Trail des Colombes
31st July 2011
Following a succession of cycling and hiking events in the Pyrenees, last weekend I drove two hours in the opposite direction to explore the Aveyron department and run in the 25km Trail des Colombes which started at the village of Colombiès. I didn't discover the distinction between the two spellings but to my Esturine ear the mayor's pronounciation of the village name sounded like a mixture of the two (Colombès).
I had no idea what sort of course to expect but it turned out to be the most delightful circuit I have ever raced and I will certainly suggest my Toulouse friends try this event next year. Most of the well-marked course was off-road either up (a total of 800 metres) or down wooded hill sides with some really impressive views across the valleys. Although very challenging, no part of the course could be described as extreme. A good runner could run it all and most of the tracks were wide enough to avoid the Indian file which characterises many off-road courses. The same circuit was also used at the same time for a VTT race and I don't believe this caused any conflicts.
Because I did not know what to expect I started cautiously but soon realised that I had found a super event and enjoyed myself. Many people passed me on the descents but, although I was reduced to walking several times, only one person overtook on the climbs in the whole race - a very cheerful lady with a large camelback. (I think that there is another language ambiguity here - shouldn't it be dromedaryback and camelfront?)
I finished with 2:22:19 of good marathon training - 17th out of 51 participants. 1st (of only 3) in my age category was rewarded with a small cup, a tee shirt, a pen and three kisses - a conspicuous enhancement to the usual Toulouse two.
The post-race food, however, did not approach Midi-Pyrenees standards but no doubt some Rushden residents would have appreciated the frites.
Race Results :