Hirschegg Austria to Shruns Austria
53km / 2481m ascent / 2913m descent
For those of you who have done Knee Knacker, Stage 2 of this year's Gore-Tex Transalpine run was comparable. It had 3km more and 2,000 feet more descent. And it was at altitude and a bit more technical, but these are small differences :) Other than we had ran a stage the day before and still had two more 40km stages to follow...
We had an early start and Trent got up to make us coffee. The guesthouse wouldn't make us breakfast early and we tried to drive around the night before to get food, but we were too late after the pasta party. So our breakfast was power bars and ensure plus. Not ideal on such a big day, but it was all we had.
The day was once again warm and humid but Sarah and I planned out our electrolytes and salt replacement for the day. Today was all about keeping it steady, but not putting too much intensity into things this early. We knew this day was going to be long - but we needed to keep the pace easy and have fun. So that is exactly what we did! There were 3 big, hard climbs in the day, so we decided to pace easy on the climbs and hike and then run flats/downs. The views were amazing and the day actually went by quite fast. We took our time and hoped by keeping some intensity OUT of the longest stage would pay off in the later stages to follow. We ended up passing 3 womens teams in the last 10km!
I felt great again on stage 2 and Sarah bounced back strong. The pace was so managable that I really enjoyed it. A highlight was right before the last big climb, Trent and Carter surprised us at the last aid station. Carter jumped out and ran with us. Trent and Carter took our poles, got us food and it was so uplifting!!
Sarah lead the pace on the last hard climb and she did a great job on keeping it steady. We chatted on the way up and it reminded us of the grouse grind. you could see the 'light' at the top, but it was still a long ways up :) We took the downhill easy again today. Sarah didn't want to push anything with her tendon too early in the game. We also took it easy into the finish where we received our TAR Buffs!! The day was 8.5hrs and we both felt great afterwards.
Trent and Carter were waiting at the finish to give us out flip flops... take our packs... mix our recovery drinks and get us into some cold water. That often meant a nearby water fountain where athletes would sit and put their legs and lower bodies in, while drinking beer. They offered non alcoholic and alcoholic beers at the end of every stage!!