4-Trails Stage 2: 11.07.2013 (Ehrwald to Imst, 45,3 km, 2723 HM)
Report / Review / Laufbericht
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Toughest stage of my life!
With crossing of Grünsteinscharte and Tschirgant at Haiminger Kreuz, the 2nd stage of the 3rd Salomon 4-Trails was doubtless going to be a tough one. Nearly 45 km with 2.900 meters of positive and 2.800 meters of negative elevation. Starting in Ehrwald and ending in Imst.
My legs still felt good and so I hoped to get this stage done within 7 hours or probably 7:15 hours…
The stage was started at 7:00 o’clock. On the one hand, I hate those early bird stages, but on the other hand there is no other way to avoid some of the sunny day’s heat and to give slower starters the possibility to finish with daylight.
From Ehrwald we started in a bearable but not always runnable slope 600 meters up towards the Ehrwalder Alm, located amidst Ehrwald’s skiing terrain. On nice trails, gaining another 100 meter of elevation, we moved on towards the Sebensee where food stop one was set up.
With food stop one something like „a wall“ was reached. High above our heads the Coburger Hut could be easily seen, but it was still hard work to reach it, since another 300 meters of elevation were in between us and the hut.
There is a fantastic panoramic view from Coburger Hut down to Sebensee and on the backside down to Drachensee with the Grünsteinscharte barely visible high above it.
After climbing another „step“ of the mountain, we reached so e kind of plateau. Amazing! Covered with grass like a football field and decorated with stone circles and a stone heart this simply looked astonishing.
Since we were getting closer to Grünsteinscharte it slowly got obvious which was the actual way up to the Scharte. It was a very steep climb trough a large snowfield. You cannot imagins how steep and slippery that field was. I was lucky to have good shoes and my poles with me, so I had no real problem to get up there. But some guys went up that alpine trail with street instead of trailrunning shoes and were far away from climbing up there safely.
At Grünsteinscharte 1.400 meters of elevation had already been accomplished. Just 1.500 meters to go… I took a few photos and afterwards started the downhill on the other side. Just great! It was more surfing or snowboarding than running, since it was impossible to avoid sliding with every step.
The loose gravel somehow managed to get in huge amounts into my shoes, and I finally had approximately 1 kg of them in each shoe. Like most other runners I stopped after the sliding area was over, took of both shoes and gave the stones back to it’s origin – just a few meters further down… When I tried to pull on my shoes again the muscles of my lower legs nearly cramped. Damn! This was way to early for cramps…
I ran down to Obsteig, crossed the Fernpass-road and reached food stop two. After refilling my rucksack, having a few cups of water and – of course – lots of melons, I started the 800 meters ascent up to Haiminger Alm. I had this ascent in mind from last year, because I really suffered there. I think most of my exhaustion came from my mind, since angel and devil on my shoulders were having an argument… Those suckers… ;o) It is really hard to stay focussed on pushing forward having in mind how hard this part of the track had been the year before.
And this year it went even worse: I felt totally exhausted and simply focused on putting one foot in front of the other. The poles also helped me to slowly get up that unbearable steep and long trail. Temperature and humidity had risen, and it felt like the pine forest was amplifying the heat somehow since the trees were blocking out the light wind.
I was lucky when I finally reached Haiminger Alm where an additional water supply had been set up. Thanks to Plan-B! This was a good idea! After another refill I went on for the final ascent to Haiminger Kreuz. 600 meters of positive elevation to go.
I continously fought my way up and finally reached the ridge which just offers fantastic views to either side. With Haiminger Kreuz I managed to get to the second peak in this day’s stage.
From Haiminger Kreuz it is „just“ a 1.000 meter steep and technical downhill leading to Imst. Being really exhausted I was not able to run down there like I normally would have had. I somehow came down there anyway.
After a short rest at food stop three I ran together with a couple who had exactly my pace. This motivated me and gave me enough strength to finally reach the finish line – at least a bit earlier.
Stage 2 took me 7:48 h. It was by far the toughest race I ever ran. But it was also really, really beautiful. I hope to have better legs and more power on stage 3!
The track is in no way comparable to the alternative track, which I ran last year. Grünsteinscharte makes it a lot more exhausting and interesting likewise.
If you are interested, you may have a look at my heart-frequency-chart. I was not able to get my heart-frequency as high as I had done before in stage 1.
Exhausted: to the limit
Aching muscles: slightly
Toes: one blue, due to unplanned collision with a root
Walking: no problem
Stairs: no problem