The Apex

The Apex Alpine Expedition Race took place here in Interlaken last week. Silva Gerber were the eventual winners with Team Switzerland in second place and quite a gap between 2nd place and the rest of the eventual 11 full course finishers.

Here are some photos of the winning teams, us dancing and on trotty bikes and well..some Alpine Panorama.

Team Inov8 Swiss Irish AR

It was tough – and we didn’t make it, as a team. We started with the prologue on a very hot Wednesday which lasted about 6 hours and was followed by an 8km run to the start of the kayak section on the Thunersee until about 11pm then onto the bikes for 12 hours which was punctuated with a brutal, steep trek in the middle which we reached at roughly 1am. The bike course was great, there were some fabulous single trails, I will definitely go down there again soon to ride them.

By the time we had finished biking it was already Thursday at 12 Noon, we got some sleep and then decided to get back out on the course to start an punishingly long trek at about 1500. We learned that we were in 10th position and that motivated us to get moving, slowly.

Unfortunately we were caught out in bad weather on the way up to the Schilthorn hutte. Thunder, lightening and heavy hail forced us to take cover under one of our emergency shelters and waited it out then carried on. On the last leg up to the Shilthorn Bergstation I felt exhausted and knew I would need to take a breather at the station. However when we reached the CP we were informed that we would have to make it to the next ridge before daylight in order to pass. I felt as though I couldnt carry on at that moment due to a number of reasons and I told the guys on my team. At that stage there were about 6 teams at the station who had either pulled out of the race or were resting until the morning to continue.

have thought long and hard about my motivation to compete, the loyalty to my team, the consequence of my action and what the consequences would have been if we had carried on into the rough night. It would have been ok, I recovered quite quickly so physically it would have not been a problem to continue. The problem is mental – and the bottom line is, I want to enjoy racing but have the comforts of life too. I like to sleep, I like to recover I like to race hard but I dont like to rough it and sacrafice as much as required to race an expedition length race.

I really admire incredibly all of the people who compete and I really think – had they not proven it by finishing the demands of these races are inhumane. Silva Gerber and Team Switzerland slept less than 3 hours over 4.5 days and moving all the time. I fell asleep on the bike after 24 hours going uphill and we had to take an hour sleep!

Although I am sad that I didnt get to finish, that I let my team down – life is full of trials and errors and the important take-away from this experience is the new insights I have into myself as a person and athlete and that extra knowledge I have about my limits.

For now, I am recovering, enjoying life and looking forward to some shorter events. Next week I have a minor surgery to undergo and I will be out of the saddle and water for about 3 weeks but I`ll be back soon and I think the break will do me good.

Hasta Pronto!!

2 thoughts on “The Apex

  1. Thanks for sharing this. (And I noticed you made some edits. *grin*)

    The longest race I’ve ever done was 9.5 hours (assuming my memory serves). The longest adventure race (team of four, with navigation) was 7. At the time I was nice and fit, and dreamed about expedition races, though I was concerned about the things you mention. 😉

    How many expedition style races have you entered? And what kind of shorter events are you aiming for? I bumped into an Orienteering race in Winterthur last weekend – I intend to tackle some of those as another stepping stone back to fitness.

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