Irati Extrem

Edición épica
16/6/2018 • Otsagabia (Navarra)

Its data: 128 kilometers • 8 ports • 3600 meters of altitude • 1390 Coefficient of hardness (C.D.E.) they say almost everything, but for this 12th edition, there was more, much more.

Annotated in my personal calendar since several years ago, the time has come. I went with a lot of respect to this test that certainly is not for anyone.

Some of the comments of participants of this edition:

In 2013 when I finished it I was so in love that I said I would come back and come back, but with different conditions! The weather has been very hard and I have not been able to finish but I am still falling in love … Blanca Garcia

It has been at the same time a suffering and a pleasure, I will certainly return with more enthusiasm the next edition .. Xavi Arterv

But let’s go to the details.

On paper, a journey that everyone qualifies as simply spectacular. I very “cuckoo” had looked at the weather forecast in … Otsagabia, good weather.

 

So my only doubt was to see how I would come to face the test on the physical plane. At the exit the environment was 100% cyclist. 1500 participants who had achieved the record of participation in this edition.

Tribute to Javier Eseverri Barace, elite futsal player who was retiring this year after being a member of the Xota Navarre team, whom I personally met at the Futsal World Cup in Brazil at the time when I was part of the coaching staff as a sports analyst.

Radiant sun and all eager to devour kilometers.

Plain, little. Rather nothing.

First three summits that we all do without almost disheveled.

PUERTO VERTIENTE KMS ALT. DES. % COE.
Jaurrieta Jaurrieta 6,7 990 260 3,9 45
Erremendia Puente sobre Zatoia 2,8 1025 108 3,7 14
Abaurreagaina Abaurrea 5,0 1030 90 3,5 12

As we were approaching the border with France and the northern slope of the Pyrenees, we could already appreciate that “… there …” the thing did not look good, in the hardness of the route but especially in the climatological.

My personal strategy, I suppose that of all, was to arrive at the port of Errozate fresher than a lettuce, because this port had its “one”.

But before we had to pass the famous “Wall” and ascend Azpegi, short but already quite demanding.

PUERTO VERTIENTE KMS ALT. DES. % COE.
Jaurrieta Jaurrieta 6,7 990 260 3,9 45
Erremendia Puente sobre Zatoia 2,8 1025 108 3,7 14
Abaurreagaina Abaurrea 5,0 1030 90 3,5 12
Azpegi Fábrica de armas 2,8 1050 270 6,7 65

I did not even remember the “wall” until I got to it and I remembered some of the pictures I had seen on the Internet.

I think it was raining by then.

Anyway, the thing was still good, we had only traveled about 35 km and we also had supplies in the 36 km. It was just an appetizer. We continued and already climbing Azpegi was another thing, short but harder. Even so, who else but the least we all get here. But we face the first of the hard declines. In general, narrow rural roads with a steep slope and a time that did not accompany. In many dangerous moments, although the worst was yet to come.

I started, I guess some more too, with the fight to remove and put on my raincoat. I did not want to cook on the rises but I did not want to go cold on the slopes. This hard the rest of the test for me. At least I was wearing it. More than one, before the radiant sun of Otsagabia, opted not to take anything of warm clothes and in many cases it was reason of abandonment later.

We arrived at the refreshment of Kilometer 50 and another of my fights, it was where the bike parked the bike. Truly, looking for a little space was almost impossible with so much bike.

In my mind, face Errozate as soon as possible. First to get rid of the uncertainty and second to get warm. By then it had been very cold in the descent and almost took the climbs to taste.

PUERTO VERTIENTE KMS ALT. DES. % COE.
Jaurrieta Jaurrieta 6,7 990 260 3,9 45
Erremendia Puente sobre Zatoia 2,8 1025 108 3,7 14
Abaurreagaina Abaurrea 5,0 1030 90 3,5 12
Azpegi Fábrica de armas 2,8 1050 270 6,7 65
Errozate
Source de la Nive 10 1273 967 9,6 315

I started the climb with encouragement despite the bad weather and really few ports had climbed like this, except for the tour of the high mountain triathlon Altriman.

I thanked the organization for giving information about the unevenness of each kilometer of the ascent, although see 10 km 10%, 9 9 11.5% km, 11 11 11%, did not encourage much. There was no truce or possible rest. The unevenness was brutal one after another. In addition, the weather worsened as we climbed. Rain, a lot of wind, cold and fog, every fog.

Each one did what he could, and the battle was totally personal.

Luckily, within the hardness of each meter, I was finding comfortable with my rhythm. A few meters sitting, a few meters standing, and so on.

The arrival at the top I remember as the beginning of chaos. A lot, a lot of wind, fog that barely let us see a few meters, cold and rain. At the summit some cyclists stopped, some with a breakdown that I felt sorry for. Already here the abandonments began. The climb had been hard but maybe more would be the descent. The descent was dangerous, with no visibility, very broken asphalt and a lot of unevenness. I started the descent leaving my hands trying to brake to the maximum. Still, it looked like it was not slowing down.

I could not have stopped completely at any time if I had needed it. I thought maybe I would have done well to put new shoes. I know that somebody else around me said the same thing. The curves were 180 degrees which did not help much.

After the first descent curves, I notice … my wheel! Puncture and above the rear wheel. Uff! I thought that the tubular was going to rid me of it. I save the expletives that I released. Now it was me who felt sorry for himself.

I tried to change the tubular, but as always something failed. He could not remove the obus from the new tubular that was short because his hands were wet and icy. I needed to remove it to put the obus extender when having profile wheels.

In a short time I saw that I would need help. In front of me passed, one by one, the cyclists facing the dangerous descent. It was raining a lot and the wind was whipping hard. When I was stopped I started to stay even more frozen and started to shiver. I did not want to bother any other cyclist who already had enough with theirs. But I needed help.

Timidly to one or another, he asked for help asking if they had any tool. Most put me face of “I’m sorry” without stopping. They looked at me thinking “… what a bitch …” Some even said it aloud. I understood them, it was not easy to stop at that point and with those weather conditions. Someone did it, although he could not help me either.

I decided that I would wait for someone from the organization. When the first Quad arrived, they could not help me either. I saw then that the organization was quite overwhelmed. They went up and down “extinguishing fires” and falls that there were and of all colors, including an ambulance in danger of falling downhill and that could resume the march with the help of several cyclists.

After 30-40 minutes of waiting and shivering but not being able to, another Quad appeared with two members of the organization saying that they were the technical service. They helped me and I thanked them enormously, although I have to say that it was not the technical service that I expected, and that I have met in other similar races. They had hardly any tools or spare parts.

Even so they made me the solution and as they could, they released the obus. I was able to continue although I was totally frozen and did not know if I could go back to “enter” the test. A few kilometers away, he had the next refreshment station. I did not want to stop much because I still needed to warm up.

Nothing more to get off the bike, I notice that I can not remove the right creek. Do not! Rage lost some of the screws in the cove and she danced. I could not continue like this. For a moment I thought “so far !!, I’ll leave !.

I look and look to see if anyone can help me and nothing. After another 10-15 minutes, the members of the organization who had helped me before arrived again. I put “face” and ask them to at least hold me as they can the screws that I had left. They tell me if I prefer to abandon that there is a Red Cross van. Despite being cold and angry with so much delay, I was already staying in the last groups of cyclists, I decided to continue if they fixed this new fault.

They do it and continue. I was so cold that despite the difference in level, I see another “start port”, and I tighten everything I can. Little by little I get warm but still soaked despite the raincoat. I overtook many cyclists and that at least encouraged me something.

Until then, I had not been able to enjoy anything of the passage, especially because you could not see anything with so much fog.

But it continued at a good pace reaching new groups. I would play the next port, something more affordable.

PUERTO VERTIENTE KMS ALT. DES. % COE.
Jaurrieta Jaurrieta 6,7 990 260 3,9 45
Erremendia Puente sobre Zatoia 2,8 1025 108 3,7 14
Abaurreagaina Abaurrea 5,0 1030 90 3,5 12
Azpegi Fábrica de armas 2,8 1050 270 6,7 65
Errozate
Source de la Nive 10 1273 967 9,6 315
Surzai Lepoa
Muga 25 7,5 1140 290 4,5 64

But before starting on a small plain, I notice that the wheel is giving “hits”. I get down and see that a part of the tubular is not well attached to the wheel and was like something more bloated. It was normal to have put the tubular without glue, without being able to sand the base and also all soaked.

I deflate and inflate the wheel again, although the thing changes little. Fed up with so much damage, I decided to continue like that and whatever it was.

On the ascent, again narrow roads but with a bit better asphalt. I see that a van, I do not know if the organization or not, I think that if I slightly cyclist a cyclist that goes in my group and it falls to the gutter.

The feeling was still chaos. It was like many things happened and everywhere and this situation was overflowing the organization.

Continuous reaching the top with desire to reach the foothills of the famous Larrau. But I still had the climb to Bagargi.

PUERTO VERTIENTE KMS ALT. DES. % COE.
Jaurrieta Jaurrieta 6,7 990 260 3,9 45
Erremendia Puente sobre Zatoia 2,8 1025 108 3,7 14
Abaurreagaina Abaurrea 5,0 1030 90 3,5 12
Azpegi Fábrica de armas 2,8 1050 270 6,7 65
Errozate
Source de la Nive 10 1273 967 9,6 315
Surzai Lepoa
Muga 25 7,5 1140 290 4,5 64
Bagargi
Muga 25 6 1327 317 6,6 50

With everything that happened, the accumulated kilometers, etc., climbing Bagargi cost yours. Even so, I was mentally launched to Larrau, motivated and advancing more and more cyclists.

I finally arrive at Larrau, and I am surprised that there were many cyclists stopped. I fall into the account that I make time trial and many took it seriously, rest well before facing the sharp rise. It did not motivate me at all and I started the ascent without stopping.

PUERTO VERTIENTE KMS ALT. DES. % COE.
Jaurrieta Jaurrieta 6,7 990 260 3,9 45
Erremendia Puente sobre Zatoia 2,8 1025 108 3,7 14
Abaurreagaina Abaurrea 5,0 1030 90 3,5 12
Azpegi Fábrica de armas 2,8 1050 270 6,7 65
Errozate
Source de la Nive 10 1273 967 9,6 315
Surzai Lepoa
Muga 25 7,5 1140 290 4,5 64
Bagargi
Muga 25 6 1327 317 6,6 50
Larrau
Bagargi 15 1585 1085 7,2 380

The unevenness, similar in its first ramps to Errozate and the battle itself, each against it. Very demanding and long. My legs felt more punished, although my strategy of alternating posture every few meters allowed me to continue at a more than acceptable pace. By then many cyclists were getting off the bike recovering strength or even walking with it looking for a few more meters.

The differences were in the same trend (10%, 11,%, 9.5%, …). When you saw that some kilometers fall from 9% you were happy and it almost seemed like little.

Before crowning a section with a much lower level that allowed you to gain strength for the last two that were hardening a lot. Already at the top, with almost everything done, I enjoy the refreshments, especially the salted peanuts that I had eaten at all the refreshments. To face the descent, and given that it followed the fog, the wind and the rain, I ask for a garbage bag to the organization, and after making the pertinent holes I put it under the rain jacket. I remember that I had already tried this in ultratrail tests like the Transgrancanaria. On that occasion I saved my life.

After the first two kilometers of descent we crossed a tunnel and huala! Already on the south face of the Pyrenees a huge blaze in the absence of about 10 kilometers from Otsagabia.

With the spirit to 100% I make the descent in company until goal.

In addition to the hardness of the test we lived had to deal with the inclemency of time and that made me know better to have been able to complete. Of the 1500 participants, only 1000 and little completed the chrono to Larrau, so I deduce that there was quite a dropout. Of course, a new epic edition has been added to the Irati Extrem list.

Nice also the reunion with two great trail runners Samuel Arroyo and Lídia Gomez to whom I had the pleasure of training for a few years.

Only the pain of not having been able to enjoy the landscape that everyone calls spectacular. Thanks to the organization for organizing, not without effort, this test year after year.

Continue enjoying…

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