Continuing our tradition of following up a marathon with a trail race a few weeks afterwards, we signed up for another Galician trail event which was two weeks after our somewhat disastrous Budapest marathon.
We were both quite “broken” after Budapest as you may have read, then why would we so soon sign up for a trail event is anybody’s guess. In fairness this time we opted for the shorter distance from the two distances offered. The long course was advertised as 28km with 1800m+ elevation gain and the short course was 18km with 800m+ elevation. Based on the Xalo experience and the fact that the location of the trail is supposedly in somewhat tough terrain, we choose the safer option of the short trail. And we did the right thing judging by the look on the faces of the braver runners, who we saw dragging their battered and bruised bodies past the finish line, as if they’d just escaped the zombie apocalypse.
What also made the race more appealing was that the organisers had arranged for Luis Alberto Hernando, a well known figure in Sky Running and Ultra Running, to be the ambassador for the event. So we surely could not miss the chance of meeting a celebrity runner, let alone the possibility of seeing him apart from at the start line, which as it happened we didn’t because he of course ran the longer race.
Orsi was quite apprehensive as we got to the start, she in fact wanted to pull out and said to me “I don’t want to do this!” in somewhat defiant tone just before the start. As usual, my calm persuasive powers prevailed, and I promised that we would start easy and, if we really didn’t feel like it, we would abort after the first 5kms or so.
We got to the start and edged ourselves somewhat to the front of the pack, since by now we know from experience that in trail races in Galicia guys with “macho” attitudes sometimes just don’t like to start slow, they all bolt after the start and then start walking as soon as they hit a hill or somewhat technical single trail. Being quite aware of this, we wanted to position ourselves so we could continue on a good rhythm on the trails and up hills.
As the trail started, we ran beside a stream on a paved path, meandering our way through the back of the city of Artexio. The first km went by pretty easy and steady, which gave our legs a bit of a warm up, and then, by the time we were about 2kms in, we hit the trails and with it our first climb which in fact turned out to be two climbs. This way, by the 3rd km we had already accumulated about 200m of elevation, quite short and sharp. The 5th km was all downhill and back to about the same level from where we started.

Getting to the top was relatively easy, just smile as if it was really easy...
Getting to the top was relatively easy, just smile as if it was really easy… Photo credit – Paula Naya (see bottom of post for links to more photos)

Great, we knew that what would come next next was one of the bigger longer climbs. During this time – Orsi was sitting in about 5th female and occasionally changing place to forth  with another two girls. She was quite comfortable (according to me). I was spectating and enjoying the running battle between the girls, and keeping my word and not pushing too hard so I was with Orsi either just in front or just behind me. The 6th and 7th kms were where we hit the highest point of the climbs at around 300m. By then we had covered about 7.5kms and accumulated about 650m in quite steep terrain, then we arrived at a long steep downhill and Orsi was flying, I simply could not keep up. She was just behind the 4th girl and the two went down so fast I am glad that I didn’t follow suit. Hah – get you on the next climb I said to myself. And sure enough the second climb started, and I could see both of them ahead of me.

At some point I was ahead.. then it was a downhill...
At some point I was ahead.. then it was a downhill…

Then by the 8th km we were back together, or so I thought, before I saw the long downhill ahead of us. That was lay to waste in no shorter than 4mins or so by the girls, I lost sight of them at this point and I could see Orsi was now in third going down the hill at breakneck speed. I was like “what the hell”, this was the girl who wanted to pull out at the start and there she was attempting to break all sorts of downhill speed records. It was a good thing she had gone from my sight, as I learnt afterwards she took a tumble and yet continued on afterwards.


The -
The – “I fell but I still beat you” – Strava story…

So by this part we had almost gone past 14kms and I caught up to the girl that Orsi was battling with and she had slowed down considerably. I thought ah Orsi will not be far ahead, and got back into a good rhythm as we were now just on easy rolling sections which continued on to the end. I went on and actually didn’t see her till I crossed the finish in just under 2hrs. Orsi of course despite her nervousness had placed 3rd, just about 2mins behind 2nd, and there she was looking pleased with herself having beaten me again on a trail.

So the trail count so far 2015.

  1. Trail Artexio – October > Orsi (3rd Female) > Chan 😦
  2. St Pieters Bear Trail – September > Chan 🙂 > Orsi (2nd Female)
  3. Brigantia Trail – July > Chan 🙂 > Orsi (1st Female)
  4. Trail Terras do Mandeo – Betanzos – June > Orsi (1st Female) > Chan  😦
  5. Xalo Traverse – April 2015 > Orsi > Chan 😦 (The one we have nightmares about)
  6. Costa Trail de Oleiros – March > Chan 🙂 > Orsi (3rd Female)

(Clearly she is better at this trail business than me, and honest we are not competitive)

Some more photos from the event and we also finally got to chat with Luis Alberto Hernando – he is one impressive runner in the Sky Running and Ultra Running world.

From the Podium
Luis Alberto Hernando – Ultra Trail Champion and a really nice guy!
Post race Beer and Food is normal in Galicia as part of the event!

IMG_20151025_152404152 IMG_20151025_152349395

More Photos and a Video is on > event web site.

Until next time – happy running!