Sunday, July 25, 2010

Center Parcs Aisne #2: The Laon marathon

This post will be shorter because it shares the same context and introduction as my previous post: Center Parcs Aisne #1: The Chemin des Dames marathon. The #1 was a hint that there will be a follow-up and, indeed, the next day (Sunday July 18, a week ago), I ran another marathon from the same resort. The first one was on the West-East axis, this one on the South-North one.
Both started the same way actually, that is on the Voie Verte de l'Ailette, toward the Vauclair Abbey. Instead of turning right on the road climbing to the Chemin des Dames, I turned left in the direction of Chermizy-Ailles on the D19 road (Départementale 19), then D88 through Bièvres, D890 and D903 to Chérêt and Bruyère-et-Montbérault to finally get on the much busier and direct route to Laon, the D967 (the straight route between Chamouille and Laon).
My goal to reach Laon was three folds. First to put in some miles again with another marathon. Second, to visit this medieval city and original cathedral (for instance the shape of the bell towers and the 16 stone oxes looking at the surrounding plains/fields). Third, to see Max taking his train to Paris and Rouen.

Like the day before, I passed through many villages without any shops to buy food or drinks but Laon was large enough of a city to have several ones open even on a Sunday. I was 27 kilometers in my run at the train station so more than half-way for a marathon (42.2 kilometers) and decided to stay on the D967 to come back to Chamouille. There was much more traffic than the first route, the way out, but it was manageable and it got me back to the cottage in just above 43 kilometers.

Overall not as good of a circuit as the day before from a running and touristic perspective (Chemin des Dames), but a good cultural destination for a long run from Center Parcs, with great views over the fields and of Laon from miles away. Wishing I'd found more trails in the area to avoid the traffic.
Again, here is a link to another photo album for a virtual "run" from the Ailette Lake to Laon via the Vauclair Abbey. Enjoy the visit!

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