According to the write-up, this is a 60km trail race with a cumulative climb of 3920m. Other than the start at 3200m, the average altitude hovers around 4200m with one part exceeding 5000m, the rest of the race route aren’t too extreme. Arriving just 2 days before, I was not fully acclimatized. I came to this race seeking a sense of exploration and adventure. There are local Tibetan participants and I believe this will not be an easy race for them as well.
We were flagged off at 2am on a cold fresh morning with a temperature of -2 degree celsius. To mitigate any risk, I have decided to go slow on my first climb (until the cumulative altitude at 5038m, 15km)
I felt no discomfort from the altitude and my legs felt good which was shocking to me. As I ascend to around 4600m, I begin to lead with a comfortable distance easily. At around the summit, I was about 5 minutes ahead of the second runner.
Descending was a breeze; I was able to pick up speed even at the tougher parts. However, I lost sight of route markers and wasted over 10 minutes towards the end of the descent but finally got back on track with the help of my GPS.
At dawn, I started the second phase of climb surrounded by breathtaking sceneries.
We were on a return route for the second peak (above 400m). I was distracted. It did not occur to me that I took the descending route, instead of ascending to the peak, at the intersection. I heard a shout in the final 5 minutes’. Someone was signaling me to ascend. My altimeter readings immediately suggested I have missed a section. Quick, turn around!
From this moment, my legs felt heavy. This was the final 220m and at 4608m, the route was very steep and full of gravels and rocks.
I began to catch up with other runners, although I took the wrong way, they were still about 5 minutes behind me. I did not feel the ease descending this time; I was beginning to lose my form. Suddenly, I was over taken and sooner than I thought, I have lost my pace. My legs were weak. The last part was very tough, I was slow. There was no headache, but I have lost the strength to hit the pass at 4582m.
Unfortunately, after the summit, we were running on a long plateau above 4300m. I was unable to recover and the fatigue left me having to walk slowly. Even the slightest climb was painful. I can only find solace in the magnificent views, 6000m plus mountain ranges and the wildlife all around me while moving in this snail pace.
I was anxiously looking forward to the final pass at 4503m. I felt better and was able to jog as I descend to below 3600m. Nothing could be more difficult than this. I finally made it to the finishing line and this is indeed one of the toughest trail race memories that will stay with me.
After this amazing race, I can share my experience in ultra trail with many customer in Shanghai and Beijing.
My first experience in China, so many good meeting, a new story begin.
Equipment used :
- Shoes: Hoka Mafatespeed 2 I enjoyed the grip and comfort in often extreme slopes.
- Textiles, hat : Hoka & hoodie Compressport
- Backpack : Hoka One One EVO R F-Light
- Socks : Compressport full socks ultralight
- Underwear : Compressport Underwear
- Eyewear : Julbo Aero
- Energy drinks and bars : Effinov Hydraminov et barres pomme amandes
- Headlamp : Ferei HL40
- Watch : Garmin Fenix 3
The track of the race :