Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fat Ass in Asterix' land: white and solo

108F (42C) in Gara Dima and Metehara over the "winter" Holidays. A few days later, back in France, 24F (-4C) and snow, what a contrast! Enough to get a cold which lasted 10 days, after the so-called Typhoid I got diagnosed with on January 1st.

As soon as I landed at Charles de Gaulle on Thursday (January 7th), I jumped on the RER to visit my parents, have dinner and drove to my sister's at Bihorel (near Rouen in Normandy, 90 miles West of Paris). I worked from there on Friday, catching-up with several hundreds of emails. On Saturday, I woke up early to start my own fat ass on a course which I love, Les Balcons de Rouen. The course was designed by Annick Le Moignic and I reached out to her and a few other "ultrafondus" but I ended up doing the run solo as I had to start early to be in Paris for another family reunion by 4 pm that Saturday afternoon. That was my fourth run of Les Balcons and I cannot still believe how unique it is to find all these trails and animals while being so close to the city. It is like a green belt and I hope the municipalities take great care of this unique environment!I ran Les Balcons the first time in January 2008, 2 years ago, just before flying to Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica. Then, twice in July 2008.
I left my sister's house by 7:20. It was dark but the combination of the bright snow and the city light reflecting in the clouds made the course very runnable. The snow was still fresh after three days, not too deep (2-3 inches), dry, crisp. Thanks to my Brooks Cascadia and their micro crampons, I only slipped and did fall once on a large patch of black ice at mile 16 while going through Croisset.
The highlight of the run has occurred when I was running in the Bois du Roule, over Saint-L├ęger-du-Bourg-Denis. I heard some noise coming from behind and thought that I might get some company from a runner. The daylight was still low and, to my surprise, the intruder was on 4 legs, dark fur and quite fast. Actually, not just one but two, three, probably 30 beasts total. You might have guessed from the title of the post, I was on the way of a herd of wild hogs. Males first (impressive), followed by the females, and a dozen or so little ones closing the march, all the herd in line on the single track trail. The light was too low to capture the moving herd but here are a couple of blurry ones to prove I didn't dream.
30 minutes later, I ran through another wooded area and met hunters who were quite frustrated when I told them about the herd they had missed on the other side of the creek and small valley. I saw two groups of noisy dogs and hunters yelling to raise the game, then saw a nice fox in Mont-Saint-Aignan.
The sun made a brief appearance around kilometer 45. Otherwise the sky remained gray and the pictures don't come out so well in such a cloudy and foggy winter morning. It took me 5hr33' to complete the loop (did a few detours making the distance right on 50K) and I was quite cold upon finishing, yet happy to have done it despite the fatigue and remaining cold. Here is a good way to start the season with my first non competitive ultra!

PS: a few other pictures in my Picasa album.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Je comprends mieux ton attirance pour les balcons de Rouen...
Je vous embrasse
Maman