Tag: tdf

Race Recap: Trail Des Fantômes

Yet another trail run in the pocket!
Last week I went running Trail Des Fantômes with my brother.
We agreed on running this trail and adding some well deserved time off to it.

This meant we arrived at La Roche-En-Ardenne on Saturday, setup the tents with the family, had a first rough night (party at the camping) and woke up looking forward to the race.

The day set out to be better than expected, so I decided to bring along my camelbak, but just to be sure wear a T-shirt rather than a tank top.

At the start my brother was surprised by a local news station with an interview, I just smiled from a distance. After picking up our bibs we browsed the runners-market and waited for the start.

Interview Brother
Interviewed Brother

When the gun went off we tried to get in front of the big pack as we knew the race started with a rather steep climb. These are always easier if you can keep your own pace.

Height profile 31k

The first climb was steep, I instantly felt my calves blowing up, NOT a good sign. First trail I started walking after less than 3km, but looking around me I wasn’t the only one, which was comforting in a way.
I saw my brother swiftly running up the mountain, he sure had a golden start of his first trail!

Starting in the big pack
Starting in the big pack

Up until the first supply point I kept on struggling. I seemed to be too hot and felt rather weak, not a fun feeling only 8 out of 31km into the race.
I decided to eat quite a lot of sugar and salt in the hope it would relift my spirits.
I told my brother he shouldn’t wait for me if I kept struggling like this, but he decided to stick with me.

It actually got somewhat better, although I still felt hot. The tough thing however was that the trailrun did not bring a lot of time to recuperate.
The climbs were steep, but some of the descents were maybe even steeper. Some parts it was sliding down, hoping you could find a tree to grab so you wouldn’t get too much speed.

Despite this fact, it was B-E-A-UTIFUL!
Great nature, great views, great single trails. In total 2 river crossings, running across the rough rocks, climbing up with the help of a chain, stepping over little creeks and seeing a lot of the river ‘Ourthe’ next to you. I enjoyed a lot, a lot!

What a view!

After about 20kms my quads were starting to protest, but that was nothing compared to my brother. He got his first cramp in his calves, which made me pull on his toes so it would go away.
This made it go a lot better for about 5kms before cramping up altogether. Quads, calves, hamstrings, everything seemed to cramp.
The guess wasn’t enough water, but that didn’t help us now.
Luckily he isn’t one to let his head down at such a point and decided to grit his teeth so his first trail would not turn into a first DNF.

The last 5km was at a slower pace, but it got us talking and enjoying the scenery some more. After the last brutal (see the height profile) last climb (+150m in 1k) it was finally some track that made it possible to recuperate.
One last hard descent got us to the last river crossing and we could already hear the commentator at the finish line!

Fun touch, about 150m before the finish we went over a registration point, so the commentator could call everyone by name at the finish.
We heard that we finished 91 & 92 (from 413 people) and frankly … we were pleased with ourselves.

What I learned:
– Don’t pack too heavy when you know there are will be lot of heavy climbs.
– Don’t pack too heavy if there are 3 supply points over 31km.
– Dipping your cap in the river is nice way to cool yourselves.
– If you doubt about clothing before starting a race, take the choice with the least fabric.
– Trail Des Fantômes is a very technical trail, but for now the most beautiful I have run so far.