Back in June, when I was planning my trip to France, Kip mentioned this trail run that was taking place in Barcelonnette. Sure, why not? Let's do ALL the outdoor things, as this might be my only trip over to Europe. I replied I was in for the 12k (7.5 mile), as I saw that as doable for not having trained for a running race since the 2019 Cloudland Canyon Half Marathon. Kip immediately responded that I needed to sign up for the 23k (14 mile) race, as I would go through two Cols (Gaps) and see so much more! I had to think about this, for a little bit, as I had not run that distance in 2 1/2 years. Not to mention the fact that there was over 1000 meters (3500 feet) of gain, twice that of Cloudland Canyon.
The masochist in me had me pushing the "enter" button in less than a day's thought. So be it, BDR #5 was going to happen August 8 at 9 am. With only rest day on Saturday, as I had been riding and hiking every day prior to that, at altitude nonetheless, this was going to be a challenge. Oh, and no poles allowed; it seems that racers were getting stabbed at the Start in previous years, so they were outlawed.
Being the only American in the half, the announcer gave me a shout out at the start. Not that I needed any more pressure to perform (or finish). There were 390 in the race and EVERYONE looked fast!
|Thinking what have I gotten myself into|
The start was fast as it was flat'ish for the first 3 miles. I settled into a sustainable pace and watched as dozens passed me by. The pavement soon became gravel and then once I arrived at the small town of Uvernet-Fours, the course pitched up steeply as I entered the single track.
|The start of the climb|
|A brief respite before the second push.|
Although the weather was perfect, 50 degrees, low humidity, the sweat was dripping off my nose like a leaky faucet, as I ran/hiked to the top. The second push was 3 miles starting at 5000 feet and topping out at 6900 feet.
|Col de la Cloche|
|Down, down, down|
|Took an unexpected butt slide down this -30%|
|Not sure if more impressed by his running attire or age.|