36.3km (22.6 miles)
Vertical distance: 1223 meters ascent, 1034 meters descent
Finish Time 5:59:10
"Opening the Gore-Tex® Transalpine-Run 2010, we have this ideally suited starting stage leading across the Chiemgau Alps via the mountain range Steinplatte from Ruhpolding to Waidring in Strub Valley. From there, beautiful hiking paths lead to the idyllically located stage finish in St. Ulrich at Lake Piller located to the west of the Lofer Steinberge. With more than 1200 meters to climb, this stage does not demand exceptional climbing skills, but with a distance of 36 kilometers it’s just short of the regular marathon distance."- TransAlp website
Ate a delicious breakfast at the "Pension" we stayed at: breakfast egg, rolls, proscuitto, brie, jams, crusty rolls, piping hot coffee, yogurt with muesli, and fresh fruit. It had been a very long time since I stuffed my face that full before a race, and it felt good.
Upon leaving the bed and breakfast, a few lodgers were standing outside smoking and held up their thumbs cheering "Toi Toi Toi"wen they saw us decked out in our gear and race numbers. Steph and I looked bewildered and shook our heads 'no'. After a brief conversation, we found out that "Toi Toi Toi" meant "Good Luck!", not toilet, potty, or any other form of this word as we had been led to believe after seeing this:
Needless to say it brought on a roar of laughter from the German crowd when they discovered our misinterpretation. This was the first but unfortunately not the last time we felt like dumb "Americanos".
The day started out foggy and streaked with rain. Showers waxed and waned throughout the entire day. The gray and dismal morning did not dampen everyone's spirits, however, as the start line was throbbing with it's own pulse and electricity. Excitement and anticipation was in the air as runners stretched, chatted, and completed last minute touch-ups to their wardrobe and back packs.
Music piped in over the loud speakers with the Gore-Tex theme song "Keep On Running" followed by AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" as we herded into our shoots at the start line. People were singing in broken English and nodding their heads, trying to hang tune with Bon Scott as if it was a brand new release; it was hilarious. The gun sounded in the air and with whoops and hollers we were off....
We climbed and climbed. Cows dotted the countryside and their huge cowbells jingled constantly. The greenery thickened and eventually we came across a beautiful waterfall which we ran under. Then we climbed again. Up, Up, and Up a wet sloppy slope as runners ahead disappeared into the gray, dense, fog. It was grueling and fun at the same time.
That night, Steph and I discovered when the race organizer say "Pasta Dinner" for every night of the race, they truly meant pasta dinner. No friggin lie. Tonight, after waiting in a very very long line we approached the salad bar with near empty tubs of watered down lettuce scraps and no dressing. Tired, I slopped some onto my plate and poured off the water. The pasta was...well, pasta... and they threw on a random boiled hot dog on the side (gag). Mashed potatoes somehow appeared out of nowhere and those I scarfed down in delight as I momentarily pushed aside the gross pasta and hot dog. Drinks were not to be found,again, not even water. Stephanie squeezed her way up to the "bar" where you could buy beer and inquired about some water. She was informed that you had to pay for water, they didn't provide any drinks.
?WHAT? How could you not provide simple water? I can understand having to pay for beer, juice, soda, etc, but water? I didn't think that was right. You're providing food (for a large sum of money out of my pocket, I might add) but no water? And you expect me to be hydrated and healthy tomorrow to run? Luckily I was still on cloud 9 from talking to Cowboy on the payphone so I was able to scarf down whatever food they put in front of me and move on. At that point I just wanted to get to bed.
As in common fashion for the rest of the week, Stephanie and I skipped the nightly awards meeting and debriefing for the next day's run and headed straight for our sleeping bags. I really wanted to be supportive of the top runners and cheer them on, but at the same time I was ready for bed.
For two exhausted pups it was too much for us to handle and the beckoning of our sleeping bags was overwhelming. So we headed to "camp" (our first night) to tuck in.
Camp was a large YMCA- type of building with multiple rooms branching off large hallways. We shared bathrooms and showers and the sleeping arrangements were not gender specific. Not that this necessarily miffed us. Being part of the staged racing community you get used to sharing bathrooms with the boys, displaying oozing chafing wounds, trail battle scars, black toenails, and miscellaneous body parts. But tonight we got placed in a room with about 16 other men.
Again, not an uncomfortable situation, a little eyebrow raising but not odd. Until IT happened.
I was unrolling my sleeping mat & bag while talking to Stephanie. A few of the other guys were getting their sleeping areas arranged also before heading to the awards ceremony. I was talking about our day running when something caught my eye. I turned my head towards the movement and there it was:
Bare hairy German ass planted smack dab a few feet from my face. He was bent over straightening his sleeping bag while, wait....IS THAT A THONG? Yes sir, that nakedness was adorned with a tiny strip of black fabric up the arse, daintily covering the taint, and wrapping around into a true "banana hammock" or nut cozy. Victoria's Secret was revealed and it wasn't a petite little bum popping out of that man-thong.
OMG I almost tripped over my own thermarest mat and stumbled head first into Stephanie while trying hard to choke down my giggles. I looked around the room as I saw Stephanie's shocked face and realized that most of the men in the room were stripping down to their skivvies...and then to nothing at all.
Now THAT is uncomfortable.