UTMB 2012

In August, I have attended the 10th edition of the epics mountain trail, the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. I have written various articles about UTMB TDS, CCC and preparations as well as a detailed FAQ. This year due to weather conditions, the course re-routed to 106km and 6.000m which only circumnavigates the French part of the Alps.

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The race started around 19:00 and for the first time in history, we had the chance to see the UTMB CCC winner coming to the finish line. Me, Caner, Bakiye and Devrim, were the only Turkish runners raced in UTMB as well as other runners represented our country in CCC and TDS.

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CCC runners Onur and Turker plus Bakiye from UTMB had problems which lead them to drop from their races and DNF. Derya finished the toughest TDS in a very pleasant under 30hrs time. We have managed to finish before 26hrs cut-off. Devrim in 22hrs, Emre and Caner again same time in 23hrs.

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The course and weather conditions were brutal during the night and was very good after the morning which lead us to a convenient race conditions.

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I am not going to conduct a full race report but some useful bullet points for you and list of links that would help you plan and be successful in your race.

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Getting there

  •  Enter the lottery within a group. This will increase your chance to win.
  •  Book your hotels even before the draw, you can cancel them if you are not successful in the UTMB draw.

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  •  Book your airport transfer in advance. Team up with your friends to be on the same bus. The journey from Geneva airport will take around 1.5 hrs. to Chamonix.

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  • Never, ever give your mandatory equipment apart from your gels to the baggage in your flight. Take it with you. Shoes, gear and pack should be with you all the time. If your luggage is lost, you might not have sufficient time to pass the gear control.

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  • This year UTMB officials controlled only three mandatory gear randomly. Most of the runners asked their crucial equipment like rain pants, headlamp, whistle, food, extra layer, waterproof jacket and emergency blanket. But you should have all your gear except water with you.

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  • Prefer to do your race kit control and registration quickly. You can enjoy Chamonix, gear fair, seminars better. If this is your first UTMB arrive Chamonix earlier, do some relaxing walks up in the mountains to acclimatize yourself for the high altitude and weather conditions.

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Before the race

  • Buy gels, magazines or other small items from the UTMB fair which is open on Wed-Fri. Do not try the gels that you have never tested before during the race. Most of the DNF`s happen because of gastro intestinal problems.

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  • Have a late night before the UTMB as UTMB starts around 16:00-19:00, take ear plugs during your travel as your hotel might be closer to the finish line, on the route of TDS and CCC finishers where they will be greeted with joy by their families. This might distract your sleep. Choose your hotel in a quiet atmosphere but as well as close to Chamonix. Getting to start should not cause a problem for you.

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  • Plan your speed, stopping points, rest times months before regarding to your performance and edit a week before the race. Have your time table, elevation map and cut off times with you all the time. Tape these notes so they can be waterproof.

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  • Control your nails and cut them for the last time carefully.
  • Tape your feet to avoid blisters due to different weather conditions.
  • Use your shoe which is very familiar to you. Do not try to have a new shoe.

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  • Have a simple poncho and a rain pant that you can throw away just before the start. These will help your water proof jacket, bag and pants to keep dry.

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  • Go to the start earlier. Have a spot in the middle or front. It is very good to spot elite runners and feel the atmosphere better.
  • Starting moment is crucial, take a video, photo and enjoy the music filling the valley.

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Photo: Petzl

  • Don`t forget to set your GPS watch just before the start, most of the racers forget to turn it on due to excitement.
  • Take your country`s flag with you. After the race, you can only spot yourself in the videos because of your flag or different hat or bandana. Else there are 2.500 runners with almost same jackets.

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Photo: TNF Press

  • If it is rainy hats are the best thing for protecting your view if you are using glasses. Have your gloves, beanie, at least 4-5 gels, electrolytes, mobile, and whistle and emergency blanket in the most convenient pockets of your pack.
  • If you are using a bladder, don’t fill your bag so much, so it will be very hard for you to refill and put the bladder back into the pack.
  • Always try to be the light as possible. You might have the necessary gear that is extremely light but do not take too much gels as there are plenty of natural food in the check points. The good ratio is lower than 4-4.5kgs.

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Photo: TNF Press

  • Have at least a 1 or 2 meters o of cello type or duct tape as a spare equipment. This is very useful if you fall and tear down your pants or Goretex Jacket.
  • In UTMB you can give a drop bag where you can have it back in Courmayeur which is 72kms. Have additional food, shoes, clothes and batteries. Put a piece of paper inside reminding step by step what you should replace and not to forget. Take this paper first outside your bag and follow your own instructions. Because of the race excitement, you can forget some stuff.

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Photo:  Bryon Powell (irunfar.com)

  • Have a sponge with you. UTMB is never hot but sometimes during the day it gets very warm. Sponge is very light and if you use it by putting it back of your head, will cool you down easily in seconds.
  • Have some pills with you. I always carry Buskopan in case of any intestinal and dehydration problems. Minoset, Parol are good if you have a heat due to wind and cold especially after the tough night. I do not recommend Advil and Ibufren as these are very strong and slows down your kidney functionalities which is crucial in these races. For a 100mile race you can take Advil after finishing 80% of the race with plenty of water.

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  • Always put your passport, spare 20 € and batteries in a water proof bag, they should not get soaked.
  • Use a race bib holder as you might need to put your race bib on top of your jacket. This will help your photos to be recognizable easily and you can also find them after the ace. No bib, less opportunity for a great photo during the race for your memories.
  • Have your loved ones pictures taped on your bottles or cup. You can see them all the time and this will give you more morale and power to finish.

During the race

  • The first two check points will be crowded. To save time move quickly. Queues of runners on steep hills might make you lose time if you are not a fast runner. Grabbing few food and putting it on your pocket to eat it on the road is a great idea. If there is a soup in the check point add salt and drink at least one cup. This is the best fuel for your body which is the best machine in the world.

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  • During the race do not forget to dream the finish. This is crucial for motivation. Never stop dreaming reaching the finish line.

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  • Some of the runners are extremely fit and have incredible amount of experience. Do not think that you are weaker than them. On the course you might see those runners quitting for various reasons as you might too. This is a demanding race and is very tough. Everything can happen during the race. Don`t forget that.

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  • Don`t forget to eat very 20min, even a very small bite. Drink every 5in a small sip. Do not get dehydrated. Take your electrolytes and gels in every 45 min.

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  • Check points are a bit of a war zone. Don`t be rude but also don`t be very naïve as well. Go to the convenient desk, grab food, drink and be very very quick.

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  • Don’t lose your focus on downhill. Your eye and foot control is very important. Twisting and ankle might cause you a DNF or a very painful race.

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  • UTMB marked very professionally. It is impossible to get lost. It is also a very crowded race. If you are not 100% sure in any condition, just wait and decide with a runner. But this kind of a situation would be very unlikely.

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  • Be careful while using your poles. During the start have them on your hand rather than on your pack as you can hit someone especially on the face. Your pole`s ground touching points should always be facing the ground, not the sky.

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  • Practice using poles before this race. 75% runners use poles in UTMB. Learn how to use it properly especially downhill. Adjust them on up hills.

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  • Always keep your hands and head warm. You cannot keep your feet warm in the UTMB due to terrain and weather. Do not try to avoid getting wet. You will! Just enjoy the race and continue as fast as possible if you face cold. Do not try to stop and change clothes but reach the check point first. Do not try to do it in windy higher altitudes. If you are feeling cold, do it before the elevation gets steeper.

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  • Never try to change your headlamp batteries in the dark. If you have to first get your second spare torch on, that change it. You might have hard time to notice the + and – sides of the headlamp. Know your headlamp very well.

After the race

  • After finishing, get in to the queue to get your 20 Euro bib insurance back, your finisher vest. Don’t throw away your bracelet as this is a very good memorable gear. If you are a late finisher, you might not get a vest, don`t worry they will post it in a months’ time. UTMB is the most professional organisation, nothing happens so relax.

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  • Immediately drink and electrolyte drink and have a hot soup or drink. Or get a gel. Your body will be devastated after this challenge.
  • I know that it will be the toughest decision, but have cold shower or ice bath for recuperation.
  • After the bath eat well and go to sleep.

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Photo: Bakiye Duran

Useful Ultra Marathon Reports

·         UTMB TDS 2011 120KM 7.300M (English Turkish)

·         UTMB CCC 2010 72KM 4.000M   (Turkish)

·         PARIS ECO TRAIL 80KM 2.000M   (English Turkish)

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Photo: Caner Odabasoglu (www.uzunpatika.com)


Other important reading articles for UTMB

·         Our Video Documentary of UTMB TDS (10 Episodes) (English Turkish)

·         UTMB Gear List and Recommendations (English Turkish)

·         UTMB FAQ (English Turkish)

·         Ultra Marathon and Nutrition (Turkish)

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Photo: Bakiye Duran

Some Important Gear Reviews

·         Salomon XT Wings S-Lab 5 Shoe

·         Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra Shoe

·         Salomon XA Advanced Skin 5L Pack

·         Salomon XA Advanced Skin 12L Pack

·         Raidlight Olmo 5L Pack Review

·         Hagloffs Endo II Goretex Jacket Pull Jacket

·         Extremities beanie and gloves

·         SealSkinz Waterproof Gloves

·         Gels

·         Salomon Relax After Race Shoe

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UTMB 2011-Savoy Dükü İzinde – UTMB 2011- On the Trace of Savoy Duka

Evet. Bu sene Ultra Trail Mont Blanc yarışlarından TDS yani  (Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie) Türkçe meali ile Savoy Dükü İzinde yarışına bu sefer beş Türk birden katılmaya hak kazandık. Daha önceki yıllarda bu yazımda açıkladığım üzere DASK ADAM yarışını bu yarış için ön şart kabul ettirmiştik. Geçen sene ise bunun meyvesini üç Türk ; Ben, Serkan ve Sertan Girgin kardeşler ile almıştık.

This year is TDS from Ultra Trail Mont Blanc races (Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie) which means that On the Trace of Savoy Duka and we deserved to join the race by being 5 Turks. Former years, as I explained in this article, we got DASK ADAM race through as a precondition for this race. Last year, 3 Turks; I, Serkan and Sertan Girgin brothers had the fruits of its labor.

Şanssızlık sonucu yarış soğuk hava yüzünden gece 03:00 civarında durdurulmuş, Serkan-Sertan 80.km’de  ve ben ise 72.km’de yarışı hava muhalefeti yüzünden organizasyon kararı durmuştuk. bu sonuç ile bana 2 , Serkan ve Sertan’a ise yarış başarısından dolayı 3 puan verildi.

Unluckily, the race was stopped at 3 in the morning because of the cold weather, Serkan-Sertan were at 80km and I was at 72 but we pulled the race up with the decision of the organization. With this result, I got 2 and Serkan-Sertan got 3 points for our success in the race.

Bu sene UTMB TDS 109 Km yarışına başvurduk. Yarışa beraber antreman yaptığım, DASK uzun parkur yoldaşım, ilk günden beri bu deneyimi beraber yaşamak istediğim dostum Caner Odabaşoğlu, ülkemizin ilk kadın ultra maratoncusu Bakiye Duran, Team Touareg Turk macera takımının kurucularından Faruk Kar ve iki sene öncenin DASK uzun parkur birincisi Fırat Kara.

This year we applied for UTMB TDS 109 km race. The people I join the race with are; my friend who I want to share this experience with from the beginning  Caner Odabaşoğlu, the first female ultra-marathon contestant from our country Bakiye Duran, one of the founders of Team Touareg Turkish adventure team Faruk kar and the champion of long-racetrack of DASK 2 years ago Fırat Kara and DASK, my long-racetrack friend.

Aynı şekilde bu senenin en büyük yarışı olan UTMB 166km’lik büyük versiyona ise Serkan -Sertan Girgin ve Londra’dan katılan 4 çöl yarışını bitiren nadir kişilerden Kıbrıslı Türk Devrim Celal katılmakta.  Aynı şekilde küçük kardeş UTMB CCC 98Km yarışına ise eskiden ODTÜ’de öğretim görevlisi olan DASK yarışından arkadaşımız Kanada vatandaşı Rachel Tanya Fouladi de katılacak. Aşağıda fotoğraflarını bulabilirsiniz.

Likewise, Serkan-Sertan Girgin and one of the rare names who could finish 4 desert race Cypriote Turk Devrim Celal would participate in the biggest race of this year; UTMB 166km. Also, to the smaller race UTMB CCC 98km, our Canadian friend Rachel Tanya Fouladi, who used to be an academic at METU, would join. You can find the pictures below.

UTMB TDS yarışı hakkında bilgi vermek gerekirse yarış 109 km, +7000 metre tırmanış içeren ve 31 saat içerisinde bitirmeniz gereken Avrupanın en zorlu yarışlarından biri. Kendi su ve ihtiyaçlarınız yanınızda taşımanız gerekmekte. 2010 yılı rotası aşağıdaki gibi. Ufak farklılıklar 2011’de olabilir.

If to talk about UTMB TDS race, it is 109 km, having +7000m climbing, being one of the hardest races in Europe and you have to finish it in 31 hours. You have to carry your own water and other requirement supplies with you. The route of 2010 is like below. Some tiny differences can be seen 2011.

Yarışın kapı sınırları ve hangi kapıya ne kadar zaman içerisinde varmanız gerektiği bilgisini sağlayan tablo ise aşağıdaki gibi.

The board that gives the information about the borders of the doors of the race or the timing that you will need while arriving the signified doors is below.

Yüksekli ve dağılımı gösteren parkur rotasının kaba içeriği ise aşağıdaki tabloda mevcut.

The rough outline of the route of the racetrack that shows the height and the divisions is like on the board below.

Yarış ile ilgili tüm bilgileri www.ultratrail.com adresinden ingilizce, almanca ve fransızca gibi dillerde almanız mümkün. Özellikle bu sene zorunlu malzeme listesinde geçen see yaşanan hipotermi, soğuk hava ve çığ gibi etmenlere karşı daha iyi kalite GoreTex yağmurluk ve pantolon kullanma, eldiven ve bere gibi bazı zorunluluklar getirildi. Bu çantanızı daha da ağır yapmakla beraber gerçekten çok fazdalı uygulamalar.

You can reach all the information in English, German or French from www.ultratrail.com. Especially this year, there are some musts on the material list like; better quality GoreTex raincoat and pants, gloves and skullcap to prevent some elements such as hypothermia, cold weather and avalanche like we experienced last year. Even though those make your backpack even heavier, they really are necessary.

Yarış hakkında tüm gelişmeleri antreman planlarını ve yaşanan tecrübeleri blogumdan takip edebileceksiniz. Fazla zaman kalmadı. Dev macera 8 ay sonra bizi bekler !

You will be able to follow all the pickups and the experiences about the race from my blog. Not much time left. Enormous adventure waits for us for 8 months!

Geçen Seferki Yarış ile ilgili içerikler — Some content about former race






Tags : Savoy Dükü,  Serkan-Sertan UTMB TDS 109 Km, Rachel Tanya Fouladi