20km Trail des Côteaux Bellevue
My planned first event of 2010, Morpeth Harriers New Year Day 11km, was cancelled because of the snow so when Météo-France issued a severe weather alert for the Haute-Garonne, I expected my second event, the 20km Trail des Côteaux Bellevue to suffer the same fate.
https://sites.google.com/a/leszinzinsdescoteaux.org/public/trail-des-coteaux - loads of photos),
Toulouse temperatures tumbled to -5C (I need to collect the bet from Angela and the Cheeky Girls!) and, extremely unusually, several inches of snow settled on the metropolitan area. But, at 10am on Saturday morning I received an email to say the race would start at 3pm as planned (It is almost dark in Morpeth by 3pm at this time of year!). Change of mindset was required.
The drive to the start was challenging and for the last five miles it would have been better with snow chains (as carried by the winter-sports brigade in this region). However, when I arrived at the headquarters there was a big turnout and plenty of takers for both the 11km and 20km events. I must have been younger and more foolish when I entered this event before Christmas as I was subscribed for the longer event.
The events started together but separated after a kilometre or so. The 20km course was beautiful, a sort of cross between Ampthill Park and Maulden Woods and very slippery in places. In fact, having found myself horizontal half a dozen times I would definitely categorise this as a fell race! Times are not really important in fell races but I finished 27th (out of 122) in 1:46, some 18 minutes behind the winner. For first MV60, I collected a cup, a second tee shirt and a hat. (2nd and 3rd received a bottle of Gaillac!).
However, the best was yet to come with the post-race meal. After aperitifs, a superb paella was served with giant prawns and mussels to put Wells-next-the-Sea fish and chips into the darkness of a polar night. The large servings left little space for cheese and dessert and the noise and conviviality from my companions rose considerably as wine connected with French throats. After a lot of laughter and coffee, I cleared a mound of snow off the car and slid home safe and late.
Race Results :