Friday, 31 August 2012

Start of the CCC

The Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix race or CCC is the UTMB's baby brother covering 100km and 6000m of ascent. To the strains of Vangelis's UTMB anthem 1800 competitors set off at 10am this morning. Forecasts are predicting 15cm of snow above 2000m and very strong winds. Perfect conditions for those runners who have been training through a UK summer! However in light of this the organisers have taken the decision to shorten the route slightly missing out the initial Tete de la Tronche and the Tete aux Vents on the final run in.

The atmosphere at the start gave a foretaste for the main event tonight. Warming up was very continental comprising a strong coffee and plenty of dancing / air guitar to the music which was building a great atmosphere despite the frequent showers. A very important part of the UTMB tradition is the stunningly  powerful anthem, Vangelis's Conquest of Paradise, which must have sent shivers down the spine of every single runner. Many hours later it should reduce many of them to tears as they approach the finish line! The track below is the original score until I can find the brass version the UTMB use!

The race traces a circuit of Courmayeur before heading north east towards the Col du Grand Ferret, the high point of todays race which will be fairly 'atmospheric' in todays snow. The leading runners are expected into Chamonix around 9pm tonight with the slowest having until midday tomorrow to complete the course

The timing mats at the start. As an additional safety feature in the poor conditions all competitors are now carrying a third chip on their rucksack

Roving kit checks

The massed start beginning a circuit of Cormayeur