mercoledì 5 luglio 2023

UltraTrail, 72 km a 'Le porte di pietra' 2011 - Italy

UltraTrail, 72 km at 'Le porte di pietra' 2011

Stock photo, taken from the 2012 edition of the same race

On Saturday, May 14, 2011, at 8:00 a.m., the UltraTrail race 'Le porte di pietra' started in Cantalupo Ligure (Al), covering a distance of 72 km. Although not an extremely long distance for this type of competition, it was challenging due to the difficult terrain with steep climbs and continuous rugged descents.

After the first 4-5 semi-hilly kilometers, which thinned out the compact group of starters (over 300 athletes), the first steep climb began, imposing a vertical gain of over 500 meters in approximately 2 km. Subsequently, there were more alternating ascents and descents, and at the 16 km mark, participants reached a new peak called 'Bric Camere' at over 1000 meters, immediately followed by a steep descent. The landscape, predominantly wooded, passed beneath the athletes' feet as they had nearly completed the first third of the journey. The group was significantly reduced here, and the less experienced athletes had already depleted their energy due to excessive, uncontrolled speed, while the more 'seasoned' ultra-specialty athletes had managed their resources for the subsequent, tougher sections.

After passing the water supply point at the 22nd km, the ascent towards the first peak (Monte Antola) at almost 1600 meters began, transitioning from the forest to green high-altitude meadows. From there, they continued for nearly twenty kilometers at high altitude, encountering steep ascents and descents rich in rocks that tested their joints. Finally, they reached the main peak of the race, Mount Ebro, at 1700 meters. Tenaciously, they proceeded through another steep descent, followed by a few kilometers of 'calm,' ultimately reaching the last long and entirely unpaved descent at the 63rd km, which finally led to the finish line at the 72 km mark. The finisher's T-shirt (an ultra trail tradition dedicated only to those who have accomplished the feat) awaited every athlete at the finish line, marking the first of a series of personal rewards that characterized this beautiful and challenging competition.

It should not be forgotten that this 5th edition of 'Le Porte di Pietra' will be remembered for the presence of all the top Italian athletes in the discipline, who came to Cantalupo Ligure for the official presentation of the Italian national team participating in the Ultra Trail World Championship in Ireland in July.

The triumphant arrival, for the third year in a row, was in favor of the Trentino champion of ultra trail, Silvano Fedel, who completed the race in the extraordinary time of 7 hours and 21 minutes.

Regarding my personal experience at 'Le porte di pietra,' I can affirm that it is undoubtedly one of the most exciting races at the national level, where the difficulties present in much longer events are condensed into 'only' 72 km. It certainly represents a formative step for athletes wishing to participate in competitions with a higher number of kilometers in the mountains. Surprises were not lacking, as in my specific case, I had estimated a finish time of around 9 hours, considering the average speed I had maintained on other occasions. However, my prediction was proven wrong due to the peculiar nature of the course, which resulted in a finish time of 11 net hours. This teaches that ultra trail is a sport too full of uncertainties to make reliable predictions...

Addition on 25-06-2023: I add to this text written in the 'bygone years' the note that this event was also
prepared entirely using the Weekly Mono Training technique, and although the book had not yet been published, it was already being developed in 2011. I enjoy revisiting these old texts to recall all the steps that led to the creation of my method for safely preparing for long-distance walks...

Go to the 2012 edition of Le Porte di Pietra - HERE


Below is the detail of the reference links related to my ultratrail and trail articles:

Very long distances | Routes | Competitions | Solo adventures | Publications | Training strategy |
UltraTrail eBook  


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