A Wild and Wet Cavalls del Vent

ultraRUNNING March 2013

 

A Wild and Wet Cavalls del Vent

story and photos by Ian Corless

It always amazes me how a small town can be transformed into a bustling and thriving race headquarters in the space of 24 hours. I had arrived at Baga in the Spanish Pyrenees a couple of days ahead of the ultra Skyrunning Cavalls del Vent. A race billed as potentially one of the races of the year.

Not for the first time in 2012, the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) and Salomon had pulled together an incredible field of elite runners to take part; Anton Krupicka, Tofol Castanyer, Miguel Heras, Philipp Reiter, Joe Grant, Terry Conway, Dakota Jones and of course, the mountain man himself, Kilian Jornet. The women’s race had equally impressive status but not the depth. Ultimately it would come down to a head-to-head battle between local legend Nuria Picas, Anna Frost (Frosty), Emelie Forsberg and Emma Roca.

In the days before the race I was fortunate to hang out with the runners, get out on the course and experience what it’s like to chase Kilian up a mountain… Unpleasant! The combination of altitude, ascent and technical terrain meant that this Brit had his hands on his knees and his lungs on the floor. But would I change anything? Of course not!

Kilian had recently had a VO2Max test. He told me that he had consistently hit 89.5 and maxed at 92.

Kilian is not a runner, he is an Alpinist; a mountain man. Running is just one aspect of what he does.

The team hotel had a great atmosphere. Chatting, eating, relaxing and preparing for the challenge ahead. It is what I love about ultra running. The mutual respect, appreciation and a love for what we all do transcends competition; it’s a lifestyle.

Race day came and although it was grey, temperatures were mild. Rain was expected to arrive at 11:00 a.m. and although it would be persistent no storms had been predicted.

copyright Ian Corless

copyright Ian Corless

You can read the full article online at ultraRUNNING online HERE

The article is also available in the March 2013 edition of the magazine.