Today is a holiday in France becuase, well, I imagine with all the people in this country trying to balance their strikes with their nuit debout activities there need to be yet another day  where nobody works and – hell – make it a Thursday and have half the country call in sick on Friday to enjoy a four day weekend.

I dropped Jamie back to his mum this morning and then got the shopping out the way early so I could eat lunch with Cécile. As she’s working for an American company she doesn’t get the day off today, though she herself is just back from a five day weekend so she’s not complaining much.

That gave me the afternoon to head out for a run and so I chose to make the most of the sunshine and head outside of Lyon. I jumped on the regional train in the direction of Sain-Bel, a small village in the Monts Lyonnaise, and decided to run back into Lyon.

It was 22 degrees celsius, I had a full bladder of water in the Camelbak, and I was going to run a hill.

may5-run

From the start both the heat and the gradient were challenging. Leaving the train station at Sain-Bel I started directly up the climb to the Col de la Croix de Ban. I had ridden this climb a couple of times on the bike but it would be my first time running it. My memory of the climb was that it was largely covered by trees and cut into the forest on the hill, yet the trees didn’t really kick in until about the fourth kilometer and so I was sweating it out under the sun.

Usually I take on water after every five kilometers or about every half hour. Today, though, I was taking big swigs of water every two kilometers and trying my best to keep cool. When I got to the top of the climb I stopped for a minute to take a couple of snapshots (including the one at the top of this post) and visit the bathroom, then started my way down the other side of the hill.

sain-bel-hill

If the way up was steep then the way down was a little less so, but this still remained a challenge in the heat. I tried my best to stay in the shade where I could find it and to keep hydrating but there was not too much I could do when the sun was blaring down.

As I got into Pollionnay I had to pause for a couple of minutes and get my bearings. Taking the wrong turn here could send me well out of my way so, using the GPS, I made sure I was on the right route and continued my way towards the next village, namely Grézieu-la-Varenne.

Passing through Grézieu I noticed that my Camelbak was bouncing a little and I pulled the straps to tighten it. Reflecting on this, I realized that it was bouncing because the 1.5 liters of water I had started with was much reduced from all the drinking. With the town of Craponne approaching, I decided to take a moment and find somewhere I could grab a cold drink and refill the bladder for the last part of the run.

Sadly, on a national holiday in France and in a small town, that meant dropping into McDonald’s.

A large Coke Zero and a refilled bladder later, I was back on the road and heading for the next town, Tassin-la-Demi-Lune. From here I dropped down into the Vaise quarter of Lyon, and then cut through familiar streets until I arrived at the Place Valmy. Hot, slightly dehydrated despite my best efforts, and with the sun still bright in a cloudless sky, I clicked stop on the Garmin.

It was  great run and a nice way to pass an afternoon in the villages above Lyon, but I really have to learn (or re-learn) how to handle the heat.

Distance: 23km

Elevation: 403m

Time: 2:16:22

Strava

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