Being surrounded with mountains like this makes it real hard to be good and taper before a major race. One has to do what one must do and for me I continue to be drawn to the mountains to explore.
|Another beautiful day in Chamonix.|
|Margaretha from Australia waiting in line.|
Back at the hostel I had a quick snack and decided to venture across the street to climb up towards Les Grand Montets, another mountain peak next to the Argentiere Glacier and just north of Mont-Blanc. This was to be a full on uphill climb along a trail/mountain service road to the plateau and I had thought I might even take the cable car from there on to the top. This would also be a great opportunity to help break in the new shoes which arrived on Saturday, the day before I flew out. A new pair of the Mizuno Ascend 6's which have always treated my nicely, (Thanks Tina). There was no running involved once I got to the hill, it was a power hike all the way up for a good 40 minutes. I was dreading thinking about the pounding coming down, as I didn't want to crush the quads 2 days before the race. I stopped in to see about taking the cable car up to the summit but of course was too late as the last car just made the trip. I could also take the cable car down to avoid the downhill and the last car was available but no, I couldn't do that and decided to hang at this plateau where there was a full lodge and deck overlooking the valley below. The sun was out so I just relaxed for a good 45 minutes enjoying the peace and the views.
I finally decided it was time to go and found a possible alternative trail down the face of the mountain but in the trees with lots of switchbacks. That would certainly be easier on the quads. As I was heading down I ran into 2 English speaking climbers who were just coming down from the top. They told me the Glacier was just over the horizon. I hadn't yet been up close to the Glacier so without hesitation, I was heading up again in search of the Glacier. The trail was much more reasonable and was only moderately going up and was mostly runnable. After about 15 minutes I was perched over the massive Argentiere Glacier.
It never ended for the five minutes I stood there. Many of the goats had these huge racks on their heads, looked like smaller moose antlers. All I could think of was that I would get bucked and have stitches in my butt and not be able to race. Finally I found a group of more friendly looking sheep and jumped in with the crowd as we ran down the mountain together.
They were all right, not aggressive even the sheep with the horns and I even caught up to some goats and they were fine too so we continued on for quite some time until I had to turn off. I said my au revoir and headed down the mountain to a long section of steep switchbacks to get me to the bottom, eventually. At least it was in the woods and much softer than the service road would have been. Finally I was out of there and just in time as another storm was brewing. Within minutes I was back at the hostel.
Another fine day. Tomorrow I will begin my taper, really.