Arriving at UTMB

It's finally time for this year's big challenge, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc! More about the race itself later, as well as a thorough going-through of all of the gear needed to complete the challenge — 168 k and 9600 meters of positive gain. But first some pictures from our first day here in the Chamonix area!

Yesterday we arrived in Vallorcine, a small and charming village a couple of train stops from Chamonix. Today we decided to check out the surroundings, and went for a test run of the course — the part that goes from Catogne to Vallorcine, which is right outside our hotel door. I only ran about 500 meters of asent, while Johnny continued and found a nice little mountain top to climb (which is not part of the course) and came home 3 hours later with more than 1100 meters of ascent. 

Right now our biggest concern may be the temperature. The UTMB organization has sent out text messages and emails about the extreme temperatures hitting the area on Friday-Saturday — up to 35 degrees Celcius... So instead of carrying 1 liter of water, everyone should now carry 2 liters...

We arrived by train and taking the Mont Blanc Express to our location was the right choice! Absoutely stunning views!

Majestic mountains...

...and pittoresque villages!

The Altra Superior 2.0 will be my friends during the race, at least for the first 77 k... I hope I won't have to change shoes, but you never know. At 77 k you're allowed to have a drop bag, and I'll keep my Olympus there, if needed. 

So, we went to check out the course. 

The course is very well marked.

...but pretty technical! ;-)

Johnny followed the course even higher...

...and higher...

...and higher...

...until he reached a cross at the highest point of Catogne.

Stay tuned for more on UTMB!