Tough just doesn't describe today’s 1000m+ climb to the 2804 metre summit of Point de la Masse. It was actually one of the toughest runs I've ever undertaken. With my trusty partner Chris Whistler in tow we set off at a remarkably slow jog up the long first climb that gets your heart beating so you can hear it in your eardrums and you breathing like a sixty-a-day smoker with emphysema.
I planned the run to be a first gear climb all the way…any faster and I’d blow out long before the summit. It’s a damned good job I had that in mind at the bottom as by half-way our normal turning point I was still running below my threshold pace, with some gas still in the tank. This was to change now as it got steeper and the trail turned to slush and then snow. The climbs were now very steep and very long indeed.
It really did go on forever and it was pure pride that got us to the top to some applause from folk who had seen us running up from the cable cars. That last few metres were quite euphoric I can tell you.
The descent was just as taxing on tired legs and the whole 14 mile trip took well over 3 hours. Not record breaking BUT totally invigorating and a real morale booster for the UTMB. I dread to think what my quads will be like tomorrow but who cares as I ran all the way to the top of that bloody mountain today!