Beat and I arrived in France on Sunday night for our annual sojourn (of pain) in the Alps. Beat has his nearly-back-to-back-200-mile races that he can't quite pry himself away from, and so we're back in Chamonix for the 2015 Petite Trotte à Léon.
Friends know I have no love for PTL, which pits a hundred teams on a high-mountain course that combines difficult terrain, long distances, often tricky navigation, and a time limit that ensures extreme sleep deprivation. Basically, it's light mountaineering with compromised strength under moderate sedation. Of all the things Beat does that cause me to fret, PTL is the most unnerving. Every year, the organization switches up the course to make it even harder, which only ensures it's more dangerous. Oh, but it's okay, because slipping is "forbidden."
"They basically just linked up 300 kilometers of the 'best' (so, the worst) of PTL, without actually considering whether anyone can actually finish in 142 hours," he said. Even with "just" 26,000 meters of climbing, it's the technical difficulty that makes this event so slow. Because Beat is who he is, he's hanging on with all of his determination. Physically, both Pieter and Beat are fine beyond the predictable bad feet and sore legs. I'll be glad when it's over, whenever it's over. I sort of feel like that spouse at home while her husband gets wasted at a bar — livid at the bartender for serving him alcohol, but aware that the fault lies with the spouse who just can't get enough.