Col du Mont Lachat

It was a sunny and clear day yesterday.  Right about half a mile behind our apartment is a trail head that leads up to Col du Mont Lachat and from there, there are many options to explore other trails.  I didn’t know that there was a cemetery, small one right above the parking lot of the grocery store.  Straight up the road is a small trail head single track where the climb begins.  The climb was really pleasant even though it was about 3500 ft to the Col, it was a long and forgiving climb.  A lot of switch backs to help ease the steepness and many runnable sections.  I promised myself that I would not run on this hike.  It was a good hike to the Col with a lot of blooming purple flowers!


We saw a train headed down slowly on the mountains, too.  There was a helicopter flying up supplies to a chalet above where the glaciers were and I assumed it would be where the train stops.  The views were amazing!

The hike down the Col was so steep!  300m of extreme steepness and carefully navigating those slipper paths.  We then made it to a chalet for some cappuccino to take a break.  The downhills are tempting once again to run on.

I now have a problem of not being able to hike down but instead I start running.  I keep thinking to myself, this is a recovery day and I need to really stop running!  Unfortunately, I failed.  I ran slowly just to make me feel better.  The trails down was not so bad.  It is runnable with a few technical sections that were muddy and slippery but it was okay if hiked slowly.  We followed the trail sign that say Les Houches Chef Luie (Les Houches Main Town) all the way down through a couple of parking lots then the road.  We can see the church from where the road started and that was where we were headed.

My patella on my right knee was sensitive.  Just the tip of the knee cap.  I wore my 4mm drop shoes, a very old shoes and it worked fine.  Sometimes, old broken in shoes are the best.  There won’t be a good sale in Chamonix until about end of September and will have to shop around for shoes for UTMR earlier.  The narrow 6mm shoes is just going to hurt my feet affecting alignment from feet to hips.  I really don’t want that to happen.  The most improved thing for me right now are my hips, it’s very strong and the quads, calves and feet – I am hoping to say knees but the steepness on the mountains is harsh.  It’s not very bad but I’ll have to really monitor it’s healing.  That is the only kink in my run right now.  Running slow or hiking slow seem to bother it more than running faster – it’s like a pinched nerve on the knee cap.  It’s mostly from breaking a lot on the steep downhill, specially the technical terrain.

We’ve been monitoring the weather everyday, not only for our hikes but also for our two days trip on TMB (Tour Mont Blanc) going from Les Houches, France all the way to Courmayeur, Italy.  Right now, forecast looks good and praying for good weather those days.  One thing we are not very good at is bad weather running or hiking.  We’ve been in really bad conditions but it would make life easier with good weather.

The other day, we checked out phones.  We were looking for cheap mobile phones because UTMR requires them to be carried during the race in case of emergency.  We found cheap phones of E45 each and have to go back because they didn’t have SIM cards in stock. We have iPhones but unfortunately, it’s American carrier and they suck.  American carriers overcharge customers so bad it’s ridiculous.  In other countries, you pay as you use, no contract. The American carriers make it very difficult and expensive to unlock an iPhone.  Everywhere else in the world, all phones are unlocked.  We will never get a phone from the US ever.

We should look into renting a phone to use during the race, that is another option.  We really don’t want to carry another set of phones.  Right now, our hand me down iPhones work really good with just WIFI because WIFI is everywhere.  We hardly call anyone on the phone and if I do need to call, I use Skype.  It’s not worth spending E90 for another set of phones. A new pair of good shoes would cost that much.

There are a few good maps in the Tourism Office and we are planning to get a good one for our TMB hike.  We need to plan out our route and figure out places to stop in case of emergency or bad weather.  Those things that need to be thought out before we head out.  One thing great about the route is that the refuge will be open and we will be cruising through a few small villages.  More on that as we get closer – that trip is next week!

Thanks for reading and following our journey.

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