venerdì 26 febbraio 2010

Tartufo Trail

This fall my local trail running group organised a trail race for the second time ever in the area around Calestano, Parma in the appennine mountains. This area is famous for the prized black truffles which grow in the woods and the race is usually held at the same time as a local truffle fair. Trail running, friends, eating truffles and maybe a few glasses of wine – what more could you ask for.
The mountains around Calestano are not high, reaching only just above 800m (about 2500 feet) but the woody trails leading up and down the hills are beautiful, especially in the fall as the trees turn from green to red and yellow.
There are two race possibilities with the same inscription. When you arrive at the 20km check point you can choose to continue on to complete 50km, or decide to shorten the day and head downwards for a comfortable 26k.
The week heading up to the race was wet, very wet, but Sunday dawned with blue skies and a temperature which was hovering only a few degrees above zero.
Here we are shortly before the start discussing various race strategy – bottles of water or camelback, poles or no poles. Andrea (green sweater and bandana) was one of the main organisers and is an ex-winner of the Neanderthal Trail (short version of the famous Cro-Magnon Trail). I would have cause to thank him later in the day as he offered me a glass of red wine on top of the highest point with the race more than half finished.
By the time of the start the temperature had risen significantly and we were able to run in shorts and T-shirts.
Here I am descending at about the 5km mark in the company of Katia (she was voted as one of the top ten female Italian trailers a couple of years ago). We did the whole race together last year but this year she left me high and dry, going on to win in the female category.
The day, as you can see from this photo, was cloudless but the rain of the week before had left many parts of the course looking more like streams than trails.
I heard a number of people complain about the conditions but most people just got on with it and enjoyed the dry parts.
I did a large part of the race by myself but I managed to hook up with another friend, Arnaldo, for about 15 km though he also left me as we arrived in the last five km at the start of a nasty little climb before the final descent.
I got lost in the last descent, even though I knew the course from the previous year, as I missed one of the signs. Luckily I realised my mistake fairly quickly and was able to retrace my steps losing only about ten minutes. In the end I arrived in 7h 40’ for the 50k course which was 20’ more than last year but as one of the last races of the season I was more than happy.

A great day in a beautiful place, great company and finished off with food and wine.

2 commenti:

  1. Yikes, Martin, we have a little problem. You're not listed on the roster of finishers. I think you need to talk to Roberto.

    Great race, though. I'm thoroughly hooked and already planning something longer (and hopefully muddier!). As it stands, my 7:45 means I have a chance of seeing you on the trail, not just at the chow table.


  2. By the way, where did you find photos of the event?



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