On the edge of the trail: A visit to the supply stand in Graswang during the traditional King Ludwig Run.
In addition to bananas, tea and beer.
Graswang – The door of the trailer opens.
The scent of freshly peeled oranges fills the winter air.
Sausages are steaming outside.
Fruit for the athletes, hearty food for the helpers.
At the weekend, the Graswanger fire brigade, not far from the entrance to the town, will again be taking care of the participants in the King Ludwig Run.
With plenty of fruit, with lots of tea and also with motivation.
A Saturday morning visit.
Half past eight.
The two wooden stands are still pretty bare, the paper cups wrapped in foil.
The first runners will come between 9.20 and 9.30 a.m., estimates Lukas Pest from the Graswang fire brigade.
The firefighters have been running one of the supply stands at the traditional event for around 15 years.
Sundays are busier, so there are more helpers, around 30, Pest estimates.
On Saturday it will be around 15, he says.
Supply in a hurry: Many athletes opt for the "to-go" option.
© Antonia Reindl
The material, food and drinks, will be released gradually.
In a construction trailer, volunteers are peeling oranges and bananas and cutting them into bite-sized pieces.
Around 50 kilograms of fruit.
"We also need it," says Pest.
There are also chocolate bars, also broken up into small bites.
They're hauling thermos out.
In it tea, which the helpers distribute to countless paper cups over the next few hours.
Participants often tear their sticks off
The cups are currently being set up at the two stands.
Pest rams the toe of a shoe into the wet snow.
"We have plus grades," he says with a critical look at the trail.
A chilly wind is still blowing.
Others set up another stand, a Stecken station.
They lean the spare parts against a beer table according to their size.
Pest says it does happen that sticks tear off.
He estimates five or six times.
"They started a quarter of an hour ago," says a colleague, looking at his smartphone.
It's 9:22 a.m.
A few minutes later, the women and men look into the distance.
"The first ones are already coming!" shouts one.
Picking up a couple of filled cups, it's off to the track.
Tea!” they call out to the athletes over and over again, stretching out their arms.
"Iso?" Some ask back.
Reaches for the cups, a few quick sips.
“Even the first one!” marvels a helper at the edge as the one at the head of the procession reaches for a drink.
The cups end up in the snow.
Helpers scrape them off the trail with a rake.
Lukas Pest (r.) is one of the best at the supply stand.
© Antonia Reindl
"The last ones arrive up to two or two and a half hours later," Pest says.
Some take a little more time at the supply stand and don't rush past.
A sip of tea, a piece of banana - even a short chat is possible.
One or two wrapped chocolate bars are also put in as provisions.
"Without you, we would be crawling on our gums," says a well-groomed cross-country skier before picking up his stick again.
"See you next year!" he says goodbye and pulls away.
Not everyone arrives at the aid station with two whole sticks.
A replacement is already waiting at the station.
"If things go on like this, we'll need more sticks tomorrow," says a helper after the first editions.
The hot drinks are also flowing freely: Pest calculates that around 150 liters of tea will be served today.
Same with coke and water.
"And a few would like a beer," he says, smiling.
Just now, just after 10 a.m., an athlete has a craving for hops and malt.
As soon as you order, the beer is already served.
Even if not the desired wheat beer.
"We're in Bavaria," says the cross-country skier.
At the supply stand, however, the participants are not only provided with drinks and food, but also with motivation.
When the tea in the hands is not being advertised or a tray with pieces of banana and orange is being held out, cheers can be heard.
Yellow colored ones can be found under the shirt numbers.
Participants in the World Cup in cross-country skiing for doctors and pharmacists, as one helper explains.
A man with a yellow number wanted a beer, he says and jokes: "A doctor who knows what's healthy".
And beer is also isotonic.