Last Day of Run For Dylan: Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:33:00

This day was a pretty special day. Other than this day was the day I got a year older, but also was the last day of my 35 days of adventure and the last day of my RunForDylan charity. I just realize that I was blessed that I could do what I do; financially, physically and mentally. I had been doing ultra trail running for more than one year and a half. Despite running was good as an exercise and life challenge, but I found that running was also a pretty selfish activity, specially ultra trail running. I would say half of my life these couple of years was dedicated for myself, my running, and those stinky running shoes. But this day when I did my last run for RunForDylan charity, I felt a new meaning of running. I felt I could give back to community. In this case was for Dylan and any other kids who suffers The Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ib. On the top of it, running this charity gave me more courage and put more effort to finish my race or trek. So many times when I was in Mont Blanc, I thought I wanted to quit, I wanted to turn around and went back to my comfy zone, but I did not. RunForDylan reminded me that I could not give up on her. And my big hope that someday I could witness Dylan would run a marathon(s) or even ultra, who knows.

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BEAR MOUNTAIN LOVE AND HATE #9 : Sunday – September 07, 2014

After 2 weeks and a half in the Alps, I missed my backyard mountain, The Bear Mountain. So I drove up on Sunday morning to the Silver Mine Lake to do a small loop run and a few hill repeat.

When I arrived at the Silver Mine Lake, I just realize I only brought a set of big bottles. One for tailwind mix and the other for water, but I did not bring any hand-held bottle for the loop. Also since my phone was broken, so I had no tracking device, online map, no photos, etc. Somehow, I made it more interesting, accidentally, I also forgot to bring any maps.

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TDS® (Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie)

“A race in open country along the ‘Grande Randonnée’ paths crossing though the Mont-Blanc, Beaufort, Tarentaise and Aosta valley countryside. A mountainous event, including numerous sections at altitude (>2,500m), in weather conditions which can be very difficult (night, wind, cold, rain or snow), requiring a very good level of fitness, the appropriate equipment and a real capacity for personal autonomy.
The two Savoie and the Aosta valleys are some of the provinces that once made up the Savoie State. Line up to discover these 3 regions which are united around Mont-Blanc, and borrow the paths where history and the mountains meet.

The North Face Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc

Race Blurp From The Organiser 
First of all you will experience the very special ambiance of the start of the race from the centre of Courmayeur. Passing by “Maison Vieille” at the col Checrouit (1st refreshment point), you will go up along the UTMB® path to the refuge Elisabetta. Then you turn upwards towards the Col Chavannes (2603m) which is next to the col de la Seigne. Even if you are a regular runner of the UTMB®, this long ascent of the Valley Veny in the early morning light will certainly help you discover a new perspective of it, in all its magnificence. Open you eyes wide because it is a view of rare beauty! Then you will experience, throughout the long descent on gentle slopes, the splendid wilderness of the Vallon de Chavannes’ pastures before joining the Vallon de la Doire de Verney which you will go up to reach the Lac de Verney before reaching the Col du petit Saint-Bernard (2188m, refreshment post). You then leave the Aosta valley and will begin your trip in the Haute Tarentaise with a long descent along the Roman way which, since the year 2 AD, has linked Rome to Lyon by passing through the Alps. Profit from the party which will be awaiting you when you cross through Séez and then Bourg Saint-Maurice (refreshment point), because it is followed by a serious ascent of almost 2000m! You will pass the forts of Truc and la Patte which were built at the end of the XIX° century, when Franco/Italian relations were turning sour, to protect the valley from eventual attack by Italian troops. You then reach the wonderful area of the 5 lakes. Just after the Col de la Forclaz (2354m), you pass along the lac Esola, and then you climb up over the Passeur de Pralognan (2567m). A descent, very steep at first, then gentler, leads you to the volunteers from Beaufort at the Cormet de Roselend (refreshment post). You then have to go up to the Col de la Sauce, then by taking the amazing passage du Curéto the hamlet of la Gitte (have a quick look, just next to the security point, at the chapelle de Notre-Dame des Neiges, dating from 1639) then go up towards the  Col de Gitte to 2322m from where one can see the extraordinary view of the Mont-Blanc,  Aiguilles Rouges,  Fiz and Aravis chains of mountains… before taking, a little known path, across the “Grande Pierrière” to the Col du Joly where you will experience the welcome from the team from Hauteluce (refreshment point). This wild walk along the most beautiful paths of the Tarentaise, Beaufort and Mont-Blanc country continues with a descent into Les Contamines (refreshment point), before going up to the col du Tricot passing the chalets du Truc and Miage. You cross the nose of the Bionnassay glacier by footbridge and go up to Bellevue before plunging down into Les Houches (refreshment point). All that remains is to reach the centre of Chamonix for a triumphal and well deserved finish!

Distance : around 119 km
Positive height gain : around 7,250m
Time limit : 33:00
Finish : 28:32:00
Rank : #550 (overall)

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Mont Blanc Je t’aime

“The “roof of Europe”, the world’s third-ranking most visited natural area, continues to attract millions of visitors and thousands of mountaineers every year. Conquering Mont Blanc is a dream shared by many amateur mountaineers and enthusiasts. This dream is possible as long as one does not underestimate the apparently easy slopes of this legendary mountain.”
Chamonix Valley Official Website

Fear Is Man Best Friend
That morning I woke up early, we would meet up with the group at the Chamonix Express office around 9 am. People who had run or trekked with me, knew that I always tried to be upbeat and did my best not to complain much. But this morning, the fear hit me. I saw how fast the weather in the Alps could change from gorgeous day into nasty thunderstorms or just cold freezing rain. Also a few days before I flew to Chamonix, there had been 2 deadly accidents there. Mont Blanc average causality is around 100 hikers every year, with around 12 rescue mission only in summer every year, which was pretty high. (article)
I tried to occupied my mind. I reviewed my pack and my day by day plan, to make sure I had everything I would need and not over-do it. I knew I was physically prepared, I was doing pretty good with my crampons and axes training, the weather was not bother me much, and we got some awesome professional guides. I thought it just between me and the monkey. I just needed to be extra cautious, not too excited in the mountain and having fun. Some wise man says that fear keeps man alive, I guessed that was exactly what I needed at that moment.

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World Wonder – Mer de Glace

“France’s largest glacier, the glistening 200 m – deep Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) snakes 7km through mighty rock spires and turrets; it was named by Englishman William Windham, the first foreigner to set eyes on the glacier in 1741. The glacier moves up to 90m a year, and has become a popular attraction thanks to the rack-and-pinion railway line opened in 1908. Wrap up warm to experience the Grotte de la Mer de Glace ice cave, where frozen tunnels and ice sculptures change colour like mood rings. A quaint red mountain train trundles up from Gare du Montenvers in Chamonix to Montenvers (1913m), from where a cable car takes you down to the glacier and cave. Besides covering the 20-minute journey, the cable car and the ice cave, your ticket gets you entry into the Galerie des Cristaux , glittering with crystals from the Mont Blanc Massif, and the new Glaciorium , spotlighting the birth, life and future of glaciers. The Mer de Glace can be reached on foot via the Grand Balcon Nord trail from Plan de l’Aiguille. The two-hour uphill trail from Chamonix starts near the summer luge track. Traversing the crevasse glacier requires proper equipment and an experienced guide.”

Lonely Planet

Tuut Tuut, Snow White, I love
After my first hike in the Alps the day before, I was tired but at the same time, I could not wait to get back to that magical place. I grew up in tropical country where the humidity could reach 90% and 30˚ C average temperature the whole year, so snow was not my nature, yet something about this Alps that made me feel so content.
Dan and I went to Gare du Montenvers in Chamonix around 9 am to meet up with the group, and the ride to Montenvers was about 20 minutes-ish. The whole ride was amazing, I felt like I was in the Universal Studio ride. For a moment, I forgot about the chill air that bits my skin or drowsy feeling that clouded my mind.
Then, when I got out from the train at Montenvers, the view even more stunning. I had not seen so much white in one place in my life, I meant glacier. when I looked into the right side, towards to the Alps, it was an ocean of ice. It seemed like I would begin a journey into a winter wonderland, just like in the Disney movie, Frozen.

On the other hand, when I saw a photo from 1900-ish that was posted on the visitor center wall, the glacier back then was probably ten times more massive than today. It was pretty sad if the next generation might not able to enjoy this view anymore. And who says that Global Warming was a hoax. Explain these two pictures.

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