Sunday, March 28, 2010

Allez Le Pi!

From an email I sent a buddy last week while in France

Tomorrow is the big 42km and 24km race up the slopes of Mont Ventoux which is crazy hard stuff and a big race in these parts. In fact people come to watch from all over. A precursor to the fun is a 10km run today so I decided to do that although will prob run the 24km tomorrow as well. Its all straight up hill running over gnarly rocks and then down over more precarious terrain and a little fast trail stuff through the pines. I am not actually eligible to enter as you need to be licensed. So I snuck in to the middle of the pack just 100m after the start. I was quickly out in the front top 10 even though the guys went out like whippets. When the climbing started I went to the front and kept it to the top of the 3km climb of over 300m = killer!
So now I am in the front and loving the feeling of being overseas and kicking French but. They are hunting me through the descent though so I got to take risks and I start thinking of taking line honours. Out of the mountains and at the bottom of the decent is a water table which I am confused about as surely its been close to 10k's already? I ask the dude how many k's and he shouts out "numf ... eh eh ...nine nine nine" That makes sense as 1km to go is fine but then why the first water table I think to myself? Skip the opportunity and bolt through the tree's. Now there are pockets of supporters in the forest and they are shouting "Allez Allez" which is awesome. I ask them all how much farther as I am dying out here now and surely its been 10k's. When they hear the English accent the enthusiasm diminishes and they stare on a little aggrieved. This energises me immensely and more determined than ever to make it home first. I can hear the supporters encouraging the runners behind me to chase the leader. Shit I am now way over 10k's and I know it, but have no idea where I am nor how long this race actually is. I try ask some spectators but they are having none of it.
I got to push on and I know Hedgie will be on the finish line so that is incentive to make it home before anyone else to show some solidarity to our fatherland!
A couple more tough sharp climbs which test every fibre of the muscles and many of the will too ... but then I pop out onto a little country road and see all the cars at the finish. Its in the bag. I am not an official runner though and have no number on my chest. I am hitting it hard to get home now though and the spectators can see I am first dude home and shout out "Allez ..Premier ...Premier ..Allez!" best to keep my mouth shut so I do. Busting up the home straight to the blow up archway finish but I an not officially entered so I pull to the left and leave the tape unbroken. Everyone looks at me with surprise and there is other runner in site. I just shrug my shoulders and say ... I won but I was not aloud to enter as I have no license. They watch me walk away and pretend I never even ran the distance. Hedgie wasn't even there! The punk was flirting with the cute barmaid ...fair enough I suppose. The next runners are home 5 min after me so I actually had a decent cushion. The guy who 'took us out' on the quad bike then recognises me from the early front running and tells some of the relevant officials who are keen to actually include me in the mix. "You are Premier" they explain. "Correct" I agree.

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