Trail des Vignes et des Coteaux
5th July 2009


Official Result

Bob Wells 1.44.08

The Trail des Vignes et des Côteaux Lislois looked like an interesting race in the calendar for the weekend especially as it was accessible from Toulouse by public transport. There was very little information about the race on the internet and I didn't really know what to expect from 22km of "parcours nature" but I was certainly not disappointed.

The race started from the centre of the extremely attractive small town of Lisle Sur Tarn which is famous for its arcades round the market square. In addition to my 22km event there were also 5km and 11km races starting at the same time and a walking group some half an hour in advance. The courses were almost all off-road, mainly through the Gaillac vineyards. The 22km had some significant hills some of which reduced me to the speed of the walking group.

Quite a lot of runners carried their own water but I survived on what was provided (every 5km) but was grateful to the folk who sprayed runners with hoses in the closing stages.

I was obviously inspired by announcement of the prize for the first man and woman - their weight in local wine - and managed to finish 9th overall (1:44:08) but nearly 17 minutes behind the lightweight winner. I won the V3 category and fortunately I was able to carry the generous recompense home on the train. A literal skinful of wine would probably have been more of a problem than a proverbial one.

After the prize presentation - I hope the feedback drowned the questions and improved the sound of my attempt to reply French - aperitifs were provided in one of the arcades. I was on the point of leaving when I was very kindly invited to join the full multi-course lunch which unexpectedly appeared on a long table (almost one side of the town square). I think even the mad dogs welcomed the shade of the arcade for this.

After lunch which, of course, was accompanied by plenty of grape juice, I set off to watch a cricket match. I had not had too much sun or wine but both the internet and the Office du Tourisme indicated that there would be a Tarn League match at the local rugby pitch. I thought it would be fun to see proper French cricket but there was no sign of willow or leather to be found.

I got home just in time to see Cavendish totally dominate the sprint in the Tour de France on (free) TV. I noticed he was interviewed in French but replied in English (sensible chap). Was he getting a translation through the earpiece he was wearing.




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