Chamonix Diaries Day 10, June 8th 2017

Today is a big day for the UK, with the pending election coming to a the vote.As an Aussie who has lived in London for close to four years, I am closely invested in the outcome, far more than any other time of my life. I studied International Relations, and have always actively engaged in politics and debates as least from an intellectual perspective. As a caveat, I mean engaged in politics in the respect that I actively keep up to date with a range of national and international political happenings, read frequently about current events (and outside of standard news networks) and engage in conversations and discussions with friends, family and those inclined to discuss such things. I hold a range of opinions on both national and global politics in multiple countries (particularly Australia and the UK), and whilst always engaged in discussions and evolving my opinions based on new evidence and facts. I do not actively support one party or consider myself aligned with one particular party. I vote and support parties that at the time, represent the views and values that I care about and are passionate about, and know that every occasion this is different, based on a variety of factors. That being said, after the calamities of Brexit and Trump, I can only have faith that we as humans recognise how important it is to vote, and that it really is a privilege. Australia has mandator voting which I think is great, I can only hope that the UK has as strong turnout of people (regardless of HOW they vote), so they can actively shape our future. Apathy is so dangerous.

That’s enough about politics, but I felt I needed to share at least that. Today’s post is brought to you Moody Coffee Roasters, the BEST coffee in Chamonix! Ian does a great job providing a more London/Australian cafe vibe to Chamonix, far above the average standards that is present generally in France. Great varieties of coffee beans, a flat white akin to a Sydney cafe and just a great variety of food and caffeinated beverages. As of this point, I am severely and satisfyingly caffeinated, with a delicious side of brownie. Thanks Moody!

Montenvers is my goal for today, a location up on the Mont Blanc side, and a popular destination for tourists (made accessible by the ski lifts and train that get you up there). I found the trailhead easily enough, and had a pretty big climb up the ski piste before hitting the trails. It reminded me of the climb at the start of Western States, up Escarpment to Watson’s Monument. A climb I will be doing in a few short weeks. This is only the second time I have run up this side of the mountain, and it definitely runs steeper and far more technical. The more technical climbs mean the running is far more broken up, and harder to get a rhythm. Runs where strategic power hiking come in to play far more often, and you need to really work to keep a steady pace. When racing, trails like this can easily set you up to drop off the pace, as the changing terrain and un-rhythmic nature of the climbs mean you can lose contact with that feeling of urgency, and end up unconsciously dialling back the pace. On runs like this, I consciously make an effort to keep the intensity moving forward. It is easy to sleep on the effort and it really is up to you to create the rhythm and push steadily despite the terrain. There were a few tourists hiking up and down the trail, and passing was easy enough. The sun was out and it was perfect weather. I cruised up further, hoping that the path I had taken would take me to my planned spot in the mountains (I had essentially picked a point in the mountains, and followed a trail, not knowing the actual name of where I intended to be). Sure enough, Montenvers was my chosen and actual destination, which I was pleased with. As I ran up the final climb, a bunch of French students began cheering ‘allez’ and enthusiastically cheering in support of me, which was a great way to finish. The top of Montenvers has a hotel, and has two modes of public transport access, so it was quite busy. I spent five or so minutes there, before heading back down (to more cheers from my de-facto supporters). The run down went quickly, (5kms on the trail up/down), and despite catching my toe a few times (but not falling over), I got back quickly and used the final km off steeper and smoother fire road to hammer the quads for the finish. A stunning days run, and I now only have one left. Today was a great day, with perfect weather. Chamonix certainly was putting on a show.


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