Geen categorie

French mountains by bike and running

End of June I was lucky to be in the Pyrenees as a guide from En Route for a cycling week. Not only do I love to run in the mountains, cycling is magnificent! During this we week we made a very nice trekking from the east to the west of the Pyrenees. A few years ago I cycled the Spanish side by mountain bike (see also my pirineos blog) and now it was time to ‘do’ the French side by racing bike. As a guide I could only cycle half the way – the other days I was in the following car, handing out water and bananas to the group.
Every time it is a surprise who is in the group, this time it turned that almost the whole group was from the same cycling club not far from my home town. Even more, I’ve been a member from that club a few years ago! It turned out that only my colleague from En Route wasn’t training on the wolds of Utrecht..
On Sunday we started in Narbonne; this day I would be in the bus. So I started the day with an early run through the city. Running along the river in the early morning sun, I suddenly found myself flat on the path…a common habit of me, I forgot to lift my left foot. Not really a good take off for this week – fortunately I wasn’t hurt.
Day one let the cyclists to Quillan – this was a short hilly ride so there was some time left for me to run in the afternoon. I took a mountain bike route – 8KM horizontal and 250m vertical. After an hour, at ¾’s of the round I lost the track and ran the wrong way; back to the hotel I refilled my water bottle and decided to do a next round. The map wasn’t really detailed but it couldn’t be much more climbing or more KMs – at least I thought so. On my second round I managed to keep on the track and it took me two hours before I got home…oops there goes my confidence! Two hours to run 8KMs horizontal and 250m vertical => I hope the map was wrong..

DSCN0765 - geen-categorie - French mountains by bike and running

Day two I could cycle – it had been quite a while since I cycled in the mountains, so I had to ‘dust off’ my climbing muscles to get started. To my surprise I managed to climb the 1800 vertical meters easily. So with relatively good legs I arrived that evening in Tarascon.

Day three was again a day in the bus. The weather was excellent, maybe even a little bit too hot for the climbing parts – but hey, I was in the bus with the windows wide open! As there were more KMs to cover for the group, there was not much time left for running that day. So I did a small orientation run around Luchon to discover the nice paths for the day after (rest day for the group – running day for me!).

That night there was thunder and lightning, temps went down quickly. On my orientation run I discovered that there were only down hill mountainbike tracks – so these were too steep to run up hill. So I ran on the road up to SuperBagneres, a ski resort at 1800meters. From there I took the fastest (is also steepest) tracks downhill. The last part was the former track of the ‘cremalliere’. I was lucky that day – a bit cold up the mountain but no rain.

DSCN0805 - geen-categorie - French mountains by bike and running

On day five I could join the group for cycling. We went up the Col de Peyresourde – it was still a bit cold and there was a lot of fog. During the climb I could stay warm enough, but on top we waited for the last ones before we went down. Even though I had put on extra layers, including gloves, it was too cold for me. My bike was shaking because I was shaking – I couldn’t help it. I was glad when the climb from the next col started, I was getting warmer again. Col de Aspin was a nice one, climbing went super and at the top I immediately went down, scared to get too cold again. After lunch we went on to climb the Tourmalet – I reached the top but it took a lot of energy and strength. Going downhill was no problem, but we were glad we reached the hotel in Argeles Gazost at the end of the afternoon.

For day six I had planned a run – but my upper legs were hurting too much from the day before. The weather cleared up again and the temps were rising again. So with good weather we arrived at Mauleon.
The last day I had the opportunity to run for an hour and a half on the way to Bayonne. So I stopped the car in Hasparre, really nice environment with hills. My legs were still hurting from the Tourmalet-day; so it was an easy run on the road.

It was a great week – very good for my first running KMs in the mountains (in preparation of the Salomon 4Trails and Transalpine Run later this year). It was an ideal combination of work and sports!

Laat een reactie achter

Het e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd. Vereiste velden zijn gemarkeerd met *