Praz-sur-Arly Vertical Challenge

ohhh, just hanging around in spandex with a bunch of other french dudes in spandex in the rain

With the rest of the Golden skimo team racing in Europe over the next few weeks I got jealous and managed to convince Shauna that she wanted to watch me race again. She conceded and I geeked around and found a short vertical night race about 45 minutes away from Chamonix where we’re staying. 

The race is part of an 11 race series sanctioned by the FFME (French federation mountain escalade), which is similar to the US circuit. The way it works in France is every region has it’s own skimo club or team, and they each host a couple events over the course of the season. It’s a really cool setup, and the race itself was fun because it was cheap and the turn out was awesome. When talking to the organiser at the beginning of the race he told me that turnout wasn’t going to be that great because of the weather(more on that later) and because it was very close to the Pierra Menta and everyone would be tired….. I asked how many people were registered and he told me that only 70 people were signed up. Laughing I told him that in Canada we’d be fired up if we got 70 people out to race….. 

je ne parle francais bien.... 

The Weather: We were a little bummed out when we got there as it was PISSING rain and not inspiring at all. But once people started coming out of the woodwork, everyone in race suits, I started to think …. These are my people….. 

The Race: the 700 meters went by really fast, and because it was such a short race everyone was going for it. I’m finally learning and got a good start position, and really tried to get a good spot in the peloton but not flame out in the first 200 m. The course itself was really steep, and with the wet conditions made for difficult skinning. A good, beat down, skin track was set right next to the flags but if you wanted to pass you had to step out into the slush and expend a lot of energy. This made for really strong bike style race tactics, drafting off of other passing racers, jockeying for position and really calculating your next move. 

I managed to save a bit of gas until the end and picked off a few racers on the final climb and came in 22nd. It was a fun race, I tried to use the crappy weather to my advantage, I mean being Canadian has to count for something right? 

The awards and buffet dinner were fun and they played the France vs. England rugby game?  Which I thought was a little strange but the locals were into it.  

More pics Here 

Mmmmmm table wine at the awards buffet, ya France

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4 Responses

  1. Nice work!!! Yeah racing!

  2. Good Work Buddy!!!

  3. Well done Ian! New Vest????

    • yah they handed out these hilarious teenage girl size race bibs, good thing they were strechy…..

      we’re in Geneva….. waiting for a plane. home soon, good luck at the dachstein.

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