This is no picnic – Cavalls del Vent Preview

While the Aussies have been running around in circles at the Centennial Park Ultra and others have been making sandcastles and drinking piccolos at the Surf Coast Century the big boys and girls of global trail running have been finalising their plans for yet another in the epic series of Skyraces – this time the series moves on to the mighty Cavalls del Vent

Its the fourth race in the Skyrunner® Ultra Series in the rugged Cadi-Moixeró National Park, Spanish Pyrenees.The field was already stacked with the likes of  Miguel HerasTòfol Castañer, Dakota Jones, Anton KrupickaJoe Grant, Philipp Reiter and Terry Conway, while Anna Frost, Emelie ForsbergNuria Picas and Emma Roca represent the women’s élite.These Ultra legends, together with a record one thousand participants, will engage in this momentous challenge on Saturday: 84 km with 12,000m vertical ascent and descent.

That’s 1,400m vertical climb every ten kilometres – an average incline of 14% with peaks of more than 20% – amount to a tough, technical Ultra to test the best.The best race attracts the best field hence fresh off the back of his record breaking Mont Blanc crossing Kilian Jornet couldnt help himself and the chance at redemption as he goes for his third attempt, has just decided to enter:  “I’ve been home training and I feel strong both mentally and physically, so I decided to give it a shot – third time lucky?

The odds as suggested by the ISF Press release are on Miguel Heras, 2010 and 2011 winner who’ll be aiming for three in a row.  Another favourite is last year’s second placer, Tòfol Castañer, fresh from his CCC win.  After the Series’ first race in May, theTransvulcania Ultra Marathon, the Ultra Cavalls del Vent represents another chance for American Ultra Runners to test their skills on European soil.  Back for more are Transvulcania winner, 21-year-old Dakota Jones together with Anton Krupicka and Joe Grant.

Other strong contestants to look out for are Germany’s young Philipp Reiter, recent winner with Iker Karrera at the Transalpine-Run and Britain’s Terry Conway, winner of the Lakeland 100, in his first international match, while Italy’s Giuliano Cavallo is forced to stay home due to injury.

The strong women’s field is headed by Transvulcania and Speedgoat winner, New Zealander Anna Frost, who, in her usual style is already on site and eating up the miles.  Sweden’s Emelie Forsberg, current leader of the Skyrunner® World Series ranking will attempt this distance for the first time.  Both will face strong competition from last year’s race winner Nuria Picas and Emma Roca, third.

So will we see a sub 9 hour time for the men and sub 11 for the women ? With a field this stacked the pace is certainly going to bring out the best in the athletes and also maybe claim a few scalps along the way.

For the record I see Kilian finally achieving his goal and taking out the men’s podium followed closely by Dakota and Anton and in the women I see Anna Frost maintaining her enviable record on steep courses with Nuria Picas and Emelie Forsberg fighting for the minor placings.

Jornet currently leads both the combined Skyrunner® World Series and the Ultra Series, although the Ultra is still open with two races to go where Philipp Reiter and Dakota Jones could still make their mark.   The grand final will be on October 28 with the fabulous Course des Templiers.


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16 thoughts on “This is no picnic – Cavalls del Vent Preview

    1. The Spanish and Italian’s lead the way when it comes to putting on extreme races in wilderness areas with large fields. Transvulcania has 1500 + entries already. After all the debate about age groups and ultras this past week – the focus now shifts to safely letting 1000+ athletes onto steep technical terrain. Their approach is to make the individual athlete entirely accountable for their own actions and to ensure they are sufficiently trained up. My observations to date at the Skyraces I have been to is that the depth of the quality across the field is huge – not many there to make up the numbers and already resigned to a DNF – the racing will be keen right back through the pack

      1. I hope there aren’t any rutted up uneven surfaces, otherwise they will have to get out there and flatten it and put gravel on top. Oh wait – that only happens in Australia – Bogong to Highway.

  1. I hope Krupicka can have a good race. He hasn’t won anything for about 3 years. This race should play to his strengths though – big climbs, reasonable distance. Reading his blog lately makes you think he has become so focused on vertical gain that he is doing more mountain climbing than running.

    1. Its definitely going to be close up front Charlie as all of these guys love the 80km distance – Tofol will push em hard, Dakota has the stamina, Kilian just loves beating people and Anton as you point out is more a rock scrambler of which the course has loads – Miguel if fit (knee) will push them real hard as well. Exciting race and to be honest more of a field than UROC 100 IMO

      1. dont be conned into thinking euros dont do switchbacks…..kima had no switchbacks(skyrunning);whilst UTMB is all about switchbacks(trailrunning).
        skyrunning is like extreme trailrunning.

    1. Its a giant clockwise loop through a number of passes and valleys via the usual refugio’s where they have the aid stations. So the course will be predominantly flags and tape where the trails are not clear.

  2. “That’s 1,400m vertical climb every ten kilometres – an average incline of 14% with peaks of more than 20% – amount to a tough, technical Ultra to test the best.” Aren’t those numbers wrong? The course has a little more than 6000m climb over 84K which amounts to about 750m climb every 10K not 1400m. That translates to an average of about 7.5% grade on the climbs.

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