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Transgrancanaria Sur-Norte 92k - RunUltra Marathon

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Gran Canaria,
Total Time = 15h 33m 35s
Overall Rank = 51/131
Age Group = ELM
Age Group Rank = 29/65
Pre-race routine:

Race start was at midnight, so we had some pasta around 8pm then slept for an hour and a half.

Our local friends then drove us to the bus stop where the organization would drive us to the southernmost point of Grand Canary Island.
Event warmup:

I'm not sure if it is wise to warm up for a 24hr race, so we just walked around the night-club area near the beach, watched a Spanish Elvis impersonator do his stuff and then wrapped our lower legs with thick plastic bags and lead tape, like most other racers, to tackle the first 5-6 km in the sand.
  • 15h 33m 35s
  • 92 kms
  • 10m 09s  min/km

We had decided, Mayde (my wife) and I, to do this race together from start to finish and only separate in the event that one would not be able to continue or at the risk of not making a cutoff.

Our long-term goal is to take part in the UltraTrail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in 2010, and this was one of the qualifying races. We'll have to do another one some time this year to obtain the remaining points required.

The gun goes off a few minutes past midnight and a long line of white, yellow and red lights is seen running accross the beach.

After completing the beach section, we managed to keep our feet dry and sand free. We did take more than a couple of minutes, however, trying to remove the bags and tape. I ended up punching myself in the chin trying to rip the tape apart, and Mayde elbowed a wall really hard doing the same.

We then ran through a dried-up canal for a few km's prior to reaching the dirt. We were going at a comfortable pace, not understanding why we were passing so much people.

We reached a stretch of 6 to 7 km of loose, slippery rocks and boulders. I fell twice and Mayde once, but we weren't the only ones. Quite a sight.

We began the first steep climb and managed to hold our place. Once up this part of the mountain, we were astounded by the numerous lights behind us at different stages of the climb. Were we going too hard?

We began a 2-3 km descent to the first hydration station, a few large trucks filled with water, and took very few minutes there. The first 21km behind us, we knew that the hardest climbs of the race would be ahead.

We kept a steady pace up and reached the Tunte aid station in about 6hrs, happy to have cleared the cutoff by two hours. I made the mistake of taking off my gloves to refill my hydration bladder and placed them on a puddle of water. As soon as we ran out of this place, my hands were freezing. I kept the gloves on hoping they'd dry out soon.

We were now on our way to the tallest peak on the island, a summit located at nearly 2000 meters above sea level. We got to see the sunrise, but it just kept getting colder as we climbed. This was the most scenic part of the race and we were now practically on our own.

As we approached the peak, Mayde had her first chance ever to see snow. We were careful in our footing and made it from sea to summit in less than 9 hrs.

A two km insane descent led us to Garañón, the main aid station. We opted not to change clothes or gear and got some more bars, cliff shots and salt tablets instead. We also forced ourselves to down a bowl of pasta and some soup. It was a few minutes past 9am, and the cutoff at this point was at 1pm. We now knew we'd finish.

We began the endless run toward Teror, the next aid station. Though it is much further down in altitude, the trails to get there were not all downhill. Some short but insanely steep climbs and some nasty downhills followed.

We got to Teror around noon, ate some, rehydrated and took off. I was now starting to feel overheated. So we both began to remove layer after layer of thermal and technical clothing.

My pace began to fall while Mayde was still going strong. This next part would be the hardest for us. At one point, I jokingly shouted out "These people are out to kill us!" as we descended through cactus-filled single track, technical descents and long paved downhills. At one point we had to walk a full kilometer on top of a water canal so narrow that only one foot would fit at a time. A nasty fall awaited those who messed up. A few kilometers ahead we had to go up the steepest part of a hill using ropes with knots tied all along. Insane!

I felt beat and walked for longer stretches. I'm pretty sure Mayde could have run at the time, but she just walked a few meters ahead.

With only 4km remaining, we felt strong and ran the whole way in and even sprinted in the final meters.

We had set out to just finish but ended up completing the race in an excellent time and Mayde even finished fourth woman overall (out of 11 female finishers)!
What would you do differently?:

In training we began to prepare ourselves for a relatively flat race (Rocky Raccoon), but when we found out that no UTMB points were being awarded there, we opted to do this one in Europe instead, so our mountainous training really began to pick up in late December/early January. The elevation gain/loss in this race is insane!

I don't think, however, that we could have done much differently. It's been ages since I have had a chance to do a "perfect" race for my standards (pacing, nutrition, mentally and physically), and this was as close as it's gotten for me.
Post race
Warm down:

The people of Spain celebrate in such an excellent way: Beer and Paella at the finish line!

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

I've dissipated some self-doubts and am finally back at long-distance events!

Mayde has been an amazing training partner and is definitely built for endurance. I'm pretty sure that, without that brief bad patch I had where I slowed her down, she would have lowered her time at least 15-20 minutes.

It's time to start choosing, planning and training for another ultra...maybe in late August or early September.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-01-15 12:00 AM
15:33:35 | 92 kms | 10m 09s  min/km
Age Group: 29/65
Overall: 51/131
Performance: Good
Garmin 405 died around 7:17 hours of the race; we had covered 42km and my average HR was 149.
Course: Sand, Rocks, Gravel, Snow.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-03-11 1:07 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: Transgrancanaria Sur-Norte 92k

2009-03-12 11:31 PM
in reply to: #2011316

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Transgrancanaria Sur-Norte 92k
You make 92 hard kilometres sound like fun! Awesome, awesome work. You guys did great. So nice to read that there were no struggles with cramps or nutrition. You totally nailed it!
2009-03-13 11:05 AM
in reply to: #2011316

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Extreme Veteran
West Chicago
Subject: RE: Transgrancanaria Sur-Norte 92k
Super cool. I can't begin to imagine such an effort - you & Mayde Rock!
2009-03-13 2:26 PM
in reply to: #2011316

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Pitt Meadows, BC
Subject: RE: Transgrancanaria Sur-Norte 92k
Wow, great report! Sounds like you both really enjoyed the race! It definitely makes me want to do one a lot sooner now! Congrats!
2009-03-13 3:12 PM
in reply to: #2011316

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2009-03-29 1:45 PM
in reply to: #2011316

Subject: RE: Transgrancanaria Sur-Norte 92k
Awesome race report. Thanks.

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