Well, as you can imagine, Thursday was a day off after the epic day we had on Wednesday. My coach was a little surprised at me extending a bit more than planned especially given my recent bout with COVID and recovering from my ankle sprain. And she was probably right – it was a risk that I shouldn’t have taken. “The hay is in the barn” as they say, I just need to maintain and stay healthy. Luckily I was fine, and I think she forgave me quickly knowing I won’t stray now.
Yesterday I finally did take that COVID test which to no surprise was negative. I was a bit tired and legs a little heavy but not sore. Today was a good day to prove my fitness, and show that I could easily handle another good vert day.
We were lucky to have Usha drop off us off at Champex-Lac for another point to point where we’d train in back from Vallorcine. It would be a much shorter day but still an anticipated 6+ hrs at an easy pace. Krissi joined us this time as we were finally on the course she’ll be doing (OCC). I had already shot down the idea that I was not going to do the whole course to the finish in Chamonix but to Vallorcine. Mike was onboard with this as he know he needs to rest his achilles and the same thing about hay… So this would be a reasonable 30K and right at limit of how far Chris wants me to go.
I don’t remember much of this section of the course when I did CCC as not only was it in the dark but raining! So it was good to familiarize it during the day time.
We started out with some wonky GPS routing. The official UTMB GPX seemed to off as it was wanting us to stray off the main road though we saw no other trails. I’m not sure if Garmin smoothed it out or the person mapping the route was drunk or thought “well, close enough.” (I’ve since corrected it) .
The legs seemed a bit tired going up hill – not surprising. My body as a whole was a little tired but wasn’t a feeling of being overextended. It took a bit to get my legs going and up the first major climb I decidedly was working the poles a lot more. Mike seemed to be having a better day vs two days ago with better breathing. It was a good sign to see. Krissi and I had to do some work to catchup with him every time we found blueberries and raspberries and stopped to graze! We couldn’t pass them up. We agreed that the raspberries are the best right now! We also stopped to take a lot of pictures of cows (or “moo moos” as Krissi calls them) as we were finally able get some close up. We probably held Mike back, but that was probably good thing. I kept telling him half jokingly, “I think Koop said to take it easy.”
We all seem to handle the first major climb well. It was quite warm and we invited any breeze or moment of shade. Descending into Trient felt pretty good. It was moderately steep and technical but my right ankle gave me no trouble. And it would be fine for the rest of the run, though I really kept it mellow and cautious making sure of my foot placements.
In Trient we skipped a potential lunch spot at the top of town but were lucky enough to find the Auberge open at the bottom to enjoy an amazing Croque Monsieur with a nice salad with an impressive amount of diced beets. Also had a Cardinale beer for lunch – why not?
After such a lunch, you’d think it would be hard to get going. I imagined what if I had such a stop in UTMB and the answer seemed to be it wouldn’t hurt me. Then again, we only had a few more hours to this day to go. Nevertheless we hit the final climb of the day and into Vallorcine with no problem.
One final stop for ice cream and smoothies then Krissi pressed on to Chamonix while Mike and I jumped on the train. It was a beautiful chill tour of a day with friends.
It was another good confidence booster – not that the climbs weren’t tough and aren’t going to be when I get to them with over 130k in my legs but I just feel like my legs are much more conditioned than when I did CCC or TDS, and will handle them well. I little more dull today but my legs feel strong. COVID seems to be in the rear view mirror. Crossing my fingers still…