TransAlpine Run 2016 – Stage 4

This is part 7 of a series detailing my experiences travelling to Europe and completing the Gore-tex TransAlpine Run. The TransAlpine Run is a 7-day stage race from southern Germany across Austria and into northern Italy boasting a distance of 250 km and elevation gain of 15000 m. Eight of us traveled there together as Team Ultra Crazy to attempt this huge goal.

Mandarfen-Pitztal to Solden

25.7 km | 1887 m ascent | 2214 m descent | 7 hour cut off

It’ll be cold, they said. It’ll be 10 degrees down here and 4 degrees at the top, they said. I would soon regret dressing in long black pants and a black t-shirt.

Stiff and sore from our nearly 50K day, we went through our usual routine of getting dressed, packing our bags, and helping ourselves to the hotel breakfast. From there we walked over to the start line.

The first corral was released at the shot of a cannon which scared the sh*t out of all of us. It was really loud and not very far away. Shortly after, it was our corrals turn to go.

Chris and I ran hard off the start to get a good position in the bottleneck. The sun beat down on us and I warmed up instantly. I already regretted my clothing choices and for most of the day, I could only just barely stop myself from stripping down and running pantsless. I desperately hoped that the temperature would drastically cool as we climbed upwards.

After a steep few kilometres we came to a small lake that we ran around. It was accessible by gondola so there were a few tourists walking around. It would have been a great place to spend the day, but unfortunately we had places to be.

We were treated to a short downhill and had to traipse between more cows at the bottom. There was a bit of singletrack before we came to a dirt road and the first aid station. From there we were going straight up to the glacier.

I was relieved to find that the “dangerous sections” of this day seemed way less sketchy to me than the previous day. There were some rope sections that you could have got through without the ropes but having them made you feel a little more secure.

The trail was very narrow and there wasn’t much opportunity to pass anyone. As we got closer to the top I worried about time. It never seemed to end. When we finally reached the top but there wasn’t much time to celebrate as we had to get down to the next aid station. I didn’t think we’d make the cut off but since they had changed one the day before I figured we just had to be close. There were still a number of people around us … and they wouldn’t cut us all off would they??

The original race route took us onto the Solden glacier but we were told it wasn’t safe due to crevasses so they had to re-route us. We headed down a snowy stretch which they had covered with white mats. A string of us runners shuffled all down holding onto a rope. I was super slow and I held up some people (sorry!).

We made it through the aid station, albeit a little after the cutoff. It was all down hill from here! … supposedly. There was another stretch of uphill before we’d cruise all the way to the finish line.

I took the downhills slow (as if I have any other speed) and Chris patiently waited for me. Runners passed me but I didn’t care. We had lots of time now.

Chris and I arrived at the finish line with a time of 6:39.43,3. Hailey, Eduardo, Kyle, and Ward were already there and Dayna and Courtney finished shortly after us.

That night we all stayed at a really nice, modern hotel called the Backelar Wirt.

More in the series:


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