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Interview to Marco De Gasperi TwoNav Anima+ Transandes Challenge Fabiomenblog

THE DIFFICULTY IS NOT IN THE PATH, BUT TO IMAGINE IT The mountain has gradually been covered in white and this soft mantle has wiped out trails and paths. There is no need to clean our muddy shoes, tomorrow the snow will bring them back home clean. We are becoming nomads of colour, travellers on the white. We no longer need to find paths, each and every one of them is possible. All we need is to look back to see where we came from and forward to know who we are and where we are heading. A canvas, like the sea, that will erase any traces left behind and will let us choose what path to dream about following tomorrow. Time to create, not time to follow. To know that any path is right and perhaps we were the ones who were wrong. Soon we learn the difference between a high five and embracing souls; we realize that neither kisses are contracts, nor gifts are commitments, and that company does not entail security. We begin to recognize our weaknesses holding our head up high and with our eyes wide open, with determination and without downheartedness. We start to build a long path for today because tomorrow is too uncertain. We create a garden for anyone who may wish to have a small space in it, and we no longer wait to be brought flowers. And we immediately realize that no matter how icy the wind may blow, we will stand there, beside the footprint we made, our eternal companion. Daughter of our dreams, courage, responsibility and commitment. Challenges are part of us, of our lives. I have never evaded a challenge which has sought me out or I have come across in life. The more difficult and mysterious the challenge, the more seductive I have found it to be. If I listen to my doubts they leave me stuck in the past, they delete my future and I become a prisoner of nothingness. Challenges are roads that arise when embracing uncertainty without fear, opening new paths that take us away from the desert of doubts. They are the footprints where the garden of talent can be cultivated, step by step, and the gift of new projects can be harvested. The hardest and most important things in our lives are so easy that sometimes we make them complex simply because we are afraid of them; the best ones are prohibited but at the same time they are free. They are simply out there, where a footprint, a simple footprint, can lead you to them. You only have to open up to them; nature, the mountain will unveil themselves to you, expecting nothing in return, with neither objection nor resorting to symbol or metaphor, without force or association of ideas. The mountain will simply display itself in its purest form. And maybe, just maybe, should your footprint be crowded with people, that will mean you took the wrong path. The difficulty is not in the path, but to imagine it. Jordi Tosas

SPORTVICIOUS is not responsible for the opinions expressed by contributors and editors

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INTERVIEW MARCO DE GASPERI Has become one of the best runner in the Vertical Kilometre Race




Two great brands for one great shoe The Compressport Headband GU Brew, new forms of packaging Pulse Hybrid Jacket The Shot Evoluzione sunglasses Tinkoff-Saxo belongs to the elite




Rotterdam Marathon Acrobiketrip Transandes Challenge Volcano Fatbike Iceland Expedition Rames Guyane Font Blanca, skiing among giants

Magazine Directors: Bàrbara Sagi y Alex Clarasó · Design and Layout: Sportvicious · ·





Marco De Gasperi is an Italian athlete born in Bormio, an Italian town and comune in the province of Sondrio in Lombardy, in the foothills of the Italian Alps. Marco spent his childhood years surrounded by a colossal alpine mountain range and that soon awakened in him an interest in mountains and in any sports that he would be able to practice both in winter and summer. A sport in which he has


excelled is skyrunning, that is, racing on high altitude mountains, where not only has he become one of the best in the Vertical Kilometre Race — including a world record—, but is also one of the leading European rivals of his friend Kilian Jornet. At the age of 37 and after having competed for more than 20 years at the highest level, you can be considered a veteran. Do you feel your sporting

career is coming to an end? The truth is that in the last 5 or 6 years I have kept telling all my friends, or whoever asks me, that the time to leave the profession is getting nearer. I sometimes feel dreadfully tired after training. But then, especially currently, there are a variety of competitions and other challenges which stimulate and motivate me to keep running season after season.


Most athletes who have long been in the elite decide to take up long distance running. Is it a matter of the mind? Has racing more to do with the mind than with the legs? The good thing about our sport is that there are multiple ways to continue enjoying it until one stops liking it. Our body, and its training capacity, feels


the effort, but the mind changes as time goes by. As our bodies grow physiologically we need to seek new distances to optimize our new resources. I have never run an ultra in my life. So, I cannot say if racing has more to do with the mind than with the legs, though it is certain that with a strong will alone, any result can be

achieved. At present your sport is quite popular in Europe, probably thanks to your achievements and those of Kilian Jornet, your partner Elisa Desco or NĂşria Picas, to name just a few, and also thanks to the sports brands which are making greater economic investments sponsoring races or even taking the


risk of organising new ones... Surely this is a completely different scenario to that of the sport you encountered when you first started. Is that the case? In the years when I was a fast runner I used to run fairly short mountain races —up to 15 kilometres long—, organized by the IAAF. In the 90’s and in the early 2000, long- distance races were unknown to the vast majority of athletes. There were many races but only the most important


ones summoned national teams to compete in the Skyrunning World Cup. The World Cup was the top event, recognized in our world, although, at that time there were no social networks like today spreading news worldwide. Technical brands didn’t show an interest in sponsoring us, and there were no specific running shoes for this sport. For some time now, many brands have extended their range of products to suit the mountain runner.

It hurts, though, to see that the Skyrunning World Cup in which I raced so many times in the past —from 1995 to 2012—, has currently so little importance, although the level of participants has increased a great deal, I must admit. Who were your influences at that time? Well, I used to follow Adriano Greco, a skyrunning champion and a great mountain skier. Also, I was lucky to have him as my first coach.


Curiously enough, most pioneers in skyrunning were Italians. Are you made of sterner stuff? To be honest, I think it was a mere coincidence. Skyrunning was born in Italy, when Italian athletes began to run up to the summits of the great peaks of the Italian Alps, among them Monte Rosa, Adamello, Monte Bianco... The number of races and athletes has increased greatly in recent years. We could say that there is a ‘boom’ and anyone


feels able enough to enrol in a long distance race on mountains which they have barely set foot on. Popular and massive races in recent years such as Zegama or the Ultra Pyrenees, where a life was lost two years ago, come to mind. Do you think unnecessary risks are taken? Should athletes take it easier and do things more slowly? Any race is a potential risk and I feel a little afraid when I step into the shoes of the organizers of the

most demanding and technical races such as Kima, or long distance ones like Tor de Geants. Athletes often run races that exceed their capacity limit —in length or toughness— and then the risk is two-fold. In my opinion, those who promote races extolling the beauty of the routes and great organization without thinking that this overshadows the importance of the risks such races involve are, on many occasions, the ones to blame. Surely we should


better explain to beginners that in order to climb to the top it is necessary to start off from below. Doing things gradually can also be a form of enjoyment. The level of elite runners has also increased greatly. To such an extent that, if Kilian Jornet does not take part in the race, up to ten runners have chances to achieve a victory. Why do you think that is so? Yes, this is normal as it is evident that the interest which both athletes and sponsors are showing to improve their performances in races is growing. In any case, I do not think the level is so high. Considering that all athletes run many races each season, it’s understandable that they cannot recover 100% and be at their best competitive level in every race. And there is still plenty of African territory where races can be organized! Right now, the level of women is very high. Will there be a woman in first overall position soon? The level in the female category has greatly improved. A few years ago there were only two or three women among the elite who would set great times in tough and technical races such as Zegama, Giir di Mont, Dolomites... This year, five or six women have fought for victory in each race of the skyrunning circuit. Such rivalry means that their times are getting increasingly closer to those of men. I would definitely see it possible for these women to beat men in races where the level of men is not very high. I read that you have a thorn in the flesh. At the age of 16 years you were not allowed to take part in the race which climbed up to Mont Blanc from Courmayeur and then the race stopped being celebrated. Fabio Meraldi currently holds the ascent record of this route in 6 hours and 47 minutes, which has nothing to do with the Kilian Jornet’s record, who ascended from Chamonix



on the French side of Mont Blanc. Is it true that you want to attempt to beat that record? I remember the moment I was told ‘no Marco, this race is far too tough and complicated for a 16 yearold lad, it’s not like the Monte Rosa. You’ll have plenty of time in the future to run across the Mont Blanc’. But then the record attempt was no longer organized. Only Fabio Meraldi decided to attempt a solo record again in 1995. Last summer I spent a few days over there exploring the route. The Italian side of Mont Blanc is quite


amazing. It’s wild, austere... After so many years, to me it would mean making a childhood dream come true. What about beating the record on the Vertical Kilometre again? This is much more difficult! I lost the fierceness needed for this type of races long ago. Or rather, it’s ages since I have trained for racing the Vertical Kilometre. In the past it was possible to get good results without much specific training, but nowadays it is different and vertical-race runners train

exclusively for it. Do you see your future in the mountain pursuing more personal challenges and racing more exotic races like you did in the Red Fox Elbrus Race? After 20 years running as a professional athlete what I really enjoy doing now is travelling. I like visiting new places, running, meeting new people, enjoying each and every mountain. After being in each place, this is what remains. Until five years ago, climbing Mount Elbrus was a dream for all skyrunners. Nowadays, thanks to the Russian


Federation who organizes the Red Fox Elbrus Race, climbing up the highest peak in Europe with the maximum safety guarantee is feasible. Kilian Jornet attempted the ascent-descent record on Mount Elbrus and he failed it. Is that mountain so tough? There is a belief among climbers that the Elbrus is a rather easy mountain. Therefore many of them underestimate its dangers and lives are lost each year because of the cold, fog and height. Up there, weather conditions can change rapidly and the way back can become a death trap. The day Kilian attempted the record, weather conditions turned very unfavourable to climb up fast. It was cold and there were wind gusts of over 70-80 km/h. This record is a privilege attainable by just a few athletes with great mountaineering experience, although the weather and snow conditions also need to be favourable to be able to achieve a record. You met Vitaly Shkel, who eventually broke the record on Mount Elbrus and also on Peak Lenin this summer. What was your impression of him? Vitaly is an amazing man. He is a machine. He is used to the heights because he lives on the Elbrus for long periods of time. He also has an amazing capacity to endure efforts in bad weather conditions. I think he lacks a bit of speed to be able to run in classic trail races, but he would be able to ascent and descent high mountains in speed. We saw you on an episode of Kilian Quest, on episodes 2 and



3 of the fourth season to be precise, where Kilian Jornet called you his best enemy —in terms of sport—. What is your relationship with the Catalan athlete? Yes, I owe him a few beers for that good publicity. The truth is that it is an honour to think that he considers me to be an enemyfriend after the sports challenges we have had so far. Our relationship is based on trust, respect and friendship. But… when we are contesting a race… Jornet explained that he admired your ability to


know and listen to your body. That whenever you felt any discomfort you would not hesitate to stop, even if that meant losing a race or even abandoning, and surely that was the main reason why you had been at the highest level in skyrunning for more than 15 years. Do you know and listen to yourself that much? It is the law of sport. Sooner or later we all get injured. When that happens, it helps to know our body and the signals it is sending to us. Sometimes, resting for a

few days can avoid injuries; other times, it is necessary to stop for longer periods of time. It is true that I have had several injuries in my life, but it is not true that I am good at listening to my body. Just like it happens to most athletes, my desire to keep running even with pain is often stronger than the need to recover. What does your training consist of? Currently, I do not train as much as I used to. I run an average of 150 km some nine or ten times a week. A little less in the summer but on terrains with higher


altitude difference than those in the winter season. It’s some time now since I have had a coach. I still like to plan and write down what I plan to do every week. I usually jot down a long run of 25-40 km with a climb of 2,0002,500 meters, two speed training sessions and two sessions at the gym per week. In winter, my training usually resembles that of a Marathon athlete, that is, anaerobic endurance training and some climbs but not very pronounced. In spring I tend to run on trails and to repeat ascents and descents. This is important to get used to the changes in the routes of the very demanding skyrunning racing circuit. Besides being an athlete, you belong to the Corpo Forestale. What does your work


consist of? It is the job that best fits your lifestyle? As a child, I dreamt of entering the Corpo Forestale dello Stato. And this came true at the age of 23, when I won a national competition as an athlete. When I was 10, I used to love mountain flowers and whenever I could I would pay a visit to the botanical garden in Bormio, where the forest rangers worked. I used to like learning the names of all flowers and know their particularities. The truth is that working in forestry is much more than that. It is much more than being an environmental policeman. In the national park where I live —Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio— it is very important to safeguard and take care of places, animals that live there


and nature in general. I think this is the perfect job for a runner like me, who is passionate about the mountains. The clock moves slower in an office than when you live in the countryside. I guess that, besides the mountain, you must have other interests and that there are other sports that you like to play or that you enjoy as a spectator. Is that so?


Of course! I love taking part in the development of mountain running shoes. I also love creating things with my own hands. I’m not very good at it, but the passion is still there. When I was younger, I enjoyed watching all sports on TV, from football to cycling, including any mode of skiing either alpine or off-track. Now I prefer practicing sports to watching them on television. As a viewer, what

I really love watching are the races of the children who live in the valley where I train. That takes me back 25 years! Interview by Oscar Cusidó Interview coordinator by Anna Maleva Photographs by Fabiomenblog


ÂĄcuatro dias de trail running Berchtesgaden puro! Âť Maria alM 156 kM y 10.350 M de desnivel acuMulado!




we share your passion





What to do the week before the race and on race day We are in the final stages of our preparation. Nerves start to show up and we may feel overwhelmed by doubts: How should I train this week? How should I approach the race: by pulsation or by pace? What should I have for breakfast on race day? What time? How many gels should I take? How often? What should I do if I experience the dreaded ‘wall’? How can I avoid it? These are just some of the questions most participants ask themselves when a Marathon is around the corner. We have thoroughly prepared for the Pheidippides race, but time has come to gear up and to put into practice an optimal competition strategy. We shall try to unveil these paramount issues and some others to help you to achieve your maximum potential on the most important day of the season. How should I train during the week of the race? In my birthplace people say ‘the fish has already been sold’ but beware, as there may be things yet to be done! The most important part of the work has already been done; we are familiar with the whole length of the race and with the long runs but there are still seven days ahead... What should we do? Should we rest or stroll along the park and play bocce? Many athletes believe that the last step to take in this micro-cycle is almost complete rest, but the truth is that combining active rest with final quality workouts can help to polish certain aspects further and achieve a greater super compensation curve on race day. Let’s see a practical example and imagine that we did some sound training on Saturday —we ran a 10-km race or we competed in a 14-km Trail with some 500+— and we jogged gently on Sunday. The following weekly training schedule can serve as a guide:



Monday: rest/massage Tuesday: 8 km at a gentle pace in z2 Wednesday: Series, Fartleck or pace changes, e.g.: 2x4,000m rec 3’ Z4 or -15” RM + 2×1,000 m rec 2’ Z4 or -25” RM. If you are a Trail runner, do it on mountain slopes and increase altitude difference Thursday: 8 km at a gentle race pace on an empty stomach Friday: rest Saturday: 5km gentle jog Sunday: burst the chrono! Abbreviations Z4 = 88 and 93% of our maximum heart rate. -15” RM = 15 seconds faster than competition pace. Shall I run by pulsation, by pace or by sensations? Some of my athletes prefer to run by pulsation. If training has been properly planned, as a very general rule, a Marathon can be run in the middle part of Zone 3, that is, between 84 and 85% of our maximum heart rate. But those who will compete on asphalt and prefer to run by pulsations must also watch for their target pace rate at all times, i.e., if the target is to run for 3h30’ they will have to run consistently between 4’58” and 5’ per km. Either in a race or in a half-marathon on pre-race weeks we will have established what our pace can be. If we get to the last 5 km and sensations are good, we may gradually increase our race pace, a few seconds every km. The last thousand meters run at break neck pace, as you will have nearly made it!



The wall After Km 33, images which could be drawn from The Walking Dead series: such as athletes who can hardly jog, others just walking or sitting on the floor with contorted faces, can often be seen. This can be due to one of these three reasons or maybe due to a little bit of each: a good hydration strategy may not have been followed, they may have run out of glycogen completely or, perhaps, their pace was too aggressive. In other words, as we shall see in more detail, to avoid ‘crashing’ against the wall, eat and drink what you ought to and choose a target within your capabilities.


Hydration and gels Testing hydration and energy replacement strategies in specific workouts (in long runs) and adapting them to the race’s humidity and temperature is crucial. As you know the hotter and wetter it is, the more hydration and salts are needed. Gels: they are the easiest and most practical way to restock glycogen in the race. The intake of a gel every 45’ mixed in 200 ml of water drunk in small sips is generally recommended. Salt tablets: a salt tablet mixed in 250 ml of water each 45’-1h is advised. Isotonic drinks fulfil a double function: they will help you to hydrate and to replenish


salts and also to restock your glycogen stores. Should you choose to drink isotonic drinks, there will be no need for you to take salt tablets and you may reduce the intake of gels. What diet should I follow during the week of the race? Should I increase carbohydrate intake? As you know, with respect to energy, it is very important to reach the Marathon with our glycogen store to the fullest. To achieve so, several techniques or nutritional strategies can be followed. I usually recommend to my athletes to reduce calorie intake until Wednesday because training during that week is gentler, so if we continue to eat the same we would


probably gain weight. Things are different for quality training day. I suggest increasing carbohydrate intake the night before to be full of energy during the intense training session. Carbohydrates intake should increase during the three days previous to the race. What should I have for breakfast and dinner on race day? At least 2h30’ before the race, you can have any food that you know you will digest well and that you know for sure that it will not cause you any problems during the race. Do not try making any odd experiments with foods or eat anything different from the ordinary food you normally eat for breakfast.


As you know, you should restock your glycogen stores for dinner, but avoid scoffing a giant plate of spaghetti and then going straight to sleep. Instead, have an early dinner and do not make it too abundant. Do not let your nerves eat you up Get up at least 3 hours before the race. Not only you need time to get there and do some warm ups, but also to have breakfast and digest it. So, go to bed early the night before. I even recommend spending a few days getting used to the race’s sleeping times by using relaxation techniques, by disconnecting from social networks at night, by having hot baths, by reading boring books (otherwise they will not let


you get to sleep) and… off to bed. Besides, try not to get obsessed or cross if you can’t fall asleep when you would like to, or else you will get stressed; simply relax and rest. Get up early the following day, eat a suitable breakfast, have an activating shower —the last thirty seconds of it under cold water— and you will see how fast you will get woken up. Grab the backpack, which you will have already prepared, and head for the start. Begin to warm up gently, there is no need to hurry, and start enjoying the atmosphere. Do not forget that stress consumes your glycogen and the more nervous you are, the less energy you will have in the Marathon. During the week, try to feel motivated and confident. Believe in yourself; believe that you have trained well and that your



training was the best possible for you. This is paramount. At the same time, do not put too much pressure on yourself. If things do not go as expected, it is not the end of the world. You are not a Swiss watch and you are entitled to have a bad day. If you are also mentally prepared for a failure and willing to keep things relative, you will set off much more relaxed and will have more options to run a good race.

into stages and tell yourself encouraging messages upon completing each stage. Your internal dialogue will be your best friend or your worst enemy. Remember that your success depends on your mental strength and that it will be filled with your emotions and feelings. Strive to be optimistic during the race and practice to feel like that before the Marathon. Internalize your mental strategy.

Mental strategies. What should I think about not to feel that the Marathon is endless? Divide and conquer! Don’t ever count kilometres one after the other because this can make you feel that the race becomes never-ending! Instead, divide the race up

I don’t really care what your timing is. Anyone who runs a Marathon can be a role model. It is your capacity for sacrifice what is worth admiring. Octavio PÊrez


| 9·10 | 05 | 2015 |


118 km 63 km maratóimitja
















TWO GREAT BRANDS FOR ONE GREAT SHOE The tried and tested Salewa Firetail has been improved yet again while maintaining the robustness and technical excellence provided by the 3F EVO system with its steel cable, wear-resistant aramid fibre and the Vibram Speed Approach sole with XS Trek compound. The clean design, the sucker-like lug of Vibram Octopus, and the Climbing Zone provide an incredible grip on rock. The new seamless upper, the fast and precise lacing system, and a Multi Fit Footbed Plus are the latest additions to what was already an incredibly effective hiking and approach shoe. The GoreTex Extended Comfort lining provides impermeability and breathability. More accurate lacing in the toe area gives more support and performance. Weight: 415 g.

THE COMPRESSPORT HEADBAND While racing, a headband can quickly turn into a soaking piece of cloth which loses its functionality. Retaining too much water, not drying fast enough. Bearing this in mind, Compressport has created the first HeadBand incorporating the On/Off Ventilation fiber. A new concept of ultra light HeadBand with unmatched comfort ant that dries up to 7-times faster than a traditional HeadBand. The targeted arrangement of the mesh fabric provides ventilation to specific area, helping to cool body temperature down quickly and also guaranteeing quick evacuation of moisture. The hydrophobic fiber wicks away sweat without absorbing it, even during excessive efforts. Say goodbye to the discomfort of heavy, damp, chafing sportswear that never dries. The very nature of the fiber ensures efficient protection against bacteria and helps naturally fight the development of unpleasant odors and irritation. Its unique weaving pattern and its 1,000 alveoli promote air circulation and provide perfect balance between the outside and inside. For more comfort, the body is made using a soft, light and seamless of movement. In order to provide absolute quality, the HeadBand is manufactured exclusively in Europe, using European yarn, on European equipment, by European specialists.



GU BREW, NEW FORMS OF PACKAGING GU Brew is about electrolytes first, then carbohydrates. But carbs are key to endurance nutrition so we take them seriously. We use a 50:50 ratio of fructose and maltodextrin carbs because carbs in this combination increase the amount of energy available to muscles. To ensure proper pre-exercise hydration, consume approximately 16-24 oz. (470-720 ml) of GU Electrolyte Brew within an hour of the start of your workout. Fluid replacement should approximate sweat and urine losses during exercise and is dependent on many environmental factors. Generally, it is required to consume 7-10 oz. of fluids (200-300 ml) every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise, but specific individual recommendations are based on exercise duration, sport dynamics, sweat rates, and individual tolerance. Rehydration after exercise should aim to correct fluid loss accumulated during exercise. Depending on one’s exercise duration and intensity, replace the electrolyte losses from sweat by consuming GU Brew and jump start protein syntheses with the help of GU Recovery Brew.

PULSE HYBRID JACKET The Pulse Hybrid jacket stands out with its excellent warmthto-weight ratio and wicking performance. The product’s ingenious nature stems from two main facets: the combination of technical and innovative fabrics, and a build attuned to the needs of each body area (protection, warmth, moisture wicking, freedom of movement): Combining Pertex® Quantum and Polartec® Alpha® 120g, plus a mesh lining in areas that need most protection and warmth, enables optimized moisture transfer. The Pertex® Quantum shell delivers protection against wet thanks to its waterrepellent finish, which does not impede perspiration wicking and removal. In addition, the fabric is extremely light! The key benefit of Polartec® Alpha® is that it regulates body temperature during high-intensity activities with static interludes. Its new 120g weight – twice as warm as its predecessor, but only 20% heavier – provides the optimum warmth-to-weight ratio. The Pulse Hybrid jacket will be available in store from September 2015.



THE SHOT EVOLUZIONE SUNGLASSES The tight-fitting Shot Evoluzione is made for maximum speed. Very exclusive Iconic eyewear. Restyling has been accorded to shape whilst retaining the evergreen lines of original Cutting-Edge design and performance. Nastek and Thrama lenses protect against Blue Light and reduce reaction time. Shot Evoluzione is the iconic sunglass featuring 7.6” wide polarized mirror lens, with UV block and blue light control (up to 98,9%) through its Nastek lenses from Nasa technology. The extremely lightweight (only 28 grams) combined with the extra width of the lens (7.6”, like Briko ski racing goggle) makes this iconic sunglass one of a kind with temple angle regulation, suitable for free fighters, speed addicted athletes. Shot Evoluzione opens new opportunities of use to snow enthusiasts, providing the same performance of a goggles in term of UV and Blue Light and air protection at speed, enhancing the quality of the view with its torical Nastek lens. Shot Evoluzione can be used in outdoor active sports without limitations, such as biking, canoeing, sailing.

TINKOFF-SAXO BELONGS TO THE ELITE OF THE WORLDTOUR Sportful produce some of the most innovative and performance driven products in the cycling market and our partnership with them extends further than simply supplying our clothing. Sportful spend time with our riders undergoing aerodynamic testing, gathering prototype feedback, and organizing focus groups to help develop the best apparel possible so we can perform better, while delivering top performance clothing to fans and cyclists in general. For 2015, Tinkoff-Saxo will race in the striking yellowfluo jersey. Depending on the weather conditions and type of stage, the riders will choose between an array of different jerseys to best meet the needs of the riders: The aerodynamic and slick Speedskin jersey or suit, the versatile race jersey, the UltraLight made for hot conditions and climbing and the TT-suit specially designed to shave of every second possible in the battle against the clock.



GORE-TEX® THERMO-MOULDABLE SKI MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS The boots will keep feet dry and comfortable thanks to their waterproof and breathable construction. These boots are engineered systems and specifically target mountain guides and ambitious winter sports enthusiasts undertaking longer ski touring trips. The sweat produced by your feet during an uphill climb can evaporate in the form of moisture vapor through the GORE-TEX® lining and thus leave the inner boot – and it cannot return to your feet due to the GORE-TEX® membrane (not even on descents or when you are taking a break). Because of the hard plastic outer shell most of the sweat remains inside the shell – however, thanks to the waterproof GORE-TEX® membrane your feet remain protected. This means that your feet can now stay dryer and with dryer feet you’ll always feel better. Also, when your feet are dryer there is less risk of blisters and your feet won’t lose heat as fast. Dynafit achieves the high breathability of the inner boot through multiple perforations in the thermo-mouldable foam, whereas Scott uses high breathable patterns in defined areas.

VERT: CLIMB-TO-SKI HELMET Finally, a helmet designed just with ski mountaineers and free riders in mind: Vert by Salewa fills the gap between classic climbing helmets and stylish ski helmets without compromising safety. You get heat-dissipating insulation and removable earpads, along with an ingenious venting system. Together, they offer maximum comfort not only on the ascent, including climbing passages, but also on the descent. Total goggle integration guarantees unhindered vision and works together with anti-fog systems in modern ski eyewear. A streamlined shape especially protects temples and back of the head from both falls and falling rocks. This especially lightweight, innovative helmet has double certification for both skiing and climbing. Sizes: S/M (54-57cm), L/XL (58-61 cm). Colors: Black, White, Night/Black, Green and Ice Blue.



THE MATRIX 25 BACKPACK Millet product manager Antoine Lafoux reviews the product’s strengths: “The concept of this pack is driven by logic and simplicity, so that each user action is easier, quicker and more secure.” He adds: “There’s no contradiction between the pack’s various functions: for example, you can easily open the pack while the skis are still attached, because the lid opens and closes on the side, with the aluminium buckle. This 25-liter version is a clean-styled, thoroughbred design – with lighter fabric, a breathable 3D mesh back, but above all the new Opposite Opening™ system that lets you fully free up the front of the pack and provide quicker, simply access when you open it.” This innovation is being launched by Millet in summer 2015, and is featured here on a winter pack. The pack’s transgressive style is reflected in its technical details but also its asymmetric design. “The Matrix 25 caters for ski-touring enthusiasts seeking lightweight performance.” It will be available in store from September 2015.

POWERBAR® POWERGEL® SHOTS For intense training or competition you should refuel during exercise with up to 90g carbohydrates per hour depending on intensity and duration. PowerGel Shots deliver the same function as PowerGels with a scientifically developed combination of different carbohydrate sources. They are designed for before and during sport, easy to portion and taste great! New flavour: Fresh tasting Orange. C2MAX Dual Source Carb Mix contains a 2:1 ratio of glucose and fructose sources. 5 SHOTS deliver the about same amount of carbohydrates as 1 PowerGel. Unique taste experience through liquid filled centre of the shots. Cola flavour with 75mg caffeine which can boost mental performance. With natural flavours. 9 SHOTS in a resealable bag, easy to consume in individual shot portions. Consume up to 9 SHOTS within 60 minutes before sport and/or. During sport we recommend to consume up to 90g carbohydrates per hour depending on the intensity and duration. 1 POWERGEL Shot delivers about 5g carbohydrates.






CompeGPS, a company located in Arenys de Mar, has been developing specific software programmes for route planning both on land and in the air since 2001. In 2009 the company started to develop its own GPS devices, which incorporated their extensive knowledge in the field from the outset. Hence, CompeGPS TwoNav began to offer wide-ranging solutions to all users of digital maps and navigation systems. Resulting from their renowned “knowhow” is the latest Anima+ model, a compact but robust GPS, which promises remarkable performance in various areas of use. The first thing we must confess is that to describe all its features and our impressions in detail, we would need all


the pages of the magazine. So, a great effort of synthesis has been made to convey how special this “little big GPS” is. To begin with, from the outset it is clearly perceived that TwoNav knows how to design devices. Every detail has been taken care of. Both its ergonomics and feel are very suitable for being held and manipulated. Its buttons are easily found (even when wearing gloves) and its 3-inch transflective touch screen provides the right degree of sensitivity to avoid pressing on any screen option accidentally or to be affected by sweat, rain or mud. The good thing is that this has been achieved without having to press the screen too hard to access the desired option.


Although the screen is not very big, the interface has been very well designed to handle the different tactile functions even when wearing fine gloves. Difficulties were encountered only when using the keyboard, given the small size of each key. In addition, although the colour screen won’t perform miracles when being viewed in high brightness, it performs acceptably. It is not the best one but it works well enough.

As for its different functions, we can see that the Anima+ has been designed to satisfy the most demanding users in the field of GPS navigation, offering the capacity to process and store many map types (2D and 3D and even 3D+ viewing) and creating waypoints, PDI’s, roadbook management, including a geocatching function and a configuration repertoire with not one single function missing. Apart from all these features and many others, which are specific to a very complete outdoor GPS navigator, the Anima+ incorporates certain features which are useful for outdoor sports people, such as compatibility with ANT+ sensors, virtual coaching and the possibility to check information about the effort being made (heart rate, power...). Finally, as part of its list of features, it can be used as a road navigation GPS.


Well, once we have roughly described everything the Anima+ has to offer, our experience in each of these areas will be described.

GETTING STARTED When the Anima+ is switched on, the operating system is loaded and a home screen to access the different applications is shown. If we simply want to start navigation using the default activity mode, the “Start” button should be pressed and off we go. It’s as simple as that. Once communication with the satellites has been established, the Anima+ will automatically load the most suitable map according to our


location. It must be said that this function, as well as most of the others offered by the GPS, are fully configurable. Versatility and adaptability to user preferences is one of the virtues of the small Anima+. In addition, access to the individual files saved in the device, such as waypoints, tracks, routes or maps can be accessed from the main screen. The activity we wish to perform can also be easily chosen. By default, the Anima+ offers a wide range of pre-configured activities (running, skiing, cycling, mountain biking, hiking...). Besides, the Anima+ will allow the configuration of new profiles based on any of these activities from the device itself. Should we want the GPS to be configured differently when performing the same sport mode, this application will prove very useful. Example: Training for mountain racing and competing in an Ultra Trail race. Both belong to the same sport but the options we may require in both cases may differ.

Another option the Home screen offers is that you can check the status of the GPS. Battery level, satellite coverage, connected sensors and many other perhaps less relevant aspects, such as screen brightness, audio level and the selected profile can also be checked from a quick


glance; all such values can be configured from the Home screen. A good thing about Anima+ is that the software allows many changes to be made. Functions can usually be reconfigured from the point they were previously consulted. The main screen also allows one-click searches for POI’s, waypoints, routes, tracks and coordinates, as well as access to favourite places and the simulation of a route between two locations.

Right next to the search option, this comprehensive and well-designed Home screen includes a button to access the very extensive configuration options of the GPS. When pressed, an overwhelming range of possibilities comes up. And that’s not all. The best thing about it is that this list is actually a condensed version of all the existing configuration options.


Finally, at the bottom of the main screen there is a direct access to the map and the data page (the latter easily accessed from a button located on the left side of the terminal). The conclusion is clear. Perhaps some initial learning on how the Anima+ operates is required but, once this is mastered, its enormous potential to adapt to our preferences will delight us and we will handle it with ease. NAVIGATION In this section no downsides can be found with the Anima+. We focused on performing free navigation routes and tracking tracks we had previously loaded on the device, mainly


touring various mountain areas of the Pyrenees and Pre-Pyrenees. The user experience was very successful in this section. Issues of concern to us such as the refresh rate or the orientation of map display, as well as precision in stating our position and track recording, became clear from day one. Also, reference warning management, e.g., reaching a waypoint with a certain leeway or those that show when going off track, were effective and very illustrative. We liked the fact that the Anima+ would signal, both acoustically and on display (both options, of course, configurable), by flashing a small light on the top right. A flashing red light indicates that something we ought to know is happening.


Regarding map management while navigating, there are front zoom buttons and a small circle on the screen that will locate our position on the map at the bottom of the screen when pressed. These will be the most common options as well as those of signalling waypoints, reassigning routes and the extremely helpful trackback function, among many others that will be displayed on the contextual menu on the map in one click.


SPORT The TwoNav Anima+ offers a number of very useful functions when performing certain outdoor sports such as running, biking, ski mountaineering... many of which related to its ability to communicate via Ant+ with power, speed and pulsation sensors. This, added to the inbuilt services offered by a GPS, allows the Anima+ to monitor the following information concerning our effort: - Partial energy - Average power - Heart rate -% of maximum heart rate - Heart Rate Zone (% max.) - Speed - Average speed

TwoNav is, undisputedly, one of the leading specialists in navigation and, as expected, the GPS did not let us down when it came to this difficult section. Its precision and ease of operation are especially worth of mention. Not a single incidence occurred and we got rapid responses at all times, which shows quality software, backed up by well designed hardware, which, although it looks very small, it is more than up to its performance standards.

Having this information while doing the activity means, of course, added versatility of use. Also, the possibility of having a Virtual Coach, a function thanks to which we can measure ourselves against activities previously performed on the same route, makes it very interesting for athletes with a competitive spirit.


The only thing we missed was not having this information on our computer for analysis once the file had been downloaded. Third party applications had to be used to be able to “rescue” such information and export it to our favourite monitoring exercise programme. A relatively big drawback on both CompeGPS Land and My TwoNav was the lack of a data graph showing the relationship between, for example, heart rate at all times along the track (the typical case of wanting to know specific heart rate at each point of the route), especially for athletes who like to analyse in depth and a posteriori all the parameters related to their effort at all times, whilst sitting quietly in front of their computer. As mentioned, there is a “workaround” (but somewhat cumbersome and really unreliable), especially for those users


who perform a high number of workouts throughout the week. Another aspect to take into account is that the TwoNav Anima+ is an Outdoor GPS. Its compatibility with sensors could easily lead to the belief that it could be used for Indoor activities, as it would offer information about speed, cadence and heart rate. But it is not the case. The Anima+ has been designed to record tracks and to store information on route and, obviously, inside a building, this is not possible. Let us not finish this section without emphasizing one of the strengths of using the Anima+: its suitability as a GPS for mountain bike practice. By default, TwoNav has provided the Anima+ with a beautifully designed cradle to fix the Anima+ firmly to the stem or handlebar of the bicycle. Only on some bikes with short stems “DIY”


will be necessary to fix the GPS onto the piece. Thanks to the compact dimensions of the GPS, it will be well integrated into the handlebars and the information it will provide will be most useful during the practice of this sport. It can also be very useful for the practice of trail running, but there is the handicap of having to keep it put away and only checking information on occasions. So, the TwoNav Ultra seems a more suitable product for mountain running rather than for walking. In any case, we have carried it inside one of the front pockets of a backpack on numerous occasions and it has recorded the track without major coverage problems.


ON THE ROAD One of the things that surprised us most about Anima+ was how well it worked as a road GPS. It was trialled parallel to a specific GPS and a smartphone and none of the features the latter two offered were missing, we can assure you of that. Obviously, its screen size is a handicap compared to the other two, but we found its performance rather surprising in this respect.Â

To conclude this important section, we would like to highlight that the TwoNav Anima+ offers huge power in terms of GPS navigation and map management, but still has a long way to go in order to satisfy the most demanding athletes in terms of workout monitoring.

AUTONOMY Although TwoNav Anima+ claims a range of between 12 and 22 hours of autonomy depending on the GPS data-recording mode, the fact is that different variables will have to come into play to achieve those twelve hours of recording at the highest frequency. In our experience, testing the GPS at its greatest recording capacity and checking the screen every few minutes at its highest brightness, we verified that the autonomy of the Anima+ can be reduced to about half that amount.


Therefore, if high autonomy is required, some prevision is advisable such as carrying a spare battery or an external charger like TwoNav Power Up AA or X-Trem 5600. An interesting option regarding autonomy is that an accessory to use conventional batteries in the Anima+ will be available soon. The drawback is that this accessory will increase the size of the device substantially, as it will require a specific and bulkier cover to fit in the battery compartment. SOFTWARE The TwoNav Anima+ offers some extra added value, which is none other than the GPS software Compe Land. When purchasing Anima+, a 50% discount voucher on the purchase of the full version of this sensational mapping programme is included, which will surely delight all fans of digital map management. It is undoubtedly well worth acquiring. Otherwise, you can opt for using the My TwoNav web application, where workouts can be downloaded and shared on many platforms. In any case, this programme is still far from offering truly amazing functions in the field of training. CONCLUSIONS As one can easily deduce from what has been said, the TwoNav Anima+ has proved to be a very versatile, reliable and robust Outdoor GPS navigator of remarkable performance. Only two drawbacks were found. The first one is that we would have liked its handling to be a bit more intuitive from the outset. And, secondly, we believe it is a somewhat incomplete GPS when used as a tool for training and monitoring physical exercise. The good news is that everything it offers, which is a lot, is perfectly fulfilled. Ă lvaro RodrĂ­guez


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One of the flattest circuits in the world; perfect for beating your record. Rotterdam is one of the great places to run a Marathon: the circuit is flat, the atmosphere is nice and the temperature is usually perfect. In addition, organizers are professionals in hiring the best ‘legs’ in the world (especially in the men’s category) to try to beat the world record or, at least, to get very close to it. I have participated in the Rotterdam Marathon three times and always with a very special mission in mind: to help


Alessandra Aguilar in her fight against the clock. The first time was back in 2008 and her goal at the time was to qualify for the Olympic Games in Beijing. The time required by the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation to achieve her aim and get her ticket was below 2h32’00”. And we made it. The night before the race, at the Novotel located on the outskirts (where all the elite athletes and the organization staff stayed), Alessandra’s coach took me aside to tell me his plan. The ideal situation was to have a little leeway during the first halfmarathon and see what happened in the

The perfect circuit for beating your record


second part. And this is how it went: 1h15’07” in the first half and 1h13’56” in the second. The sum of both was a time of 2h29’03”, which ranked her as the best Spanish marathon debutant and she qualified for the Olympics. Our next participation were in 2011 and 2012 and, again, everything went well, although perhaps we didn’t make history on those occasions. Alessandra was already a consecrated distance athlete and her fight against the clock was toward beating the Spanish record (2h26’51” held by Ana Isabel Alonso). She nearly made it on two occasions and her times of 2h27’00” and 2h27’03” could only confirm that the record was within reach, but her time had not come yet. The Rotterdam Marathon is perfect for getting your best time if you know how to run it. The flat terrain has some traps that are worth knowing, such as the Erasmus Bridge (Erasmusbrus) and the forested area. The bridge is crossed on two occasions but most participants only remember one. A few meters from the start and with the euphoria of the first few meters, runners hardly notice the steep slope that comes out of nowhere. Before reaching kilometre one, runners notice who is around them, find their ‘running space’ to run comfortably and not on whether the road goes up or down. But things are not the same at Kilometre 25, when the damn bridge is crossed again in a different direction. Just after the mark for kilometre 25, when some runners start to notice that their initial rhythm was stronger




Alessandra Aguilar classified for the Olympic Games

than it should have been, the Erasmus Bridge appears. Its ascending slope requires a significant deceleration of pace and the same happens on the descent. At this stage of the circuit, such slopes crush the quadriceps of the least prepared athletes (or the quadriceps of those who ran faster than they should). But the problem does not end there. If your second run over the Erasmus Bridge rings alarm bells, you’ll have problems. One kilometre away there is a 180º loop and a horrendous slide, —one of those used to cross a road (or a train) underneath without having to put traffic lights—. When driving a car it is hardly noticeable, but when running a marathon... things change. It is the second trap of the Rotterdam circuit.

And, finally, there is the forest, which is ideal for some (a few) and horrible for others (the majority). The forest begins after kilometre 30 and this is a handicap in itself. Strength begins to waver and runners perceive the lack of public. The feeling of leaving the city, where the finishing line is, sinks any positive thoughts the runners had. Being so near the end and yet running away from it seems nonsense. And every kilometre requires more effort. This is how the vast majority of participants perceive the forested stretch, but not everyone. For those marathon runners who have been able to master the distance; for those who have managed to discern an adequate early rhythm and have reached the end with enough strength, the forest is a very different thing. For them, the


forest is the most pleasant terrain. The modern buildings of the economic capital of Holland give way to green meadows and lakes on the outskirts. The breeze accompanies the midday sun and the very few people at the roadside conjure up a dream postcard where running becomes less strenuous. Some retired people can be seen enjoying the Sunday morning in the shade of the trees (most of which have brought chairs from home) while cheering on the runners on their triumphal way to the finishing line. The runners who have managed to master the marathon distance will also enjoy it twice, because they will see themselves overtaking those who see the forest as an ogre.


And we reach kilometre 40. By now, it’s very likely that you simply cannot see anything around you but, if you have some strength left, do not miss taking a look at the cube houses. At the end of the day, Rotterdam is known worldwide for its unique buildings and among them are some very curious inclined homes built within cubes of 45º. I’ve always wondered what life must be like inside such a house so, next time I visit Rotterdam I’ll take the opportunity to enter one of the 32 homes and I’ll find out (one of the houses is a museum while the others are permanently inhabited by their owners). Marc Roig




Maria and Frank are two very close friends determined to discover new landscapes and new sensations on a touring bike. One pedal stroke after another, they will be facing new unknown places and personal challenges which they will have to overcome and, thus, learn from life itself!


It all started one ordinary day while chatting and philosophizing about life, when, all of a sudden, the idea of taking a break in our lives and doing what our heart was telling us came up. After discussing the best way to travel, we finally decided to make an old dream come true: a bike trip. A decision of such magnitude is not an easy one: work, money, time, family, friends... there are a thousand excuses to back out. Yet, days and weeks went by and the idea was still firmly there. The time had come to get down to business. One of the first questions that came to mind was where to start our adventure. We had several options, all of which were


highly attractive. We finally opted for the Middle East: Turkey, Iran, UAE, Oman and, ultimately, India. That amounted to some 6,000 kilometres. Perhaps the reason for our choice was that this area was completely unknown to us and it conveyed some kind of mysticism. Once the route had been chosen, the second step was to select good materials and ask good professionals for advice. Thanks to our friend Carles from Cromoly Bikes, who designed fantastic tailor-made bikes for us and gave us accurate advice on additional materials, the trip has been far easier and much more enjoyable.



Our adventure began in Istambul

‘Will all this fit inside the saddlebags?’ That was our first question when the equipment arrived, because we wanted to be completely self-sufficient. Cooking and camping utensils, winter wear, summer wear, a first aid kit, electronic devices... After seeking advice and looking into it, we concluded that there was indeed plenty of room to fit in everything we needed without carrying too much weight. The bike and the materials weighed about 45 kg each. Whilst talking it over with family and friends the idea of creating a blog and sharing our experience came about, and this is how was born. This name comes from the mixture of the three passions we have in common: Acroyoga, sport and discovering new cultures.

So, our adventure started in Istanbul, a metropolis of about 15,000,000 inhabitants. Our first challenge was to find our way out of such a big city with such heavy bikes without getting lost... It took us a long and hard day’s work. Once we had left the big city behind, the real rural Turkey began to unfold, and that was precisely what we had longed to see. Our itinerary went inland and crossed the country from west to east, which meant about 2,200 kilometres altogether. The first weeks were very tough and the weather was really hot, but soon we began to pick up the pace and kilometres passed by without noticing. We rode an average of 80-100 km per day, bearing in mind that we rested one day a week.


What astonished us most about Turkey was the abysmal difference between cities and rural areas. They are two worlds apart: while in the cities we felt as if we were in Europe, in small towns it was like going back in time. Villages were made of adobe houses and people still lived off the exchange of goods. Quite an interesting thing to see... Another big surprise was the incredible friendliness of the local people towards us, always willing to help and with a smile on their faces, especially in rural areas where people greatly enjoyed watching our peculiar way of travelling. It must be said that communication in Turkey is rather limited because its inhabitants have a low or very low level of English, and so it becomes a question of miming and using your imagination. A must stop was magical Cappadocia, an area that we did not want to miss and which did not let us down in the slightest. A magical place filled with special energy that gives you the feeling of being on the moon or in a science fiction film. As we moved on towards east Turkey, both the climate and the landscape began to change becoming much more mountainous and colder. On the one hand, it became more physically demanding but, on the other, it was one of the most charming areas in the journey across the country, riding past mythical and historical sites such as Mount Ararat (5,165 meters). After travelling 2,200 km across Turkey, we faced another big challenge: riding 2,500 km crossing Iran from North to South. A country that was even more alien to us and which would mean a much stronger




cultural shock. The first impression we got from the country was a bit confusing: the alphabet, the currency, the role of women... A little disconcerting. It took us a few weeks to understand all the country codes and the way they behaved. The ‘hiyap’ laws, which involve a series of rules for women, were one such novelty. To name some, all women must cover their heads, they must wear long-sleeved tops, their clothing must be modest and curves mustn’t be visible. Women can only go bareheaded at home and with family. Interaction among sexes was another curiosity. Whether in a bar,

on the bus or at the gym, men and women must always be separated from the other sex. In Turkey people had been hospitable and in Iran they proved even more so. We were continually invited to eat and to sleep and asked about our health. It was a great lesson in life. Undoubtedly, there are very few countries in the world left with such a human touch. Places like Kurdistan, Isfahan, Nain, Shiraz and countless villages with lovely people will remain and be remembered with special affection of our visit to Iran.

Everything is possible when you listen to your heart


Eight hours by ferry separate the Islamic Republic of Iran from the United Arab Emirates (UAE); eight hours that take you from one of the countries with the most history to one of the most modern countries. The contrast was massive, from an extremely traditional Muslim country to a mixture of cultures and religions. This is why the UEA has a very interesting atmosphere. 25% of the population are local people and the remaining 75% are labour (from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh...), entrepreneurs


and businessmen. UEA has two drawbacks: water and climate. The country is completely dependent on desalination plants, which work 24 hours a day 365 days a year to supply the high demand for water in the country. The second drawback is much more difficult to solve: temperature. For 7 or 8 months a year, temperatures in the country are extremely high, reaching 50-55ยบC degrees. Kilometres went by and we found ourselves at the border with Oman. We really liked the order, cleanliness, safety and


friendliness of this country. A true gem that we would recommend everyone to discover. Curiously enough, this country has one of the best automobile fleets in the world, just like the UEA, just to show you how powerful petrol is. We rode along the coast to reach Muscat, the capital city, and there, inevitably, we had to catch a flight to Bombay (India). After nearly four months travelling through Muslim countries, we reached Bombay (India), a city with 30 million inhabitants, by bike, a real challenge. We quickly realized the cultural differences between Muslim and Hindu countries. There, hospitality


was nowhere to be seen but we must admit India has many other virtues and charms, such as its spectacular and abundant vegetation and the tranquillity of its rural areas. Finally, after 6,000 kilometres we reached Arambol (Goa) where we learned and did some training in what we are most passionate about: Yoga and Acroyoga. Fortunately, our future is uncertain and all doors are open to us. Don’t forget that anything is possible when you listen to your heart. Just do it! Maria Peiroló y Frank Aspero




Joan Llordella took part for the second year running in the Transandes Challenge, a mountain bike race for real in Chilean Patagonia. After 6 stages covering a total of 370 kilometres and completing some 10,000 meters of added altitude difference, Joan was proclaimed the undisputed winner of this edition.


After a long journey, three flights and three hours on a bus, we reached the Huilo Huilo region where the Transandes competition would start. It was 5 pm. We assembled our bikes, registered for the race, chose a tent and went off for a short bike ride. The area was familiar from the previous year and so we headed to the village nearest to the camp, about 5 kilometres away. It was a charming village with unpaved streets and wooden houses with tin roofs. We took this opportunity to have dinner in a house where we were treated as if we were part of the family. The area was spectacular and the weather splendid. We ended the day with a swim in the river. We decided to sleep in a tent. There is also the option to lodge in a bungalow or a hotel, accommodation which is obviously


much more comfortable, especially if it rains like last year. But sleeping in a tent means being closer to the camp, transfers are not necessary and allows you more interaction with other participants. On pre-race day we went out in the morning and did part of the route of the first stage. I really wanted to ride on the trail path of the final stretch as I remembered it to be spectacular and, after climbing up for quite a while to the track, we enjoyed riding on this incredible path without the pressure of the race. In the afternoon we went for another swim in the river where Pau became famous for jumping naked from a 6-meter platform. We were ready! Tomorrow the race begins!


STAGE 1 - HUILO HUILO - 70 km + 2,050 meters There is always some tension and nerves on the first day. The breakfast buffet opened at 7:30 am and there was a long queue. The food was very nice, varied and plentiful. The starting signal was at 9:30 am. The first kilometres were on tracks in good condition with long, gradual climbs. Soon, the top riders were ahead and at about 30 km Puschel (the Chilean cyclist who won in 2014) and I were in the lead. Suddenly, on a descent I saw that he was not behind me (he had mechanical problems) and from there onwards I rode at my pace until reaching the goal. In the second part of the stage there were very tough climbs overlooking the QuetrupillĂĄn, the Villarrica and the Lanin volcanoes and, as in the final part of the stage, there was the trail path we had rode on the day before. I descended at a good pace without


risking too much. I won the stage with plenty of leeway. People were calling me the winner with still 5 stages to go! This is something I do not like because many things can happen with so many kilometres ahead of us. STAGE 2 - HUILO HULIO-LIQUIĂ‘E - 56 km + 2,490 meters The shortest stage with the greatest added altitude difference! The day dawned dull and with some rain, but the forecast was for good weather and they were right. At the very start of the stage there was a long and demanding climb where only Puchel, Cowie and me were left in the lead. Then came some steep slopes on tracks of very uneven terrain where it was easy to fall off or for the bike to get damaged due to the numerous loose logs scattered along the way. At km 20, there was a long extended ascent. Puschel accelerated his

Adventure days and mountain biking for real


pace, Cowie slowed down and I kept mine and, during the descent, Puschel’s tire got a puncture again! I think he risked it too much with the tires, as they were very light and thin and he is a very tall cyclist who weighs 80kg. Besides, there were lots of sharp stones on the route that slashed the tires at the slightest mistake. I went back to my pace again as far as the finishing line. The last 2.5 km were on deadly tough tracks of 20% slopes, followed by a very dangerous and dusty descent on track, with the odd car. Another stage won and I my leadership status grew. Things were going well but I had to be cautious. STAGE 3 - LIQUIÑE-CATRIPULLI - 74 km + 2,240metres The stage started on some very fast tracks, which a good number of riders endured. At km 12, we rode past a Mapuche


community and then started a tough and rather difficult climb. Puschel, Cowie and I were alone again. At km 39, we entered the Villarrica National Park, which has got some majestic Araucaria pine forests. Sometimes it’s a real shame to go through sites like this one during a race because I would have liked to stop and enjoy the area more. Puschel wanted to regain time and attacked. Cowie struck back and I hung on as well I could. At the end of the climb the American slowed down and things seemed to calm down a bit. Then came a fast descent and a plain. I realized I had run out of water (my two bottles usually lasted me until the second checkpoint at km 50) and needed to refill. He didn’t stop and so, as I had feared I had to give it all to catch up with him again, and to both our surprise the American caught up with us! This


cyclist had an unusual style: he would stop in totally unexpected places and he would ride really fast in other parts where riding fast was complicated. And so, the three of us reached the finishing line together. Puschel won the stage on the last bend, where Cowie gave a few seconds away and I kept up at his wheel. STAGE 4 - CATRIPULLI-CATRIPULLI - 72 km + 2,300 meters A large group of energetic riders set off on asphalt led by my partner Antonio Ortiz. At km 12 km nobody had dared to relieve him. Then came a demanding climb with some stretches to be done on foot. I cycled up comfortably trying to walk as little as possible. Out of all of us, only Puschel managed it. I don’t think Cowie had picked the right systems he had a 34 or a 36. We carried on enjoying the stage on a very

I managed to win the Transandes by winning the timed race on the last day


nice trail beside lake Hualalafquen located just 2 kilometres away from the border with Argentina. We descended on a trail with winding and dusty bends and crossed a handmade suspension bridge about 80 meters above the river Maichin. The last part to the finishing line was on track. I came first, with Puschel at a wheel’s distance. STAGE 5 - CATRIPULLI-PUCÓN - 60 km + 1,330 meters We started off fast because we were meant to enter a very entertaining trail that went up and down along the lagoon El León. After that came a few kilometres on flat tracks where there was a leading group of 8 riders cycling at a good pace until km 26, where the ascent towards the snowy areas started. The vegetation in this stretch was increasingly lush and at some point the


three of us (the Chilean, the American and I) lost track. We went off route but did not lose much time. Only two riders overtook us, but we overtook them again later on. At km 41 we crossed a river with spectacular volcanic rock several times. We continued at a good pace, fighting for victory. Puschel won. STAGE 6 - CHRONO - PUCÓN-PUCÓN - 22 KM +680 meters On the last day we enjoyed an entertaining and explosive timed race, with a variety of ascents on tracks, trails and on asphalt and a fast descent on trails of volcanic sand, overlooking the Villarrica volcano. As with all timed races, the starting order was from the last to the first in the overall


rankings. My position was to set off last, at almost 12 noon. It was very hot and I felt a little lazy, but that feeling was soon forgotten. I felt comfortable and strong and managed to win the Transandes by winning the timed race on the last day. I felt very happy to win the event but, most of all I was pleased with the experience, the friends, the organizers... Anyway, those were a few days of adventure and mountain biking for real! Joan Llordella Photographs by Transandes Org., Mauricio Almazabal y Pablo Jiménez



Gerard Anton, an adventure, sport and travel enthusiast, will start his Volcano FatBike Iceland expedition next July, which will consist of doing a circuit which joins the most active volcanoes in Iceland on a fatbike.



My name is Gerard, I am 30 years old, I am from Tarragona and I’m studying dentistry. I am passionate about adventure, sports and travelling. In sport, I’ve been competing in adventure raids since 2002 and I became Spanish champion with the Catraid Trangoworld team in 2012. I have also competed in biathlon and I won the Spanish under 23 Championship in 2003 and 2004. But what fascinates me is to travel, to discover new mountains, paths, people and to do it in a self-sufficient way and moving fast. Travelling... For the last four years my trips have been focused on finding the best trails in the world: in 2010, a Tour of Mont Blanc; in 2011, the Landmannalaugar trek in


Iceland; in 2012, the Svalbard Islands (the Arctic), in 2013 the John MuirTrail (California) and in 2014, Nepal (Everest region). But now I would like to change; I want to ride a bike and to spend the best years of my life going on extreme adventure trips. I’d like to blend sport, adventure and travelling. And I’d like to record the whole experience and then edit it and publish my adventures. And this year I am going back to Iceland... Volcano FatBike Iceland is a solo expedition which aims to join the most active volcanoes in Iceland on a fatbike. A fatbike is a mountain bike with oversized tires which do not sink into the snow.

I intend to climb up the five most active volcanoes on the island


And what is the challenge? Six hundred and fifty kilometres (350 kilometres of which, navigating only with a GPS) with no predetermined route. 80% of the land will be glacier, including the largest in Europe: the Vatnajokull. In Iceland the weather changes every five minutes and the wind is always strong. I intend to climb up the five most active volcanoes on the island in the following order: the Hekla, located at 1,488 meters (last eruption in February 2000); the Katla at 1,918 meters (last eruption in 1918 and at intervals of 13-95 years); the famous Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull (1,666 meters), which erupted in April 2010 and stopped air traffic in half of Europe; the Grímsvötn (1,725 meters), which last erupted in May 2011 and, finally, the Hvannadalshnúkur volcano, located at 2,110 meters, which is the highest mountain in Iceland. It last erupted in 1727 (the least active volcano of them all). Part of the route will be done with a pulka sled attached to the bike. It is an unprecedented route on a bike. There are no references. So I will not follow a marked route. The expedition will begin in July 2015 and the adventure will start with the ascents to the volcanoes. Then, I will head off to Vantajokull glacier and finally, I will attempt to reach the summit of Grímsvötn volcano. I always travel fast & lightpacking style, that is, travelling fast and with the lightest possible materials, always prioritizing my own safety. And it will be no different this time. I’m not seeking to break any speed records but I like sports and maximizing my time. If I succeed, I will become the first person to complete a circuit joining these five volcanoes on a bicycle. Gerard Anton


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Antonio de la Rosa, alias ‘El Cali’, has become the first Spanish winner of the Rames Guyane after rowing non-stop alone, 4,700 kilometres across the Atlantic via the most complicated route from Senegal to French Guiana.


The Rames Guyane is the only solo rowing competition that crosses the Atlantic. It is a very complicated French race also called ‘the Everest of transoceanic routes.’ 4,700 kilometres separate the coast of Dakar (Senegal) from French Guiana. This race is extremely difficult because it passes very near the Equator line, where the strong currents and winds of the Azores and the Antarctica converge. Besides, waves can reach over 6 meters high. In this edition we started off earlier than in previous ones and, suffered not only the tough nature of the race but also strong trade winds. I ended up positioned southwards, but some participants chose


to stay anchored near the coast. I have to say I learned a lot about the maritime world. Physical preparation for such a long race is very important. I trained some 3-4 hours regularly almost every day. They were not specific workouts; I like to keep fit and healthy. I spent the whole summer training and testing the boat in the Atazar reservoir, in the Sierra Norte in Madrid. It is not the same as being at sea but it helped me a lot, especially at rowing. Two years ago I came across this competition on the Internet and I thought it was the best and simplest option. Rowing across the Atlantic is something I had



It was highly rewarding to win this race

longed to do for years. For many years I have competed in adventure events and always in teams; this time I wanted to do a solo expedition. This way, I could decide where to go and how. I like to leave my comfort zone; I need to do different things; my body needs it. Loneliness is sometimes fantastic; it allows you to be with yourself, to think and reflect, but I am a very sociable person. It is also true that today’s races are not like those of years ago. I was given a satellite phone and Internet connection, which allowed me to speak with my family and friends every day. I spent more than 64 days, 3 hours and 30 minutes rowing on an 8-meter by 1.60 meter boat with an unsinkable structure;

empty, it weighed 750 kilos. Inside, there was a small safe space where I slept and sheltered from storms. The boat was divided into a 1-meter-long watertight front deck used as storage and a 3- meter-long deck of similar characteristics at the back, where my sleeping mattress, a radio, the GPS, the satellite phone and the satellite data delivery system were located. On the top, there were some solar panels that charged the batteries to power a small desalination plant that allowed me to have fresh water. My average speed was about 4-5 kilometres per hour, although there were despairing days when strong winds or


currents would only allow me to sail at 3. I also had the odd day when the current and trade winds were favourable and on those days I managed to reach a speed of 12 km/h, but that was just occasionally. As for my navigation instruments, they consisted of a marine compass and a GPS, I carried two to contrast information. All rowers had a router on land to analyse winds and tides and to be able to plan a strategy. There was no one with more expertise than myself, and I had no seagoing experience at all. So it was my sister Vanessa who informed me daily, who sent me screenshots with the location of all the other rowers and together we devised the best route or strategy to follow. The worst part of the whole trip was, no doubt, when the desalination machine broke down. It got obstructed but, luckily, I had a spare one, which I used to repair the main one. I made a few calls to friends in Spain with my satellite phone to clarify some doubts I had. I disassembled and reassembled it very carefully. Had I failed to repair it, I would have had to abandon and call for rescue. I was very careful with it for the rest of the trip; even when it rained I took out several buckets to collect rainwater. Had it failed again, I would not have had the means to fix it. I was never scared but I did suffer a bit with the first storms and worried about damage to the machine. The only real danger for me was to be run over by a larger ship. Even if they see you, they don’t change their course because it means losing a lot of money on fuel. So it is you who



must be on the alert and change course you if happen to come across such a vessel. I had my daily routine during the race. Otherwise, a race of this nature was very difficult to withstand psychologically. I tried rowing for 10 hours a day. The rest of the time I always had things to do: watching the course, cooking, fishing, eating, resting, sending daily news, photos, videos, etc. At rest times I even allowed myself the luxury of watching films on my computer. Although it seems hard to believe, I never got bored. I would try to sleep for a maximum of 2 hours to be able to watch the course and


the navigation. Even my body got used to recognising when something was going wrong and then I would wake up. One of the toughest things of this expedition is that you get very little sleep and in poor condition: on a damp mattress in a very hot and tiny space. Regarding the food supply, I carried lyophilized food on board, that is, food that only needs the addition of hot water. In addition, some vacuum-packed foods, energy bars and powder food, gels... from Victory Endurance and I fished on 12 days to have fresh fish for dinner. As days went by, I realized that the journey would


last more days than I had first expected. At one point, I decided to ration the food and start to fish. Fish was fresh! I had been farsighted and brought a small oven on board to have provisions in such circumstances. I do not intend to participate in another edition. I did it, I really enjoyed it, I crossed the Atlantic, I had a lot of media coverage and also won the race. What else could I gain from a second participation? I’m a guy who likes to try out different things, to release adrenaline. I need to learn and to feel the uncertainty of facing new challenges. For me it was a great satisfaction to be the first Spaniard to take part and win this tough race. All the participants struggled a lot; this is great physical exhaustion. The last few days I risked crossing some currents rowing for about 22 hours without sleep. It was a great effort but it was worth reaching Kourou in first position. I was thrilled! It was worth it! Antonio de la Rosa Photographs by Dokumalia, Jody Amiet y Nacho Cembellin




Three seasons ago I bought some ski mountaineering equipment. Little by little I started to learn the philosophy underlying ski mountaineering but, unfortunately, some serious injuries, one on my arm and another on my leg, forced me to abandon this hobby for a long period of time.



This year I had the chance to take part in and to live the experience of racing in one of the events of the Ski Mountaineering World Cup; to live and feel the same as professional skiers.


sometimes hinder the development of the race. Organizers received many complaints when a few hundred places to “open” runners were allocated.

The Scarpa IMSF World Cup Font Blanca is one of those events that allows you to compete alongside athletes with an ISMF license, i.e. professional athletes, many of whom are our idols. Not many races at World Cup level offer the possibility to participate as “open”, the only requirement being a federal FEDME license.

I did not want to miss this great event so, as soon as I found out that registration had started, I immediately signed up for it, even though I didn’t know if I would be in good enough physical condition to participate in the event. Nowadays, places run out immediately and I did not think twice. Now it was time to do some sound training to perform well in Font Blanca.

Professional athletes do not like nonprofessionals to interfere because they can

Days went by and still there was no snow. Thanks to artificial snow, I could start


to do some training at weekends in the Pyrenees. I supplemented those workouts with outings on rollers during the week. The big day was approaching and I signed up for all the local ski mountaineering races to be held to practice changing skins and to get used to all the equipment, etc. Everything usually goes wrong for me on race day because of the intensity of the exercise and damned nerves. On Friday, some friends and I stayed in a little hotel near the slopes of Vallnord, in Arcalis (Andorra) where the Individual Race would take place. There, we met some referees from national federations, who worked for the ISMF. We exchanged


experiences and chatted about the ski mountaineering world. Concerns were increasing due to the forecast for bad weather. The organizers were working on several alternative routes at the mercy of the weather. On Friday afternoon, three different routes had already been put forward and the definitive one was to be decided on Saturday morning. There was restlessness and nerves to find out the definitive route and what the weather would be like on race day. Finally, before dinner we were told what the final route would be and the obligatory material to be used. Both the distance and


the climbs of the circuit had been reduced, and also the starting time had been changed to when the weather forecast predicted an improvement. Many questions came up that night: what would the route be like, how many changes of skins would I have to make, at what stage would we have to use crampons... The night before the competition I usually have trouble getting to sleep because I am nervous, I try to visualize the race and try to relax. The morning dawned with strong winds. We got up, had breakfast, we prepared all the equipment and headed to the slopes in Ordino. On arrival at the ski resort, we had serious problems finding a parking space. Time was going by quickly although the


race had been delayed a couple of hours. We were late. We had to leave our vehicle illegally parked and run to the starting line. To get to the starting line we had to ski for about 20 minutes, which served as a good pre-test warm up. It was cold but in the rush and with the exercise, we hardly noticed it. We got there just over 10 minutes before the start, just enough time to leave our warm clothes and go through ARVA control. We were placed in a starting box behind the professional skiers to avoid interfering with them in their fight for the top positions.



Skiing amongst your idols is a luxury

Starting signal; everyone rushed off as if this would be a 100-meter race. I got carried away by the group and I skied fast until I saw that some skiers were beginning to slow their pace. I said to myself ‘use your head… this is a very long race and there is still a long way ahead, if you give the best of yourself now you won’t have enough energy in the final stretch.’ I managed to position myself with a group with whom I usually coincide in every race, except for a couple of professional women who were setting the pace during the long climb. Then came the time to change the skins, to buckle our boots and start the descent. It is at that moment when you can tell who the professionals are. It is amazing to see how they perform this manoeuvre at great speed.

Professional skiers were already some minutes ahead and lead time was increasing as the hours went by. In the end, that same group of companions who have been coinciding always end up together... At the second ascent my heartbeat accelerated. You cannot catch your breath on descents, they are very demanding and you need to use your five senses to avoid a fall. When we were just about to reach the top, the organizers surprised us when we were told to put the skis in the backpack to ascend to the top of the mountain. ‘Shouldn’t we use the crampons here’? I wondered. No, we were told to use them on the descent, on a stretch of only 50 meters! The other two remaining ascents were on a loop with very demanding descents. So


demanding that half way down I had to stop because my legs were burning; it was as if they were going to explode at any moment. The anecdote of the race occurred when I decided to carry on descending. I heard cries for ‘give way’ in the distance. I turned round and saw Kilian Jornet dashing down. He was a lap ahead of me! You have no idea how fast and easy he was speeding down the slope. I made a move and started to follow him until I fell over and ended up covered in snow. It took me a while to get myself together, clean the snow off my goggles and get back into the race again. With the image of Kilian in my mind, I managed to complete the second and last round to the finish line. Once the race was over, the weather began to worsen. The wind and the start of a blizzard forced all participants to descend to the car park for shelter and to go to the farewell meal. I am satisfied with my personal performance and pleased to have shared such an exciting and beautiful experience with a small family of skiers. A family that grows rapidly year after year. Sportvicious team Photographs by JM Montaner



Profile for Sportvicious

SV Sportvicious March-April 2015  

Interview to Marco De Gasperi, who has become one of the best runners in the vertical kilometre race. Strategies for a marathon. TwoNav Anim...

SV Sportvicious March-April 2015  

Interview to Marco De Gasperi, who has become one of the best runners in the vertical kilometre race. Strategies for a marathon. TwoNav Anim...


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