I can’t really recall when exactly I got the crazy idea to sign up for 100km race in the Alpine mountains. All I know is that sometime during the 2013/14 winter the idea crossed my mind. I had more than enough qualifying points from LT70 and MSIG Lantau50 for the CCC race. So I decided to try my luck in the UTMB lottery. I did not expect to be one of the lucky ones, it was more about improving my chances for the lucky draw for 2015 race.
Few weeks later the lottery results were out and I was in. And as I quickly found out so was quite a big group of other runners from Hong Kong.
I planned to take a bit of rest after the end of the winter season in HK and then start my training at the end of March. Unfortunately after managing to survive the entire racing season without any injury a pain in the hip area appeared out of nowhere during my rest weeks. Therefore the early stages of my CCC preparation were just some easy hikes and practice with poles. The pain was neither getting worse nor better during these hikes so I decided to suck it up and start running about 2 weeks later. It took few more months of running through the pain until it suddenly went away during or after a hot 40km training run in mid June. From then on I went full steam ahead with my training generally involving 2 early morning mid week 20+ km hilly runs, 1 long Saturday run and some follow up run on Sunday morning, roughly 80-90km per week on the trails of Hong Kong and pretty much nothing on the road. But no matter how hard (and slow) you train in the heat and humidity of Hong Kong summer nothing can even remotely simulate what awaits in the Alps (as we were to find out).
So finally after 5 months of training it was time to head to Europe. After spending few days in Slovakia I arrived in Chamonix late on Monday, the week of the race. I originally planned to hike the final part of the course from Vallorcine to Chamonix on Tuesday but the rainy weather cancelled that plan. With the benefit of hindsight I am really grateful for that…