Day three Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek brought a point-to-point mountain marathon of 41km with two big climbs and 2400 metres height gained, beautiful views and for me at least very sore legs!
The start in Castun was a bit strange because this is a very small ski village completely closed in summer time. However, the speaker and the loud upbeat music prepared everybody for day three. The marathon and half-marathon split today directly after the start leaving in total eleven men and two women braving the marathon trail this day.
Today no shade from trees, the whole track was in the higher mountains of the Pyrenees, so the sun burned fully upon me with a maximum temperature of 34 Degrees Celsius. Luckily on the trail today there were many streams providing fresh water to drink and cool of my head.
The first part reminded me a bit of the first part of the climb towards the Cobbler in Scotland, gently winding uphill. I trailed along the ski slopes of Castun at a gentle pace, knowing that it would be a long day and I also felt my thighs from yesterday’s fast 25km trailrun (I really enjoyed the speed but knew I had to pay for it today, as I did!).
Together with James Poole of the instant-team ‘FIT 4 FANTASTICOS’ I trailed at the back of the group towards the first big climb after which a very scenic descent followed, zigzagging down through small sturdy mountain trees, meadows with beautiful flowers and birds of prey flying high.
Was the first climb already a challenge, the second even more, with a steep ascent ending on a small top with a clear top beacon and a magnificent view! In the descend I lost contact with the other runners. It was half-way and I started to feel my left knee a bit too much, combined with being tired and therefore less able to concentrate on the small rocky trails. I decided not to push luck too much and slowed down to a ‘fast’ walking pace (where possible!).
The last 12 kilometres where slowly (for me) downhill through a wide valley where Spanish High mountain cows enjoyed themselves with their bells and ‘Moo….sss’.
I had eaten four energy gels and seven bars along the way (without any stomach issues!) when I finally finished in Canfranc.
After 7.21 hours I could enjoy the now already traditional ‘Finish Salad’ with today a Melon Gazpacho, MJAM!!!
All of the instant-team ‘FIT 4 FANTASTICOS’ finished with my Portuguese roommate Pedro ending second. He ran a 100+ kilometres trail just a week ago! The set-up of six days – six mountain marathons attract a certain type of trailrunner, mostly ultra runners just like James Poole, or a crazy Dutchman.
Three days done, three days to go! It will be hard work but trailrunning in the Pyrenees is really great, so if you have not experienced these mountains (as I did before this event) than I can surely advice you to come and join the Spanish trails!