
Terje, Karma (the dog) and I left the Amfi shopping center at 10:56am. The race started on the other side of the parking area outside the shopping center. We started walking in a fast pace and was approaching the waterworks building when the first runners overtook us. The first guy stayed in the lead all the way and did his 1300 vertical meters in 50m:22s. It’s just hard to comprehend…
More runners kept passing us. I walked as fast as I could, but with mountain boots and a dog in need for a toilet visit, it was hard to find the rhythm. Karma realized that she wouldn’t have all the time in the world for her toilet visit and gave up the idea after a while. She had her chance for a good 20 minutes down on the lawn outside the Amfi, so I didn’t really feel sorry for her.
When we reached the point where the mountain trail begins, I was well ahead of Terje and had to wait for him. I then told him that I was interested in keeping the pace up and that we would meet on top. He was OK with that.
After crossing the river, I was behind a group that I easily could follow all the way to the top. Karma had to drink, so I lost their backs for a while, but caught up with them again. Not being in the competition, I felt I couldn’t stop by the drink stations. When I thought of it, I hadn’t had water in quite some time. Last night, I enjoyed a number of beers and except for the milk with the cereal at breakfast, I hadn’t had anything to drink. But I wasn’t really thirsty either, so it didn’t feel like a problem.
When we got to the foot of the summit ridge, we had a steep 300 vertical meter pitch ahead of us. I had a guy on my tail and decided that I would not let him overtake me. I told him to yell if he wanted to pass me, but he replied that it wasn’t a concern at the time being…
I had been looking forward to this part of the route. It’s so steep that I can just let my legs do the work (long climbs), and this is what they are trained for. The pulse was not very high and I enjoyed myself. I passed a guy who was crawling and aimed for the finish line. Well, to the left of the finish line, as I wasn’t in the competition. My stopwatch showed 1h:16m:02s.
I asked a guy that I had in front of me from the river and up about his time, and he replied 1h:12m. That matched the 4 min lead Terje and I had on the rest. So I knew for a fact that if I had been part of the race, I would definitely have made 1h:12m. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I could even be looking at 1h:10m. There’s only one way to find out – join the next time.
I was approached by a couple of the other competitors who had noticed “the guy walking his dog” and asked me why I had not been in the competition. The truth was of course that I didn’t know it was today, and when that is said, I wouldn’t have joined if I knew. I have done one mountain race in my life (Skåla Opp 2014), and I swore it would be my last. Not that I embarrassed myself. The time was quite decent for a 50-year old – 1h:41m, but I was not trained for such a hard run and suffered physically for a long time. But this was different. Saudehornet is nowhere as hard as Skåla (1848m) and if I could do what I did today, plus some jogging in the beginning, with light shoes and no dog – then I think I could get an acceptable time without limping for the next 6 months…
Terje arrived 6-7 minutes later. We went up to the summit point for pictures. There was fog, but we were not completely fogged in, and at least we could see the glacier below.
No telling how Karma experienced this ascent, but she’s not foreign to the concept of a fast mountain ascent, and seemed to be quite happy when she got her usual summit reward – dog biscuits…
A bit later we started our descent. The Red Cross volunteers seemed to have an easy day at work. Down by the drink station at the Saudehornet – Vallahornet saddle, I asked if I could get some lemonade. I was told that the drinks are for everyone, competitor or not.
When returned to our cars at 2pm – 3 hours after heading out. I felt quite uplifted afterwards but instructed myself to rest the day after. Of course, I was unable to follow my own instructions and beat my personal record on a new route to Rjåhornet (598m) on Gurskøy with more than 2 minutes…
Pictures from the trip: