Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Running in Corsica #1: Lavatoggio - Ile Rousse

After 68 miles in Porto, Portugal (Porto-Gondomar, Porto-Espinho and Porto-Matosinhos), 67 miles in Paris, 60 in Granville, Normandy (GR 223), I'm now in Corsica for a few days, and a much different type of running on tricky, hilly and rocky trails, for some good training before the Montagn'Hard race this coming weekend in the Alps.

I had visited Corsica once, in 1987, and stayed with the family of a friend from Bastia. Back then, I remember having hiked in the maquis and getting lost in the maze of deer trails as we say in California, or rather wild hogs over here. We stayed for 4 days in Lavatoggio, a very small village East of Calvi, at the North West end of Corsica, and 4 days in Santa-Maria-Poggio, 25 miles South of Bastia, on the East side of the island.

Overall, this is an amazing region, with the omnipresent mix of mountainous and sea-shore landscapes and the tiny villages perched on rocky pitons. And, with the strong nationalist spirit and culture of Corsicans, you meet quite a different France than the Continental one...
I did three long runs in the Calvi area, then two shorter ones, over Corte and South of Bastia after watching the 2nd stage of the Tour de France.
This post is about a run from Lavatoggio to Ile Rousse. I realize that there is little chance that you actually stay in Lavatoggio as there isn't even a hotel there, so I'm not going to go into much details about the course. However, if you stay in the area, here is a link to the detailed course on Garmin Connect. Lavatoggio down to Aregno then a steep uphill to the touristic Sant'Antonino, down to Avapessa, all on a single track trail. From Avapessa, I took the very quiet road down to the busier D13 toward Santa-Reparata-di-Balagna and down to Ile Rousse where I met Agnès and Greg at the harbor before their scuba diving baptism with my sister, Marie and her husband Bruno, both experimented scuba and free-divers (apnea).
From Ile Rousse I climbed back and up to Sant'Antonino via Corbara, then down again to Cateri and back to Lavatoggio.
23 miles and 4,000 feet of cumulative elevation. I posted a few pictures (about 70!) in my Picasa album, enjoy the run through this Northern area of Corsica, la Balagne!

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