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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