Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Annecy: Tour du Lac marathon

Well, at the risk of getting boring, this is yet another marathon, the 4th one during my 3-week stay in France, not including the 92-km run around Mont Blanc from Courmayeur to Chamonix.

As I was writing at the end of my previous post, our final stage of our own Tour de France was Annecy. My other brother, the one missing from the family reunion in Paris, was spending this week in Menthon-Saint-Bernard, 10 kilometers South of Annecy-le-Vieux where we were staying. Quite short for a run for me unless I use a longer path... Google Maps and Mappy (the French version) quickly found the solution: run around the entire lake of Annecy!
From downtown Annecy, the full loop is about 38 kilometers, and 43 from Annecy-le-Vieux, which is exactly the distance I was looking for.

I found out that there is actually an official Annecy Marathon, and a mature one as the event has been on since 1980! And there is a reason why this marathon is not going around the lake: the East side is a narrow and busy road and, as I was going to find out, it is actually dangerous to run on it unless it is close to traffic. So the Annecy Marathon is an out and back on the very nice bike path on the West shore of the lake, from Annecy down to Bout-du-Lac and back to Annecy.
My first 24 kilometers down to Bout-du-Lac were really nice: flat course and wonderful views of the city first (see my photo album) and the lake shore before the path actually uses an old train track.
As I wrote above, the road on the East side is really not meant to run on, with the traffic. I am rarely scared by the traffic, especially in the US, but I have been this time and had to jump on the side of the road several times with drivers not paying attention (it's like riding a bike, then danger is not you, but the other vehicles and drivers). I used my technique of holding my bottle on the right side, at arms length and, as soon as you to that, it's amazing how many drivers get scared the bottle hit their car. I cannot understand how it can be safe for cyclists if car get as close, and fast, from behind. At least, running against the traffic, I can see the cars (and trucks) coming. Needless to say, quite some fun of running disappears with such conditions and you need to get so focused on the traffic, there is not much room for sight seeing... This is another opportunity to appreciate the benefits of trail running. And to treasure the trails, when you find them...

With that, I was happy to stop in Menthon-Saint-Bernard for a nice lunch with both our families, followed by a swim in the lake, before getting back on the busy road for the final 10 or so kilometers. (The map below is incomplete because I left my GPS in Agnes' car after my stop in Menthon.)
Again, I invite you to a final virtual visit of another place in France, for this Summer. This Thursday, I'm flying back to California, with a 50K race this coming Sunday: Skyline 50K. See you there!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Très heureuse d'apprendre que tu as pu t'adonner à ta passion et des très jolies photos