50km / 1850m (6,000ft) ascent and 1620m (5420ft) descent making today’s stage just slightly longer but with more climbing than yesterdays stage. Oh. And just as much mud.
Conditions were dry but overcast leaving St. Johann
this morning with an early 7am start.
That meant we were up at 4:45am and eating breakfast at our guesthouse
by 5:00am. Conditions remained cool
until around 11am when the rain started.
It came on fast and picked up to pretty much a torrential down pour
within 10 minutes. Carrie and I stopped,
peeled off our wet shirts, put on our merino wool tops, gloves and
jackets. Almost instantly a river of
rain was pouring down across our feet as we started the main ascent of the day. Rain continued until we finished and into the
The stage started off with pretty much 30km of flat running
with a mix of pavement and forestry road.
It weaved through a few towns or villages along the way. The stage ended with a 10km ascent and 10km
descent into Neukirchen, Austria.
is your 26th stage. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. You always are.”
These were the words my husband whispered into my ear as Carrie and I
got in line for our gear check this morning
woke up feeling nauseous and could barely eat breakfast. As we lined
up in the B gate this morning I was burping, hoping nothing else would
come up. I was also feeling particularly tired. Partially from stage
one which beat me up more than I hoped and also due to the fact that I
hardly slept the past few nights. Last night found me standing in the
hallway of our guesthouse knocking on the door of our neighbor who had
his TV cranked to a Spanish channel until 10:30pm.
was one of those days that is hard to articulate without coming across
as whiny or dramatic. I will attempt a quick summary to keep this read
light and more entertaining than I felt.
- 6km in I crossed to the dark side.
- I became quiet which I suppose if you ask Carrie she might say was silent.
this sexy guy (Trent) in a pair of “tight shorts” came rolling up the
hill on his bike. For a glimpse of time I forgot about my pain. This
happened 2 more times only on his 2nd visit I almost crumbled on the
side of road. Sigh… not sure which is harder. The way I felt or
admitting the way I felt.
- Then the walking kicked off.
- And we walked some more until we hit a “crap festival”. For real. We used those exact words for over 25k of today’s stage.
indicative of the crap I took inside a café at 22k, which was followed
by a little cry and then the decision to carry on. We referred to this
event as the three C’s.
- Then we came up to a mountain and it was as
if a switch went off because I think we passed at least 50 people who
were dabbling around the mud and waterfalls that were on the trail and
Carrie and I said “honey badger don’t give a shit about mud and
waterfalls.” So we hammered up this do-dab-dib.
- The “crap festival” hit it’s peak at the top with kilometers of ridiculous mud and rock trail that was un-runable.
- Then it rained harder.
- Then our hands froze.
- We ate candy to dull the pain.
the last muddy, steep, knee and hip smashing descent we played the
alphabet game to things that are warm as in “Arizona”, “Blanket”,
- Carrie and I lost track of time and just pushed on to the
finish. I am fortunate for such a great husband and running partner.
Truly, there support made all the difference today.
- We celebrated
by standing in the fountain with a beer and then proceeded to roll,
stretch and rub Hagina all over our bodies with the high hopes that
tomorrow might be a little brighter.