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Pierra Menta - Day 3

It's good to be done with today as the last day, tomorrow, is typically the shortest. Today's menu involved long climbs, a few boot packs and enormous crowds. Although the dodgy weather prevented us from doing the super aesthetic ridge on the Grand Mont, we did a mini version of it nearby. Some easy rock scrambling with a fixed rope for a hand line in places. The final booter felt almost Alaskan with the French version of tundra underfoot for the final 100 vertical meters. Good variety.

A sea of Lycra - skimo heaven

I could tell my legs were tired today as I was tooling around feigning a warm-up. I figured I didn't really need to do any more kilometers than necessary. The start was amusingly sedate as everyone was feeling it.

The climb was over 1,100 meters and was mostly a cat road before hitting a steep booter with icy steps and fixed lines just in case.

Over the top we got our first view of the huge crowds that show up for the Saturday stage every year. The ski area lifts allow easy access to all who want to come. This race is in it's 29th edition and is a huge source of pride among Savoniards. It was surreal skiing through the tunnel of noise created by these voiciferous skimo fans. The cool thing is that they treat everyone with equal enthusiasm so even the also-rans like us felt special. Friends from Jackson after cheering for us on course all dayIt was here that we first saw Mike and Carol, two friends from Jackson who are in Les Arcs for the winter on a ski patrol exchange. I got a little choked up hearing their cheers as I came into the transition. I haven't seen them for 2 years. It was a real treat. They were able to cut across the course and we saw them at 3 different trannies.

Me getting ready for the ridge booter

The ridge booter

Me near the top of the final climb ready to be doneThe downhill skiing was mostly good although we were slower with the flat light. We were more highly placed today and the quality of the skiers around us was noticeably higher, too. We didn't pass much after the first hour but were also rarely passed. Natural selection, I guess.

Final Verse

Not long after we got back to the hotel the rain started in earnest which then turned to snow that stuck just above town. Not sure what that will do for tomorrow's final effort. The day is typically only about 1,200 meters of climbing so it will be a welcome change. My feet finally got hammered today with a big blister on each heel. The warm temps create a type of trench foot in the boots and the hardened skin from a season of touring doesn't stand a chance. Duck tape should get me to the finish.

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Reader Comments (2)

Wel done Brian!
...it almost makes me want to try the competition ;-)

See You soon,
(At the end of next week maybe?)


March 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFred Coupez

Thanks Fred. Final post coming tonight. All around great time.

The new snow is finally here so there'll be some fun skiing for us. My feet need a couple of days anyway.

March 23, 2014 | Registered CommenterBrian

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