Attila Kiss, the Roman Catholic priest of Óradna, a community of Romania, won the FISTC dogsled race that took place between 16-19 February in Millegrobbe, with a sled drawn by six Husky dogs. Read about his experience that Origo.hu also adopted:
On 15 February, after travelling for 20 hours, we arrived to a wonderful place, to Millegrobbe. It is on the top of a hill. The Stake-out was at the edge of a wide clearing. A French team was next to us. We tied the dogs and fed them. I really felt sorry for them because by that time they had not eaten for 24 hours, so I gave them twice as more food as I used to – which later turned out to be a mistake. The Sun was shining and it was 10 °C. We wanted to see the field, but the weather was still gloomy, and nobody knew how big the distance was and where the courses for each category were. By 16 February, everyone had arrived. The dogs’ microchips were checked and a list composed of the chips was handed in.
In the evening, during the march of the nations, the spotlight did not want to light. Everybody received their start number, their starting time, and it also turned out that I had to compete with Italians and French. I knew some of them, for instance Luca Castelletta, former champion. I was feeling anxious. My starting time was on 17. February, Friday, at 10.16 a.m. An Italian and two Frenchmen started before me. Two kilometres after the start line, I caught up with the French, who did not stop éven when I shouted „stop-trail” twice, so I had to overtake them in the deep snow.
Then, after six kilometres, I quickly overtook the other two teams as well, Quenette Francis and Simone de Ferrari. Then came the decisive crossroads. There we went off, and across one and a half kilometres, I was thinking whether it was a good idea. Then came those terrific slopes across three and a half kilometres. Sometimes, I felt that the leading dog would fall in my lap. He really glanced back and forth on me, as if he was saying: “This is not OK, Buddy.”
Then we reached the top of the hill. Everyone was tired. I left the dogs trop 500 metres, than I thrilled them and we were rushing to the finish line. Our time was 40 minutes 30 seconds. Then came the others, too, and I was not even paying attention to Vincent Pascal who was dropping behind with just 27.3 seconds. He started from the last place, but was the third to arrive to the finish line. Three teams got lost, so instead of 13.97 kilometres, they covered 17.8 kilometres, which took them more than an hour. So those were the first three competitors who did not get lost.
The following day, I wanted to leave the competitor following me far behind, but for some blooper, only 5 seconds were added to his time instead of 1 minute 5 seconds. They said that I had been better. There was 12 °C outside, the snow was -4 °C. At some parts of the field it was slushy but we pulled ourselves together, and again, we could manage to cover the distance in 40 minutes, 52.9 seconds. Thus, the distance between me and the one following me grew to 33 seconds.
When getting up at Sunday morning, I determined myself not to act as chance directs; I was going to talk the situation over with my leading dogs: We’ll stick it in. We have to win. That day, the two leading dogs were calmer for some reason compared to the previous days. We started off at a run at half past twelve. After 9 kilometres, the field was totally slushy, even the snow disappeared in two or three centimetres down to the soil. But we kept on rushing, so we made 38 minutes 19.5 seconds, and this became the best result. We became champions. If I am not mistaken, this was Hungary’s first world champion medal. (I represented Hungary.)
Congratulations to my dogs, for the amazing two leading dogs, Giro and Tisza, for the two juniors, Maci and Patrick, and for the two indefatigable pulling dogs, Lucky and Deamer. Congratulations to the other competitors, the French and the Italians, and for everyone who helped me to get here. God reward you for all your love.
Photos: Facebook/Kiss Attila