Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Our Spanish break seems like an age ago already. But we arrived home in the nick of time as Winter conditions really took a grip here on the Saturday, with a significant snowfall and extremely cold temperatures making the roads treacherous.
However, eventually the heavy snow clouds cleared and grey gave way to blue. After a few days of being cooped up, we were keen to get out for some fresh air, so we donned the snowshoes and left the house for an explore up the Peguere 'road'. It was stunning. We were the first to venture out and it was hard work breaking trail in the 50-70cm deep snow. But what a stunning afternoon it was.

We didn't make it all the way up to the col as the pooch was tiring, despite attempting to follow in our tracks. Still, it had been a very welcome breath of fresh air and stretch of the legs. The sun was weakening as we took the final track home and we were pleased to soon get back to the warmth of the house and a hot chocolate!
The arrival of the snow was actually good timing as I was due for an easy 'taper' week last week ahead of the Trail du Maquis trail race in Dun on Sunday. Although Dun is down at only 300m alt, there was still a decent covering of snow on the ground and the air temperature was a chilly -7C when I rocked up at 08.00 on Sunday morning after spending the night at Pat & Kev's just along the road. I had decided that I was not going to put any pressure on myself and would just treat the 27km/1100m+ race as a training run as the conditions underfoot would undoubtedly be 'tricky' and 27kms is the furthest that I have ever run! It would however be good training for the Citadelles in 8 weeks time. The course was hilly and indeed very challenging - the hills kept on coming.
I have to admit that my new superlightweight running poles were an absolute godsend on the ascents and helped me to avoid energy-sapping foot slippage. My un-insulated Camelbak pipe froze early on which blocked my supply of liquid fuel, but the slices of dried, sugared kiwi fruit that I carried with me did a fantastic job of keeping my energy levels up! I shall be stocking up on them for future races! When I reached the top of the particularly pointy hill that you can see in the elevation profile above, one of the volunteers shouted 'vous êtes la troisième fille.... allez!' What? I was in third place amongst the girls? Bloody hell! I'd better push on! I can't let that slip! So I did. I really started to tire over the last 7 kms but was still able to raise a smile for one of the photographers
I did indeed finish in 3rd place after 3h42m. I was well chuffed with that! On the podium again! It's true that only 11 out of the 99 starters were girls but 6 out of those were in my age group and I was 39 minutes ahead of the next V1F finisher ... not bad for an oldie ;-) But I was exhausted, not only because of the exertion but also because of my lack of fuel. However, I couldn't stomach the fantastic sausages and beefburgers that were being served up in the hall after the event. I felt queasy just thinking about it. I was only able to face proper food in the evening once I had got home. It had been quite a day! Full stats on the usual site.


gabriele gray said...


(check out the last photo!)

Lots of photos

I've been following the weather and wondered if you'd be able to get out to compete...

gabriele gray said...

On the RZN site, you're on page 8, second row from the top, second image from the right...
page 17, bottom row, 2nd from left, and...
a tiny bit of you on page 2, #1 (far right)
There are some great character faces here as well...
I don't know the history of the RZN site but there are some wonderful events shown here...including "Fête de la saucisse et championnat du monde de lancer de jambon"
the Limoux carnival may have to look to its laurels!

penny said...

Thanks for your comments Gabriele. It was a great race and I was of course very pleased with and surprised by the result! It was good training for the 40k Citadelles on 8 April which I am very nervous about!