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The start will be 5 AM in Verbier, and you'll have to back there by 1 PM on Sunday. 32 hours may seem like plenty of time for this, but the course is designed to be extremely tough.
First, there's 6,904 meters (22,651 ft) of cumulative ascent and descent. Second, there will be snow. And third, there's not too much oxygen as the highest peak is 2,714 meters (8,904 ft) above sea level and the four other mountains along the route are not much lower than that.
There are four cutoff stations along the route, which you will have to leave before the following times:
- Sembrancher (26.7 km), 11:30 AM (Saturday)
- La Fouly (48.5 km), 5:00 PM (Saturday)
- Bourg St. Pierre (76.4 km), 2:00 AM (Sunday)
- Lourtier (98.9 km), 9:00 AM (Sunday).
There are 1,050 entrants, but most of them (693) will run La Traversée, ie. the last 61 km of the course. 357 runners have chosen the whole La Boucle (loop). Most of them (134) are in my VH1 category (men 40-49). Last year, when TVSB was organised for the first time on a slightly shorter 105K course, there were 500 runners altogether.
The obligatory gear which each competitor must carry all the way includes the following:
- a backpack
- 1 liter water reserve
- a food reserve (not specified in more detail)
- 2 lights with spare batteries
- a rescue blanket
- a whistle
- elastic adhesive tape
- a water- and weatherproof jacket
- a long-sleeve sweater
- long pants or tights
- a pair of gloves
- your bib and chip
- poles (not obligatory, but if you plan to use any sort of sticks at any point, then you are required to carry them all the way with you - they will be marked before the start).
Why do I want to finish TVSB? I simply need it to qualify for UTMB 2011 lottery. That's the No. 1 ultra trail race in Europe, and there are always way too many applicants. So even with this it won't be by no means certain. If I don't get selected, I'll have a better chance to try again for 2012, as the points acquired will be valid for two years and those who have lost in a previous lottery will have some sort of priority the next year I think.
The weather is reported to be sunny or partially cloudy with surprises like thunderstorms. Looks like a fun weekend to me!