Over the weekend, Rory Bosio championed the 2014 The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail which is headquartered in Cortina, Italy. In this interview, Rory talks about some of the highs and lows she experienced, what it was like racing with second place Francesca Canepa, when she realized she was probably going to win the race, and how running in the Italian Dolomites compares with running elsewhere in the world.
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Rory Bosio, 2014 TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: This is Ian Campbell of iRunFar here with Rory Bosio, the 2014 Lavaredo Ultra Trail Winner. Rory, hi! How are you doing?
Rory Bosio: Hi! I’m doing very well.
iRunFar: You’re looking pretty good after a nice, hard race.
Bosio: Yeah, it was a butt kicker for sure, but totally worth it.
iRunFar: You had a bit of a ding-dong battle with Francesca [Canepa]. I saw as we were going through the first aid station, you guys were pretty close together.
Bosio: Yeah, we kind of leapfrogged all day.
iRunFar: Did you feel any pressure from Francesca or were you just running your own race?
Bosio: No, I was just running my own race and I even asked my crew not to update me on… like my crew member was going to tell me when I got to Tre Cime, what is that 48k or 50k maybe, “You’re almost…” “I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know.” I did want to know when I got to 20k left to go, because I just had this sense that she was nipping at my heels, but she’s a great person. When we kept passing each other it was always, “How are you doing? Do you need anything?” and encouraging each other to go catch the boys.
iRunFar: So you were almost… you were basically in the lead most of the time with Francesca chasing you?
Bosio: I was in the lead until about, I want to say 30k or somewhere around.
iRunFar: And then you had a bit of a bad spot?
Bosio: It was on a climb, and I felt pretty good going into that climb and I was excited for it and I liked the climbs because you can powerhike. She blew by me. She looked so fresh and she’s an incredible climber. She was running up while I was hiking. After that, I had a really hard night for a few hours there. It was touch and go for me. Once the sun came up I was fine.
iRunFar: That’s right, I remember at one of the aid stations during the night you were saying you were getting a headache and it’s probably related to your head torch?
Bosio: Yeah, I feel like it was a combination of things. I was worried that it was starting to feel like migraine or something. I just wasn’t feeling good, and the head torches are pretty heavy and I maybe had it on a little too tight which wasn’t helping. I took some ibuprofen which I know isn’t good, don’t do this at home, but I took it with a bunch of water and that in combination with slowing down and then finally being able to get my headlamp off at Tre Cime kind of…
iRunFar: I thought that daybreak was quite early actually. It was about 4:45 which is pretty good actually.
Bosio: It was. After Tre Cime I didn’t need a headlamp anymore which was nice. Then being up there, it’s just spectacular. It’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been. The sunrise was just beautiful and it just kind of reinvigorated me. It’s a mixed bag that we start at 11:00 at night, because we miss a lot of the scenery here, which I had seen that part. I had previewed the course a little bit last week, so I was able to see some of it. You’re just kind of in this tunnel when it’s dark out, and finally when the sun comes out you’re like, “Ok, yes!”
iRunFar: Actually, there is some really spectacular scenery isn’t there?
Bosio: Especially Tre Cime —it’s one of the most incredible… It’s an almost magical feeling. It was really cool.
iRunFar: At what point did you feel like you had the race under control?
Bosio: At the descent down from Tre Cime it’s kind of this long, not-too-technical…
iRunFar: You’ve still got about two or three climbs after that… big climbs.
Bosio: More than two or three. What you people, what you Europeans call “not a climb” for me is unrelenting. The course profile is a little misleading. Something that looks so small is a kilometer straight up. So, but after the descent into Tre Cime, I kind of felt like I was getting my legs and kind of getting that flow feeling. Then, unfortunately, there’s that very long flat section when you get to the bottom there that’s six or seven k, and it’s just pancake flat. I don’t do mentally well with that. It’s kind of hard to keep your pace up. All these men were just blowing by me. I’d kind of try to tail them.
iRunFar: All these men? You came in 18th overall.
Bosio: Not at that point, though. I felt like I was getting bogged down. After that flat section, it kind of goes back to the more typical up-down-up-down, which I like because I can mentally tell myself, Okay, we’ve got a climb and then when you get to the top of that climb and then I use the downhill as a break a little bit. From that point on, there were no more flats. Out of 119k there’s about seven flat kilometers, so I shouldn’t complain.
iRunFar: That’s not bad in a race of that distance. You’re using this as a precursor to UTMB?
Bosio: That’s what I thought originally, but it was just a great experience on its own. I think running over here definitely helps prepare… any type of preparation for UTMB running in these mountains over here because I can’t get to where I live… I mean, I do live in Tahoe, so we have great mountains, but the elevation change isn’t as dramatic there as it is here.
iRunFar: Is that how you’d describe the difference in terms of profile?
Bosio: Yeah and it’s also, actually, running here in the Dolomites is one of the more technical races that I’ve done. It’s more technical than UTMB, I’d say for sure.
iRunFar: You think, yeah?
Bosio: Oh, I definitely think so, especially the last 50k. It’s pretty brutal.
iRunFar: So with the weather conditions we’ve had this weekend, which is really, really good, how did you think… if it’s completely different and you had the snow and the rain, that would probably be…?
Bosio: Snow would be okay. Rain for the last 50k would have been a nightmare, because it’s very technical and very rocky. There were some sections, like the last 10k drop into town, was so… it’s like this tiny little cow path. It’s really steep and root-y. Since it had been wet out a couple days before, things were still muddy and slick. I was getting passed by all these people who were doing the Cortina Trail, the shorter race—all these men. At first I didn’t realize—How is everyone passing me and they look so fresh? Then, I finally figured it out. For me, it was like a mud slip-and-slide at some points. I had to walk down some of it, because I always worry about face plants and there goes your race.
iRunFar: You smashed the course record by quite a long way—by one-and-a-half hours.
Bosio: I didn’t know what it was before.
iRunFar: The course record was 15:58 by Francesca actually who came in second. Then, Katia Fori came in third place, just ahead of the Brazilian lady. That’s an amazing feat!
Bosio: It was… I think the competition was good. I definitely think Francesca and I used each other as a rabbit quite a bit and spurred each other on. I definitely felt for the last 50k that she was nipping at my heels. So I couldn’t really relax in a sense. I definitely had to just keep going. The distance is interesting (119 or 120k); I’ve never raced that distance before. A 50 miler, I feel like you can go all out and push it. A 100 miler (160k), you can take it a little bit more mellow paced. This distance is kind of in between, so it’s kind of more difficult because you can’t really relax as much as you can in the longer races. So it was challenging.
iRunFar: So what do you have now? You’ve got two months before UTMB? What’s your training plan? Any races in between there?
Bosio: No, I won’t do any races. I’m going to come back over. I’m very fortunate I get to come back over to the Alps, to Chamonix, and, hopefully, back over here to the Dolomites, which I love, and just get to play in the mountains. I don’t really do training plans. I kind of have a road map in my head of what I’d like to do, but I like to just go out and play in the mountains all day with my pack on.
iRunFar: So that’s going to be a separate trip to the UTMB trip or are you going to spend six weeks?
Bosio: I’m going to go home for a couple weeks and work and then come back over in mid-July and stay in Chamonix and maybe do some road trips out here.
iRunFar: It’s a very nice part of the world to be.
Bosio: Yeah, I’d never leave if I didn’t have to.
iRunFar: Rory, congratulations on a spectacular win.
Bosio: Thank you. Thank you for all the coverage. iRunFar is great. You should really support it. They do the best race coverage!
iRunFar: Thank you very much.
Bosio: Thanks. Ciao!