Andorra Ultra Trail - Ronda dels Cims 2019 - 170K (in English)








Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
- psalm 23:4





To run 100 miles is nonsense? Here's the real nonsense:

"In every day of a dull life, time takes us. But there's always the time when we have to take it. We live in the future: ' Tomorrow ', ' later ', ' when you get a position ', ' with time will understand '. These inconsequences are admirable, because after all it's about dying. The day comes when the person finds out or says he's 30 years old. [...] He belongs to time and recognizes its worst enemy in this horror that invades it. Tomorrow, he longed for tomorrow, when all of himself should reject it. This revolt of the flesh is The Absurd "

-Camus, The Absurd









Why do I run?

It's all in the imagination. None of this is real. Running 100 miles in the mountain does not add anything to my destiny. It doesn't change the order of things. I don't generate new universes, I don't save humanity, I can't reach immortality. I'm still immersed in the human condition. The Cosmos remains an unlikely place, without justification or appeal. The particles and the force fields continue to jump out of the vacuum and interact because it is so. The species struggle because it is in their nature. This planet is walking towards the oblivion. Mine, ours, existence is no more than a fleeting ephemeral in an empty space-time.

There is no redemption, no salvation.

Yet, an adventure like this gives me the strenght for at least another year. It helps me to overcome the difficulties of daily life. The small irritations, the boredom of repetitive gestures. The inexorable path towards decay becomes smoother. The moments become richer, more colourful and vivid.

While I'm here I will engage in the inglorious struggle and my atoms, when they scatter in the wind, they'll at least know I've lived. They will have my mark, after Gilgamesh, Homer, Alexander, Hannibal Barca, Julius Caesar, Erik the red, Rolando, Zheng He, Ibn Battuta, Magellan, Vasco da Gama, Livingstone, Neil Armstrong.

I will be a small line at the Plank scale in the fabric of space-time.







Happy families are all alike; Unhappy families are unhappy each in their own way.

-Leon Tolstoy






Easy  races are all equal; Hard ones are hard each in their own way.

I have just completed half-dozen races with more than 100 miles and more than 23,000 feet climb (D+).

Each of them like a different lover, who gets under your skin. It is no coincidence that in the latin languages mountain is a noun of the feminine gender. Do not be mistaken, they are not there to be conquered, or dominated, or any other verb drenched in testosterone. No. They all have the last word and each has to be approached in its specificity. There are softer mountains, other more wild and temperamental, and others shy and elusive. But with each one we need to know how to obtain their agreement in order to discover their secrets.


I will assume a literary freedom by taking the part for the whole, calling the mountain by the name of the race.






The first lover was Basque. The Basques are a proud and independent breed, which has always resisted being assimilated by other cultures. We must show them our worth and bravery to succeed in winning their respect. However, we will never get them to surrender. Life with them will always be an eternal struggle, very rewarding, and very exhausting.

The 100 miles of Ehunmilak were my debut in the distance. In 2012, I wrote the following in my blog:

Psychosis:
"The term psychosis is defined as the inability to distinguish between subjective experience and external reality, i.e., there is a loss of contact with reality."

The huge, gargantuan, shattering challenge that was for me the Ehunmilak 100 miles race, can be defined as the anti-psychosis.

It takes place in three stages, along which it will remove the outer layers of the psyche until only the naked and primeval slef will remain, immersed in a pre-uterine reality, one with the universe ( "In the beginning was the Word").

First, the Mountain destroys the body, fiber by fiber, until there is nothing left besides the mind to take us forward. Then it destroys the mind itself, through the fatigue and sleep deprivation, which prevent the concentration and hamper our steps. Finally, we are just left with the sheer will to take us to the end.

Five days after the completion of the race, I still spend hours meditating about what happened on the mountain. I have more vivid memories of what happened on the second day than of what happened in the first (lack of sleep impairs memory formation). I still feel pain and abrasions on various parts of the body and still have difficulty feeling the big toe of the left foot. I still feel the asthenia and am overwhelmed by the deep sleep that befell over me in the days after the race.

However, I also feel the comforting calm provided by that prolonged contact with The Will in its purest state.
So are certain human relations. They end leaving us deep wounds, but simultaneously lead us to places within ourselves where we would never dare to venture alone. What remains is a huge sense of gratitude for having made the trip.








The second lover was French, born in the Pyrenees. The French have a rich history and culture, which entitles them a sense of superiority and detachment that sometimes borders on arrogance. Nevertheless, they also know how to be gentle and kind.

The 100 miles of the Grand Raid des Pyrénées were my second adventure in the distance. The profile of the race is imposing like the French. It consists of 4 climbs over 5,600 feet each , and a long descent, of 7.900 feet. How to overcome these brutal ramps?

In 2013, I wrote the following in my blog:

How to overcome adversity? Where do we get the strength to continue when every fiber of our body screams it's time to give up?

They say that fatigue is a fiction that the brain generates, that tells the body that it's time to stop before something irreparable definitely stops us.

Perhaps reality is itself a fiction created by our mind. Or maybe it is a plot that our brain constructs, dynamic and interactively, in order to navigate in a complex world, devoid of purpose that is independent of our will.

There are researchers who say that we have a "social" brain composed of modules with different functions. At the command of those modules (or being controlled by them) may or may not be an identity called the "I", the "self", "consciousness", or whatever we wish to call it .

The reason we build paths and chase goals is because we need one or more purposes that guide us in this life. As we are not simple beings, it is not easy to define a clear purpose.

Perhaps it is our evolutionary history that throws us to the razor's edge. Maybe we're just crazy and it is inscribed in our genetic blueprint. The primate who went crazy.




Ultra-Trail races have unique characteristics that set them apart from road racing. The strategy is much more complex since it is necessary to evaluate a much larger number of variables, such as the route, the environmental and wheather conditions, the necessary equipment (waterproof clothes, poles, etc.), the food and supplements, the rhythm, rest, etc.

So are the human relationships. We must nourish and balance many factors for the relationship to grow and succeed. A single weakness can ruin everything.








The third lover was Catalan. From Puigcerdà, Spanish Pyrenees. The Catalans are industrious, strong, passionate, challenging, sociable people.

"The Catalan language belongs to the Italic branch of the Indo-European family and is the largest minority language in Western Europe. It is part of the rich Ibero-gala culture, which includes the Provencal. It has many characteristics of Spanish and French."

The 214 km of VCUF - Volta Cerdanya UltraFons were my third great adventure, and the longest distance covered so far in any competition. It was also one of the most social races in which I participated. The team spirit among the Portuguese was fantastic, perhaps because we already knew each other well, and also because the race had a reduced number of participants.

 

It was also the race which took a smaller tool on me, despite the longer distance.

 

The first 44 kilometers are like a loving relationship at the beginning: no major obstacles, everything is progressing well. After this initial soft and easy route, the real difficulties begin, and the relationship enters into a carousel of emotions that will last until the end. That if we are lucky, of course. 

 

In 2014 I wrote the following in my blog:

 

There are multiple factors that can explain the success in the Ultra Trail.

According to the manuals, sporting performance can be explained by decomposing it into three fundamental factors: VO2max, namely the "power of our engine" (the ability to carry oxygen to the muscle cells) multiplied by our resistance or endurance, which is the ability to maintain a constant rate at a high percentage of VO2max, and divided by the energy cost of our mobility (related to our running technique).

For each of the three factors in this equation, there are various contributions.

VO2max can be improved with hard intensity work, but it depends also on genetics and the age of the athlete.

Endurance depends on our resistance to neuro-muscular and articular fatigue, the ability to ingest fluid and solid food during long periods of continued stress, resistance to weather amplitudes, to stress in altitude, etc., but particularly mental endurance.

The energy cost is directly related to our running technique: the amplitude of our step, the vertical and horizontal displacement, weight, etc.

In ultra Trail there is a trade-off between these two latter factors. To spare the joints and the musculo-skeletal system, the individual tends to adopt a less efficient but more protective step.

In conclusion, the performance can be optimized by adjusting these three factors.

But as for me, the mental continues to be the most decisive factor when we travel distances with 3 digits.

I would call it the ability to maintain a constant dialogue with ourselves. During the race, I am permanently alert to the signs of the body and mind, and I keep weaving a narrative of the race in my mind. It's like earing a soundtrack in the background and a steady stream of images playing in the brain. I nourish the mind with good experiences Ihave had in previous races as well as in other areas of my life, such as family, friends, associations, work. I use all of these ingredients to weave a story that conforts me and makes me move forward step by step.









The fourth lover has again French, but this time born in the Alps, in Chamonix.

To date, no other placed me such a challenge, marked me so much, and caused so much pain, as this passion.

They say that there are mountains which are tougher than others, that are more demanding lovers. It is possible, but as for me that is not the most important point. What is relevant is our relationship with the mountain. We have to learn to listen to it carefully. We can not want to bend it to our will, because it will reject us. It takes a great deal of intelligence, in the wider meaning of the word: rational and emotional.

The 100 miles of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc were my fourth adventure in the distance.


This would be my 4th 100 miles race in the previous four years.

In 2015 I wrote the following in my blog:


In all of the races which I described above, I  carried no special goal beyond those which are  essential:to enjoy myself on the track; to be left  with unforgettable images and memories and to  roam through an inner journey that enriches me as a person. And if possible to finish the race.

This time I had a rather more prosaic ambition: I was determined to break a time barrier of 32 hours. I fully assume this desideratum.

In 2012 I had completed Ehunmilak's 100 miles in 39:42 and in 2013 had completed GRP's 100 miles in 36:42. Both races were completed after overcoming great difficulties, and throughout both of them I had felt that my performance could had been better.

I had applied twice for a place in UTMB just to see my expectations dashed in 2 unlucky draws.

I spent three years feeding a dream, seeing it grow, start walking, from the first tentative steps, through a gentle trot, a strong march, until to the furious gallop of the last months of preparation for the challenge of a lifetime.

The UTMB is certainly not the most difficult Trail Race in the world stage, not evern even the one with the highest degree of difficulty that I've ever done. I have completed more technical (GRP), in worse weather conditions (Ehunmilak) and longer races (VCUF).

However this race is unique. There is no other with the involvement that it generates. Chamonix is ​​a week of celebration. One lives, breathes Trail Running. It is the most emblematic. Those are the Olympic Games of Trail. A kind of Tribal meeting at planetary level. It is the river where the salmon go up to get to the source. It is the cemetery where the elephants come to die.

(...)

Driven by arrogance of youth, I completed the first 136 km of the race in just 26 hours. It translates into an average of 5.13 Km / h, which is very good. However, I am suddenly struck by a rock wall.

(...)

From here it would be a lonely path that I would need to travel, I would have to cross alone the second night, and see myself faced with my worst ghosts.

Moses parted the Red Sea with his staff and the word of God.

I'll have to open the night with blows of rage and despair. But I lack the beard of the prophet.

I'm in the race at exactly 26:26:26, hours, minutes, seconds.

The Number of the Beast hidden between the 3 Swans ...

I have already completed 136 km, 8,000 m D + / D- 7,150 m. Not much longer to the finish line!!! ... I delude myself ...

(...)

The descent is going to be much worse.

I cross fellow runners which are sitting by the track, staring off into empty space. I ask them if they are OK, and they acquiesce, slightly bowing their heads.

Are these the guards flanking the Styx, as Charon's boat drags me to the bottom?

"From the descent to Hades no one returns. At least not the same it was."

Will Tiresias be waiting for me to reveal prophecy? Will I reach the tranquility of my kingdom, despite the trip being particularly hard? Will I ony be able to return if I restrain my greed?

Talk to me Tiresias! Reveal me my destiny!

My destination is to go down, down, down ... I have a rendez-vous with a French village called Vallorcine, at 1,270 meters high.

It takes nearly two hours to descend. More precisely one hour and forty-seven minutes. The same that had taken clinbing up, at exactly the same speed: 2.8 km / h!

That means I am increasingly rusty, shaky and hopelessly fatigued!
I enter the tent at Vallorcine at 01:55 in the night. I feel dizzy. I need to sit down quickly. I do it in the first chair by the table that I can find. I need a few minutes facing the ground until I am able to recover my composure.

I'm dead. Or so I feel. I have to rise again, I have to rise again!

(...)

After this race, and for a long time, I was not myself. It left me drained, exhausted, both physically and mentally.

Subjectively, it was the hardest of all.







The fifth lover was from Madeira Island.

The 170 km of EMUM - Eco Wood Ultra Marathon was my fifth adventure in the distance.

This was a lover without history. A summer affair, which does not leave many memories, but rather a pleasant and superficial feeling of some well spent time time. It was a smooth race, the transition from the violent and impetuous lovers of the past for those which the future would bring.







The sixth lover was Andorran.

Objectively, this most recent one was the hardest of them all. Subjectively, it all depends on us, were not this statement itself a perfect tautology.

The 100 miles of Andorra Ultra Trail - Ronda dels Cims, required two attempts in order for me to succeed.

In 2017 I made my first attempt. The 12-month period between July 2017 and July 2018 was my annus horribilis. At the starting line I knew that I had not prepared enough. But I hoped that the long years of practice could produce a miracle. And, in a way, they produced. With minimal training and overweight, still I was able to reach kilometer 87, in Coma-Bella' s refreshments station.

My head was not in the race.

Like in a relationship where we are not fully engaged, because we are too focused on our own problems, real or imaginary, eventually the other person gets tired and leaves, so the mountain does not forgive a lack of diligence.

After this bitter defeat, I was remained without training for almost a full year. I just kept some sporadic training on the road, but with very low intensity and volume, and did not return to competitions.

I gained immense wight. I drank too much. I went from a normal weight of 70 kg to 85 kg. 


Meanwhile my father died, my marriage ended, I moved my home. 



"Mistakes, bad Fortune, burning Love
To my doom conjured;
Errors and Fortune were too much,
For me only love was enough."
- Luís de Camões



I stopped running completely. It was only in July 2018 that I waas once again willing to go to the road. It was a slow rebirth. My weight decreased slowly to 80 kg, but once there it remained stagnant. I couldn't reach the speed of the old days. Marathons below three hours seemed a distant mirage.

Slowly I rose from the ashes. I resumed participating in road races and achieved results far from past records, but perfectly reasonable otherwise.

In November 2018 I felt confident enough to risk attempting again a race of 100 miles. Of course, the choice would have to fall back on the one that had I had left unfinished.

I only do not finish that which stops making sense. And the two things that have made most sense throughout my whole life, are my family (and friends), and to run on the mountain. I have been running on the mountain since 2010 and I intend to continue until the years place too much of a burden on me.





This long prologue is finished. The next chapters will tell the story of my travels through the Andorran mountains.





History




2012: Ehunmilak, 168 km - 11.000 mD+, in the Basque Country.

2013: Le Grand Raid desPyrénées, 160 km - 10.000 mD+, in the French Pyrenees.

2014: VCUF - VoltaCerdanya UltraFons, 214 km - 10.000 mD+, crossing the Spanish and French Pyrenees.

2015: Ultra-Trail duMont-Blanc, the mytical 100 miles race: 170 km - 10.000 mD+, around Mount Blanc, crossing 3 countries: France, Italy and Switzerland.

2016: Eco Madeira Ultra Maratona, 170 km - 7.000 mD+, around Madeira Island.

2017: Andorra Ultra Trail - Ronda dels Cims, 170 Km - 13.500 mD+, around Andorra. DID NOT FINISH.

2018:VOID

2019: Andorra Ultra Trail - Ronda dels Cims, 170 Km - 13.500 mD+, around Andorra.






Andorra Ultra Trail VallNord - Ronda dels Cims 2019 - First day







Description:


Giant route around the whole Principality of Andorra, including a visit to its highest point, Comapedrosa at an altitude of 2.942 meters, touching on the border. In the light of the full moon on the longest days.
  • 170 k ( 106 mi.) 13.500 meters (8 mi.) of elevation gain and 13.500 meters (8 mi.) of elevation loss.
  • Departure from Ordino town centre on Friday on the morning and finish in Ordino town centre
  • 16 peaks or passes upon 2.400 meters
  • Average altitude: 2.085 meters
  • The most spectacular feature: panoramic views, alternate zones of minerals, high mountain meadows, forests, glacial lakes...
  • The most technical section: some completely safe rocky ridge sections
  • Sticks allowed
  • 13 refreshment points

Time limits:
  • Friday at 5 pm (10-hours race): Coma d'Arcalís (31K)
  • Saturday at 9 am (26-hours race): Margineda (73K)
  • Sunday at 2 am (43-hours race): Refugi de l'Illa (116K)
  • Sunday at 8 am (49-hours race): Pas de la Casa (130K)
  • Sunday at 12 am (53-hours race): Vall d'Incles (142K)
  • Sunday at 7.30 pm (60,5-hours race): Sorteny (158K)







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What can one creature among other creatures
do but love?
love and forget,
love and mislove,
love, unlove, love?
always, and with wide eyes, love?

What, I ask, can a loving soul
alone in the universal rotation do
but spin with everything else, and love?
love what the wave brings to shore,
what it buries, and what in the ocean breeze
is salt, or the need for love, or mere longing?

Love solemnly the desert palms,
the act of surrender, or expectant adoration…
And love what’s rough or barren,
a flowerless vase, an iron land,
the unfeeling breast, the street from a dream, a bird of prey… 

This is our destiny: to spread unmeasured love
among treacherous or worthless things,
to give without limits to a total ingratitude,
and to search with hopeful patience, in love’s empty
shell, for still more love. 

To love our very lack of love, and to love in our dryness
the implicit water, and the tacit kiss, and that infinite thirst.


- Carlos Drummond de Andrade 




This race is dedicated to my mother and my father, that begot me, took care of me, and helped me be the person that I am.





Of all the 100-mile races I've ever finished, this was the one I managed the smartest.


I am far from the form I was in 2015 when I run the UTMB. Also, I no longer am 47 years old, as I was at the time, but I'm smarter. So I planned a huge walk, and I stuck to the plan. It's not easy to walk. It takes forever to reach the aid stations, we spend many hours on the ground, it is very difficult mentally. But we must know how to progress on the ground. Above all, we must know how to rest, how to eat and drink, which electrolytes and other supplements to take, how to manage the pain, etc.



Nevertheless, what carried me from beginning to end, was Love.

The love of my children, the love of my family, the love of my numerous friends, who traveled with me physically and those who did so in spirit.

It was also my own love. My love for the mountains. My love of running. My love of nature. My immense love of freedom.






If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, b but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13












At 5 o'clock in the morning, on the 19th of July, 2019, my alarm clock rings. Like Bill Murray in Groundhog day, it seems that I entered a continuous cycle, wherein I relive the same experience every day, while I am not able to transcend myself. 

I get up and equiped. 




I take a frugal but energetic breakfast. 

Carla gets up to walk with me to the starting line. António will join us there. 

We go out into the fresh weather. It is a kilometer and a half of a quiet walk to the Central Square of Ordino. 

It is great to have company.

I feel very calm. I don’t get nervous before these adventures. What happens in the field, in the field will be solved. 

I checked-in at the gate to the corral of Ronda dels Cims. The organization checks if I carry the survival blanket. 

I meet the rest of the portuguese team. They are looking good.  Arede, Flávio, Miguel Soares, Sommer, Diogo, Telmo, David. Brave warriors of the useless phalanx. 

We are a kind of league of extraordinary gentlemen, in this case globettroters whose vacation concept is to pay to be exposed for hours on the mountain instead of staying quietly drinking maragaritas in a Mexican resort. 

Rui and Sandra have also arrived to witness the departure. It's good to feel so much affection for so many dear friends.

Those who traveled with me: Antonio, Carla, Elsa, Gonzalo, Jorge, Rui, Sandra; and many others who are also present in my heart.









At 7 o'clock the starting shot is fired and we leave the town center filled with the thrill of departure.











We ran a few kilometers before we leave the road into the first single-track of the race. There are 408 of us, we are still all very close, the path narrows and soon have to slow down. "Great", I think to myself. I have an excuse to rest. Now we find ourselves among the trees in a soft and smooth track.











The race has barely begun and I already feel breathless. Anyway, what matters is that I have a lot of experience and I know I'm still only warming up. Later on I will feel better.

I join Diogo and Flávio. Running downhill, Diogo is like a missile, and I fall into the error of trying to keep up. It is the worst mistake you can make: trying to run someone else’s race. What we should do is to stay within our parameters, run at the pace that feels comfortable, slow down when needed and where possible speed up.

The result: just 6 km into the race I suffer an ugly fall. I don’t realize it immediately, but I received a big blow to my left knee.







The pain and discomfort begin to settle in. It was just what I needed! I try to divert my attention from the knee.

It is impossible to avoid setbacks in the competition. Something will happen sooner or later. The secret is to remain optimistic and believe that you can proceed. Always continue no matter what.


I am naturally a calm person, who manages to stay composed under stress, and the 18 years, working in a Technical function, in a telecommunications company, give me additional experience working under fire. In my job I have to keep telco systems running 24 hours each day, and to give support to large corporate clients that include hospitals, fire corporations, ministries, municipal services, large companies. I am used to having to solve difficult problems in real time, under great pressure.

In fact, I function best under pressure. But an acute pressure, not that deaf and continuous pressure of day-to-day, that erodes our health if we let it. I'm at my best when I have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to save the day.

As Yuval Harari says the "Sapiens", I think the life of a hunter-recoletor was more interesting than ours. It was more dangerous and had more pain, disease, trauma, etc., but we are adapted to those conditions by millennia of evolution. What we are is not adapted to is routine office work. Despite all the pain I endure during a 100 mile race, I feel far happier, and that happiness lasts for longer.


But I digress. Let us return to the story:



Still I am able to progress well, driven by the human mass that climbs the mountain. After some time I get to the Coll d'Arenes (col means passage). We have left the trees behind and now the landscape is bare and rocky.












We inflect to the left and head to the Collada de Ferreroles. We climb to the other side of the mountain and start descending towards the first aid station at Sorteny, passing by Llac de l'Estanyó.











After 4 hours, I get to Sorteny. I have completed the first 21 km and climbed the first 1.550 mD +. I am still feeling good, despite the pain in the knee. The average speed was 5.3 km / h which is not bad, but will not be repeated until the end.








The food supply is weak, there is no soup. I take what I can and move on to the next stage. I am currently in position 258 out of 408 participants.










The next 10 km stretch to Coma Arcális takes me 3h30, at a significantly slower speed. The heat begins to weigh in. I arrive well within the 10 hour time barrier, 20 minutes faster than in 2017. Upon arrival I am greeted by João Rosa. It is a joy to meet friends. Elevates my spirits. At the entrance of the station I find Armando Teixeira. The mood improves even more. He is there supporting David Quelhas, who is doing a magnificent race.






This station is a huge mess of people trying to eat, fill flasks, use the bathroom. But the food is excellent. I eat two soups in a row, reinforced with pasta, lentils, tuna, and corn. It is a kind of consistent pasta that will become my recipe in all subsequent aid stations. As well as melon, which looks great, watermelon, oranges, almonds and ham.

It is essential to eat well. The body is a furnace that needs to burn nutrients to produce energy, and if it stops assimilating these nutrients, then eventually it will no longer be able to progress on the ground.

Between stations I take the opportunity to replace salts, vitamins, magnesium and iron. In the food bases I help myself abundantly of all that is available. Besides that, I also carry some gels for the longer stretches between stations.








The exit from Coma Arcalís is smooth. I take my first anti-inflammatory because I'm tired of suffering from the pain in the knee. It is not very safe to take anti-inflammatory drugs while running, as they can compromise kidney function, but as long as you keep hydrated and control for the color of your urine, I think you are safe. And what is not lacking is water in these mountains.

The climbs now become different. We find stone, and more stone, and more stone, and more stone ... and truly brutal slopes, as we can't find anywhere in mainland Portugal.





















But I still feel strong on my legs. I'm going up at a good pace. At km 41 we pass by Clot del Cavall. I have completed the 13 km until Pla Estany in 3h30. Speed: 3.7 km / h.







Pla Estany is the station located before the Gargantuan climb to the highest peak in Andorra, and the highest point of the race, Pic Comapedrosa. It consists of a stone hut at the foot of the ascent, in a truly magical setting. On all three sides you can only see huge rock walls, towering and menacing.













I arrive at Pla de l'Estany at 18:00. I will be able to reach the peak in day light. I feed myself and go out again.

Now I will have to climb 900 mD + in 2.5 km.







The climb is hard, very hard. But I still feel fresh. I can do it in 1h44. The view up there is breathtaking. You can see the peaks all around.







The Race Director: Gerard Martinez



My video, with the bagpipe player and all!








Now I have to go down to the refuge of Comapedrosa. It is a very steep descent. It must be done calmly and carefully.












I complete the 3 km to the refuge of Comapedrosa in one hour. It's 8:44 pm when I enter the refuge. I am now in 197th place. 50K are done. It's still daytime. I've been running for almost 14 hours. I don't linger long in the station. I go out into the street still in short sleeves, no need to wear any more clothes.






I reach Portela de Sanfons with night fall. I put on the waterproof jacket and front light.







Now I run over a crest, the Collada de Sanfons.




It is already dark when I get to Port de Cabus at km 57.







From Port Cabus to Col de la Botella it is about 3 km down, followed by 1 up. The descent is simple but never seems to end. I come across cows that lie down resting. The reflection of the frontal light returns to me a myriad of ghostly pairs of bright eyes. It is surreal.

The last mile uphill seems to never end. I am looking forward to the aid station.












I arrive at Coll de la Botella at 11:26 pm. The last 10 km took me 2h42, at an average speed of 3.8 km / h. I am currently in position 189 and completed 60 km in 16h26m. Roughly one-third of the total, but more than one third of the positive ascent. My average speed so far has been 3.7 km / h. If I would be able to maintain the same speed I would make the remaining 110 km in 30h, which would result in about 46h26m in total. Of course my expectation is to start to lose strength, and slow the pace. But I am confident. Still, there is always that Monster in Coma Bella, which I couldn't overcome in 2017. It's my psychological barrier.







Now I will enter into the night and its terrors ...





Andorra Ultra Trail VallNord - Ronda dels Cims 2019 - First night











In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.












The station of Coll de la Botella is large and ventilated. I eat well before going out into the dark again. It is near midnight.

For a few miles I will roam a reasonably flat course where it is possible to trot freely.









I pass a German woman who is leaning on the side of the road, emptying her stomach contents. I ask her if everything is fine. She says yes, but in a hesitant and uncertain voice. I wait a little bit, but it seems to me that she'll be fine.

Then I pass another athlete in identical circumstances.

Has something happened in the previous station, or is it the beginning of the night and its terrors?













I vividly remember going through this Collada Montaner in 2017, along with Carlos André.

It is just a checkpoint without any supplies. It is the basis of the next 400 mD + climb to Bony de la Pica.









Courage!

It is in this ascent that a problem that I had been feeling from the beginning, begins to escalate, but in a moderate and bearable way.

I will not dwell on this particular problem, given its embarrassing nature, but will only say that I had rarely suffered in the past from this evil and that it is a problem exacerbated by the uphill effort. And it is very painful. So much so that a person completely forgets his other pains.

"For human nature is made in such a way that the sufferings and pains that happen at the same time do not entirely add up to our sensibility, but hide, the smallest behind the greatest, according to a definite prospective law."

- Primo Levi, If This is a Man

The climb to Bony de la Pica was an unspeakable torment. For I did not want to grant myself the luxury of taking other anti-inflammatory while it was not strictly essential. 

I reach the Cresta de l'Enclás. In the daytime it would have magnificent views. At night we can only perceive the emptiness.

























After a huge effort to ignore the pain, I reach the control of Bony de la Pica (no supplies) on the top of the hill. It is now 1:25 am and I have been in the race for 18:25 hours. The last 6 km were made in two hours. I'm in position 166.



Now the pain will ease in the descent.

The next step is one of the most critical in Ronda. We will descend continuously 1500 mD-. An authentic leg-breaker, with very technical and sloping sections.























In the middle of the descent there is a left turn and we are forced to climb another 50 meters to reach a summit. On the other side is the final descent to La Margineda.



I use all my vernacular baggage to insult the Machiavelli who invented this little climb.







Well, in a way this small climb introduces a break on the descent, which is not such a bad idea.


In Trail Ultra Endurance, the muscles that give up first are usually the quadriceps, due to the eccentric contraction movement we do when descending downhill.









The sections that should be best managed in a race are precisely those with a steep downwards inclination.


After an endless descent, I reached La Margineda and the first base of life at km 75.











The life basis is in a sports hall.

I am greeted at the entrance by Armando Teixeira! This man is everywhere, encouraging athletes. He tell me I still have some slack over the cut-off time.

It is now 3:37 am. I have been in the race for 20h37. I covered 75 km. My average speed is still 3.7 km / h. The 2k escent with 1,500 mD- was covered in two hours, not bad. At the entrance I am in 163rd position.

The cut-off time on this life base is at 9am. I still have plenty of time. However, I know I won't be able to rest here due to the adrenaline rush. In 2017 I lay down staring at the ceiling for 1h40 and could not rest at all. In any case, the need for sleep is not yet beginning to be felt.

I pick up the bag I delivered on departure. I decide not to take a shower. Not worth it since I won't rest. If I had decided to rest, it might have been that the bath would help induce sleep. Since I decided no to, there is no use. I will be sweating again soon enough.

Nevertheless, I change several pieces of clothing: the thermal shirt, the buff, the gloves, the cuffs and the socks. I keep my shorts and leggings.

I moisturize my feet throughly with Vaseline as they start to hurt significantly.

I take another anti-inflammatory pill, because I don't think I can endure one more climb with the pain that has accompanied me thus far. I know the pill takes two to three hours to work, so I will still be in pain at first (the pain never completely disappears, but it is much more manageable).

For breakfast I don't feel like eating the usual soup. Fortunately I had already anticipated this and had previously stuffed a pack of cerelac into the bag. When I was adding water to the cerelac, a guy asked me inquisitively what this yellowish powder was. I told him it was cereal. He seemed to be a little disappointed ...

At 4:14 am I go out into the street. I stayed only 37 minutes at the life base. At this moment I am two hours ahead of last year. Now I have moved to 122nd position. It is still night, but in a stifling heat. I change the thermal t-shirt again for a cooler technical t-shirt with the RUN 4 FUN logo.



I cross the Roman bridge to the other side of the river.









Now a very steep climb will begin, with 600 mD + continuous ascent over 4 km, on the way to Costa Seda, albeit on soft terrain.

I remember that in 2017, André and I left for this climb already very worn out. He due to an ugly fall that had left a cut in his leg. I due to lack of training and being overweight. Incidentally, that year my race in practice ended in La Margineda. The last stretch to Coma Bella was a desperate attempt to reach the end. That attempt was completely razed by the devastating ascent.


Halfway through the climb begins to dawn. Mornings are always welcome. They expel the ghosts of the night, and allow you to better see the terrain you step on, as well as enjoy the landscape and distract the mind. However with the day arrives the heat. There is a balance between the positive and negative factors of running day or night. It is the yin and yang of the Ultra Endurance Trail running.





















A partir daqui entro no desconhecido...


At 8:04 am I finally reach the station at Coma Bella.

It took me 03h50 to make the last 13 km, at an average speed of 3.2 km / h. The cost of the climb made itself felt.

According to the 2017 track, I already have 8,900 mD + made in just 87 km, or about 2/3 of the climb and half the distance.

I have been in competition for 25h04. If I could continue at the same pace, it would finish in 50 hours. My experience tells me that it will take me at least 5 hours longer than this linear estimate.

This point is my Cape of Good Hope. If I double it, I will have crossed a psychological barrier and will be in good condition to make it to my India.

In 2017, one of the things that made me stop was to know that there was only an intermediate supply to the Claror refuge at 105 Km. However this was a false ghost: it is possible to abandon the race in the Naturland area).







From here on I enter the unknown ...







Andorra Ultra Trail VallNord - Ronda dels Cims 2019 - Second day








After all, the best way to travel is to feel.
To feel everything in every way.
Feel everything excessively,
Because all things are really excessive
And all reality is an excess, a violence,
An extraordinarily clear hallucination
That we all live in common with the fury of souls,
The center where strange centrifugal forces tend
Which are the human psyches in their agreement of senses.

- Álvaro de Campos











Getting back to the race: once again I did not dwell long on the station (Comma Bella). Just the essentials: soup, melon, watermelon, nuts and ham.

I headed out into the track toward Pic Negre. It will be 1,300 mD + in 11 km, until you get there












The intermediate supply is in Roca de Pimes, at km 94.

It is a simple station. Just the necessary to keep me functional.

Above all fill the flasks with water. The heat is becoming unbearable










The views from Pic Negre are stunning. The mountains and valleys of Andorra to loose sight of. For that alone it is worth climbing up here.









Now we will go down about 400 mD- to Coll de la Caulla, and then turn right towards the Prat Primer refuge.














Prat Primer's refuge is yet another Machiavellian detail. When we are descending and the stone house is in the distance, we are convinced that Claror's station is right there, and we let loose a huge sigh of relief.

When we get there we are bitterly disappointed to find that it is just a water point, and we will have to climb another huge 300 mD + barrier of stone to the top of the Coll del Bou Mort.
.











Then it will be one kilometer down to the refuge Claror.










I get to Claror at 1:39 pm. I have been in the race for 30h39 and covered 105 Km. That is an average of 3.4 km / h.

I still feel good, although much more tired than on the first day. It is noticeable in the slowdown of my pace.

I am now in 107th position, the best I will achieve during the entire race. From here on I will lose positions.

Last year I did not race, but I had many friends who had the misfortune of being barred at this point due to weather conditions, which forced the organization to cancel the race.

Fortunately this year the weather is good. Even the temperature is not too high despite the heat being felt. It could be much worse.

























Now we enter the Madriu Valley ("puta que o pariu" ... as a friend said).

Incidentally, I can not resist transcribing part of a post by a fellow athlete, because I found it immensely funny:

"Mitic AUTV 115k 9700D + with passes by ordenha, cortinado, bordas do prato, portas da sanfona, colo da boa morte, colada com perafita, Boné da piça, vale Madriu puta que o pariu, pico de comadrosa, marçaneta, and other small  places forgotten by the devil. Up, down, laugh and cry, perspiration and a lot of snot. Let's see if we can have lunch in Ordino next Sunday! "
- Luís Álvaro

Having lunch in Ordino on Sunday does not seem possible to me.
















In Estall Serrer there is a checkpoint where they give me some water. There are several athletes with their legs tucked into the river. Most are from the 115 Km race, the Mythic. This race intersects with ours at various points along the way.

After replenishing the water, I move on. They tell me I will have a 600 mD + climb to Refugi Illa's station.

After 2 km I start to feel extremely tired. Heat and hunger slow my steps. I feel an irresistible urge to lie under a tree and rest for a few hours.

I try to fight this feeling. I ingest two caffeinated geis. I seek for a place to cool off. After a few miles I am next to the Riu dels Orris. I crawl fully dressed under a waterfall.

These two actions have the power to revive me. I can walk at a good pace again.















I arrive at Refugi Illa with a good advance on the cut-off time, which at this point is at 2 am. It is still daytime and with a little luck I will be able to reach the 2nd base of life at dusk.

I feel exhausted. After eating abundantly, I feel the need to spread out in the grass. This station is just a windswept tent with no beds.

I lie down very carefully so as not to have any cramps. My legs are exhausted.

My feet feel butchered and the soles completely wrinkled from being permanently wet.

I can't dry my sneakers and socks.

I apply some Vaseline, but I'm not very confident as my feet get wet again.

After a while spent laying down looking up at the sky, I decide to get up. It costs me horrors. I do it very slowly. I am standing. I get equiped and take my first hesitant step toward the track.

Here I am trying to regain muscle mobility. Luckily I have the pole-sticks to support me.

The poles are my greatest friends. They became a second nature. I use them to go up, down, to run flat, to walk, to support me, for everything.
















Now we have to cross two passes, Portella Blanca and Col dels Isards.

At Portella Blanca I am greeted by a Portuguese volunteer, the most enthusiastic I have seen to date. The man speaks, speaks, speaks. I appreciate  the warm moment, but I have to move on.











When I reach the top it is already twilight. I haven't felt the need to turn on the front light yet.

Next I will face the descent to Pas de la Casa.

All accounts agree that it is a contrieved, slippery, stone-laden descent. I confirm, but still it doesn't hurt me that much. The important thing is that you can already see the lights of Pas de la Casa in the distance, down in the valley.
















Pas de la Casa is the 2nd base of life.

When I arrive there at 10:38 pm it is already dark. I have been in competition for 39h38 and I have already covered 130 km.  I have not yet reached my record time on the ground, but it is almost there. 

At the entrance I am in 127th position.

My average speed up to here has been 3.3 km / h.

This is the 4th time barrier, after 10am in Coma Arcális, 26h in La Margineda, and 43h in Refúgi Illa.

Here I am required to leave before 8am. There is no danger. Thre are more than 9 hours left. The last real time barrier is at the next supply, Incles Baladosa, at km 143, and I'm determined not to rest until I get there, even if I have to face a second sleepless night.

As in the UTMB, there "only" remain to be beaten the last 3 giants : Pas de les Vaques, Sorda Shack Crest, Collada Meners.









The log cabin where the station is located is extremely hot.

I do everything very calmly. I ingest one of those consistent soups. Also, melon, watermelon, ham, etc.

I ask for my bag in order to change the socks, but I notice that I only have two socks of the same foot. I change just one, after rubbing Vaseline over the sole of the foot. In these live basis there are podiatrists and nurses, but I don't want to waste time on treatments.

I change the batteries of the front light.

After 50 minutes, I go out into the street, clothed with an inner layer and a waterproof jacket.

On the way out I am the 116th ranked.

While still inside the city, I remove the waterproof. As soon as one starts walking fast, the body warms up really quickly.

It's late night.








I'll have to go through one more night to flow into a new day. And with a new day, a new hope. Let's see how I will face my demons on this second night ...







Andorra Ultra Trail VallNord - Ronda dels Cims 2019 - Second night










In the terrible night, natural substance of every night,
In the night of insomnia, the natural substance of all my nights,
I remember, watching in uncomfortable drowsiness,
I remember what I did and what I could have done with my life.

- Álvaro de Campos



When you're climbing at high altitudes, life can get pretty miserable. 

- Edmund Hillary










This second night stage is the most feared.

I have to climb about 700 mD + to Pas de les Vaques and then descend as much to the supply Inclés. station.







The climb is very hard. It is flanked by a brook, and water falls everywhere, soaking the ground. And to increase the difficulty, there is almost no trail. The terrain consists of tufts of grass, and mounds of shrubs that greatly hinder the progression. Moreover, at night it is difficult to identify which way to go.













But after an interminable time, I reach Port Dret, on the top. From there it is mostly flat until you reach Pas de les Vaques.

Here begins the descent to Inclés.
















After a never-ending descent, I finally reach the station at Inclés, at km 143.

It's 4:44, and it took me 5:16 to make the last 13 km, that is 2.3 km / h, slow, slow, slow ...

I'm in 130th position.

The cutting time here is at 12h00. I have 7 hours to spare.

I enter the tent. There are 5 campaign beds occupying one side of the tent. I immediately decide to lie on one of them.

I'm exhausted. Even if I can't sleep, I'll try to rest. I am afraid of becoming completely stiff by immobility, but I have to risk it.

And I have no desire to do even another mile at night.

I cover myself with a meager blanket. After a while I am shivering from the cold. Moisture seeps through the hammock of the bed and enters my unprotected back. I have to put on some extra clothing and wrap myself in the blanket as best as I can, but at first I'm too lazy to do it. I remember one of those climbers on the Everest who are slowly freezing, but who no longer have the strength to protect themselves.

After about an hour, I put on everything I have, waterproof included, and curl up in the blanket like a hot dog.

I look at the clock: it's 6:00 am. The next time I look it is already 7:00. I must have dozzed off. An hour to sleep! Not bad. I had never done this before. I must be really tired: I have been in the race for the past 48 hours.

It pains me a lot to get out of the warm. I get up and I take "breakfast" wrapped in the blanket. The meal is the usual: consistent soup, fruit, nuts, coke, etc.

At 7:18 am I manage tro get out of the tent for the morning cool. I spent 2h30 resting in this tent.






Let's go for the last day of the race. It's almost done!









Andorra Ultra Trail VallNord - Ronda dels Cims 2019 - Third day













Friend,
you who weep some anguish
and speak of meek things like moonlight
and still
like the waters of a sleeping lake,
wake up!
Leave one and for all
the shores of the lonely brook
where do you look at yourself
as if you were your own girlfriend.
Leave the garden without flowers
from this invented country
where you are the only inhabitant.
Leave the aimless desires
by boat to some god
and that air of renunciation
to the things of the world.
Wake up, friend,
free yourself from this rotten peace of miracle
that exists
only in your imagination.
Open your eyes and look,
open your arms and fight!
Friend,
before death come
be born to life.
 - Manuel da Fonseca, in "Poemas Dispersos"











From Inclés to the finish line it is only 27km.

We'll have to get past the Cresta de Cabana Sorda and the Collada Meners.

I leave the tent. Outside is cool but not too much. Good thing, because I still have two uphill climbs to do, and if it's hot it's much worse.

However a sudden urgency sets in. It is the call of nature. However, I do not see any place where there may be any modesty in order to quietly fulfill this function. I can't wait either, the urgency is big.

Where to?

The field is almost completely open, and on the opposite side of the trail there is a campsite.

I'm in a dilemma. Either I am visible to the trail or I am visible to the campsite. The choice turns out to be easy. The vacationers I don't know or will ever see again. On the trail can pass people I know.

And so I fulfill the function: there are things that cannot be avoided.

I feel much better. I get back on track and start climbing vigorously. This hour of sleep has done miracles for me. The past dawn, when I reached the station, I seemed dead, unable to take even one more step. Now I feel great! The legs respond, I feel no pain. Wonderful!

Now I am finally absolutely sure that I will reach the finish line within the time limit.

We need to climb 800 mD + until we reach Cresta de Cabana Sorda.

If I had not rested, I am not sure how I would be able to do this. Maybe I would, but much more slowly.























The climb is long, but the mood is great.

At 10:18 we arrived at Refugi Coms de Jan, km 150. I am in 158th position, after 51h18 running.

I had never been so long in a race. Not even in the 215 km of the VCUF.

So far, my average speed is 2.9 km / h.

I still have 20 km to go until the finish line

In the refuge I eat well as usual.

However I experience a ridiculous mishap.

I see some cheese mini-sandwiches in a container and reach for one. The volunteer stops me, saying that there is more at the table and these are still in preparation. I remove my hand, but in the meantime I had lightly touched one of the sandwiches.

She tells me that it is better then to eat this one, since it had already touched it. I am amazed.

She really has no idea what a trail race is. All the food on the table will have been touched by countless athletes. Especially dried fruits that are collected by the handfull.

And does she know where the hands of all these comrades have been? Where did they apply Vaseline? In a race, such hygiene considerations go out the window. What we want is to eat calories and nutrients that enable us to move until the next supply. All other considerations don't matter at all.


But back to the story.

The next climb is about 400 mD + to Collada Meners.












I reach Collada Meners.

Okay, all the climbs are done. It only remains to descend to Ordino, passing through the Sorteny Refuge.














I arrive at Refugi of Sorteny at 13:24, after 54h24.

I'm in 154th place.

It is very hot.

I eat fruit and refresh myself.

10 minutes after arriving, I'm sitting inside the cabin, getting ready to continue, when Sandra's smiling face appears in the doorway!

I was not expecting to see her here. I expected my friends to receive me below, but not in the last station.

I felt great joy! And soon the joy doubled when Rui also appeared. They asked me how I was, if I needed anything, and they told me that I was their hero.

If they had not appeared, I might have walked the last 12 km. But the high spirits they instilled on me gave me the strenght to endure a reasonable trot.

I kept meeting them, along the trail, with Carla, António, O Jorge, Elsa, Gonçalo. They enlivened immensely this last section of the race.

























And that's it: I finished Ronda dels Cims' 170 km & 13,500 mD + at 57:00:34 (3 km / h), flanked by my friends and fellow RUN 4 FUN teammates.

Is there greater happiness than this?






































Andorra Ultra Trail VallNord - Ronda dels Cims 2019 - Friendship











Time does not pass through friendship. But friendship goes through time. You need to hold it while it is there. We are friends forever but between the day we become friends and the day we die there is a distance as long as life itself.

- Miguel Esteves Cardoso



There is something about building up a comradeship - that I still believe is the greatest of all feats - and sharing in the dangers with your company of peers. It's the intense effort, the giving of everything you've got. It's really a very pleasant sensation. 

- Edmund Hillary






The whole RUN 4 FUN team was with me on the mountain.





And as I ran, family and friends followed me through modern technology:





The history is still recorded at this link:

GPS Tracker




I am grateful, in particular to Marina and Luis Afonso for their close and thorough monitoring of my race.








Following the race, the magnificent honor guard my companions provided, coupled with the adrenaline rush, and the overwhelming joy of completing the challenge, made me feel anew.

Here is your testimony concerning my condition after cutting the line:




"Very seriously ...

Of all the participants in the race, @Luis Matos Ferreira gave a show of playing ball.

He flipped 7 beers in a row after crossing the finish line.

And if I hadn't seen him to the car, I don't know what would happen!

And then swim in the pool, talk, laugh. No words about taking a rest !!!!

And I confirm that he articulated words and thoughts very well. 100%. "





It was you my friends who gave me all this energy.








Do you know what is in these adventures that makes most proud? I feel that I am an inspiration to many people. And I think that I can be that inspiration because I do complicated things, but things that can be emulated: that is, people can identify with my performances and the difficulties that I go through and think that with the right amount of training, work and persistence , they will also be able to do the same things. And that is true. More and more people do this. But I feel part of a smaller pioneer group of platoon athletes who started doing this in Portugal. What an honor and a privilege!






some final notes regarding the race:















(nota: the Garmin stoped during about 2 hours)














And now I want to:













Andorra Ultra Trail VallNord - Ronda dels Cims 2019 - Statistics









"Statistics is the art of torturing numbers until they confess."





For me it is always very important to make a detailed analysis of what happened in a race, with the intention of learning something that I can use in the next race.




The following analysis is based on the leaderboard on the race website:

Ranking





The following is a graph of the total race times of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quartiles of the population of 210 finishers.

Roughly these concepts of descriptive statistics can be explained as follows:

If we imagine there were 100 runners, then the 1st quartile represents the time that 25th ranked would take, the 2nd quartile (or median) the time that the 50th, and the 3rd quartile the time of the 75th.

The 2nd Quartile is also called the Median. It is the value behind which 50% of the athletes were. It is a different concept from arithmetic average and more useful for analyzing this type of performance.

In a total of 210 finishers, the quartiles are basically the times of the following classifieds:


Q1 - 53

Q2 - 105

Q3 - 157

Q4 - 210



 I added one red line with my time, and two other lines, one with the time of the first and one with the time of the last.






What I can detect in this graph is that my performance was always very close to the median value, until the 2nd base of life in Pas de la Casa at 130 km, with 3/4 of the race done.

Thereafter, and in the next two stations I fell to the value of the 1st Quartile.

First on the night section from Pas de la Casa to Inclés. And then for sleeping in Inclés.

Then until the end I was always in the same pace of Q3.




In this chart here, you see more clearly what I am talking about:


At a certain point I was four hours in advance over the constant pace of 3 km / h. Then that advantage crumbled, first on the night climb to Incles, and then when I slept in the Incles supply.



Next chart:



I calculated the speed at each stage, for the 3 quartiles, and for my performance.





You can see in the graph that I lost to the median mainly in 3 sections: the 3 km descent from Pic de Comapedrosa to the Refuge (2 m / s from about 3 m / s).

On the night climb to Incletes and again between Jan Incls and Coms for sleeping in the water.

I also can see that the crowd hurried in the 1st section until Sorteny and then again from Sorteny to the finish line.



The following chart is similar but with bars for 1st place just to see how the elite runs. I can tell you right away: it has nothing to do with my own race.







The following graph shows the accumulated velocity from the beginning to each station and illustrates what I had already stated in a previous post: the velocity decreases throughout the race. The curve gives the idea that decay has a logarithmic form. That's what the curves of the various quartiles show, including my own curve.









Even the elite is under the same phenomenon:






Another interesting graph is that of dropouts:





It can be seen that those who reach 105 km in Claror practically have the race assured. Dropouts occur overwhelmingly before this point.



And here are my personal statistics:



Note: Garmin died a few miles before Sorteny, and I was only able to load it again a few miles after refueling. Hence that straight line seen on the curve. In any case, Garmin has marked more km than the 170 actually traveled, I think especially because when I'm standing inside a refueling GPS is constantly trying to catch the satellite and is marking points around me, which increases the distance . As for the gap, Garmin scores less than the official value, I have no idea why. It always does that in every race.













It is noticeable that the heart rate kept decreasing, due to the decrease in speed.






It can also be seen that temperatures fluctuated between a minimum of 14ºC on the second night and 35ºC on the third day.

In the first two days it never dropped below 17ºC nor rose above 32ºC. That is, somewhat hot during the day, but very mild at night. I was able to run most of the time in short sleeves only.

It never rained.







As for the positive and negative ascent, the evolution was as follows:






Note: The ascent values ​​are slightly below the actual value, and the time values ​​are in excess of the actual value. But the trend is there.

The total value of D + I got was 12,337 m, instead of the 13,500 m of the race.

Be that as it may, you can see that in La Margineda, at 73 km (43% of the distance) already had almost half of D + (49%).

At Coma Bella, at 87 km, halfway, already had 57% of the difference.

And in Illa, with 2/3 (70%) of the distance traveled, it had almost 10,000 mD +, or about 80% of the positive gap.

It's easier to see with a percentage chart:





In any case, my conclusion is that Ronda is a very balanced race, and as such it has to be approached likewise: with equililibrium.



And so the impressions that had crystallized over time during the race are now corrected by the interpreted facts.




Time is memory and memory is time. Not only is the present shifting towards the future: the past also changes as time unfolds.


World Without Time









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