Final position: 49th Overall / 24th in category
The aim for us was to have fun and treat the week as a holiday, taking the time for photos and really enjoying the stunning alpine scenery but most importantly not picking up any injuries and completing the week (last year the drop out rate was close to 50%). We can now safely say that we did tick all those boxes and on top of that we finished 49th overall out of 250 starting teams which considering my preparation we were very satisfied with – although Ian was getting progressively more stressed out during the awards ceremony for the stages each day as he felt the withdrawal symptoms from not being called up to the podium himself.
The route itself was spectacular with the simplest way of describing the difficulty being to imagine running the Davos K42 alpine marathon every day for a week. Those who can’t even imagine that need not apply! Honestly – this is one of the few events I have had the pleasure to participate where without serious training/high level of fitness finishing just would not be possible. Yes, I know that I didn’t prepare specifically for the event but I do have a fair bit of high altitude (6000m ++) mountaineering experience from back in 2007 – it was just that the fitness side now comes more from riding a bike and therefore didn’t quite transfer to speeding up the mountains. The cut-offs at checkpoints are strict and enforced for the athletes safety as the route takes in glaciers, mountain passes over 3000m, snow covered steep rock and ice ascents, scrambling and sections of very exposed climbing/descending with fixed ropes. For anyone who makes the commitment I would say that the variety of terrain (from knee deep mud to glaciers to high alpine forest single track) and sheer number of cow bells it is more than worth the effort. Plus the value – at around £800 all in for flights, 8 days of racing, accommodation, food and transfers – is second to none when compared to other multi day events such as the various desert races and in my opinion the luxury of having showers at night makes a huge difference.
Posted by Oli at 9/25/2009 07:30:00 PM