Pierra Menta 2012

The Pierra Menta, a.k.a The Tour de France of ski mountaineering racing, is really one of the most mythical ski mo races out there and I think the hardest in my book. This year marked it’s 27th year!

Is this really my 5th?

I have to say, when I racked up for this race for the 1st time 5 years ago in 2008 with Lyndsay in our 2nd season of skimo racing, never did I think I would still be at it 5 years later. To do this race 5 straight years in a row, none the less finish is a huge achievement in my book.

Super happy to see my boys at the finish!

This year I raced with Valentine Fabre, an experienced skimo racer, our Mezzalama team mate from 2011 and a fellow team member from our Chamonix Ski Alpinisme club.  For my 5th Pierra Menta, I was super happy with our 5th place overall behind some of the top women skimo racers in europe.

Stats from this year’s Pierra Menta:

Pierra Menta 2012

205 mens teams and 16 womens teams took the start line. These teams not only are  the best ski mountaineering athletes from all over the world, but also teams who are simply there for the love of the sport. The Pierra Menta is part of the Grande Course series, a series of 5 races over 2 years: The French Pierra Menta, The Italian Mezzalama, Adamello and Tour du Rutor and the Swiss Patrouille des Glaciers. Next on the Grande Course Calender is the Tour du Rutor Extreme followed by the Patrouille des Glaciers.

This year: 177 mens teams finished and 11 womens teams. Here are the complete results: 

We completed almost 10,000 meters of elevation gain and over 80 kilometers of distance covered. 

For more images from the race: 

 

Heading up the last boot pack on day 1

Heading up the last boot pack on day 1

Stage 1:  Rise and shine at the bright hour of 5h15am. None-the-less our Italian neighbors above us managed to do a skimo dance with their boots on every morning about 4am so were were often awake! 7am starts for the first 3 stages. The first day we finished in a strong position of 6th place for women with plenty of energy for the next 3 days

Stage 1-2684 meters of climbing 13 transitions!. A great 1st day in Pierra Menta style!

Stage 2:  The long and winding stage of day two. This stage was over 4h20 for us!

A good mixture of Hammer Nutrition Heed & Perpetuum kept me fueled for the long stage

A hot day but we took plenty of fluids and drink and kept a good pace throughout. We managed to move up to 5th place on day 2!

Stage 2

Stage 3: Le Grand Mont! This mythic day is when 1000’s of spectators come to cheer with their bells, fondue and vin chaud!

Mythic Pierra Menta Crowds on the 3rd stage

It is really truly amazing and inspirational to pass through these crowds!

The Famous Grand Mont Arrete

Here are some more images from the day! 

 

Stage 3

We maintained our 5th place lead and enjoyed the ambience and full flavor of stage 3 with the crowds and the true spirit of the PM. Another long day with over 2600 meters and almost 4hrs.

Finish of Stage 3

Stage 4:  The Finale! Some say the the last day is like the Champs des Elysees but anything can happen. Equipment can break, someone can fall sick or just have a bad day. I felt  stronger each day and the best on this last stage which was only 1800 meters but full of some great ascents and descents.

All downhill from here!

We finished strong for the day, with just a few minutes behind the 4th place team.

Last quick transition and then down!

What a great feeling to pass the finish line after 4 hard days of giving it our all!

Smiles at the Finish! Yes!

A huge congrats to all the finishing teams and a special thanks to my teammate Valentine!

Womens Podium: 1st-PEDRANZINI Roberta : IT/ MARTINELLI Francesca-IT 2.ROUX Laetitia FR / PONT COMBE Sèverine-CH 3. RICHARD Mireille / MAGNENAT Gabrielle -CH4. BESSEGHINI Laura / CLOS Corinne 5. SILITCH Nina-USA / FABRE Valentine-FR

A special shout out to all the womens teams who competed!  It is a huge feat in itself to show up for the Pierra Menta as a woman, none-the-less finish it! I hope to see more and more womens teams at the Pierra Menta next year!

Ambience

A huge thanks to all my friends and family who came to support us with their cowbells and cheering!  Thanks to all the folks who took some great photos out there and I used in the blog! Thank you to my sponsors too who have helped support me in many ways to make this season happen!

Team Support!

My lil' Helpers!

 

A special felicitations to all the other members in the Chamonix Ski Alpinisme club. I think we were probably the most well represented club at the race with 21 members who raced and finished the 27th Pierra Menta! Bravo!

Now it's Nap time!

 

Here is a cool video of the PM 2012