Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Chamonix VK / The Killer 40k

So first things first. Chamonix Vertical Km. Was it fun? Nope and anybody out there who says it was was either not running or not going fast enough. It was brutal. Not really surprising really when you have to go up 1000m as fast as you can in under 4km. It actually all started off not too bad for me. I made it to 500m in 21 minutes but somewhere around 700m up I really started to fade. It was a bit of a weird one really. My legs felt pretty strong all the way but my lungs just could not get enough oxygen in them to keep moving up quickly. I topped out and finished in a respectable 48 mins 17 secs. It was bang in the middle of my predicted 47-50 min estimate that I had marked down when I registered. I have done the VK a lot of times on my own but I have never ever timed myself so I really wasn't sure what I would get. In hindsight I would like nearer 45 minutes and I guess it's a good goal as I reckon I could get my time down by a minute on the first 500m and hopefully not fade too much on the second 500m and maybe get  24-25 for the second section if all went well. Anyway it was good fun AFTER I had finished and it took a long 15 minutes to manage to talk to anyone but I will be back to do it again in 2016 for sure. Thanks to Geoff for pouring water over me halfway up and to Dawn and Naila for being there to support and make sure I was able to get myself back down to town.

Lungs working overtime
Since then I have just been running and I have squeezed in a couple of easy days on the rock and a little early morning cosmiques lap with James. We are getting scorched with a massive heatwave and temperatures are hitting the mid 30s so running has been getting done either early in the morning up high or late in the evenings when it cools a little. Mileages have not been huge but I have been doing quite a lot of vertical. On Saturday we had the first running on myself and Nailas race...The Killer 40km.
After the first climb of the race
Heading to Chalets Miage
The course takes in a loop around the back of Les Houches and over to Chalets Miage , Col du Tricot then up to Nid d'Aigle before heading back down the long descent to Les Houches. It's 40km with 3100m of climbing and descending and it's pretty damn tough.

Bottom of Col Tricot descent
Being the first year we have organised it we had a whopping 10 people towing the start line. For now it is an unofficial race we have zero course markings and zero aid stations but along the route there is plenty of places for water. Most people had a map but others just came along to try and wing it. Sandy and Graham were on stand by as the mountain bike rescue team.

Directions weren't too confusing. Race start.

Suffering up to Nid d'Aigle
We set off from Les Houches at 7am. I won't really go into detail on the race as you will all need to come and run it! Basically it was bloody hard and by the time myself and Bastien had got to 25km the heat was unreal climbing up to Col Tricot. He managed to power on and wait on me at Nid d'Aigle but I struggled massively from the heat on the last climb. At the end of the day only the two of us finished the whole route with the others doing shortened versions to try and stay out of the intense sun and I don't blame them. It was a cracking day out and I did really enjoy it and it sounds like other people did as well so let's hope next year it is not quite as warm and we can finally get organised and make it a real race. Thanks so much to everyone who came along for the day and great effort by all of you no matter what route you took. It was bloody hot! Good work.

Water needed!

Painful descent
The day after the race I really felt very exhausted/dehydrated. I lay around all day and managed a very very easy 6km 900m downhill in the evening. With this heatwave around I am not really tempted at all to venture up onto the glaciers or do any alpine stuff but it really is something I want to get a lot more of done before going to the USA. Although time is ticking away as I don't believe my mileage is up to what I want it to be so running is the priority at the moment.

Cooling off after The Killer 40k
Next up for me is the Dolomites VK on the 17th. However I may venture to Manigod on Wednesday to do the local VK there and I also might travel over to the Ice Trail Tarantaise race this coming weekend with a friend but I am yet unsure. The big course is full up so I cannot get a place but they have spaces on the VK and the 20k so depending on the cost I might enter one of those but I am unsure. I might even just travel over to watch the races and just do my own bit of exploring for a couple of days.

Two days after the race. Back up to Nid d'Aigle
Today(Tuesday 7th) I decided to go for a long run. I must admit recently I have been feeling a bit weird and really not very motivated to be in Chamonix right now. I know I know. Life's tough. I just haven't been as motivated as I was this time last year in the US and I have had some serious doubts if I actually want to keep doing these long distance races. I feel like I have lost a little bit of my appetite for it. It could just be a passing thing and probably is but I made sure this morning I was up and out early with a big day planned.

Amazing running off of Mt Buet
I set off up the normal long slog to the summit of Mt Buet. It's a good 1700m haul up from the car but the sun wasn't melting down on the ascent so it wasn't too bad. From the summit I ran along and down the sometimes steep , loose and pretty exposed Arete du Buet and continued along the crest as far as I could until I arrived at Le Cheval Blanc. The crest run was pretty bloody amazing. From here I descended a little and made a final little uphill to Col Corbeaux again on a very steep loose trail. From the Col it's still a pretty steep rocky descent pretty much all the way down to Couteray with probably the last couple of Km's easing off to fast trails. I arrived back at the car in Buet 6 hours after I set off pretty dehydrated and feeling the heat when I came out of the trees. I was moving for 5 hours and stopping at the summits and some Lacs along the way just to enjoy the view and being completely alone up there. My watch stopped somewhere along the route and until then I had covered 20km and 2000m of ascent but I am sure it is closer to 30kms with maybe 2100m+ and 2100m-. Not exactly fast for those stats but a lot of this route really is quite steep and requires some attention especially traversing and down climbing the loose ridge off of Mt Buet.

Descending this does require attention
I didn't feel at full strength today but it was really great to just do a new loop that has been on my mind for a while. Without sounding too ridiculous I really think this run was all I needed to get back to the feeling I have been missing on my runs. Long may this continue.

Brilliant long day but it wasn't easy

No comments:

Post a Comment