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The Dark Combo Trek League – all good things come to an end (or to a break) :)

Wohooo, it’s Wednesday, meaning the Dark Combo Trek League is tonight! No, wait! NOOOO!!! 🙁 I won’t be twig-caressed, my feet will not be wet anymore, there’s no more leaves-swimming, no more boring geeky macadam road, no more sliding towards a stream, no more trails to be missed, no more trees to be kissed…

Don’t tell me it’s already been seven weeks since my very first JGL, the night Markuševec race; was I hanging off of Brezak exactly a month ago, was feeling deadbeat towards the uphilly Tusti top 3 weeks ago, redirected off the all too well-known Bikčevićeva trail (believe it or not! :)) 2 weeks ago, and last week I ran in my hiking boots, having realized after 5 months that my running shoes are not good for my circulation??! Oh yes, miss, this is soooo possible. All good things come to an end…or to a break until 2019. 🙂

So, let’s sum up.

MK, 5th round, Wednesday 24.1.2018 (Grlo/Glog-Tusti top-Cer (lower top)-Grafičar)
This race was explored the Sunday before, was planning to be pushed by my better half so that I can give my best. Yeah, did not happen. 🙂
I dragged my a.. on the uphill Blue Cave-Tusti Top, was smiling on the outside, crying from the inside, and was repeating my standard mantra:



for me!
Well, now I deserve a pizza! 🙂

(Photos by Matej Ivančić)

I repeated the very same wordings at the race, and the situation was made harder with all those headlamps that had already been ascending the Cer top. Come on guys, how do you do it, what planet are you from?? At the finish line, I was a bit sad, as, watch this – we didn’t get lost, everything was going smoothly, and #thistimewearenotlast… Say whaaaat?!? Oh yeah! 🙂 Still, a strange feeling in my gut…after all, I am chasing the last place in the league. 🙂


MK, 6th round, Wednesday, 31.1.2018 (Parking lot Bliznec-Sawmill-Tiger’s Eye-Snow Queen)
This was a nice night walk on Bikča, the trail all too well known to us…but we managed to turn before the spot where we had to redirect anyways. 🙂 Talking does wonders. 🙂

MK, 7th round, Wednesday 7.2.2018, Morning Gelender League
The nature has finally decided to give us a genuine dark combo feeling – from what I’ve heard, the darksters were greeted by a minus, ice and snow in the past years. That morning, I woke up at 4AM, I looked through the window, and returned to bed… “Ok…I’m getting up now. I so am. It doesn’t matter it’s snowing It-t-t-t’s not-t-t-t that-t-t-t c-c-cold. What do I need this for? Who am I proving anything? Oh, it’s so warm under the cover… apchew! Oh! I might be burning! That seems a legit reason not to reach Sljeme top at 5AM in the morning (not!). You’re not burning, stop talking gibberish, get up!” And…5 seconds later…:)

…I put on two pairs of tights, 3 shirts, two pairs of socks, hiking shoes, a jacket, gloves, buff to cover my mouth, fleece band on my head, fleece cap on top of the fleece band, jacket hood on top of the fleece cap…got out and…got so hot! :)) But I wasn’t even considering removing any of it, not a chance, I would sweat even more! And so I was hopping to the centre of Zagreb, at 5 AM, up to the meeting point with my Butterfly, to make it to the 15-min earlier start (for us, the slow ones :)).

Nothing could ruin that the-school-is-off!! day from long ago at school, when there would be snowing in my hometown of Split every now and then… 🙂

And at the trail, just as you think your cerebral loudmouth is sleeping, she just happens to wake up:
– walk upright; run a bit; how long is this going to take, the trail has extended a bit, hasn’t it?!
– come one, you might tire yourself a bit, right?
– move aside for the people faster than you!
– don’t wait too long on the side of the trail
– you will play with snow afterwards
– why is she not wearing a cap?!
– wow, everyone is in their flow state
– you still don’t know how to use the borrowed Garmin. 🙂

Time: 17 min longer than the month before. I wonder how much of it objectively went to the snow, how much on playing in the snow and how much on thinking about the snow. 🙂

MK, 8th round (Talani-Zavurt-Mrzlak-Grafičar)

The exploration activity for this round was really cool. So cool that we didn’t need half of it. 🙂 The weather conditions changed the start point so instead of the explored Koprivnjak (that very same Koprivnjak that during the exploration of the 3rd round took me all the way to the barbed wire of the Vrapče shooting range), the CP1 was on Zavurt.

Where the h… is Zavurt??

Never mind, the best thing about this race was indeed this (unecessary) exploration where the Butterfly, the Torch from Blatersa 🙂 and myself enjoyed the joys of snowing, with home-made  winter leggings (as we didn’t have gaiters), we would get lost on marked trails, all of this under the “you can’t see anything due to snow” excuse. 🙂 Oh and your girl from the marine Dalmatia was given a demonstration on how a car can snowslide. Not funny, Torch! 🙂

Home-made winter leggings make your 10-minute best trail map search a piece of cake! 🙂 (And, of course, you will not take that trail at the race. :))
The happy cow was unaware at the time that the CP will not be at that spot at the race. 🙂


Marked trail my a..!
Where’s the mark??!
She spotted it!
Love is in the air (or on the tree!)
This is going to take a while, I’m outta here!

(Photos by Daniel Linšak)

And after all of this, there was an announcement the day after that the start of the race and the CP1 are to be changed. I had to take Xanax. (Kiddin’!) 🙂
The race was all too standard – everyone took the right, we went straight. 🙂 The longer routes took us to CP2, and I really started to hate that uphill towards Grafičar…there, I said it! 🙂

And at the finish line, mixed feelings.

I guess this is what happens with things that fill you heart, relax your mind, strengthen your spirit, but exhaust your body.

This whole Combo will be most remembered by that Wednesday of 17 January 2018, 4th round, when a fellowship of five jolly girls tried to reach the finish line, walking across the weird, inclined routes, and enjoying the process, no matter its difficulty.

As when you think you’re lost, that there is no way out…you are not alone. And there will always be someone to give you good laughs. Either a jolly fellowship or you yourself.

What about conclusions and lessons learnt?
1. Train: uphill, uphill, flat, downhill, uphill, uphill, uphill, oh have I mentioned uphill?
2. Learn: orienteering
3. Treat (sustained) physical pain: knees, strained groin, heel pain, pain in joints, left foot toes, circulation…buuu freakin’ huuu…go at the pool, do some yoga, and you’ll be feeling well in no time! 🙂
4. Lose at least part of this 10kg bag of stones that I have been carrying with me all my life…my joints and knees will be thankful.
5. Last but not least: give an answer to the question “Why don’t I ever give my maximum at the races?” (A topic for some other blog post – when I find the answer and change the pattern.)

And how did I end up at the Dark Combo League in the first place, and why do I need this? I will just quote Albert Einstein:

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”



See you next year! 😉


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