The mighty race called Gigathlon

29 05 2012

Today in a month is the first day of Gigathlon 2012. For those of you who remember my heroic efforts at last year’s event, you will shake your heads and cry for me. For those of you who do not, here are the stories from before and after.

Gigathlon is a Swiss invention, and encompasses every hobby-athlete’s worst nightmare: five disciplines (swimming, running, mountain-biking, road cycling and inline skating), performed on two days (including two nights sleeping in a tent on a campground), in the midst of mountains. There are three categories: single (the serious nutsos), couple (similar nutso-potential, divided by two) and team of five (mostly sane, mostly rational individuals). I am a team-player and as you know, I skate.

Final equipment check before hitting the road

Gigathlon 2012 is, at first glance, a somewhat tamer version of last year’s event, where as a team, we climbed 2,500 more altitude-meters (8,000 feet) than Mount Everest is high. This summer’s event takes place in the Swiss midlands (as opposed to the Alps) and is, at least as far as the inline skater is concerned, seemingly civilized. It’s like they took last year’s two skate-legs and ironed them flat. But what the routes are lacking in altitude difference they make up in lateral distance. If I make it safe through the two days, I will have skated nearly 100 kilometers (60 miles) in less than 36 hours.

Take a moment to think about that because I don’t really want to.

My team this year comprises three women (road cyclist, runner and moi) and two men (mountain-biker and swimmer). We call ourselves the “Flying Five” and our bib number is 1984 (a very good year, for me at least). Our average age is, I’ll say, late-30ish. It just got bumped up a notch yesterday because I turned 42.

Last summer the skaters had the privilege of kicking off the event on both race days, giving me a wake-up call at 0-dark-30 two days in a row. While 4,000 other gigathletes were still snoring in their tents on the campground, visions of energy drinks dancing in their heads, we 1,000 or so skaters were busy tightening wheels by flashlight, strapping on protective equipment, lining up in front of the porta-potties and limbering up sore and aching muscles.

(Let’s just say I ain’t no great fan of camping.)

In this year’s race, “Urban Saturday” for me will begin at 4am. Again. Grrr. And off I go, for 52 kilometers (32.5 miles).

Yellow = skater, blue = swimmer, black = mountain-biker, red = road cyclist, green = runner.

At least I get to sleep in on Sunday, when I am the third of the five relay athletes in my team. I shall certainly be celebrating, on “Celebrating Sunday,” for another mere 40 more kilometers (25 miles).  Piece of cake.

Follow the yellow brick road…

The Flying Five aim to finish the race uninjured, and within the time limit (ie. daylight). I have taken Monday off from work, just in case we need a little longer than planned.

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7 responses

29 05 2012
Running for Reachout

And they said I was crazy 😀 That is something else!

29 05 2012
Evelynn Starr

Yeah, you ought to come try it out sometime. The Swiss are specialists in mass athletic torture.

29 05 2012
Running for Reachout

Lol, just reading the last post now – 26 hours? Just a nice stretch of the legs………..

29 05 2012
Evelynn Starr

Yep – 13 hours per day, pretty much. But spread across five people, remember.

21 06 2012
Icetea

you’re not a friend of camping ? if you still need a room to sleep for the gigathlon 2012, to take a shower, hanging off after the race and relaxe outside of the citiy……i get a appartement 15 minutes away from olten and have a room for you…..

21 06 2012
Evelynn Starr

Icetea – thank you for your kind offer! In the meantime I am thinking about sleeping in the back of our station wagon (seats folded down) rather than in our team’s ladies’ tent. I get the feeling that I will have more peace and quiet there. But thanks again, anyway!

2 07 2012
Gigathlon 2012 by the numbers « Evelynn Starr

[…] read about my preparation for this year’s race a few weeks ago, and now I could give you a play-by-play like I did last […]

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