24 September 2013

Tor des Géants race report Stage 3

Stage 3  Cogne to Donnas  44km  3348m  D+ (11 hours 47 minutes)

Only one Col during the night of the third stage

In Cogne I quickly got my drop bag and found a bed in a corner of the big sleeping room in a large gymnasium. I put on some ear plugs and an old eye cover of the same model you get at transatlantic flights. I also found an electric outlet in a wall where I could charge my mobile phone. To my own surprise I fell almost immediately to sleep after having set the alarm on the clock for one hour. When I lay down to rest I noticed how painful my legs really were and despite putting on a thick blanket I almost had chills when I lay down. Again, the body has amazing healing mechanisms and I woke really refreshed after one hour. I changed some clothes for the night, ate a dinner consisting of the same things as I had had for breakfast and then went on again at 5:01 pm after a stop of 2 hours and 16 minutes. This time I did not forget to bring my Sony Walkman Sports mp3 music player. When leaving the life base in Cogne I noticed my place in the field for the first time and I was surprised that I was among the first 150.

Powerwalking out of the idyllic town of Cogne along a beautiful river I catched up an American,  Arthur Morris, who also had finished the shortened race last year. He had done so together with Stefan Andreazzoli, the first Swede to complete TDG and we chatted along as we started the comfortable climb up to Rifugio Sogno di Berdzé. I had some pain in my ankles and Achilles tendons in the most steep sections, but at this point in the race I had learned that this pain probably was transient and after a while the pain abated again. We reached the Rigugio right before it got dark and I got the most wonderful broth soup with pasta and plenty of local cheese.

Beautiful walk up to Rifugio Sogno di Berdzé
Arthur decided to sleep at the Rifugio, but as I had slept in Cogne and intented to stick with my plan to sleep at the low altitude in the life bases I went out for the second night on the mountains. I again ran in only my Marmot Essence jacket as there was almost no wind and still not very chilly. Leaving the Rifugio there was a quite steep, but short climb up Fenetre di Champorche at 2871 meters. I felt really strong in climbing and did this time not become nauseated at all due to the altitude. It was also really motivating to be able to listen to music when climbing; I put on some Italian pop music and it felt that in a blink I was at the col starting the descent. It turned out to be a quite long descent to Donnas with the trail weaving in and out of towns. It felt quite painful to run downhill and I started to curse all small stones in the path making a normal running stride impossible and I started for the first time also to feel some pain in my feet and toes due to all stones. The last part of the track was running through the towns of Hone and Bard before a long stretch into Donnas which I reached just before sunrise at 4.48 am on Tuesday morning after having been out for 42 hours and 31 minutes.

Forte di Bard during night

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