Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cortina at it's best!!

We are so fortunate to have the Dolomite's in our backyard. It is a great escape only 2 hours form our house in Montebelluna and it is so refreshing. The summers can be hot and humid by our house so to escape to the fresh mountain air is reviving.
The trails are great for running and hiking. We plan out really fun loops that pass by mountain huts that we can stop for a pasta or an apple strudle. It is so nice and all you need are a few euros in your pocket and not a big heavy pack. Love that!
The wild flowers are spectacular right now. As a tradition we always take some photos of the flowers. So i have attached a few for you to see.

Best from Cortina - the Queen of the Dolomites,

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Topher Survives the Cro-Magnon and takes 6th overall!

Race & Monte Carlo Photos

An epic day of adventure for Kim and Topher as we traversed the Mercantour Mtns from North to South finishing on the beaches of Monte Carlo!

The day started out brutal, 3degrees (C) and 4 inches of fresh snow overnight lined all the course above 1800mtrs (about 20 miles worth of snow on the course).

Topher along with about 400 other runners took the start with one of the most competitive fields in the event's history. 100km of pure mountain joy/torture lay ahead. The race started at 6:30am and went straight up Limone ski area. Toph and the lead runners all took off running the switchbacks up the mountain (the official course). About half way up the first climb, it all broke loose and it was an chinese uphill (anything goes and everyone finding every possible short cut they can to get to the top first). In what is clearly a European norm, finding the shortest line between check points seems to be accepted, so Topher along with all the other runners started forging straight up and down the race course where they could. (We don't like this style, but if you don't adapt you end up running a longer race!).

Topher was running in the lead with Dawa Sherpa for the first 20km, when they entered a section of woods and another chinese downhill and poor trail markings found Topher totally lost and running in the wrong direction. He eventually popped out and found his way back onto the course having run an additional 2-3km. Very frustrating!

35km into the race found Toph make yet another wrong turn due to missing trail markings. He ended up running an additional 5km this time loosing another 20-25minutes. When he reconnected to the course, he was in 25-30th position. So he spent most of the day trying in Vain to bridge back to the leading pack.

The run was epic, running across mtns upto 2500mtrs (8000ft) snow covered and literally scrambling up and down the peaks and contouring the mtns on goat tracks. An extremely technical and tedious course. The highlight was a 7000ft descent off the peak into the 70km aid station. Toph's Quads and knees were ready for the uphill that followed.

Kim spent all day traversing the mtns in proud support finding Toph in the most remote sections of the course. She was "4-wheelin'" her way through mud bogs, snow fields, and dirt roads.

Toph clawed his way back throughout the day to finish 6th place in 10hrs 24min. Had he recovered that 30minutes he had getting lost he perhaps could have taken 2nd. A great day for all, super competition, a gnarly course, the nicest race director, Pietro who hosted us at the event, and a cool city to end in! Monte Carlo!

Best to all around the world. Thanks for following our adventures, we love sharing them with all of you. And thank you for your comments, emails, text messages of encouragement!

Kim & Topher

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Cromagnon is ON!!!

The race will start with a few modifications along the way to deal with the snow at high elevations.
It should be quiet the challenge with the snow, mud and water for the runners. Not like it is easy with 18,000 feet of up and 21,000 feet of down. Yikes in 100km. Only the strong and brave will finish this race.

There are many good european runners starting. My pick to win is Marco Olmo. He has won here before and is strong- even at 60 years old! But Dawa Sherpa will not make it an easy win for him. Not sure who is in better form for the big mountains. We will see.

Topher for sure has the leg speed but we will see how he is on the big hills. The goal is a good solid run with no injuries and to enjoy a new place. It will be perfect training for the UTMB (mt blanc race) the end of august.

So follow here LIVE. The race starts at 6am Saturday in Italy then finishes on the beach in Monte Carlo. Ahhhhh!

Should be another fun adventure!

Go Topher!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cro-Magnon up in the air!

We are off to Limone (Piemonte) Italy to run a 104km race across the mountains to Monte Carlo this weekend. This race is the first of 3 mega mountain ultramarathon races we (toph will run this one and Kim will "crew chief it") plan run over the summer. The Cro-Magnon has 17,700 ft (5400m) of climbing and 21,000ft (6400m) of descending, traversing north to south the mountains dividing Italy and France,finishing on the beach in Monte Carlo. The race course has been getting hammered by rain, high winds, fog and snow, so it is still uncertain whether we will be able to take the start for the 2008 edition.

Official news today....

COMMUNIQUE- 8th of JUNE 2008After the reports of yesterdays by two teams of “baliseurs”
The “balisage” (marking) of the Cro-Magnon 2008 track is on and will be achieved by Wednesday the 11th. Snowfields are there but trenches have been opened so that to cross them, although with due care. In the Italian section a change of the track has become necessary for security reasons. You have been informed of it on this site.
An exceptional weather situation has built up and has been resting on the region since many days, particularly on the highest sections of the Cro-Magnon 2008. A thick mass of clouds and fog envelops the mountains above 2000 m, accompanied by almost permanent rainfalls.The extent and the density of the fog is such that in spite of a rather thick “balisage”, reinforced with reflecting ribbons, it is really very difficult, if not impossible to follow the right direction on the CrĂȘtes de Vespei where the footpath is inexistent and where the highest part in above 2400 m. Moreover some precipices border the way.
If the weather situation doesn’t change and the weather forecast remains negative for the next week, the Organisation Committee of the Cro-Magnon reserves itself to take a final decision on Wednesday the 11th of June: Either cancellation or confirmation of the Cro-Magnon 2008, certainly an Extreme Race but there are limits to it whenever the security is concerned, as per Clause 26 of the RULES.
The Neander-Trail is confirmed. The runners shall be very cautious, if the rainfalls go on as at present, in the ascent and descent of the Baudon.
Thank you for your understanding: it is difficult to fight against the weather

Adventure awaits!

Kim & Toph

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Moscow is a fascinating city with nearly 9Mil people, it is alive 24hrs a day. It is still on the frontier of modernizing its society from its past as a communist state to a free market economy. Aside from some of the most brutal traffic found anywhere in the world, the city is rich in culture and there is tremendous Russian pride among its people.

I have had a fast 36hr work trip into Moscow, arriving at 4am on Tuesday morning, catching 2.5hrs of sleep and off to mtgs all day. I'm not sure if the ultrarunning helps for the sleep deprivation at work or the other way around. Either way, I'm not sleeping many hrs these days I'm my life.....that way I'm sure not to miss anything.

Aside from a full day of mtgs, I was able to see some of Moscow's finest sights: Red Square, GUM, Tsum department store, the world famous Metro with its mosaic art and sculptures, along with great Russian cuisine, horse radish Vodka, and great local beers.

Now it is back to Germany and Austria for more mtgs and I'll join up with Kim for a weekend in Cortina.

All the best from Moscow!

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