Cavalls del Vent 2013 – Race Preview


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


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.


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.


Tofol Castanyer, Cavalls del Vent ©

Tofol Castanyer, Cavalls del Vent ©

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 ©

Luis Alberto Hernando, Haria Extreme ©

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 ©

Zigor Iturrieta, Trans D’Havet ©

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 ©

Terry Conway (2nd place) Ronda dels Cims ©

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 ©

Cavalls del Vent 2012 ©


Nuria Picas, Cavalls del Vent  ©

Nuria Picas, Cavalls del Vent ©

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



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 Registration

Cavalls del Vent Recce part ‘deux’

Philipp Reiter “let’s go out for an hour… we can run an out and back”

Kilian Jornet “I would like to run up to checkpoint 2 at 2500m”

Everybody “ok, cool, lets do that!”

Kilian and Emelie get in the ‘Kilian Kar‘. Philipp, Terry and myself get in and then we head at breakneck speed ignoring the left and right hand side of the road and get to the Coll de Pal and 2070m.

Philipp, Terry and myself roll out of the car ready for action. Kilian emerges from the ‘Kilian Kar‘ with a secret potion…. mmmmmmmm what is it?

Kilian and Emelie get into the running straight away…. Terry follows and Philipp is feeling a little unwell; the drive I think?

Knees hurting I follow as best as I can but I know they will soon be out of sight. I put a long lens on the camera… a great tip when you can’t keep up! You look close but actually you are miles away….

In to the distance they go. Around me isolation and beautiful views. I still manage to capture some lovely images of the ‘elites’ in action. A joy to watch unfold… I will wait for them to return and shoot them in full flight!

They never did 😉 But that’s another story…

Here is Philipp Reiters download from his Suunto Ambit HERE

Cavalls del Vent Recce

Dodgy knees or not I was going out on the course with Terry Conway and Salomon athlete, Philipp Reiter.

Philipp has been here for about a week so he knew exactly where when and how! We had a short drive, parked the car, avoided being eaten alive by about 6 dogs on a farm and then headed UP! and UP and UP.

Sore knees pretty much ok as long I kept going up. Terry kindly taped my knees so I somehow looked like an inverted Panda. However, I needed tape on my lungs! Five weeks of no running, altitude and two fast fellas up front that could kick my ass when I was flying fit and I was breathing out of every orifice… mostly the one at the back!

We ‘rivalled’ Kilian Jornet with a photo to compete with ‘his’ photo from the top of Mont Blanc (you know the one) and all in all we had a great time.

My knees got pretty beat up descending from 2300m but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Here is Philipp Reiters Suunto Ambit download to view HERE

Terry now realises what lies in store. I quote

“A world of pain… pure enjoyment. It’s like nothing I have run before. The climbs are so much longer and I found the altitude difficult. I was wheezing a fair bit this morning. I have a realisation of what lies ahead and maybe the gap between myself and the elites. No matter what, I am going to embrace the day and the opportunity”

Terry has landed ! Cavalls del Vent

It’s a real busy weekend ahead and I have been so wrapped up in travel and prep for Cavalls del Vent that actually thinking about UROC – Ultra Race of Champions and Spartathlon hadn’t slipped my mind but finding the time to just provide an update was difficult! So I thought I would use the wee hours of the morning before breakfast to write something up.

I am in Baga with an hour or so before breakfast and the opportunity to head out on the Cavalls course at 0900 with Philipp Reiter, Emelie Forscberg, Terry Conway and maybe Kilian!

Terry and myself arrived yesterday and met Anna Frost’s sister, Sarah, at the airport to be good citizens and provide her with a lift. After a few comedy moments… the first being Terry deciding it was a good idea to rent a car from !

We hit the road and then ended up getting stuck at the ‘tolls’ by being completely in the wrong lane! Yeah Yeah, I know. I am used to the tolls in France but Spain is different. We finally managed to back up the traffic, ruin a toll gate by sticking Euro coins in a ‘card slot’ and then somehow managed to get in the correct lane after some subtle lane dodging.

We met Frosty, Dakota Jones, Philipp, Emelie and Tony K was hiding somewhere and had some chill time at a ‘secret’ Salomon holding camp (joke) 20 minutes away from the race village. Terry terrified Philipp telling him how good he is and how he was going to ‘take him down’ when it came to race day! (another joke)

An hour or so later Terry and myself finished off our journey providing Philipp and Emelie with a lift to our race hotel. We are at the foot of the mountains and dusk was just arriving!

Terry had some very unusual pre race prep. He laid out his Salomon Sense and then prepared dinner….. whoa! No way Terry. Not baby food tonight mate, we are going to the restaurant….

Dinner was pretty awesome. We met Philipp and then Emelie joined us with a new arrival at the hotel, Kilian Jornet. So, Terry had been in Spain approximately 3-4 hours and within that short space of time had met Frosty chatted with Dakota, missed Tony, chewed the fat with Philipp and Emelie and was now spending a couple of hours with Kilian over dinner as we discussed his ‘Summits of my Life’ project, talked about his recent Mont Blanc Crossing, his VO2 test the previous day (92 by the way… wow) and what his plans are at Cavalls, Raid de la Reunion and what 2013 has in store… pretty awesome!

So there you have it. We are in Cavalls, Terry is like a kid in a sweet shop and in an hour we will be on the Cavalls course seeing what lies in store for the race on Saturday.

Oh, UROC and Spartathlon…. I will be back later 😉