At 5am last Saturday we woke to the sound of rain, the Tre Cime (the iconic 3 peaks of the Dolomites) hidden within thick cloud. Suppressing the thought of crawling back into bed and hiding, I went for breakfast: strong Italian espresso and oats with banana, honey and nut butter. Within minutes of the 8am start, I was drenched as we descended on the road to Lozzo Di Cadore to begin the first 1100m climb; waterproof shorts and a shower cap at least kept my chamois and head dry, but my feet were swimming! After an hour of winding up switchbacks to the summit, the rain started to ease, but the temperature remained in single figures. At the top of the mountain, I was glad to have my waterproof jacket and shorts, rubber gloves, shower cap, buff and leg and warmers – even though they did keep falling down – though I did regret forgetting my overshoes!
At the bottom of the next climb the waterproof shorts had to come off, so I stuffed them down my jersey for safekeeping, in preparation for the last descent. I also had to shed the rubber gloves, because now my hands were swimming in cold water – but until this point they did a great job of keeping my hands warm! The climb snaked up to the picturesque lake at Misurina, before taking us even higher on the old road to Monte Piana. A quick descent and then the infamous road climb up to Rifugio Auronzo, where the technical hiking trail from Tre Cime di Lavaredo took us quickly back down 1100m to the valley where we started. With fully pumped arms, it was time to negotiate a few slippery forest trails, which undulated along the valley, before the never-ending final 10km down the valley to the Finish – sounds easy but I’m sure it caused much suffering and cursing!
Marathon races are tough, but in bad weather they are made even tougher! Simply finishing is a mighty challenge – but with great rewards – and it always amazes me to see so many people battling to the finish after enduring several hours; more than double the time of the winning men and women.
A Double win for Topeak Ergon Racing Team and Fifth for Alban saw us win two big Cockerels (wooden not real), 30kgs of prosciutto, 7 litres of bubbly and 3kg of cheese. Quite a scoop!