Behind the Rocks: Moab, Utah

In February, I raced “Trail de la Nuit Polaire” and met Maxime Fouquet, a good friend that I don’t get the chance to see often, He asked me: “Would you like to race in Moab, Utah in March?”  I thought about it for a second and it seems like stars were aligned for this trip!

It turned out that Mathos was indeed racing a mountain bike stage race (Moab Rocks) that weekend, that I was allowed to take vacation at the clinic, and that airplane tickets were not too expensive. So, I took the opportunity and emailed Max with my airplane tickets in attachement. Couple weeks later, I found out that Salomon Academy would be there with Annie Jean, Marianne Hogan and other friends! It was the perfect opportunity to go and visit this place.

”Marvellous”, was I thinking, I’m still surprised how many different experiences life is holding in store for me!  I was really excited to go there especially at the end of the winter, when my spirit needs sunshine and warmth !

I could only take couples days off, so on Thursday I took the plane, Max picked me up at Salt Lake city and we drove right away to Moab. Next morning 7 am, we stop for breakfast at Muffin of Love  where we met other Quebecers (Christian and his crew were running in Arizona the next day). 8 am we went for an easy jog (15kms, jeez it’s hard not to go for longer in such a scenery). 10 am we were visiting Arches National Park . 12 am, lunch. 13 am driving to Canyonlands for some touristic attractions again… Then, relaxation some pre race stuffs until the night.

Next morning

Max was racing at 6 am (80 km distance). My start was given 1 hour after (50 km distance).

The race

The plan was to start with a conservative pace because there were a long up hill from km 30 till km 40. But my coach told me : “Pars vite, accélère à 20 bornes, mets une mine dans la côte, pis sprint les derniers 10 kms, parce que ça descend.”  Obviously, that was sarcasm. We both knew that 1st I did great training over the winter, 2nd it’s early in the season and last but not least the race was in low altitude, as a result it was more of a race to test the legs and enjoy the view!

The first 20km went by fast, I stayed with the front man ‘wolf pack’ for the first 10kms and we were running on an average pace of 4.41/km. It must have been too fast for me but at that point it felt like an usual jog. Then, I had to stop because I was too well hydrated, then I also got off the course for a little 500m, but realized it quickly and didn’t loose much time out there. My goal was to catch up the group but I suddenly got warm and had to remove my long sleeves, put it in my bag pack, my bottle of water felt on the ground… So I ended up loosing couples seconds again.

Awww, I couldn’t see the boys anymore! I wasn’t too anxious about it, I was feeling great and 50km is a long race! My legs were fresh and I was thankful to that! At 30k, I suddenly hit a wall. Oh yeah, I felt the altitude at that point. I started to see stars, and to move slower and slower. I kept telling myself to move my arms and not to stop running, but I was gradually loosing speed.  A girl from Colorado passed me at km 47th, I couldn’t stay with her, even if it was going down. This is were I realised alltitude really hit me hard.

Oh well, you can’t complain when you are racing in such a scenery, it was awesome ! Afterward I had to wait for Max to finish his 80km race that ended being a 87km race 🙂 It was a bit longer than expected…

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Max and I, in his last km!!!!

Max got off the race course and ran 7 km longer. He went out for 87km! He wanted to quit, but at the last aid station, the lady told him: ” sit for a minute and think about it, you look too good to stop here! ” It is a good training for his next 100 miles race in South Africa at the end of the summer.

If you want to race Behind the Rocks next year, let me know I’ll be glad to give your tricks and tips on that course.

Sunday

I went to cheer for Mathos and ran another 20km in the desert, then Max and I drove back to Salt Lake.

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From left to right, me, Anna Frost, Annie Jean & Max King

I just came back home and I am already looking forward for the next race. This is what keeps us alive, right? 🙂

P.S. Stay tuned for Mathos post race report !

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Bye bye Moab !
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