Departure from Passo Tonale, arrival at Ponte di Legno. The race circuit is 43 km long, with a total climb of 3400 m, spread over 4 ascents. The highest point of the race is Cima del Adamello, at an altitude of 3500m, but the whole of the race in general is run at altitude.
This is the only third edition of the race, but entries had to be closed in advance, because numbers had already reached 600!
A part of the route has to be tackled with the skiers roped together, as it crosses glaciers!
Following on from our experience of team racing with Laetitia in the Pierra Menta, it was time for us to take on a new challenge: the second stage on the Grande Course. For me it was an entirely new experience, because I’d never done such a long race before. And there was another “handicap” – for part of the route we had to be roped together and we’d never tried it.
The race was to start at six in the morning, so the alarm went off at half three – we’d hardly had time to fall asleep than it was time to get up again!!
There were spring conditions, so at six in the morning we were climbing up on hard snow and pure ice! The weather was good and the temperatures pleasant.
Although we could feel the effects of the altitude, especially on the third climb, we were on top from start to finish, on a splendid day, on which we were feeling good, enjoying the place and the atmosphere, putting in a good performance against the clock and gaining a good position in the overall rankings: 15th!
The next race I’m going to take part in is on 17 April in Zakopane, Poland: the World Cup final.
And after Poland we’ve still got the third leg of the Grande Course, another major ski mountaineering classic: the Mezzalama Trophy on 30 April, together with Laetitia Roux and Nathalie Etzensperger from Switzerland.
To prepare as best we can for a race like the Mezzalama, right after Poland we’re going to go to the mountain Plateau Rosa refuge (Cervinia) so we can get acclimatised, try out ropes, get to know the conditions/route, etc.