26 September 2013

Tor des Géants race report Stage 5

Stage 5  Gressoney to Valtournenche  39km  2602m  D+ (11 hours 4 minutes)

I found stage 5 to be the most beautiful with two nice Cols over 2500 meter

Gressoney turned out to be a great life base with a good sleeping room where I went to directly upon arrival. I had decided to let myself sleep for two hours and I almost immediately fell asleep. For some reason my alarm did not work, but I anyway woke up after almost exactly two hours. When I woke up I decided to spend some extra time and take a hot shower and even shave myself and it was really uplifting to do this. I noticed that the chaffing between my thighs had gotten quite severe and decided to abandon the 2XU compression shorts and instead switch to North Face Better Than Naked Shorts despite them not providing any quad support. My quads felt actually quite good and I had only had transient knee pain so I took the risk in order to try to worsen the sores between my legs. I also put on new tape on my feet – in particular my right foot did not look to well any longer and I had quite substantial blisters under my little toe and under the whole midfoot. After taping it felt good, however, and I was able to run without pain on the foot.

I left Gressoney not until 7.07 am on Wednesday morning after having spent a whole 4 hours and 30 minutes at the life base. In retrospect I could probably have shortened this time, but at the time it felt I had made the right prioritization and I was really refreshed and could run out of the town. I noticed that Gressoney was a really picturesque village with really interesting Walzeer architecture and heritage. After a long flat stretch up the beautiful valley there was a brutally steep climb up to Rifugio Alpenzau. Nevertheless, it was still quite cold in the valley so the climb was quite pleasant and I felt really strong. Anyway I must have drank yet another liter of Coke at the Rifugio before continuing the climb up Col Pinter at 2776 meters. This turned out to be one of the stages during the race that I liked the most both as I was really strong, but also as it was a really beautiful stage with grassy pristine pastures, lots of cows and small nice cottages in cute mountain villages along the track.  

The beautiful village of Gressoney early in the morning

Grassy pastures on the way up to Col Pinter

You cannot be afraid of cows when running TDG

View from Col Pinter of the surrounding massivs

I reached Rifugio Crest right before noon on Wednesday and made a very short stop before starting the descent to Saint-Jacques passing plenty of summergreen ski slopes. I reached Saint-Jacques on 1.25 pm on Wednesday afternoon and again went to the toilet and this time it was a real one and not just a whole in ground. The climb from Saint-Jacques to Rifugo Grand Tournalin also went through beautiful pastures. I passed several runners through this section, among them one runner who had fallen asleep under a tree. It was first when I reached the Rifugio I also noticed that I was quite tired.

After some more pasta I went on for the final steep section up to the Col and then the quite technical descent to Valtornenche. This was really high alpine terrain and I met several climbers on the way down from having done after some summit climbs earlier in the day. If I had passed several runners during the ascent I was now passed by several runners – I had still not learned how to quickly descend even though my legs felt really fine and that was quite frustrating. There were plenty of people waiting in Valtornenche when I arrived at 6.11 pm on Wednesday evening after 79 hours and 54 minutes.

View from Col di Nana of the surrounding massivs

No comments:

Post a Comment