What a race!
After 24hrs of running, hiking and crawling over the 121km and 7550m of elevation course through the Italian Alps/Dolomites, I eventually crossed the line in 18th at the Suedtirol Ultra Skyrace.
The race itself is a top international event, attracting professionals and amateur nutters from around the globe. Not to mention one of the most demanding and spectacular course.
My race was interesting, quite similar to my first 24hr MTB race where I thought I had studied up enough on "how" to race but still made a lot of rookie errors; from loose light batteries to not securing my trail poles in my bag. Not to mention pacing errors. (Tip: Don't attack in the first kms of an Ultra marathon).
The race kicked off at 8pm and the first 10km went up 2000m of elevation. I found myself on the front for the first few kms as we wound our way out of Bolzano. I was in the front group of five but after a few hours was cooked from the "power hiking" up the steep ascents. Due to the steepness, both up and down, there relatively wasn't too much running.
Throughout out the night there was plenty of rain, lightning and fog, and I dropped back to outside the top 30. I paced myself and focused on getting plenty of food and drink in, with the plan on coming good the back half of the race.
Daybreak at 2800m in the Dolomites while running across the ridge lines was quite a sight and with it a sense of energy. I started to work my way back through the field but still plenty of lows and highs. At one feed station at around the 80km mark, I saw that there was only 9km to the next feed station and was keen to power to it.... only to be informed: "yeah, that will take you about 3hrs" (and it did!)
The last 15kms was flat and downhill back into Bolzano and I was able to finish well enough to pass a few more runners and get myself into the top 20.
Now a few days recovery before getting back on the bici to prepare for the back half of the season, which is shaping up to be just as good as the first half!