I have long loved the trail that runs along the upper ridge of the Besparmak Mountains from the village of Boğaz on the east to the Village of Karsiyaka(Vasilia). The trail (mostly tarmac these days) is about 25km with two peaks of about 900m to cross. It also passes by the well known castle of St Hilarion and the little know 4th castle of Besparmak (if you follow the trail East from Boğaz then you pass by the other two castles – Kantara and Bufavento).
Therefore, when I was looking for a training route for UTMB it was ideal. Yesterday, became a little trial for UTMB.
I tried to start early as the expected temperature by midday was 41C. I failed! By the time I was parking my car just outside Karsiyaka it as 7am. At that time it was a cool 27C but by the time I was up at Selvili Tepe and started my first downhill run of the day it was already 35C. Once I was down and started my second ascent it had reached 41C.
This is an ideal trail for UMTB, the net altitude gain is about 1,000metres in about 10km. I repeated it twice for over 2,200m gain/loss and about 40km of running in about 6hrs with all the breaks… The biggest challenge of the run is the lack of water supply. As a result you are forced to carry a heavy backpack at the start.