Xterra Italy/Lago di Scanno

Definitely my favorite race in Europe

My 5th time at this epic place, its so beautiful and magical in the mountains of central Italy called Abruzzo. The old town of Scanno has its own flair, the big mountain behind it is brutal on the uphill and epic on the downhill, and the lake down the road is a blue cristal clear water with the perfect temperature for the daily open water swim or just to relax on the side in the sun for your daily lunch nap.

We traveled down from France and arrived there more than half a week before the competition. On our way there we stopped at two spots, the very known bike paradise in Alpe´d Huez/France and the little sea village called Moneglia/Italy where we spent some time for good training.

As we are traveling around Europe with my custom built Volkswagen van, we were camping at the campsite Ilupi close to the lake. It is the perfect spot for the daily training as well as for some relaxing time in between. Its calm and cosy, nice to stay at.

The race start was again a water start, the PRO field lined up between two buoys, the age group athletes started 5 minutes afterwards into the race. This time it was only one big loop of 1,5km with a little running section close to the swim exit.

Out of the swim it was about 100m to the transition area, enough time to pull down the wetsuit and get the legs shaked out for the bike. I changed quickly and jumped onto my bike. The course had a little pushing passage underneath the main road, then some stairs uphill before you actually reach the old town of Scanno. Some awesome downhill stair sections, switchbacks and gates are part of the course through the town. Behind that we had to follow a single trail to the back of the mountain, where the actual uphill starts. It goes all the way up to the top of the skiing slope, just to the start of the downhill section. Singletrails, some jumps and steep downhills are part of the amazing way down.

Back in transition I switched into my running shoes for the 10km trail run- again into the city. The steepest uphill I ever saw is also included into this course. It is almost impossible to actually run it, so a walk-push knees kind of movement helps here best.

I finished 12th this time, it was not that kind of result I was hoping for, but at least I had lots of fun racing again. Scanno will always be special for me, and I am sure to come back here again.