Thursday, September 15, 2011

Italy, day three

I am falling far behind on my vacation picture posting. Between my travels between Tor des Geants checkpoints to support Beat and exploring trails myself, I've been on the move almost continuously since Sunday. I have a few hours here before I try to meet Beat and the last life base, about fifty kilometers from the race finish. He's battling foot pain and stomach issues, but it otherwise moving strong and is a few hours ahead of his 2010 pace. I'll post more about the race in the next few days.

On Saturday morning, Beat, Steve and Harry were entrenched in last-minute preparations ahead of the Sunday start, and wanted us out of their hair. Martina and I mapped out a loop following the Trail du Mont Blanc, looping around a higher ridge to Col Sapin and back to town on the other side of the bowl.

We were feeling a bit silly as we headed up the steep trail to the refugio, and joked with fan-girl gushing about "following Killian's footprints" on the UTMB. I packed a full "ultralight" overnight pack with a sleeping bag, mat, bivy, warm winter clothing, food, lights and three liters of water to test my Raidlight pack against steep hiking and running. It probably weighed somewhere in the range of twenty pounds, but I didn't even really notice the weight against the fantastic morning weather and beautiful scenery. I even ran about two miles along the ridge and back. The experiment boosted my confidence about the prospect of "fastpacking," or actually running while carrying full self-support gear.

Livestock is ubiquitous in these mountains. I think Alps cows are happy cows, which would explain why the yogurt and gelato is so much better here than it is in the States.

Heading down a minor peak to Col Sapin, at 8,500 feet elevation. We came back in time to join the boys for their pre-race meeting and pasta party, and met a contingent of North American friends including Anne Ver Hoef from Anchorage (who I know through winter racing) and Angela from Calgary, who I spent a week with during my Maah Dah Hey camping trip in May. It was a full reunion of ultra friends, and everyone was excited for Sunday morning.


  1. Wow! I thought your pictures of Alaska were awesome!
    Those mountain villages must be amazing to visit.

    The mountains obscured by cloud are beautiful.

  2. You take all the time you need for your commitments, and then write and post a whole lotsa things! Loved the "yogurt good because cows are happy" - and have to agree with this idea. Russian milk is by far better than US, although chicken meat is horrible - we say chickens ran all the way from Far East to Moscow and died of natural causes, fit, but skinny:) Beautiful mountains, and yay for fastpacking testing (my future plans too)!. Beat is a Beast (along with Steve)! And, by the way, I finished both books. Wonderful read. Awesome accomplishments...

  3. Wow. Incredible scenery and pics. In my experience the Alps are truly like a postcard in any direction.

    My main problems with packs and running have been rubbing along the collar bone (strap) and base of the back (bottomm of the pack). Look forward to hearing about any longer "tests".

    Amazing Beat is doing that race; good luck to him.

  4. funny happy cows!!but it is true!!

  5. Your pictures from Italy so far have been amazing. It must be awesome to be amidst such beauty. I miss the Alps...

  6. Hi Jill,
    Your photos are incredible.. what camera are you using?




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