This weekend was the legendary Trofeo KIMA in Val Masino and wow, it was something really special!
When I was planning what races I was going to do this summer, I never thought about doing this kind of race. Even less so when I talked to Ian Corless after Livigno Sky Marathon about Trofeo KIMA. He described the race as one of the most demanding, technical and spectacular sky races in the world, with a record time of 6h 10 minutes. It sure sounded like a race I would like to do in the future but the distance of 52Km with 4200m of elevation through 7 passes, steep ledges, via feratas and super technical trails scared me a bit to do it already this year.
However, this summer is more and more turning into the summer of the unexpected and pushing my limits. After some discussion with Salomon, advise from Kilian and mainly because of my own curiosity I eventually signed up for KIMA.
I decided that I was not going to have any expectations of my self and just do it to get experience and push my limits. I trained like normal the week before race, with one 5h run up and down Åreskutan twice to prepare the legs for what to come. Otherwise I did a lot of roller skiing, intervalls on the treadmill and strength training.
I traveled to Val Masino together with André Jonsson and Anton Sjöholm early Thursday morning. The race was going to take place on Sunday so we had some days to check some small parts of the course. On Friday the others in the Salomon Team arrived to Val Masino.
The night before the race day, it was a race breaithing where the organisers gave us some info and showed pictures of the most technical parts of the course.
I was really nervous but super excited. My longest race before KIMA was Matterhorn Ultraks, 46K with a race time of 5 hours. This time it was going to be closer to a 7h race and a considerably harder course. The race starts with long climb with over 2000m of elevation. I calculated that just the first climb would take about 2h, almost the same time as a 50K on skis…
Then the course goes up and down 7 passes through the mountains in very technical terrain with steep ledges, snow, via Ferratas and stone blocks. In the end it's a long descent down to Val Masino.
The race was suposed to start 06:30 but due to some wind on the summit they had to push the start to 08:10.
I felt great in the first climb and was together with Kilian Journet, Alexis Sévennec and Leo Viret to the first pass. But I immediately lost a lot of time and positions in the Via Ferratas and technical downhill. I didn’t want to risk anything or fall into my death so I kept my pace. I also had difficulties to navigate through the rocks and stones, the red markings was really difficult to see for me because I’m colour blind and some times I hade to stop and look for the next flag.
I lost a couple of positions in the frist and second pass but I still felt great in the uphills and from the fourth pass at Passo Averta (25km) I moved up to 6th place again. the trail got a bit easier and I pushed hard in the last 3 passes before the 2000m descent down to Val Masino.
I was super tiered but very happy when I crossed the finish line after 6h 39 minutes. Kilian won and sat a new course record. André also did a great race and finished 4th.
My mind is still completely blown away! Trofeo KIMA was such an amazing experience and I will definitely come came to Val Masino 2020!
Thanks to the Salomon Running Team for all help, Skyrunng federation, Organizers and of course to all the people who cheered us on around the KIMA course
Photos Philipp Reiter, Ian Corless, Skyrunng, Droz Photos and Petter Engdahl