4-Trails Stage 1: 10.07.2013 (Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Ehrwald, 36,3 km, 2410 HM)
Report / Review / Laufbericht
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What a day!
Start was at 10:00 a.m. in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Since drop-off for the bags was at 8:30 a.m. we had lots of time to spent in the starting area, which was not a problem, since the weather was fine and enough interesting people were at hand, to talk to or to simply look at and talk about…
At 9:30 a.m the rucksack control opened and the obligatory equipment was checked. At exactly 10 o’clock the race was started and we followed the streets leading us fast out of Garmisch to the „Hausberg“. Luckily the train was in time this year – it just passed with us being 400 meters away. So no one had to wait. :o)
A few meters behind the railway the first ascent starts, leading up 600 meters of elevation. The gain of this height is quite fast, so most runners – including me – convert to speed hikers, since hiking is more economical than slow running. In addition to the steep slope, the sun was beating on our heads, and my heart frequency went up to 180 bpm quite fast…
To take poles with me was the best decision ever! Very efficient in pushing up the hill and likewise great in giving support on steep or slippery downhills!
400 meters of elevation achieved I thought: „Why am I doing is?!“. The question remained unanswered for the moment… Reaching the junction at 600 meters of elevation gain I let out a „Yoohoo!!!“ since the next few kilometers were a descent of 200 meters of elevation, which was quite acceptable at that point of time… ;o)
After those kilometers of downhill on a forest road we should have reached food stop 1. I was a little irritated that there was no food stop, where it had been last year. Just some crew member wanting us to take some water from a trough. I rejected, since I needed no water and had plenty of iso and food in my backpack.
As I later heard, the guys of the team responsible for food stop 1 did not find the right location and mistakenly set everything up on the alternative bad weather track. Mistakes happen, every participant should have had enough food in the backpack and conditions were equal for all runners. So this was not nice, but in my opinion should not be a reason to complain ongoing. Moreover Plan-B excused for that mistake during the pasta party in the evening and announced to have an additional water station on tomorrows tough stage, which is much more important and helpful! Thanks for that idea!
We moved on through the Partnachklamm climbing a steep single trail, heading for Längenfelder valley station. Another ascent of 600 meters of elevation… This single trail seems to have no end. Helpful was my altimeter, which precisly gave me the amount I still had to climb.
By reaching Längenfelder valley station the first long and technically challenging descent down to Hammersbach starts. A great trail leading down 900 meters of elevation. As I ran down there, I knew the answer to my question „Why am I doing this?!“. The answers are: Great scenery, and awesome downhills. With my poles I had no problems with steep or slippery parts. Other runners had, which was clearly visible by their mostly mudbrown butts… ;o)
In Hammersbach I reached a makeshift water station. I drank nearly 1 litre of water and emptied some cups over my bean… I went on in direction of Eibsee where food stop 2 was waiting for me. Hopefully! ;o) I hate that part of the race. The ascent of 200 meters seems to never end.
As I reached food stop 2, I had my food stop favorite dish: Melons. And I had lots of them! ;o) After a quick refill of my backpack with iso, and another litre of water, I went on heading for the Austrian border. To reach it, there are another 600 meters of elevation gain to overcome. Puh, was I exhausted making my way up there – this was the toughest part of today’s race for me.
A few hundred meters after crossing the border, a steep descent down to the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn starts. My muscles were a few times close to cramps, but after going down a while, the tension in my upper legs was gone.
Reaching food stop 3, I had a chance to eat more melons and drink another litre of water. It is a phenomenon how fast water is converted to sweat… ;o) Normally this is a good place to quit the race, since the next ascent wents up a steep ski run gaining 200 metres of elevation again. Hey, why am I doing this?! ;o)
As I learned last year, ski runs are made for skiing, not for trailrunning… I have to tell Plan-B about my ski run allergy and about most runners getting ugly pimples by having to run on ski runs… ;o)
On top of this ski run the track follows another ski run down to Gamsalm. From there it is just another gain of 100 meters on a forest road, and then a trail with many ups and downs and many slippery roots until Ehrwald is reached, and a few streets finally lead to the finishing straight.
5:34:52 h. Nearly 5 minutes faster than last year. But lets see how my legs will work tomorrow fighting 45 km with 2.800 meters of positive elevation gain. Crossing Grünsteinscharte at 2.300 and Tschirgant at 2.200 meters…
If you are interested, you may have a look at my heart-frequency-chart. Obviously I was a little bit to fast in the beginning of this stage. Marathon at an average of 172 is normally possible, but not at 4-Trails…
Exhausted: a bit
Aching muscles: no
Walking: no problem
Stairs: no problem
See you Sebastian, Ehrwald