Do you remember the crazy challenge Luca Papi accomplished at the beginning of the year? Yes, we are talking about the two races of the Transgrancanaria for about 400 km and 20 km of elevation gain. Well, never satisfied, he found something new....
Do you wonder what he has imagined again? Let us tell you everything.
Luca has a busy schedule for this summer. Last week, he was on the Ultra Marathon Beira Baixa in Portugal (281 km) where he finished in third place. After that, he takes a 3 weeks holiday (more like 3 weeks without ultra) while keeping a good training rhythm for what awaits him... After these 3 weeks, things are starting to get tougher....
You want numbers? Sit back, relax and enjoy:
- 3 Ultra (without counting the one in Portugal or another 56 km trail that he will run to stay in the rhythm between 2 others...)
- 800 km in total distance
- 54 240 m of elevation gain (yes, you read well)
- Over a 24 day period (the time it takes to most of UTMB participants to recover)
- 1 Luca
- 2 legs only
On August the 23rd, he will begin his journey with the 144 km and 11 100 m of elevation gain of the Echappée Belle. So far, so good. Except that, about 4 days later, he will go to the TDS departure point to cover another 145 km with 9 100 m of elevation gain. Already enough to put some people on sick leave for a while....
Obviously, Luca realized that he could register for other races, so 2 days after the TDS, on August the 31st, he’s heading to Alsace (French region) for the Ultra Trail of Haut-Koenigsbourg, "a small recovery run of 56 km to keep his legs moving" before leaving the following weekend to... the Tor des Glaciers: 450 km for 32 000 elevation gain... yes, so a huge number of kilometers, but hey, nothing’s impossible for Luca!
By the way, Luca will be present at the UTMB to give a small conference about his preparation for the Ultra and to answer all your questions, so click here to join the event!
Why this incredible summer?
"In general, these races are spread out in the calendar over several years”. Yes, he admits that his summer is crazy, so many races in such a short period of time, it's not usual.
Then, why? Because he can, quite simply, and he doesn't need to choose this time. Because yes, during his adventure on the TGC he explained that the hardest thing for him is to choose between races that are at the same time...
His objective is to make a complete block of all of these races and finish them in good shape.
That's why he will do the Echappée Belle, the TDS and the Ultra Marathon as training for the Tor and so "not to his maximum" (we won’t blame him)...
About the Tor, he tells us: "I can do a great race, it's a race that suits me well, it's very long and with a GPS, things I know, so it can be fun". You got it, something good can happen.
Regarding the rest between races, he planned to stay in a refuge at 3000 m in Chamonix for a few days after the Echappée Belle. Just to acclimatize himself to the altitude for the TDS and stay in shape by continuing running, hence the interest to bring all of his Ultra Carrier Shirt (don’t even try to imagine his Race Pack for this trip). According to him, "you must not stop running, you must keep your legs moving because the risk is to rest for several days and have difficulties to run again".
After the TDS, he will have 2 days of rest before continuing on the Ultra Trail of Haut-Koenigsbourg (56km), "to force me to run a little bit", he says, and then there only 6 days before the famous Tor des Glaciers.
The preparation phase
You are probably wondering what kind of crazy preparation he does before these races....
Well, the usual. Only 25 km a day, Ultrabag Pro 5L on his back, to go to work, followed by a few run and hikes here and there.
The Échappée Belle and the TDS are therefore part of his preparation phase for the Tor... Sentence that we will not hear a lot in Chamonix this summer...
©Matias Novo - Fotografias
No special recovery for Luca... Because yes, in our calculations we stop at the Tor des Glaciers... But Luca doesn’t plan to stop there. He will leave on an Ultra "just to have fun and to see his family in Italy" the weekend after the Tor - 90 km and 6 100 m of elevation gain (Campo dei fiori trail)... So we could even increase our figures to almost 900 km and 60 000 of elevation gain over 30 days by finishing there (finally).
So when you look at your Strava totals at the end of the year, keep in mind what Luca is about to do in 30 days…
What happens next after this?
He always has objectives, that's what makes him vibrate. That's why after his little month without Ultra "because you have to take a little rest", he starts again on October the 17th with the Diagonale des fous, 166 km with 9 611 m of elevation gain that we no longer need to present... He then follows with the XXtreme Larzac Cévennes of 200 km for 9 000 m of elevation gain only one week later. Finally, Luca really never stops...
Obviously we will follow him closely in his new challenge (which he doesn't really consider as a challenge by the way), so if you don’t have any tv show to watch during the summer, you know what to do :D