Retail therapy …

Start gantry is up!

Short run today, only 5 miles. The trouble with being in Chamonix is that the only way is up. Literally. So whatever the distance schedules, I can pretty much expect to run uphill for the first half and then back down to where I started. Today I explored a little more of the Petit Balcon Sud (Small South Balcony), trying to keep upright and not trip over the zillion tree roots and loose rock on the trail. I’m quite sore from my fall yesterday .. think I called more muscles into play to arrest my fall than I realised. Rest day tomorrow!

Another sunny day in the alps and no breeze for respite, but nothing a couple of cold drinks and ice-cream couldn’t remedy! 🙂 I spent the rest of the day having a leisurely wander round town.

Cheese and deli shops everywhere … yum!

Haribo heaven!

L’universe de Bon Bon (World of Sweets) .. one of my fave shops here!
Then I made the fatal mistake of looking in Ravanel, a great little shop run by Thierry that stocks everything you need for UTMB and more … needless to say, my credit card got a workout today too. Thierry is involved in the UTMB organisation (he’s done the route over 130 times now, and certainly sounds like he’s knows it well) and answered all my questions with great advice and a good range of product options. (I needed a pair of gloves and a warm hat .. honest! My other warm hat makes me look like a gnome.) The new rules for obligatory equipment this year have included items not in previous years’ lists, mainly due to the disastrous weather last year, so everyone’s going to end up carrying a lot more than they got away with last year. 

Ravanel was the only store that had these in my size .. yay! (And they’re obviously an ‘Ultra’ glove!)
Anyway, I came away with a great hat (that doesn’t make me look like a gnome), a pair of Sealskinz waterproof gloves, a pair of Salomon EXO IV 3/4 tights, and (drumroll …) the Salomon XT Advanced Skin S-Lab 12 pack! It’s exactly like the 5-litre version, just big enough to stash all the extra stuff required for longer races. There are stow pockets and storage compartments everywhere, and I can’t wait to try it out! There were only 600 produced for France, and Thierry’s now down to his last few .. I’m taking orders if anyone wants one, let me know! They’re 165 Euro, but I get 10% off for being a UTMB participant. 

Front & back
Side view and unzipped

There’s a detachable divider in the main compartment .. easy access with a zip that goes all the way round .. zipped pocket in the front mesh bit .. small zipped pocket on top .. zipped side pockets and new elasticated side pockets (these are going to be SO handy!) .. and all the usual bits that come with the original version. I know you’re not supposed to try anything new for a race, but I’ve just over a week to trial this so I think it’ll be fine. The main thing is that it fits like a glove, much better than my XA 10+3 .. at least I don’t have to worry about chafing from my pack now!
While I was upstairs debating which hat was the least gnome-like, one of the sales assistants yelled up to Thierry that “Monsieur Scott” had arrived … none other than ultra-god Scott Jurek! I was too star-struck to ask for a pic, and managed to squeak hello. Thierry just grinned and said that I should come by more often as most of the elite runners are there regularly during the week, including Krissy Moehl, the 2009 female winner of UTMB. Not that I need an excuse to go back … I’ve already got a list of stuff on my wish list .. I’m guessing I’ll be spending more time and money there in the near future!

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