It’s well-known that there are uncountable potentialities for trailrunning, climbing, biking, hiking,… all around lake Garda and walking through Riva del Garda it seems that especially we Germans have occupied this area. But who knows about the fabulous peaks of the „piccolo dolomites“ left of the motorway exit from Rovereto and has had a coffee in one of the typical small mountain villages there?
3x Skyrunning EC
The first two races of the Skyrunning European championship had taken place in Canazei, so to say in the shadow of the Marmolada massive, the European titel in the Ultra distance should be given one week later at the Trans d’Havet (80km, 5.500D+) around Schio. Whereas at the Vertical Km 1000D+ have to be climbed up in very steep 2,5km (don’t think about running any more, even Kilian uses poles), at the „Dolomites Skyrace“ the 22km are cut into one long ascent up to Piz Boe (3153m) and a pretty challenging descent on loose rocks and surfing snow fields. Despite of the total different requirements a lot of athletes took part in the whole EC circle.
Now it’s enough background info 😉 After a “short“ stop at the Brenner to run up the “Wilden Freiger” (3418m, thanks Roberto for the tip even the 2000D+ took me longer than expected) I wondered that the navigation system calculated more than 1h for the last 30km from Rovereto to Recoaro Terme (a village between the finish and start). But after the first 42 „tornanti“ (= switchbacks) I realised why: This paradise for road cyclists is only accessible for Fiat Puntos or Piaggio Apes. No doubt the village with its SPA, healing water and thermal wells is more for aged and well-heeled persons but the “small dolomites” do luckily also attract a lot of sports-lover. The mineral water brand “Recoaro” is the same successful exported (but not that well-known) as the famous “St. Pellegrino” and I am very sure that everyone has already tried it in his favourite pizzaplace at home.
Less clouds – more sky!
Apart from a lot of pizza, pasta and ice cream (yes, I could finish my gelati pass and have already got 10 more stamps at the second one 🙂 for the race preparation we had a look at the middle part of the race course – at the highest point at about 2240m you really feel the same as in the heart of the dolomites: steep rock towers, loose stones everywhere and not much vegetation. As in the first world war the frontline was exactly there you can find a lot of tunnels, old gunstands and dirt roads built up mainly from general Havet who gave the race the name. On account of this actually sad reason you run almost 10% of the race in tunnels digged directly through the mountains. But it’s a really unique experience.
We also had the chance to take part at a demo test of Salomon and Suunto running a nice evening loop wit a lot of excited Italian guys – thanks! On Wednesday afternoon I got invited for a Skyrunning interview with Ian Corless from TalkUltra (I am proud of being the co-host of the latest show), the official reporter covering all the races of the series.
It was not only me who had a big problem with the starting time at 1:00 Saturday morning: Should I go to sleep or is it better to stay awake? What to eat for breakfast or is a pizza a day before enough? The excitement is already confusing the body very much but in addition to that start running at a time where I normally sleep since 1-2 hours ?!?! Leaving our hotel at midnight we funnily saw more people hanging around in bars and having a drink at the main plaza than during the day. Nevertheless on the short way to the starting area Kilian, Emelie and me felt asleep again…
Partenza gara 1:00
Shortly after the start (believe me or not, it’s was in time!) with 25°C and still blistering heat, the top group escaped from the main field in the first climb. On the summit we could see the lights of the little villages spread all over and the bright moon was showing us the way – but we could have had the exactly the same 3 hours later 😉
Whereas the ascents were really runable, the downhills over wet roots, loose rocks, slalom through bushes and big bumps were very scary in the small illuminated corridor the headlamp created. Indeed I had a little strange feeling in my stomach again (maybe I shouldn’t have the “anaconda” feeling too much or just eat bread?) however my legs felt brilliant – perfectly timed for the EC I was sure that this would become my day. No doubt the lights of Luis Alberto and Kilian had already disappeared in the dark but Cabsa from Hungary and me could follow without any problem until…
DNF – Damn, it’s Not Far?
… I slipped away in a small concentrated moment and hit the trail lengthwise – at 3:30 in the morning you are normally focused on something totally different. Our deep and strong friendship didn’t last long but without a doubt I was the loser. Feeling the blood running down my leg and not being able to walk properly any more I realised that my race was finished now. The 4km to the next checkpoint were a horrible torture – not only because of the pain but also as this would become the first DNF in my life and the podium was reachable. Thank you Andrea for your motivating words against my giant frustration! Supporting my teammates at different checkpoints was a totally new experience for me as I usually see the from the opposite perspective. Congratulation Luis, Kilian and Emelie for the great victory and all the others for crossing the line!
More thankfulness, less implicitness!
The ambulance cared about my wound directly on the course (“pocco inglese – no italiano” made the communication very funny) but in the evening it got so bad hurting that there was no way not to go to the “ospedale”: 2h waiting, X-ray, 1h waiting, stitching! Now, one day later I do also wait with 10 more patients until the orthopaedic has finished his coffee and smoking breaks and eaten his ice cream.
Of course I am very disappointed and I DON’T LIKE the current situation but maybe I become more sensible that it’s not a matter of course to stay healthy every day and be able to move outdoors. I need to become more thankful!
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