Sneaky Friday
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The Friday prologue sees Singles and Couples enjoying a Gigathlon premiere, the SwimRun. After starting at the Arosa Sports and Congress Centre, they will be «weaving» through the lakes, forests, trails and roads of Arosa, both swimming and running. A wetsuit and running shoes are worn throughout the whole SwimRun. Only one of the two team members starts in the Couples category. The SwimRun is measured without split times and counts towards the overall competition time of Gigathlon Switzerland 2018. In return, the swimming and the running disciplines on the Saturday are reduced by the distances completed. 

Beasty Saturday

Alpine trailrun, Arosa – Davos | 19 km, 900 Hm
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The Alpine trailrunners will start Beasty Saturday at the Sports and Congress Centre in Arosa and leave the town with the lakes on their right today. The trail keeps a low profile all the way down to the Isel reservoir, but things really turn «beasty» straight after the dam. The path is strewn with roots and caution is required. Turn around for uninterrupted views of Arosa. The next 16 km head in one direction only: uphill! The course leads through the Tiejerwald nature reserve. The first water station awaits the runners at Tieja, before they press on with stunning views of the Schanfigg. The path becomes flat and soon becomes a gentle climb towards Medergen. The refreshment points are waiting in the idyllic surroundings of Weiler. It’s important to stock up on plenty of water here because everyone is on their own for the next few steep kilometres. The «Tritt» soon comes into sight. The spectacular rock face looks like an invincible obstacle when viewed from afar. Close up, it becomes clear that the problem is solved by 264 steps. After a brief plateau, the trail rises again and heads up the Latschüelfurgga (2409 m a. s.l.). Far below, Davos comes into view for the first time shortly before the Strelasee lake. The ski tunnel is passed before the top of the pass, looking rather bizarre without snow. After the pass, Davos Höhenweg then runs right through the centre of the impressive avalanche barriers, past the craggy precipices. The timekeeping will be stopped in the Davos Höhenweg midpoint station whilst the runners gather their belongings and take the train down to the valley. The timekeeping will resume as soon as the swimmer goes into the water.

Swimming, Davosersee | 1.5 km (Single/Couple), 3 km (Team of Five)
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The sparkling waters of the mountain lakes reflect the surrounding scenery and are probably among the most photographed subjects in the world, even in this age of selfies. The long-distance swim in one of these jewels of the Alps is a far rarer personal adventure. An exclusive experience such as this under the watchful eye of the professional Gigathlon crew will be an enduring memory. It fills you with awe as you are forced to push your own boundaries to tackle something that is completely outside your comfort zone. Not only does it require mental strength, it also helps enormously to know that you can do what others have achieved. Usually like a mirror but often cold, Lake Davos will hopefully welcome the swimmers in the light of high summer at temperatures pleasant enough to allow the full 1500 metre lap to be completed. The Singles and Couples will swim it once and then switch over to the cycling course, whilst the swimmers in the Team of Five will complete it twice: the first time straight after the alpine trailrun and the second time after a warm-up break, which may be long or short depending on how fast the runner covers his section of the course around Davos.

Running, Davos – Davos | 10 km, 150 Hm (Single/Couple); 14 km, 200 Hm (Team of Five)
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The running course around and through Davos highlights the sheer variety of sports activities in the alpine town of Davos. The lake, the Landwasser, the Hohe Promenade, the mountain railways on both sides of the valley, the ice arena, the Kurgarten, the Congress Centre, the Bolgen Plaza – all the familiar attractions from winter can be rediscovered in the summer. For Team of Five after the first swimming lap, for Singles and Couples after the cycling stage. The first few hundred metres after the start at Lake Davos are on the flat, and then the «roller coaster» begins: up, down and then straight back up again for two kilometres. The course then climbs gently through Horlauben with its holiday homes on the edge of the forest. The highest point is reached after passing below the Schatzalp railway. The race picks up speed going downhill along the Guggerbach – be sure to take care when crossing the Promenade and taking to the roads of Davos Platz. In its heyday Davos was a spa town where visitors would stroll through the idyllic Kurpark. Nowadays a new wind is blowing in the town and it hosts the WEF at the Congress Centre every January. After taking some refreshment, the course splits: Singles and Couples take the shortcut over the level crossing and the golf course. Team of Five run past the Vaillant Arena a second time, where they will need to conquer 50 metres of elevation gain through the Mattenwald forest before being rewarded for their efforts with fine views of Davos. The routes merge again at the «Duchlisäge ». It’s back to the transition zone along the edge of the village and past the Bünda district, where the Cross-Country World Cup is held every December.

Cycling, Davos – Davos | 118 km, 2500 Hm
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This cycling course would be awarded the royal title of «Königsetappe» (King’s Stage) in the Tour de Suisse. In the Gigathlon, it has to share it with other courses. The schedule allows the cyclists to coast along before entering the Landwasser tunnel. The short ascent before Wiesen will warm up the muscles and help to achieve a circular pedal stroke. The ride down to Alvaneu Bad still leaves enough time to draw breath for the 1355 metre climb to the Albulapass. An impressive monument to the art of engineering in railway and road construction. The two routes criss-cross repeatedly in the smallest of spaces, disappear into tunnels and reappear across bridges. The rattling trains and the rushing Albula accompany the cyclists as far as Preda. The valley widens at the top of the pass. The short descent ends in La Punt in Engadin. Madulain, Zuoz, S-chanf (the finish of the Engadin ski marathon), Brail and Zernez are ideal for hiking and crosscountry skiing – but the fast-paced Gigathlon speeds through them until the ascent to the Flüelapass brings an abrupt end to the racy descents in Susch. Over the next 13 km, 960 metres of elevation gain have to be conquered on two terrain levels. Straight after the village, the pass road loops up to Val Susasca on turning platforms and steadily climbs along the side of the valley until Val Grialetsch opens out. Sharp bends mark the final ascent to the top of the pass with unbeatable views of the watershed between the North Sea and the Black Sea. The long, pacy descent to Davos promises to be uniquely enjoyable: wide road, good surface, fantastic curves.

Bike, Davos – Arosa | 30 km, 1300 Hm
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Going back to Arosa, a mountain stands in the way of the bikers – and they have to overcome it twice today. What was a comfortable train ride down to the valley in the morning has to be conquered uphill by individual muscle power in the evening: up to the Höhenweg mountain restaurant and over the Höhenweg to the Strela Pass. It is not possible to ride everywhere on the bike and we sometimes have to prohibit it for safety reasons. And so too after the Strela Pass, the scree slope down to the Haupter Tälli valley. The descent to Langwies compensates many times over for the strenuous slides and dismount sections. It’s worth stopping briefly in Chüpfen for a view up to the «Tritt» (steps), which are virtually impossible to see in the steep cliffs but have left their mark in the memory of the Singles and Couples. From Langwies station the narrow track of the Rhaetian Railway becomes a constant companion, with sights including the impressive Langwies viaduct. The alpine trailrun took place above the tree line on the other side of the valley in the morning. After Litzirüti the route follows the Plessur as far as the dam at the Iselsee lake and, after the trail in the forest above the reservoir, the Gigathletes’ day draws to a close at the lower end of the lake. Jut a few more metres before the circle closes at the day’s finish line at the Sports and Congress Centre in Arosa. The feeling of exhaustion will soon give way to one of euphoria amidst the applause of the Gigathlon community.

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