Friday, August 17, 2007

Can Infernos beckon?

Race time is here and an Inferno beckons! In less than 24 hours, I'll plunge into a cold lake (photo on the right) in the heart of the Swiss Alps and enjoy a refreshing hour of flatness before climbing nearly 85 horizontal and 3 vertical miles by road bike, mountain bike, and foot. The fun begins in the lakeside town of Thun with a 3K splash in some chilly, but crystal clear water.

Next is a scenic ride through the Interlaken region with a remote (and likely stunning) climb to Grindelwald. Then the road bikes get to rest and take in the sights at the base of the famous mountain, the Eiger (center left), while we shift gears and mindsets to our off-road machines. We'll mountain bike under the shadows of the Eiger (across a pass on her lower shoulder -- just to the right of center) and drop into one of the most scenic valleys in the world.

This valley almost brought me to tears during my first visit -- it's loaded with waterfalls and the sounds of church bells echo off the mountain peaks.

After enjoying a brief jaunt through the valley, the insanity begins, as the run course reaches straight up into the sky to finish at the Schilthorn. This is where the real beauty of the course lights up though, because the effort affords stunning view after stunning view (like the view of Jungfrau above).

I have no idea how long the race will take (perhaps 14-16 hours) and no particular time goals, other than to finish and to push myself as close to the limit as I can and still get away with! I'm not racing with a heart rate monitor, bike computer, or even a watch. It's me against the mountains and perhaps frequently, against my own mind!

It's been an adventure just to get to the starting line. Intense work schedule, an international move only a week before the race, lots of training in Holland in the rain and with no hills! Becky has been a fantastic help, as have my friends, family, and co-workers. My experience working with Coach Lisa has also been stellar. Becky and I area heading from Zürich into the deep Alpine country now for race check-in. If you'd like to practice your German, feel free to check out the race website, where you can also register for updates (via text/SMS). My race number is 145 (and is already in the form for the link above -- which is in English!).

As always, thanks for reading!

Adieu from Zürich,


John said...

Amazing sights, I hope that keep you occupied through the pain! Good luck during the race! You are my new ultra endurance hero!

John said...
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Alexandra said...

Jeff, you are unbelievable! Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment! You conquered the Swiss alps after only living there for a week! Way to go!!!