La Dent D'Orlur (14k)
I had contemplated attempting my first duathlon on Sunday but when I discovered that, in addition to an expensive 75euro entry fee, I would have to pay 70euros for a day's insurance as an un-licensed participant I abandoned the idea and went for the 14km running race to the top of the Dent D'Orlu (2222metres) mountain in the Pyrenees instead. The 15euro entry fee for this included post-race meal. My wee dram of Scots blood served me well. The race and the meal were both really excellent.
The long-established race was extremely well-organised by the local village with plenty of marshals and feeding stations. (The water is necessary especially in hot conditions but the fruit and chocolate is surely a luxury in 14km). Baggage transport was provided to the nearest car park to the finish as well as rides for everybody back to the start point (considerably more than 14km by road). Much of the course is up a steady gradient of about 10% on vehicle tracks. Before the final pitch of slippery scrambling there are sections which are too steep to run and also a kilometer of descent to weaken the legs. The pictures - at link below -illustrate this.
The total altitude gain was a mile (to anybody but a pedantic course-measurer). I finished 23rd out of 85 in 2h2m29s and first V3 but more than half an hour behind the ex-pat English winner. (The young French first V2 overtook me while I was slipping on the scramble and finished one place ahead.)
Instead of the usual cup the prize was a very generous collection of local offerings - a book of regional photographs, free entry to the mountain observatory and hydro electric facility and a weekend for two in a local chalet.
A most enjoyable day in the mountains although I did not get to ride my bike.
Race Results :