Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Gore-Tex TransAlpine Race -- 2015.  A pre-preview.

The Alps Are Calling Me... And They Want Me To Run Really Far

Austria, Germany and Italy are like home to me -- because, from about 1971 to 1984, that's where my parents made me live.

And so, from the time I was 6 years-old, my parents would regularly take my brother Chris and me to the Alps during the winters, jam our feet into uncomfortable leather ski-boots, bear-trap boards to our feet, and send us hurtling down the mountain at unsafe speeds.

Day care, they called it.

For the next dozen years or so, we spent nearly every winter vacation in the Alps.  Sometimes, we'd stay for weeks in a remote cabin half-way up a mountain in Austria.  We'd pack in provisions and ride out the winter storms, skiing all-day, every day.

And, as a teenager, I was a member of the ski patrol for the local Sitzmarker's ski club.

So, the Alps and I have a thing.  They speak to me.  

This year, I heard the Alps speaking again.  Strangely, the Alps said that Laura and I should enter a team running event called the GoreTex TransAlpine Race.

I'm a sucker for a pretty mountain, and clicking on the race website, I saw this picture and was instantly hooked:


Laura raised no objections to this endeavor and a few short hours later, we were registered.

And a few short hours later, I decided that perhaps a closer look at the race course was in order. So I typed en.TransAlpine-run.com into my web-machine and clicked "course" to check that which awaited us.

And that's where things got real.

Here's what I found:  (For those metrically challenged, you can multiply the kilometers by .62 and you'll get miles and multiply the meters by 3.1 and you'll get feet. And if you don't do math, trust me, the vertical climbs look better in meters.)  


1. Oberstdorf > Lech34,60 k2083 m1469 m
2. Lech > St. Anton am Arlberg24,70 k1899 m2040 m
3. St. Anton am Arlberg > Landeck39,60 k2658 m3133 m
4. Landeck > Samnaun 45,70 k2861 m1829 m
5. Samnaun > Vertical sprint 6,23 k731 m60 m
6. Samnaun > Scuol 37,10 k2064 m2698 m
7. Scuol > St. Valentin37,80 k1633 m1369 m
8. St. Valentin > Sulden42,60 k2381 m1934 m

TOTAL268,33 k16.310 m up14.532 m down

Yep, 8 days, 270 kilometers.

So, to put it mildly, these last few months have been heavy with run mileage.  Even that pesky bike accident that shattered my shoulder, scapula and a couple ribs back in May only slowed me down for a few days  -- because I'm legitimately terrified of this race.  So scared, in fact, that whenever I see a mountain, I run up it or climb it -- whatever it takes to get to the top.

Yeah, I used to be afraid of heights and rusty ladders clinging feebly to cliffs, but right now I have bigger worries -- Laura abandoning me on a mountain-top in the Alps being one.

So check back for TransAlpine blog updates as we get closer to blast off on August 29, 2015.  And during the race, I'll try to shake off the fatigue each evening and post updates.