146 Photos - Aug 9, 2014
Photo: Ultrabug runners - June 2014Photo: We had many volunteers who even helped with the Ultrabug poster design.Photo: Oriental Carpathian MountainsPhoto: Ultrabug is an annual event which takes place in the beautiful region of Bucovina, famous for its Painted Monasteries. Here, just a normal church, on the ultramarathon route.Photo: Easter Egg. In rural Bucovina, the visitor can discover a feast of ancient traditions and customs.Photo: Living on top of the mountain is not uncommon.Photo: Haymaking is hard work, especially because the locals still use the scythe.Photo: Visitors can have themselves the opportunity to have a go at scything.Photo: Before it is built into haystacks, the hay is dried on 'parcani'.Photo: The hay is used to feed the animals, mainly the cows. The milk is collected daily and transported to dairy factories normally by a horse-drawn cart. The horses in Bucovina always have bells and red tassels.Photo: A local dairy farm - the big pots are used for making delicious cheese.Photo: Photo: View from the Ultrabug route.Photo: Marking the route was not an easy jobPhoto: Hard to believe, but they managed to drive further.Photo: An attempt to cheer up the runners after a long, steep uphill climb.Photo: We used a spray to draw the 'U' (from Ultrabug) but it rained and we had to do it again, with proper paint this time. Not an easy task for a route which is 100km long.Photo: We took advantage of every free space.Photo: The Race Director working hard...Photo: Various ways to present Edelweiss Outdoor Shop, one of our sponsors...Photo: part II. Check the axe!
Health and safety inspectors, you need to close your eyes.Photo: Accommodation is possible at a local Dutch-managed camping or...Photo: ..in one of the guest houses in the village..Photo: Here - Casa din Deal (The House on the Hill)Photo: Hearty breakfast for the organisers - they worked really hard.Photo: The emotions of the Ultrabug first start.Photo: Rolling Hills map (day 2)Photo: Shepherds' dogs - the runners were briefed before the race on how to deal with them, just in case the dogs got a bit too excited. No need to worry - all of them were very well-behaved.Photo: It's always easy (or at least easier) to run with fellow runners as company.Photo: The Witches' Castle of my childhood, now made famous by Ultrabug.Photo: Photo: The little wooden houses are used to preserve the hay over winter.Photo: The locals are proud mountain people...Photo: ...who like to keep their traditional ways of life.Photo: HeidiPhoto: The Carpathians are home to a varied fauna (bears and wolves included) but you are more likely to see a red squirrel or a deer during the race.Photo: June is a perfect time to admire the rich local flora.Photo: Photo: Check point with a nice viewPhoto: It started with a selfie (not sure about the 'kiss')...Photo: ...and...Photo: ...3 pictures later...Photo: ...we got the 'bicyclevore cow'...Photo: The first day of the race was so easy that one of the runners decided to stop for a beer, just before the finish. He got a special prize for that :)Photo: Just a few meters to the finish line...Photo: Photo: A well-deserved beer...Photo: 2HP taxi for the tired runners :)Photo: Cheering the runners...Photo: Start Day 2Photo: Not an everyday occurrence...Photo: The second day route passes Orata - a local monasteryPhoto: If running an ultra seems too much for you, there is always the option to follow the runners on a bike...Photo: We had gorgeous weather during the race.Photo: The Mountain Gendarmerie was present throughout the race to make sure that everything was running smoothly...Photo: ... but even they got into a bit of trouble :)Photo: ...and they were not the only ones...Photo: ..a bit of a scare for the race medic but at least the runners seemed to be amused by....Photo: ... the 4x4 little incident...Photo: Checkpoint in the forest: runners, walkers, organisers and even a local joined the conversationPhoto: Non-runners have the option to walk between the checkpoints at leisurePhoto: Race Director - enjoying a quiet momentPhoto: The mountain meadows are covered by wild berries: blueberries, wild strawberries, raspberries. Here the lingonberries flowers. Lingonberries are  known as 'superberries' due to their amazing health benefits.Photo: Another checkpoint with a great viewPhoto: Unique running stylePhoto: Photo: Photo: As an Ultrabug runner you tend to become a bit obsessed with the letter 'U' - just a coincidence in this case ( actually it's a T-shirt I bought from Spain and the 'U' is a bull's horns)Photo: Photo: Natural sources of water can be found everywhere in the region. The water is fresh and much better than the bottled version (also available at the checkpoints).Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: a special tree :) and a 'carpet' of blueberries - they will be ready to eat later in the summerPhoto: happy and excited to cross the finish line of the second stagePhoto: Ultrabug first edition was a great example of camaraderie and we want to keep it this wayPhoto: Photo: Photo: The race medic and one of the organisers celebrating the end of the second stage.Photo: various ways to cross the finish linePhoto: Photo: a giant pencilPhoto: The Shepherd's Hut - torture instruments (just kidding! :)Photo: Photo: Marcel - the shepherdPhoto: Our little dog - Moshu. The beer is in safe 'hands'.Photo: Traditional costumes of Bucovina.Photo: Start - last stage, 8kmPhoto: I was very brave and entered the race on its last stage. Eight kilometers may not seem a lot but I had never run more than 2km before so I am pretty proud of myself!Photo: The route of the last stage starts with a fairly steep uphill section...Photo: ...followed by a muddy descent. It's great fun (at least for me!).Photo: Even our 4x4 is full of mud!Photo: Finish line - day 3Photo: Some participants ran the whole race - 100km,....Photo: ...some only the last stage (8km) but everybody enjoyed it.Photo: My mom also worked really hard for this event but she was extremely excited by the whole thing. Here with my niece and my cousin who chopped my finger with the big axe you saw in an earlier picture. I still like her though...Photo: On the way to the Ultrabug party.Photo: The race director getting ready for the ceremony..Photo: ..we were offered the chance to wear authentic, traditional costumes. In my case with jeans and boots - not really the way it should be :)Photo: Romanian flag at the Shepherd's HutPhoto: A potential Ultrabug runner in a few years timePhoto: All participants received a carved wood medal, hand-made by a local artisan.Photo: We had a few special prizes - here the winner of the prize for the most blisters (more blisters than toes :)Photo: Let's party!Photo: Very proud of my medal, here with the mayor of Fundu Moldovei who got very involved in the organisation of the first Ultrabug and who also promised all his support for the future editions.Photo: The scouts from the local school helped with the route marking.Photo: Ultrabug 2014 - we hope that the following editions will be as exciting as the first one.Photo: All is ready for the after-party!Photo: Next to the Shepherd Hut -  a sort of chalet with decent accommodation  (considering that it's on top of the mountain, in the middle of nowhere).Photo: The party spirit was not spoiled by the rain.Photo: Photo: Photo: We started light, with traditional shepherd style cheese, freshly made.Photo: Inside the shepherd's hut, Marcel is making 'balmus' - a traditional type of polenta.Photo: The cheese and the balmus are followed by a very tasty lamb stew in a cream sauce with garlic and thymePhoto: Photo: A very talented kid, here playing the trumpet.Photo: just pretending :)Photo: Three generations. Here with my mum and my niece who's training hard for the children's mini-Ultrabug we are planning to organise in the future. I am drinking delicious home-made blueberry liqueur.Photo: A song for the lamb on the spit.Photo: Photo: A bunch of dried basil and a special sauce is used to prevent the lamb from getting dry. It worked!Photo: The kid playing the trumpet is also good at drumming.Photo: We also had barbecued lamb. Not an easy job to go through so much food :)Photo: Mujdei, Romanian style garlic sauce -  in a bucket. It was very strong, even for our trained Romanian taste buds :)Photo: Empty plate and empty Tuica bottle (strong Romanian plum brandy) - how depressing!Photo: ...But not for too long...Photo: As I said - we worked really hard at the party...Photo: ...much easier to run...Photo: But I did my best...:)Photo: Dancing with the butcher, some new moves - even the accordionist seems impressedPhoto: Domeniul Cerbilor Chalet - also one of the sponsors. More action here possibly next year...Photo: After the race, the organisers have some time to relax (close to some trenches from the WWI)...Photo: and also gather some of the ribbon used to mark the routes.Photo: the tranquillity is overwhelming but we'll make sure next year that for a few days we'll bring these mountains to lifePhoto: Me - surrounded by lovely pink flowersPhoto: Nearby - Rarau mountain (1647m), great for hiking, rock climbing and other outdoor activitiesPhoto: The international runner and supporter Ultrabug 2015 package includes a visit to Salina Turda, a spectacular Salt Mine, not far from Cluj (Transylvania). More details on our website www.ultrabug.co.ukPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Good bye from the Echos Room. I hope you enjoyed the pictures!