OR The 2018 TransPyrenea race has been cancelled (part 1)
The TransPyrenea is a 900 km footrace, crossing the Pyrenees mountain range from Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, all following the GR10 route on the France side of the range. Bruce ran in the inaugural 2016 edition of the race and has been training with fierce dedication for the second edition, which was to start on August 1, 2018.
There was an enormous feeling of accomplishment upon finishing this race within the 400 hour time limit in 2016 yet it depleted him both physically and mentally and left him with an overwhelming desire to never set foot in the Pyrenees again. With time and healing, he came around full-circle with the need to compete again but this time he vowed to train smarter, plan more wisely and use his hard-won trail-specific knowledge to his advantage. He knows that he can suffer through this challenge so now he wants to complete it with finesse.
You can only imagine the commitment this race requires – in training, time, gear, food, travel, accommodations, logistics, and many other facets. For each racer, it is no small feat to plan for every eventuality during 14+ days of remote mountain adventure. This is not an unsupported event. The RSO (Raid Sahara Organization) provides 20+ checkpoints, 3 drop-bag shuttles, some food and volunteer help at some checkpoints but racers are expected to be self-sufficient, carrying survival gear and food for multiple days in their packs. After all, these are high, remote mountains where weather, conditions and physical ability can change in a moment.
With only one month left before the race start, Bruce received word that the race had been cancelled. The feeling of devastation was immediate and the reasons for the cancellation emerged eventually. Three (unsuccessful) racers from the 2016 edition have made a lawsuit against the RSO company and the race director for insufficient food, accommodation, resources, medical assistance, etc. etc. etc. during that race (we continue to bumble our way through French legal documents trying to pinpoint their complaints). While the reasons why they chose to sue continue to baffle us, and probably will baffle us for many months ahead, the fact that the race is off is undeniable.
The work of undoing the logistics lies ahead and many with price tags attached. There are flights to cancel, pre- and post-race accommodations to cancel, race food to reshelve as well as shoes, socks, packs, clothes and gear to store. And what about that full month of time off work that was so hard to garner?
None of these even touch the mental anguish of not being able to realize this long-term goal. How do you come up with a satisfactory Plan B when Plan A was so incredibly unique?
So … here we are, with a wheelbarrow full of lemons.