Friday, July 18, 2014

2014 @Salomon_SA Bastille Day Trail Run (25km)–Race Report

So having taken a break from Trail running during 2013 due to injury, I was really looking forward to one of my favorite races from 2012 – the Salomon Bastille Day Trail Run.

Back in 2012, I’d done the shorter 12km route – this year I decided to opt for the 25 (not being fit or brave enough to tackle the 35km or the new 50km routes).
First off – what I really enjoyed, was that the 25km route follows very little of the 12km I did 2 years ago, so it was mostly a whole new experience (some extra motivation for those who did the 15 this year to ”upgrade” next year). All the best bits like the (bone cold) river crossings were still there – but the rest was all new to me - probably also due to my very short memory.
I was rather happy to see that they’d implemented batch starts – which worked really well. I was very glad to be included in the “slow-folks” D group Smile.
Thankfully the weather was a great deal better than the last 2 years, so it wasn’t nearly as cold, or miserable as I had feared.

Before I head on to the good stuff, just a word of warning for those using GPS to get to the venue: It lead me down a long forgotten road, straight to a dam with locked gates etc. Don’t turn anywhere strange until you pass through Franschhoek – after which you will see very well marked arrows pointing the way out again to the venues.

On to the good stuff:

The view from the Start/Finish venue is quite spectacular

The ever colourful Trevor sent us on our way with the obligatory warnings and insults:

Soon we were heading up a steep jeep track, getting a glimpse of what we’d only get to see in the next 3 hours or so (for me anyway), and bathed in much needed warm sunlight.

More jeep track climbs, and then we were greeted with this:

hint: the trail leads up that treeline Surprised smile. Helpful tip: Use the trees as leverage to pull yourself up.

Thankfully the incline doesn’t last too long (the advantage of writing up this report a week after the event: it was probably longer than I remember Smile) – and once you’re out on the other side, there’s a fair few km’s of beautful single track

… and great views

What’s also nice about the route is that it intersects quite a few times with the 15km route – something which one guy that passed me I’m sure was very grateful for – he’d missed one of the markers. One of those intersects leads to one of the features that make this trail run so unique – the river crossings!

from there it’s more beautiful mountain running

…which is good – because I didn’t feel so bad when I had to rest my dead quads at about the 19km mark.
This was a really good spot to take in the scenery and enjoy a chocolate energy bar

At about 20km I could hear the high pitched yelps of the 15km runners crossing the river below to make their way to the finish. For the rest of us though – we would have to torturously stare at our destination from across the dam, while we made our way around a few more contours

I managed to cross the finish just as prize giving had started – which was convenient because I could rest my very weary legs on the chairs they had packed out… and I walked away with another (silver leaf) tree for my Bastille Day Trail run collection. I think I’m going to have to clear a special place in the garden for them.

Some more links of interest:
15km race report
TrailRunning Facebook photos

Looking forward to next year – maybe I’ll be brave enough for the 35km by then.

Gallery with a few extra pics not posted above: