|Top of the relatively easy Col Lazoney (only 2700ft climbing) on a nice warm day.|
We came into Gressoney feeling good, maybe even too good. The term "loopy" comes to mind. We'd made it through the dreaded "section 4" and managed a little sleep in Niel before completing a short climb in the heat of the day. This was followed by a long gradual downhill where we got in a bit of running and I even took time to soak my legs in a creek. Conversation died down as we strolled along the road happily approaching the 200K mark, our trekking poles scratching along the pavement. Harry started tapping his in time. Tap....tap....tap, tap, tap. I joined in watching Harry fall into a march, bobbing his head. The silliness continued to grow, culminating with Harry planting his poles at his sides and kicking up his heels as if performing a jig. We both burst into laughter and I regretting not whipping out my camera to video it as there is no way our other friends would be able to properly envision the scene.
|Baby lamb during our relaxing descent|
Just as we we were leaving town there was an intersection along the path with no course markings. In retrospect, it was probably quite obvious which was the correct way, but we hadn't quite fully gathered our diminishing wits so were overcautious. We stopped to check the map and our GPS programs. As we stood there, we noticed a couple of blonde women walking towards us from the opposite direction, one wearing a race number. It was all a bit confusing in our stunted state so we didn't recognize that it was Anne from Alaska along with Jill. I'm sure Jill thought we were completely out of it. When she told us of the steep section ahead, we tried to explain that we weren't too worried if it was "only steep" (i.e. not "steep and covered in boulders" or "steep and lined muddy" or...). I think the poorly executed humor was lost.
The course took us through some town that seemed deserted before starting the climb. Of course, the climbing was steep as promised, but nothing too extraordinary for the course. At Alpenzu we enjoyed cappuccinos before heading over Col Pinter in the dark. The climb was unremarkable, but the descent was another of those that began steep and then seemed to stretch for ever before reaching the next checkpoint. We were tired and planned another nap once we reached Refugio Crest. Of course, this made the section seem even longer. It didn't help that upon arriving, the check-in and sleeping quarters were separated by a bit of distance. At any rate, we had a decent little sleep followed by more cappuccino.
|Looking tired at the top of Pinter|
"What goes up, must come down." However, at TDG it always seems to go up again first. The short section (up and) down into Saint Jacques was tedious. We didn't stay long, but it was clear the race was taking its toll on many as we saw people being taped up and patched up here. The sun was about to rise and we'd another climb in front of us. Travelling along a stream in a protected valley at dawn, the temperature plummeted. Layer upon layer went on as I bundled up for the first time since the initial rain storm on day 1.
|Wasn't I just too warm yesterday?|
|Wasn't I just too cold a few minutes ago?|
|Part of Monte Rosa, I believe|
|Matterhorn from the Italian side|
|It was a bit warm.|
|Harry and the high, alpine cows|
|Sunset is coming.|