Race Report of UTMB: By Sébastien Chaigneau
A good day with friends
It's pouring rain when we come together on the start line. After several long minutes of waiting and the usual protocol for a departure from UTMB, we take our last flight to a wet night in the direction of Les Houches.
The begining of one day of madness which will remain in our memories and especially in mine ...
After going through the 8 kilometers that separate us from the first aid station, we arrive at the first ascent, always in the rain and the cold generated by the altitude.
After a relatively wise descent on St. Gervais (21.6 km), I begin to find my rhythm. I make a refreshment flash and I'm leaving to Contamines (31.4 km), where my team, consisting of my dad and my mom, waiting for me.
I raise the machine well and attack the climb to La Balme (499 m + D) and the Col du Bonhomme (620 m + D) with a good pace, while maintaining maximum flexibility in my progression. I meet the snow announced by the organization.
I see before me off a series of lamps. An additional source of motivation. I decide to join, because everyone knows, the union is strength, and with several lamps, control of the night is much easier.
Imagine my surprise when, at the approach of it, I realize the presence of Michael Wolf, Csaba Nemeth, and Iker karrera, Miguel Herras!
And seconds later, a hand rests on my shoulder and wonder how I am. This is Kilian, my friend.
The rain has left us in Contamines, but a white blanket covers the ground and force us to remain hyper concentrated. After splitting the night of our six lamps, we arrive at the 50th kilometer and to Chapieux (50.4 km) where we expect a great party and the organization. There I find my little team all surprised to see me get crazy with this team and that made me surprised to be accompanied by Christopher, my coach and my friend David. After a quick refueling, control tips and bags, they motivate me all that I cling to in these conditions and cold night.
The result is amazing! At the top edges of Mount Favre (68.9 km), we discover a fabulous sunrise on the edges of Peuterey.
We finally arrive to Courmayeur. In the past, Courmayeur (77.70 km) has always been my justice, where I have often wondered if I continue or not. But this year I'm so focused on my race that I stop very soon. I really feel good and I want to stay in the game with the lead group.
The Grand Col Ferret (764 m + D) stands before me. I leave the refreshment with two minutes behind the group. I always thought that the Grand Col Ferret was the starting point of the race.
The descent to La Peule then Fouly (109.60 km) through the modification of Ferrey (due to a landslide) is done quietly. With Miguel Heras Hernandez, we return to La Fouly with two minutes behind Jornet and Iker karrera Aranburu, a delay that we will almost fill tp the aid station.
The beautiful part leading us to Champex (123.70 km) allows us to remake the joint. The aid station's arrived in Champex is amazing ... There are so many people! And Leon, originally of Little Trot to Leon (PTL) and king of blueberry tarts, who's here! It was at that moment that Michel Poletti, the organizer, tells us the change of route due to the storm of the night and damage and, above all, extra mileage and the altitude.
On this climb, I take the time to take the steps one by one. I find myself alone at the top, 4 minutes behind the duo and to Miguel for a few minutes.
That's a lot that I never thought possible, that greets us on the last meters of ascent. It's like being on a mountain race with bells, trumpets and encouragement to not knowing what to do ...
A prodigious fervor and enthusiasm! I figure while the recognition of our business is on track ...
Catogne, last bump (149.90 km). At the summit, I take time to admire the view before descending Vallorcine, Chamonix and happiness ...
I'm enjoying the moment, the clamor and the fervor that only an event like this can provide a runner, whether front, middle or behind ...
Spectators touch me, I type in hundreds of hands. The crowd roars his delight to be here and see me here and now. I take this opportunity, I take all the emotions.
Here is the final straight. Before me, a crowd of reporters, cameramen and friends waiting for me at the end. I do some slalom to reach as many people - some waiting here for hours - and finally pass this long-awaited line under the crackle of cameras ...
I take in my arms Isabel, my wife, and Ethan, my little boy of 3 ½ years, Willow, who has only a few months, can not be there. There is too much noise. Ethan is very shy and hardly dare to come and see me. I hug and turn around to greet the public.
I slip a few small words at the microphone of my friend Ludo and go to doping control. I will return to the line a few hours later to accommodate Lizzy, who with his fourth victory came in the history of the UTMB ....
The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc 2011: 3rd Sébastien Chaigneau, 20h55"41