We are just days away from one of the all time favorite races of the World's Best Ultra Trail Runners and a big season goal for several of our Elite Runners.
Three weeks ago, five of our Compressport International Trail Team joined together in what is known as the Mecca of Ultra Trail and Start/Finish of UTMB®, Chamonix, for a training camp to familiarize themselves with the UTMB® course.
On the program: 4 days of reconnaissance around Mont-Blanc.
Split over 4 stages, the team covered the full race; 170km and over 10,000mD+. Commencing in Chamonix on Friday morning, they headed to Les Contamines still in France, before then heading into Italy on Day 2 and Switzerland on Day 3. On the final day, they circled back to Chamonix to close out a very successful 4 days of training.
Hard training, some challenging weather and character building moments all provided for an unforgettable time for our small group who are feeling ready to tackle the race starting next Friday 27th August from 17:00 hr.
Here, the athletes give you an in-depth recap of their experience throughout the 4 days.
DAY 1 Chamonix - Les Contamines - A rather relaxed start to ´warm´ up for tougher days coming up
"Always a nice and special way to start from the church in Chamonix and even more with these guys! We started all together with some members of the Compressport community who joined us for a small run until more or less Les Houches from the Ravanel Store.… A very fast and runnable first part. Following this, we started the first climb of the UTMB®, Col de Voza. The weather was heavy but the rhythm was quite good, all with fresh legs still :) Finally we enjoyed the last part between St Gervais and Les Contamines before a well deserved lunch and for Arthur and myself; a nice refreshing bath in the lake."
Diego Pazos "Zpeedy", Pro Trail Runner
DAY 2 Les Contamines - Courmayeur - The mountains start - A tough day, with over 3,200mD+
"The second day started in Les Contamines, a somewhat grey day... like the proclamation of a difficult day, we had 49k with 3200 D+. Everyone could sense the day would be intense, however the relaxation and conversation between us made the day very pleasant. After 20km we made a small stop for fuel and continued on. The whole time running together, we did the first big climb at a very good pace. When we started the descent we only thought of reaching Courmayeur! On the way we were blessed by a very pleasant rain to end the day. Arriving to a Hamburger for lunch and later finishing the day with a very nice and gigantic sized pizza for dinner... I believe it was because of the feeling of a job well done."
Helio Fumo, Pro Trail Runner
DAY 3 Courmayeur - Champex-Lac - Another long day with 45km and over 3,000mD+
"It's going to be a not-so-great day weather-wise. It was quite clear until we reached Bertone and again it went by pretty fast compared to last time (UTMB2016)."
In Arnuva the weather is rather rainy and we put the Hurricane Jackets on from the beginning of the Grand Col Ferret. Helio, not used to the strong differences in height, began to show signs of weakness but always kept just 30-40m behind us. The summit of the pass was icy and we didn't linger too long because we all had frozen hands. The temperature goes up rather quickly in the descent towards La Fouly where we find our supplier of treats; Carla!"
"The last section to Champex-Lac and the Swiss Man on the Swiss National Day; Diego lead us with a so-called UTMB® rhythm and so the final ascent also passes quickly. A little push after Champex-Lac until the refuge for a good hot shower awaited us, even if a certain Arthur prefers the frozen bath in the brook!"
We could not resist a treat of the famous Tarte aux Myrtilles de chez Leon in the afternoon for comfort :) The day was rather complicated muscularly for me. I complained a little in the descents and the pain in my quadriceps, but I managed nevertheless to follow the rhythm set by Diego in the climbs and Aurélien in the descents. "
Ludovic Pommeret, Pro Trail Runner
DAY 4 - Champex-Lac - Chamonix - The final day awaits, but still a brutal 45km on tough technical terrain to get to the finish
"The legs are good for this 4th stage. Three big climbs and therefore three big descents for this final day. Everything is going wonderfully well with the guys. For the first time in all of the days, we felt really hot on the final climb, towards Tête aux vents, but the view made us forget all the heat and fatigue. Then meet an ibex, like he must have been hired to do the show for us, and then it is the final ascent to La Flégère and the descent to deliver us to Chamonix. We thus reach the church of Chamonix, without any physical problem. A nice lunch and a good ice cream to celebrate!"
Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz, Pro Trail Runner
So concludes a successful 4 days of training after about 20 hours of running. The five runners are left with tired (but stronger legs) and a UTMB® route freshly engraved in their memories. After some rest and a little speed work to sharpen the legs, they are ready for the 2021 Edition of Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. All the best TEAM!