Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc—C’est très difficile!

The verdict is in. The UTMB is one tough race. This unforgiving race course put a hurting on many of the runners, including Deb. She was forced to retire (arret) at the Refuge Bonati at the 89km mark. So, she still ran more than 55 miles and climbed more than 16,000 feet…and only made it a little past the half way point. We are not quite sure what was bothering her, but the symptoms were headache, vomiting, and extreme lethargy. It was likely a combination of things: lack of acclimatization, altitude, jet lag, a stomach bug, a tough race, etc.

Deb Livingston, Stephanie Ehret, and Peter Bakwin at the start.

Since Bonatti was at 2020 meters (over 6000 feet), she was flown off the mountain by a rescue helicopter. The problem is that they took her to a hospital in Aoste, Italy, and just left her there with no way of getting in touch with us or getting back to France. Aoste is a long ways away. I will publish a list of “lessons learned” that all future racers can benefit from.

Topher Gaylor ran well.           Deb in Saint Gervais.

A long adventure ensued for the crew (Buddy Teaster, Shep, and me) as we drove all over Courmayeur, Italy, looking for the hospital. She was able to make a call, but didn’t really know where she was and only one nurse spoke English. At one point, out of frustration, she considered walking back to the aid station in Courmayeur. Thankfully she didn’t because it was like 40 kilometers (25 miles) away! We didn’t know there wasn’t a hospital in Courmayeur.

Buddy Teaster at the wheel of the “team car.”

The Teaster Clan was amazing. Without them, well, I’m not sure what to say. We would have had bigger issues to deal with. Just hours before we finally reached Deb in Aoste, we were on the other side of the course, in La Fouly, Switzerland…waiting for Deb. We spent a lot of time in the van. Thank goodness for the van! And wow, what switchbacks. Buddy could qualify to drive the Pikes Peak Hill Climb now.

Before we went to Switzerland, Shep was in bed (staying with Becca, Taylor, and Laura Macie Teaster at the apartment in Chamonix, France) and Buddy and I were in Courmayeur. We were up all night waiting for Deb to arrive. She was hurting when she did arrive, but I got her pumped up, fueled up, and in shape to continue….to Bonatti. Thanks Scott. Too bad she didn’t return to Courmayeur both of the times that she turned around. Some force was pulling her towards the finish despite all of that nausea!

So, I went through the Tunnel Mont Blanc four times in one day. It was ugly, and expensive. The last time, we waited nearly 2 hours. Deb recovered and is feeling fine. We hiked 10 kilometers today with 4000 feet of elevation gain. We took a cog railway back down from the Mer de Glace (big glacier).

The regional hospital in Aoste, Italy.

They have big hills here. We just might have to comeback and try a new solution to conquer the Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc. Maybe Deb and I (and Buddy) will run it together. To be continued….

The view from our balcony…the reason why we are here!

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Little D passed her second of three #taekwondo #blackbelt tests. The third, and biggest, is in October. #tkd #sunset #md90 🌞✈️ #echoamphitheater #carsonnationalforest #newmexico Stopping to stretch our legs and use the potty was the best $2 I've spent in a while. I even borrowed a nickel from @trailrunningmom and got rid of the 95 cents in my pocket. Amazing #durango #colorado trails. These are the #HorseGulchTrails near @fortlewiscollege which has an amazing #cycling culture. When I raced collegiates @bcclubcycling & @bucycling in the early 90's, it wasn't anything like what's happening with the powerhouse @flccycling team. What an amazing backyard. Imagine rolling out of your dorm and onto this landscape. I would never go to class! Don't tell my kids I said that! #mountainbiking #cyclocross #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstspikes 🚵‍♀️ @trailrunningmom finished in 41 hours and 1 minute. #hr100 #hardrock100 #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #trailrunning #ultrarunning #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom left the Chapman Aid Station at 2:10 P.M. I paced her from Ouray (56.6 miles) to Chapman (82.2 miles). @ultramarathondan will take her to the finish of the @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 Most importantly, she is in good spirits and despite the altitude, is moving OK on the climbs, albeit slowly. As for the descents, her legs are trashed but she is still bombing them. Finish could be in the 40-42 hour range if all goes well. Who knows? Lots of variables! Fingers crossed. I have tons of photos to go through, so I selected one of our crew with Deb as she headed out for the final 18 miles. #trailrunning #ultrarunning #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports We finally reconnected with @trailrunningmom She arrived at Grouse Gulch, 42.2 miles at 8:33pm and departed at 8:50pm. She was soaked to the bone after climbing her first ever 14,000 foot peak. Handies had lots of hail and rain. She changed every piece of clothing and shoes and felt much better. The drive to/from was white knuckle insanity with our rental. @ultramarathondan is with her now. It will be a long night. I'll see her in Ouray. Our kids  have been awesome. Mom just wants to finish, but a long way to go. @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 #trailrunning #ultrarunning 🏃🏻⛰

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