This has been a week of recovery after last week’s 100 mile total and ahead of next week’s likely massive total, too. The shorter runs have been good fun and I’ve done familiar loops, revisited places I haven’t run in a while, and even thrown in a couple of hills, too. This morning, though, I wanted to do something very different, something that I have been thinking about for a while and that would start Friday off on the right foot.
I decided to run Lyon’s Metro A-Line.
Checking it out on Strava once or twice, I knew that the A-Line runs about 9 kilometers from Vaulx-en-Velin to Perrache. It passes through Vaulx-en-Velin, Villeurbanne, and Lyon’s 6th, 1st, and 2nd arrondissements. If I started at Vaulx-en-Velin and ran to Perrache, then ran home, I would have between ten and eleven kilometers for the morning, so why not? It’s different, it’s fun, and it’ll be something to talk about on the blog!
Of course, starting the run at Vaulx-en-Velin means getting there. I could run but that would turn my recovery week run into a 20 kilometer long run, and I am saving those longer efforts for the weekend when I have a little more time. No, in the spirit of running the A-Line, I would take the first train out to Vailx-en-Velin and then, arriving at the station, start my Garmin and head back to from whence I had come. Of course, the first metro of the morning leaves the station closest to me (Bellecour) at 5:04am and doesn’t get to Vaulx-en-Velin until 5:20am. Count another couple of minutes for the GPS to lock in and for me to find my bearings, and I wouldn’t really get going before 5:30am. It would be about an hour of running back to home so I’m cutting it a little more fine than I have been this week, but what is a morning for other than exercising and getting off to work in a rush, right? And so, I had laid out my clothes, I set my alarm, and I was out the door in time to jog to Bellecour, find my way to the platform, and ride out to Vaulx-en-Velin to get this thing started.
From the station at Vaulx-en-Velin I headed straight for the next stop, Laurent Bonnevay. Here I had to push over the bridge that spans the ring road that circles the Lyon-Villeurbanne conurbation, and I started down a slight hill heading into Villeurbanne. The next couple of stops came up quickly (Cusset, Flachet) and then I was deep into Villeurbanne proper. Gratte-Cile – French for ‘skyscraper’, a reference to the twin-towers located here – and then Republique. This was all familiar to me as I lived not too far away from Republique a few years back. Next up was the large interchange at Charpennes and shortly after I passed a sign that let me know I was now officially in Lyon again.
Massena was the next station I passed, and then Foch. From here I pushed through the park and over the Rhone to the Hotel de Ville station, and then turned onto the Rue de Republique for the straight shot down to Perrache. I ran past two Starbucks coffee houses on this section, neither of which were open which has to be a poor decision on the part of the franchise owner. After passing Cordeliers and crossing Bellecour, there were only two more stops to go.
I passed Ampere and it’s collection of drunks, drug addicts, and students trying to figure out who they slept with the night before as they stumbled in the direction of the metro station, and I could see the ‘finish line’ at Perrache clearly. I decided that a bit of stair work would be a good way to celebrate making it to the end of the A-line, and ran the stairs to the top of the station at Place Carnot. A slower descent of the stairs followed and I made my way back along the Rue Victor Hugo to Bellecour, then to Jacobins, and then home.
Was I the first person to run the A-Line? Doubtful – but I imagine I am the first to write about doing so.
Let it not be said that I don’t create some out-of-the-box content here, folks – now onto the rest of the day!
Image by Florian Fèvre from Transports Urbains Français