Cavalls del Vent 2013 – Race Preview

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The 2012 edition of the Ultra Cavalls del Vent turned out to be a classic race. It’s inclusion on the ISF Skyrunner World Series attracted a stellar field and fans around the world of true mountain running had a stunning display from the men’s and ladies races.

Kilian Jornet, Anton Krupicka and Dakota Jones inspired with stunning performances and the ladies race proved to be a thriller, with arguably the three best mountain runners in the world going head-to-head for the Ultra Cavalls del Vent crown. At the line it was local girl, Nuria Picas who took the crown from a charging Anna Frost and Emelie Forsberg.

However, the event was marred with bad weather and unfortunately the loss of life. Teresa Farriol who had placed 14th lady in the 2011 event unfortunately came into difficulty during the night and although she received expert medical help, she passed away.

Our sport should be challenging and we all acknowledge accidents happen. Needless to say the mood after the 2012 race was subdued but safety has always been and always will be paramount at the Ultra Cavalls del Vent.

Article on the 2012 event HERE

Anton Krupicka race report HERE

The Race

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Now in its fifth edition, the UCdV will once again attract top mountain runners to participate in an ultra endurance mountain race crossing the mythical trek in the Cadi Moixero National Park. The route is 100km long and has a total elevation gain of 6668m, the highest point of the course coming at approximately 14km at Niu de L’Aliga (2400m). The course takes in eight huts and starts and ends in the quiet town of Baga. In comparison to previous editions, the route has been extended from 84km to 100km and the cut off time has also been extended to 28 hours.

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Potential Winners

One thing is for sure the 2013 edition of the race has nowhere near the stacked field of 2012. But what may be missing in depth is compensated for with quality, particularly in the men’s field. The ladies have a couple of stand out names and although not confirmed yet, Nuria Picas did say that she would return for her ‘home’ race.

Men

Tofol Castanyer, Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Tofol Castanyer, Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Tofol Castanyer has raced at Cavalls del Vent before, he placed 2nd in 2011 in a time of 8:42 (for 84k) and in 2013 he unfortunately had to drop with hypothermia. So far, 2013 has been mixed with some injury issues and stomach problems in one or two races, however, his recent form at Transalpine should ring alarm bells for all his completion. Without doubt a hot favourite for the win.

Luis Alberto Hernando, Haria Extreme ©iancorless.com

Luis Alberto Hernando, Haria Extreme ©iancorless.com

Luis Alberto Hernando is a class act and 2013 has seen him move up the distances in a long-term bid to race at TNFUTMB. He has repeatedly played second fiddle to Kilian Jornet and has been one of only a small handful to really push the Catalan to the line.  He was seconds behind at Zegama-Aizkorri, finished joint first at Trans D’Havet and once again, just finished a minute or so in arrears at Matterhorn Ultraks. Luis can win Cavalls del Vent, no doubt.

Zigor Iturrieta, Trans D'Havet ©iancorless.com

Zigor Iturrieta, Trans D’Havet ©iancorless.com

Zigor Iturrieta like Tofol raced in 2011 and placed 5th overall. He has the potential for a strong performance here; the terrain and distance suit him. However, he has already raced a lot in 2013 and one has to wonder how fresh he will be.

Jordi Bes will be racing on home soil. He recently won the CCC and must come to Cavalls with high hopes of a podium finish. He knows the area well and placed 9th at the 2011 edition. One-to-watch for sure.

Gerard Morales Ramirez placed 10th and the 2011 edition and last year, in a much higher quality field placed 8th. He will come with high hopes of hopefully moving into the top five and if all things go well, maybe even a podium slot.

Felipe Artigue Rodriguez is a runner I know little about, however, he placed 10th overall at the 2012 edition of Cavalls del Vent at the knowledge will be extremely useful for 2013. I don’t see him as a contender for the podium but I am sure he hopes to improve on his overall placing.

Terry Conway (2nd place) Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

Terry Conway (2nd place) Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com

Finally, Terry Conway from the UK raced at Cavalls del Vent and was a victim of the bad weather. Since then, Terry has struggled with below par performances at Ronda dels Cims and the Lakeland 100. He didn’t finish either event. He recently secured a top fifty place at TNFUTMB and this will be a great boost for him. Providing he is fresh and recovered from TNFUTMB, he has all the potential of a good run and make the top ten.

Other names to watch out for: Carlos Santasusana Bayona and Pau Bartola Roca.

Cavalls del Vent 2012 ©iancorless.com

Cavalls del Vent 2012 ©iancorless.com

Ladies

Nuria Picas, Cavalls del Vent  ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas, Cavalls del Vent ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas is not on the start list so I am going here from conversations with her post TNFUTMB. She confirmed for me that if her recovery was good, she would line up at her ‘home’ race and run. If she does, she is the outright favourite for the race win, even with a tough 100-miles in her legs from her circular tour of Mont Blanc and 2nd place!. Nuria is a class act, her 10:34 from the 2012 edition of the race smashed the previous course record and when you consider her consistency over all distances, not many ladies beat her. This year over the 80km distance and less she has consistently placed second to Emelie Forsberg, however, that will have no impact here!

Placing 6th at Cavalls del Vent in 2012, Laia Andreu Trias is the next lady with top billing. In 2013, she has won several races; La Vall de Nuria, Vertical Sobrepuny, Curse de Muntanya Sotabranques and Curs Mossos d’Esquadra, so, she has form. Should Nuria not run, Laia is a potential winner and for sure, a hot possibility for a podium place.

Teresa Nimes Peres has potential to make the top 10 and if she has a good day, she will be pushing for the top five and maybe even the podium. In 2013 she placed 8th at Trans D’Havet and in 2012 Teresa was 15th at La Grande Course des Templiers, 11th at Cavalls del Vent, 19th at TNFUTMB and 9th at Transvulcania.

Christina (Tina) Bes is a ski mountaineer and has a list of palmares the length of my arm. However, her ability as a runner in the mountains is relatively unknown to me. One thing I have learnt though is that a quality Ski Mountaineer very often makes a great mountain runner! A dark horse?

Finally, Natercia Martins Silvestre placed 3rd at the 80km Grand Raid des Pyrenees in 2012 and was 2nd at Ultra Trail das Aldeias do Xisto. In 2013 she had a win at the Trail de Perialara 80km, so, she has form. It will be interesting to see what she can do in the Cadi Moixero National Park.

I am absolutely sure that the 2013 edition of the Ultra Cavalls del Vent will be an exciting race with many surprises. For sure, the addition of 16km will make a big difference to the final outcome.

If you’d like to follow the race, go HERE

 

 

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.

Salomon S Lab Light Jacket 2013

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Salomon need no introduction to the trail and ultra running community. Born in 1947 in the French Alps. For more than 60 years the brand has progressed to now offer some of the most innovative and ground breaking products to be used on the trails and mountains. With constant athlete feedback and collaborations, Salomon have progressed running apparel to new levels with innovative solutions.

The Sense and Sense Ultra shoe models are now one of the most talked about footwear options in the trail and ultra community. A shoe that was developed closely with Kilian Jornet.

Apparel has also been developed, tweaked and modified to provide todays runners with specific clothing designed to excel. Welcome the 2013 Salomon S-Lab clothing range.

Salomon S-Lab Light Jacket

This is the jacket that the Salomon racing team have been using on the trails and mountains throughout last year. The 2012 season threw some really bad weather at the team and this jacket was put to great use at races such as Zegama, Cavalls del Vent and Templiers.

Andy Symonds at Templiers copyright Ian Corless

Andy Symonds at Templiers copyright Ian Corless

Weighing in at just 70g this jacket rolls up into nothing and can be added to the pockets within the S-Lab shorts/skort range (see follow on posts) or added to a waist belt. It is ultra light, windproof with a super soft and comfortable feel. It has a simple design and is ideally designed for racing situations when a light and additional layer is required. Should conditions be particularly cold or continually wet, a more durable jacket may well be required.

Specs

    • Fully windproof CLIMAWIND™ material
    • Featherweight at 70g
    • Highly breathable
    • Full length Zip for easy/quick on and off
    • Highly Packable and will fit in the palm of your hand
    • Reflective branding
    •  Active fit jacket – unrestricted movement

Fabric:

    • CLIMAWIND PRO™

Available in white and black.

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Salomon website: HERE

Buff Ultrarunning Team – Cavalls del Vent

Bagà 2012. The global elite of trail running and hundreds of athletes meet up for the Ultra Cavalls del Vent (Salomon Nature Trails) taking part in the Cadí-Moixero.

In its fourth year, the Ultra Vent Cavalls’s is part of the Ultra Skyrunning series.

85 km of personal challenge, to test the limits of the body exceeding over 12,000 vertical meters accumulated in a privileged environment as offered by the Cadi-Moixeró Natural Park.

Featuring Nuria Picas, Anton Krupicka and Emma Rocca

As Buff say… “Flat is boring!”

ULTRA? ultra emotional

RUN247 ‘Cavalls del Vent’ 03rd October 2012

ARTICLE LINK HERE by Ian Corless
Wednesday 3rd October 2012

Race report: Ian Corless reports after the Ultra Cavalls del Vent – Spain, September 29, 2012

On a day of rain, cold temperatures and intense racing, ultra running and in particular ultra Skyrunning opened a new chapter in our sport with some really competitive racing by ‘the best’ in the world.

Unfortunately the whole experience was somewhat overshadowed by the news on Sunday morning that Teresa Farriol, aged 48, had passed away in the night due to a cardiac arrest brought on by hypothermia. It was hollow faces, dark eyes and tears in the race hotel as elite runners, race organisers and journalists pulled together. The prize presentation was cancelled and was replaced with a one minute silence in the crowded square.

The Race

Ultra Cavalls del Vent - Spain, September 29, 2012 © Ian Corless

Photos: The start and race winner Kilian Jornet out on the course © Ian Corless

Despite alternative race options available all over the world, many of the worlds best decided to head to Spain and race at the Skyrunning ‘Ultra Cavalls del Vent’, an 84.2km race with 6098m of altitude change.

Kilian Jornet, Dakota Jones, Tony Krupicka, Tofol Castanyer, Miguel Heras, Joe Grant, Philipp Reiter, Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg, Nuria Picas and Emma Roccaall decided to do battle in what turned out to be an incredibly testing day.

At Refugio Niu de L’Aliga the race format was starting to unfold with Kilian leading the race, followed closely by Tofol and then several minutes back Miguel Heras. Dakota Jones and Philipp Reiter soon came into sight and then Tony Krupicka. Although minutes separated them all, one thing became apparent. It was cold!

Thick mist made visibility difficult and it was biting cold on hands. Kilian seemed in his element running in short sleeves but nearly all the other runners wore jackets. Including Tony!

Emelie Forsberg was the first lady to come into sight. Somewhat of a surprise… not because she didn’t have the ability but because the plan was to ease into her ‘first’ 50 miler. Frosty followed and then a very cool and relaxed looking Nuria Picas.

The cold and constant rain hit the race and the runners hard! Miguel Heras dropped, Tofol had hypothermia, Joe Grant had hypothermia and hundreds more runners had dropped from the race.

Tony Krupicka moved up through the field, moved ahead of Dakota and a format was set. Kilian and Tony swapping the lead and Dakota following.

At Gresolet, Kilian had a two minute lead. As he passed me I asked how he felt? “I am great, it was a little cold but now I am good. I am having fun!”

Tony approached “How you feeling Tony?” “I’m good man, Kilian is just playing with me… all good though!”

Some of the press with me at this point wondered if Tony would win? To be honest, no disrespect to Tony but Kilian seemed in control and was glad of company. Dakota was now some 30 min in arrears with Philipp Reiter in fourth. This order remained until the final climb when Kilian accelerated leaving Tony behind. Kilian crossed the line in a new CR of 8:42:22. Tony crossed the line in second, also beating the old CR too with 8:49:56 and Dakota finished in third in a time of 9:26:25.

Ultra Cavalls del Vent - Spain, September 29, 2012 © Ian Corless

Photos: Anton Krupicka on the course and Kilian finishing in a new course record © Ian Corless

Tony was stoked at the finish and rightly so. After the best part of two years of being out of the sport with injuries, his ‘return’ now seems to be confirmed. Speaking of his love for Skyrunning he said on the line “These are the races we want, vertical gain, tough gnarly climbs and altitude. We can’t get this at home, I love it”

Dakota was happy with third, but said he had hoped for better and that he never felt quite on his game!

Emelie Forsberg in the ladies race pushed ahead and at one point had a 15 minute lead, with Frosty and Nuria chasing. However the gap was closed and over the final two hours a battle started. My money was on Nuria, she had told me at ‘Kima’ that this was the race she wanted and I guess it showed. In the latter stages Emelie was dropped and Nuria ran into the finish, victorious in 10:34:42, beating her 2011 winning time by over an hour. Frosty finished in second 10:35:24 and Emelie jumped for joy in 10:39:51.

Ultra Cavalls del Vent - Spain, September 29, 2012 © Ian Corless

Photos: Anna Frost on the course. The women’s podium: third placed Emelie Forsberg, winner Nuria Picas and Anna Frost, second © Ian Corless

Frosty said “Everything hurts. I won’t be able to walk tomorrow. I dug deeper that I have ever had to go, I am happy for Nuria and I am happy for me”

Emelie in only her second ultra and first 50 miler was elated. She told me “I felt really good and still do. My legs are not hurting but it was [my] mind… in the latter stages when I had to fight I couldn’t focus but I am super happy”

Cavalls del Vent was an incredible day. It showed us all what is great about our sport. Wonderful courses, great running, new runners showing potential for the future, established runners confirming that they are the best, a return to form for Tony and of course immense comradeship. In the hotel ‘Press Room’ I was surrounded by all of them… Kilian on the sofa chatting, Tony and Dakota on the web, Frosty and Emelie giggling, Philipp and Terry discussing the next time to pose naked. All individual, but all one.

Ultra Cavalls del Vent - Spain, September 29, 2012 © Ian Corless

Photos: An emotional race – smiles from Anton Krupicka, a hug for Nuria Picas and more smiles from Britain’s Terry Conway © Ian Corless

Cloud confuses and distorts “less cloud MORE SKY“

The next event in the Ultra Skyrunning series is ‘Templiers’ in the South of France. The date is October 28th and rest assured I will be at the race to bring you images, stories and a podcast from the final race in the series.

Men’s results

1 Kilian Jornet Burgada 8:42:22
2 Anton Krupicka 8:49:56
3 Dakota Jones 9:26:25

Women’s results

1 Nuria Picas Albets 10:34:42
2 Anna Frost 10:35:24
3 Forsberg Emelie 10:39:51

Click here for full results

Ultra SkyMarathon® SeriesSPAIN: TRANSVULCANIA ULTRA MARATHON – La Palma – May 12
USA: Speedgoat 50K – Snowbird, Utah – July 28
ITALY: Trofeo Kima UltraSkyMarathon® – Valmasino, Sondrio – August 26
SPAIN: Cavalls del Vent – Cadi-Moixeró Natural Park – Pyrenees – September 29
FRANCE: La Course des Templiers – Millau, Grands Causses – October 28

Click here to find out more about 2012 Skyrunner® World Series

Images from Cavalls del Vent

So many pictures… so little time!

Here is a selection of my favourite images to come out of the 2012 Cavalls del Vent part of the Ultra Skyrunnnig series.

Walking to the race start from our hotel, Frosty and Dakota relaxed with Kilian, Tony, Philipp and Terry behind.

The rush for the first corner in Baga

Kilian leading Tofol before Tofol retired

Dakota Jones running through the mist and rain at 2200m

Skyrunning is all about being above the cloud

Local hero and ladies winner, Nuria Picas

It was that cold Tony Krupicka wore a jacket with a hood!

Emelie Forsberg pushing hard in the early parts of the race

Dakota Jones

The day before the race, Kilian Jornet, Emelie Forsberg, Philipp Reiter and Terry Conway running to CP2 on the Cavalls del Vent course

The stunning scenery and views that we all missed on race day

Terry running on our day 1 recce

Emelie bouncing across the finish

Tony & Kilian on the finish line

Nuria triumphant

and finally a photo that sums up the sadness that we all felt, the day after the race when we all learned that during the night a female runner had passed away due to cardiac arrest induced via hypothermia. Our thoughts and best wishes go out the family.

Cavalls del Vent Post Race Report

 

Ultra? Ultra emotional…

On a day of rain, cold temperatures and intense racing, ultra running and in particular ultra Skyrunning opened a new chapter in our sport.

Despite alternativerace options available all over the world, many of the worlds best decided to head to Spain and race at the SkyrunningUltra Cavalls del Vent‘, an 84.2km race with 6098m of altitude change.

Kilian Jornet, Dakota Jones, Tony Krupicka, Tofol Castanyer, Miguel Heras, Joe Grant, Philipp Reiter, Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg, Nuria Picas and Emma Rocca all decided to do battle in what turned out to be an incredibly testing day.

At Refugio Niu de L’Aliga the race format was starting to unfold with Kilian leading the race followed closely by Tofol and then several minutes back Miguel Heras. Dakota Jones and Philipp Reiter soon came into sight and then Tony Krupicka. Although minutes separated them all, one thing became apparent. It was cold!

 

Thick mist made visibility difficult and it was biting cold on hands. Kilian seemed in his element running in short sleeves but nearly all the other runners wore jackets. Including Tony!

Emelie Forsberg was the first lady to come into sight. Somewhat of a surprise… not because she didn’t have the ability but because the plan was to ease into her ‘first’ 50 miler. Frosty followed and then a very cool and relaxed looking Nuria Picas.

 

The cold and constant rain hit the race and the runners hard! Miguel Heras dropped, Tofol had hypothermia, Joe Grant had hypothermia and at the last count some 200+ runners have dropped from the race. Certainly those who will go into the night are in for a tough time.

Tony Krupicka moved up through the field, moved ahead of Dakota and a format was set. Kilian and Tony swapping the lead and Dakota following.

 

At Gresolet, Kiliian had a 2 min lead. As he passed me I asked how he felt?

“I am great, it was a little cold but now I am good. I am having fun!”

Tony approached “How you feeling Tony?”

“I’m good man, Kilian is just playing with me.. all good though!”

Some of the press with me at this point wondered if Tony would win? To be honest, no disrespect to Tony but Kilian seemed in control and was glad of company. Dakota was now some 30 min in arrears with Philipp Reiter in 4th. This order remained until the final climb when Kilian accelerated leaving Tony behind. Kilian crossed the line with a new CR of 8:42:22. Tony crossed the line in 2nd beating the old CR too with 8:49:56 and Dakota 9:26:25.

 

Tony was stoked at the finish and rightly so. After the best part of 2 years being out of the sport his ‘return’ now seems to be confirmed. His return is a new return with a love for Skyrunning. He said on the line “these are the races we want, vertcal gain, tough gnarly climbs and altitude. We can’t get this at home, I love it”

 

Dakota was happy with 3rd but said he had hoped for better and that he never felt quite on his game!

 

Emelie Forsberg in the ladies race pushed ahead and at one point had a 15 min lead with Frosty and Nuria chasing. However the gap was closed and over the final 2 hours a battle started. My money was on Nuria, she had told me at ‘Kima’ that this was the race she wanted and I guess it showed. In the latter stages Emelie was dropped and Nuria ran into the finish victorious in10:34:42 beating her 2011 winning time by over an hour. Frosty finished in 2nd 10:35:24 and Emelie jumped for joy in 10:39:51.

 

Frosty said “Everything hurts. I won’t be able to walk tomorrow. I dug deeper that I have ever had to go, I am happy for Nuria and I am happy for me”

 

Emelie in only her 2nd ultra and first 50 miler was elated. She told me “I felt really good and still do. My legs are not hurting but it was mind… in the latter stages when I had to fight I couldn’t focus but I am super happy”

 

Cavalls del Vent was an incredible day. It showed us all what is great about our sport. Wonderful courses, great running, new runners showing potential for the future, established runners confirming that they are the best, a return to form for Tony and of course immense comradeship. I am in the hotel ‘Press Room’ surrounded by all of them… Kilian on the sofa chatting, Tony and Dakota on the web, Frosty and Emelie giggling, Philipp and Terry discussing the next time to pose naked. All individual but all one.

Cloud confuses and distorts “less cloud MORE SKY

The next event in the Ultra Skyrunning series is ‘Templiers’ in the South of France. The date is October 28th and rest assured I will be at the race to bring you images, stories and a podcast from the final race in the series.

Faces of Cavalls

Cavalls del Vent Registration