Summit’s Grace Staberg sets out to conquer the European Alps

Summit’s Grace Staberg, left, and Leah Lange compete in the 2022 Transalpine Race earlier in September. The pair finished fourth in the overall women’s team standings after battling hip problems, stomach ulcers and asthma attacks.
Grace Staberg/Courtesy Photo

Hip problems, stomach ulcers and asthma attacks are all things that could keep most average humans from crossing the street, but for Summit’s Grace Staberg, those issues she encountered weren’t than another pebble on the track during the 2022 transalpine race.

It’s no secret that Staberg has a knack for endurance sports. The Summit High School Class of 2020 alumnus is a professional Dynafit-sponsored ski mountaineer athlete in the winter and a trail runner in the summer who likes to keep busy climbing steep mountains and exploring challenging trails.

Instead of spending the summer hiking along the trails of Summit County, Staberg opted to spend her summer in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France.

“I was there almost the whole summer,” Staberg said. “The reason I chose to stay in Europe for the summer was because eventually I would like to apply for citizenship. I’ve had my residence permit for a few years now, but I really felt like if I was going to become a citizen, I should settle down a bit more.

While fitting into a large training block on the trails that surround Chamonix, Staberg also focused on putting down roots in France by taking lessons and working at a local chalet.

Throughout the summer, Staberg also decided to prepare for his first-ever Dynafit Transalpine race, which took place September 3-10. The event is an eight-stage race that traverses the European Alps in Germany, Austria and Italy.

The race primarily features talented trail runners from across Europe and typically covers nearly 188 miles and gains over 56,000 feet of vertical ascent. This year the race was a bit shorter due to the weather. The race consisted of approximately 160 miles of distance and 50,000 feet of climbing.

Despite the changes, racing is still not for the faint of heart. While climbing the course, the riders were tested both physically and mentally during the overwhelming climbs and descents of the quad bike.

Staberg competed extremely well against her teammate, Leah Lange.

During the eight-day race, Staberg and Lange faced many challenges between them. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges the team faced was on day three, when Staberg and Lange tried to address hip issues.

The hip issues got so bad during the stage that the team had to walk downhill, adding more time on their feet early in the race.

Although she also struggles with stomach ulcers and asthma attacks, Staberg views the challenges the team has faced with a positive frame of mind due to the experience the race has given her. brought.

“Even the times that were really difficult, I have positive memories of them,” Staberg said.

Staberg and Lange were lifted from the painful circumstances in which they found themselves by the beautiful landscape and the community that surrounded them.

“Almost every day there was at least one sight that would have been a highlight,” Staberg recalls. “Probably the coolest thing was that because of some of the issues we were having, we couldn’t go as fast on some descents, which allowed us to race with 20 times more people than we would have raced with. We met so many nice people throughout the week.

Grace Staberg, right, congratulates teammate Leah Lange after completing a stage of the Transalpine Run earlier in September. Staberg and Lange faced many challenges in the multi-day endurance race, but appreciated the racing community and the views the race provided.
Grace Staberg/Courtesy Photo

One person who stood out from Staberg was an 80-year-old man who has competed in more than 250 ultramarathon races. The man is so fast that many of his young competitors find it difficult to keep up with him even at his young age.

“One of the highlights, for sure, was how many people we got to meet and how cool all the characters in the race were,” Staberg said.

After struggling through the first three stages, the pair had their best performance of the week on day four when the team placed first in the uphill time trial.

The duo completed the 4.5 mile stage with a total time of 1 hour, 45 minutes and 59.5 seconds. Staberg was the first to cross the line with a time of 49:38.1 while Lange finished with a time of 56:21.4.

Aside from day 4 of the race, Staberg and Lange finished third or fourth overall in the remaining days to place fourth overall in the women’s team standings at the end of the race.

“I loved the race. I’m already excited to be back, hopefully another year,” Staberg said. “We didn’t feel as good as we hoped, but we finished fourth overall. I think at first we might have hoped for a little better, but it was an incredibly fun week regardless.

After returning to Summit earlier this week, Staberg will take a few days to rest before racing the Pikes Peak climb on Saturday, September 17.

After racing in the Pikes Peak Ascent, Staberg will focus on ski mountaineering and eventually return to Europe to start his 2022 ski mountaineering racing season.


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