Another short excerpt from the beautiful 'Grand Tral di Valdigne 2011' competition, also prepared with the Weekly Monotraining technique. Book available here:
For Ultra Trail enthusiasts, Saturday 9 July 2011 there was the opportunity to put themselves to the test once again and compare themselves with the other participants in the Grand Trail of Valdigne, over a net length of 100km, for a positive difference in height of 5300 metres. A beautiful but tough race that required the crossing of 5 cols of about 2500m each. Fortunately the day was mostly ideal, with temperatures neither too hot nor too cold and the weather spared everyone from the rain for 90% of the way.
At the stroke of 8.00 in the morning, punctually as scheduled, the competition got underway from the welcoming mountain village of Morgex at an altitude of 990m. We continued on an almost flat route for 5 km up to La Salle. From here there was no shortage of the first speed 'shots' of the more inexperienced competitors, as if the race would end soon, but there were still 95 km to go! From the sixth km the first and merciless climb began up to the sixteenth km to reach Punta Fetta at an altitude of 2623 meters. Thus the line of participants began to thin out, leaving room for the competitors' breath and the noise of nature, forcing all the athletes to abandon the chatter! Going beyond the first peak, a long descent begins up to km 27 located in Planaval (1750 meters above sea level). It's difficult to claim victory for the descent that has just finished since right at the end there is a new and exciting ascent in front of all the competitors towards the second point, Col Licony at km 36 for an altitude of 2670m, a real challenge!
The landscapes leave you breathless and from time to time we manage to catch a glimpse of some details in Mont Blanc, among the cracks in the clouds. Having overcome this other peak, the objective for all the irreducible competitors is to reach the 'city in the middle', Courmayeur at km 45 on a height of 1220 meters from the sea. The welcome of the citizens and tourists of Courmayeur was exciting for everyone, making every athlete feel like a champion, thanks to the resounding support and intense applause. Here many rested for a few minutes, taking advantage of the abundant banquet present, with dishes of pasta, soups, fruit, drinks... Many unfortunately were not attentive to the instinctive trap of overeating during such a tiring race. For many, eating too much meant ending the challenge early a few km later, given the triggering of the digestive process. In fact, there were many retreats towards the Col Arp peak at km 55 at an altitude of 2751m! We are now more than half of the ultratrail and even if the fatigue gradually increases, the desire to arrive becomes stronger. A new descent towards La Tuille, 65 km at an altitude of 1447 and a new col passed, here it would again be a feast but the wisest, given the food they have just eaten, have been able to moderate themselves, also because time is precious, therefore for the most part one are limited to a replenishment of provisions in the backpack. The only point where the weather was unforgiving was the whole climb towards the Deffeyers refuge at km 74 for a net altitude of 2500 metres. The night has now come for most of the ultratrailers, making it mandatory to pay close attention to the high-altitude paths full of large stones dangerous for crooked and slipped. Some exposed sections made it necessary to exploit the chains attached to the passage near the deep cliffs. Now the cold, after the rain just spent combined with the night at high altitude, is starting to make itself felt, making a breathable jacket or fleece useful. A few 'ups and downs' immersed in the dark, many falls of enterprising athletes who hurled themselves running, armed with a certain amount of courage, in the disconnected descents. Here you finally arrive at the last point called Col Croce at 2381 meters, where another 19 km of descent will follow between pasture fields and very dark pine forests, finally reaching the village of Morgex where the finish line will be crossed at the hundredth km.
There were moments of true adventure and complicity with other exhausted athletes, as well as the utmost cordiality on the part of the organizational staff distributed in the various supply and control points.
There were many participants, coming from 21 different nations, giving a global touch to the event, reaching 321 members in the distance of 100km (alternative versions of 55km and 20km were organized at the same time), of which only 231 reached the finish . This indicates the difficulty of the Valdigne Grand Trail. The first qualifier (Clap Cesare) crossed the finish line with an extraordinary time of 12 hours and 03 minutes. While the last in 27 hours and 44 minutes, thus returning within the time limit of 28 hours imposed by the regulation.
As for my personal participation, I had estimated a maximum time of 20 hours, which in the end was improved with satisfaction, completing the Grand Trail in 18 hours and 44 minutes, reaching 72nd in the general classification and 20th in the age category.
Below is the detail of the reference links related to my ultratrail and trail
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