A lovely feeling to have no alarms set and to know the only deadline in the morning was the finish of the breakfast shift at 10.00am. The morning was spent in a variety of ways; some reading through JWOC Bulletin 4, others converting the sprint map to use on Catching Features, secretive photo sessions for the JWOC profile pictures and with most people connected to the internet catching up with the rest of the world.
After lunch we drove up to the Yastrebetz gondola to take the 25 minute ride. The gondola has a vertical rise of 1046 metres over the 4.8km length. The gondola travelled over the top of the embargoed relay map area (so we had to check we were able to use it) and as we travelled we tried to glean some information for what lies ahead for the relay day. The area was very steep, the vegetation lush and close to the edge of the gondola clearings there were a lot of thinnings on the ground – so coupled with the elevation of 1350m and the physically challenging terrain, the relay will be the survival of the fittest. Hopefully the pre JWOC trip to the Italian mountains will help those who had this experience to cope with the challenge. The elevation at the top of the ride was 2369m and we could look into a vast ski basin, across to Mt Musala and back towards Samakov and the plains beyond.
Tim and Toph Naughton couldn’t resist the lure of biking the 10 km descent, along the ski runs, back to Borovets – so they hired bikes and loaded these on to the gondola. Tim counting the bike ride as mountain bike training and Toph considered it passed as a suitable rest option.
On our return to Borovets, the teams explored the village then drifted back down toward the hotel for a final swim before dinner and the pre-dinner team meeting to announce the ‘start draw’ for the Middle Simulation exercise tomorrow.