First of all, and before the event, a feeling of excitement and feverishness invades me, because this event is such an iconic race in the ski mountaineering circuit.
We are well aware that we are going to endure 4 very intense days... that we are on a two-person event, that both must be reliable and consistent and get along well, and that we are on a "mechanized" sport with its share of surprises, even breakage... in short, it is all this chemistry that makes you the happiest of men when you manage to finish and you say "never again. ... like a woman giving birth!" but in reality, a few weeks later, you keep only the best and you say to yourself "I will come back and be even better!"
The "Pierre" as it is called, is over 10,000m of elevation over 4 days, but that is not what makes this race hard. What is characteristic of this race is the intensity of each day.
Everyone is on fire, and all the time... if you have a problem with your skins, no matter how small, if you take the time to feed yourself by lowering your pace, if you make a bad move, whatever the reason, there is such a "fight" that you will always have several teams that will overtake you, at the slightest weakness, and that from the first to the last team.
Generally you finish exhausted at the end of each stage, then you drink a good beer, it quickly restores you, have a nap, then imperative to get a good massage, and there the
miracle happens, you're back on track the next day.
And then there is the myth...the thousands of spectators who gather at the Grand Mont or at the Col de la Forclaz on day 3 or 4, like this year, and who cheer for you as if you were
the greatest of champions...at this moment it's the emotional rollercoaster...you struggle not to cry, and it's hard not to shed a tear. Your hair stands on end, you are overwhelmed by emotion, but you can't let yourself be distracted... the race continues.
I fall, Sprained thumb, not important, keep going.
The real adventure, beyond the competition, is the human adventure with your teammate for whom you are ready to share everything, to give everything... but also with all your club mates, with whom you "pull on the shirt" during the race and then you relive the race all together, laughing at our "bullshit".
In the end, it is a melting pot of emotions, joy, sadness, anger, happiness, friendships, exacerbated by the hardness of this race which makes it so beautiful and so endearing.
"Long live the sport and the emotions it brings!"
By Christophe Renaud Vertical ambassador