As I previewed yesterday, I thought this week was as good as any to push the weekly mileage up because, if I am feeling good now and I am uninjured, moving a little ahead in the schedule isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Thus, this morning I set out for a long, slow distance run with the goal of feeling good, maintaining a steady pace, and enjoying the hills of the Mont d’Or.
In my mind I was hoping to get in 40km or the equivalent of about a third of my weekly mileage. I wasn’t going to push hard on the climbs, I wasn’t going to try and set any records, and I wasn’t going to blow up my quads on the downhills either. The name of the game was keeping a steady pace and enjoying the views in the morning on the Mont d’Or as the villages and, later, the city of Lyon wakes up on a Sunday morning.
The first few kilometers were flat as I headed out from the Presque Isle towards Valmy. I tried to keep the pace to a steady 5:30 or so and, in fact, I came in slightly faster than this for those opening kilometers. I would soon slow down, however, as I started the first long, steady climb from Lyon up to Champagne-au-Mont-d’Or. This is not a particularly steep climb though it is fairly relentless as the road rises all the way from the roundabout at the edge of Lyon until arrival in Limonest. I kept things steady, tried to keep my pace under control, and when I closed out the first ten kilometers I slowed to a walk to take on some calories and a little water, too.
On arrival in Limonest the road is rolling and then there is a sharp turn onto the climb up to Mont Verdun. This was the first of the two mountains I would summit today, though this is all relative as the Mont d’Or is not exactly the Alps. Still, this climb is a wonderful switchback effort with clean, clear, and smooth paths from top to bottom. I caught sight of cows and even a deer as I made my way to the top and wasn’t feeling in any pain at all as I turned to make the final few hundred meters of ascent to the top of the Mont Verdun.
From Mont Verdun I descended into the town of Polymieux-au-Mont-d’Or before turning right to head uphill again towards the second mountain of the day. At the 20km point I slowed to a walk again to take on calories again, and then pushed forward through the tree canopy to the top of the climb and the left hand turn that would take me to the Mont Thou. It was here I ran into the first of the dozens of runners I would encounter during my run, though it should be noted that all save for about five or six were encountered in the final few kilometers along the Soane. The run up to Mont Thou was not the fastest I had ever done but it wasn’t far off it, and for a 10% grade I was happy with the effort. At the top I paused to take a photo, spoke briefly to another trail runner enjoying the morning out on the hills, and then started my descent.
I turned towards the road that would take me down to the village of Saint Romain-au-Mont-d’Or where I was planning on filling up my Camelbak and eating a few more calories. After a brief pause where I refilled water, took some good long swigs from the fountain, and managed to lose my place on the podcast I was listening to, I headed up another hill and in the general direction of Lyon. After passing through Collonges and Saint Cyr, I turned into the village of Saint Rambert and then dropped down a path I normally only run up to exit the trail at the bridge to the Isle Barbe. After crossing over the bridge and dropping down onto the path I knew I had only about six kilometers to go and so took the time to take on some more calories, refill my Camelbak again, and wet down my head as the sun was starting to shine with a vengeance now.
The final few kilometers towards home were enjoyable and there were a ton of people out running along the banks of the Soane on what is shaping up to be a great summers day. I closed things out just outside my door with a bit more than 40km banked a nice, steady, hilly long run under my belt for the week.