A few photos from the: Grand Trail Valdigne in Aosta valley on Saturday July 10th, not too far from my home in Chamonix. I have always wanted to do this race, but normally am not around in July. It is always fun to race in Italy. You are assured a great cappuccino- great pasta and of course limoncello. This was about one of the most memorable trail races I have done and by far my best result yet. The total distance was 41km and 3100 m of climbing (elevation gain). It was super technical, and varied terrain, all of which I love. Needless to say I expected to be out there for around 7 hrs and rolled in about 7:15 placing 2nd overall for the women and 14th overall for men and women with the men’s finishing time just an hour before.

The race started at 10am, not sure why so late, maybe the Italians like to have their late espresso. It was hot already, pushing 85 degrees (25c) and climbing. Humid too.
We started in the village of Morgex with the runners for the big race (87km). The first climb was a monster. 2000 meters and climbed up to snow!

The course then rolled a bit and then climbed up another technical steep couloir- quite impressive and reminded me of boot packs in ski mountaineering. I thought we were done climbing but my altimeter said, no- there’s more and there sure was, some more rolling up and down, followed by another big one that followed a beautiful high crest, again very similar to some of the technical ridges in ski alpinisme. Super fun to scramble over rocks on the arrete looking down to the valley below.
After that, it was a good 10km of downhill and this is where the fun began. I was testing a pair of Hoka Mafate’s and really flew.
I managed to pass the women in I could see the dark thundercloud approaching and it did not hit til I was down in the forests of the larch trees. The terrain on the Italian side of Mt Blanc is much drier, with beautiful pine and larch forests.
The rain hit hard and it was refreshing in the 90 degree heat. Rain, thunder, lightening and even hail stones! There were times when I was running through ankle and calf deep rushing rivers. It was not until the rain started that my fucsia pink mini shuffle died. Sigh… I had about 1 hr left of running, but Lady Gaga and a few others did a great job of keeping me going for the 6 hours prior! Grazie for the tunes! Love to run with them. And Bravo to my friends of the CMBM club who did a great race, both the small and big.
If you are thinking of racing in Italy, don’t hesitate! You will love it!

More tales from the trails to coming soon! Next stop Hiking in the Berner Oberland!