Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pi UTSJ day 4

The first two hours were spent by the runners in pouring rain and fog, but things slowly improved. We find ourselves in the charming town of Navarrenx, being entertained by small school kids. Claire is tired but still running well.

This shot is from the aid station table - note wine and sausage:

Tomorrow is the final 60km stage - the victory lap if you will. Tonight will be spent drinking with the mayor, eating another delicious meal, and treating Claire's fresh crop of blisters.

Location:Avenue d'Orthez,Navarrenx,France

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pi UTSJ day 3

A third day of great weather, a relatively flat course, and "only" 60km made for a good day. The Pyrenees were not sighted due to plenty of cloud, but the ancient churches and chapels along the route are sublime and made up for it:

The day started with the awkward addition of an English Setter to the group. The homeless hound rushed frantically around for the first two hours, before he could be foisted off on an unsuspecting group of pilgrims. Until he was dispatched, passing motorists swerved and tutted their disapproval.

Claire is over three-fifths done, and running very strongly. 120km to go.

Location:Rue des Ecoles,Arzacq-Arraziguet,France

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pi UTSJ day 2

I am waiting at Nogaro's bullring (yes, there are bullrings still in Gascony) for Claire to complete another 10-hour running day. She's doing brilliantly so far - good pace, happy disposition, calm under pressure when thing go inevitably wrong.

The trail is easy to follow 99% of the time, but the other 1% can completely throw you psychologically when you're tired and hungry. So far, she's only been lost a couple of times, and not for too long, thankfully.

Race director and friend Patrick Bonnot puts on a great race with an outstanding team of volunteers. As always, they are much appreciated.

Off soon for an evening of Floc and good French food (which certainly beats running) before retiring to a hard gym floor (which is marginally less comfortable than running).

Location:Nogaro, France

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pi UTSJ day 1

Now there's a satisfied finish line smile!

A combination of flat canals, steep hills, beautiful villages and mud made for a challenging first day, completed without problems in 10 hours.

Tomorrow Claire runs 64km to the bullring in Nogaro, Gascony; my objective is to retest the local fortified wine Floc.

Pi UTSJ day 1

Claire is underway, running along the canal out of Moissac towards the splendid La Romieu. The weather is cool and - for the moment at least - dry. Perfect conditions for now.

The first 15km today is flat and straight, which is a nice warm-up for hillier times ahead. This is the longest stage - 68km (41 miles). One hour in, we have a long way to go, but we're still all smiles.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Pi" Ultra Trace St Jacques

Claire starts her 5-day race to St Jean Pied de Port tomorrow - a leisurely two hundred miles! As her domestique, I get to carry the suitcases, drive the rental car, and enjoy some wonderful French countryside without breaking a sweat. The weather is warm today, but cooler, more suitable running weather is on its way. Some rain is predicted too, I fear.