Sunday, December 19, 2010

Balcons de Rouen #5: the snow white version

My first run of this great 50K course around Rouen in Normandy was muddy (January 2008) and led by the queen of the Balcons, Annick Le Moignic. I then ran the course twice in the following summer, on July 8 and 9, 2008. Finally, I was back for a fat ass in January this year and, while there was some snow on the trail, the weather was actually very nice.
This December 2010 and 5th edition was quite different this weekend: it snowed for 5 hours and it seemed like we were in the mountains, making a trace in 6 inches of fresh powder. Actually the start was really nice as the snow started falling just as we took off at 8 AM. We meaning Thierry, Guillaume and I. Earlier in the week I posted a message announcing this off on the UltraFondus forum. I got two positive responses and a handful of negative ones from others that I suspected would be interested but here we were, with an opportunity to meet and get to know new ultra runners. (Photo in front of Eglise Saint Jacques in Mont Saint Aignan, courtesy of Thierry).
You can check my previous posts to get the details of the course and more pictures. With all the snow, it was not easy to take pictures. Besides, my camera did not appreciate falling in the deep, fresh and wet snow. Although it is getting better after a few hours on a radiator, it may be time for change after several thousands of good pictures take, and several thousands of miles on the trails (I ran 9,808 miles since my run in the Badlands of South Dakota during which I decided to venture into the blogosphere). Although I'm a big fan and owner of a Nikon DLSR, I cannot say enough good things about the Canon PowerShot (sorry, this is meant to be a non subliminal message to Santa Claus... ;-). I still posted about 40 pictures on Picasa, including 4 from Thierry.
Anyway, the views of the trees covered with snow were wonderful, making this fat ass (or white ass?) exceptional and memorable! We did not see wild boars although we got pretty close to one. We met one hunter who told us they had shot one male and the wounded animal was furious and charging all over the place. He had already got two of the dogs and we indeed saw one covered with blood. The revenge of the beast... Apart from this incident we saw one fox, soon after we left in the morning.
With all the snow, our progression was slow and we were half way after 3 hours of running, at the end of the quays. I told Guillaume and Thierry that I started worrying about the road conditions for my return to Paris in the afternoon and we decided to split. We actually met again 8 miles later as Thierry was using another route, and we would meet again two other times to actually finish together after 6 hours and 22 minutes of running. Between pushing or shuffling off the snow, higher strides when the snow was too deep or shorter strides not to slip on roads, that was more tiring than running in soft sand. A preventing fat ass (50K), before the Holidays...
Getting back to Paris was another adventure. It took me 30' to cover 2 kilometers in Bihorel, then about 70 minutes to cover the 15 kilometers to the highway exit! Fortunately, the highway was all clear from snow on 2 lanes out of three. It has been a big mess in airports in Europe this weekend and I hope the situation will get resolved before my flight home on Tuesday. I know everybody feels I'm very lucky to spend 3 weeks in Europe in December (Denmark and France), but I'm now very much looking forward to getting some time off with the whole family in California... And a much clement weather... ;-)
This is my 52th post this year (#207 overall), fulfilling my goal of one post a week in average. I may take a break for the Holidays and write the next article next... year. Happy Holidays to you all and your families, and all the best for 2011, for your running or anything you aspire to!


Agnès Pommier said...

Quelle hivernale ! Magnifique ! Ca me fait rever, ainsi que les garcons, mais nous t'attendons avec impatience.

catson said...

3 ans déjà ! C'est moi le coureur en rouge.
Il semble qu'on va bientôt se retrouver aux 100 miles du Lac Tahoe. J'ai essayé de te contacter par le forum UFO, mais sans succès. Si tu vois ce message, contacte-moi. à bientôt