17 km, 1093 metres ascent
This was my first run for quite a while, originally I tried to bag le Picou about 6 weeks ago but only had a 2 hour window so managed to get about half way before I had to come back. This time was different, I had the whole morning, great weather and a renewed yearning to get out and run, so I decided on the loop shown above, which has been reproduced from the guide-book.
I’ve been resting up a while so I didn’t go all out on this one, I completed the loop at a leisurely pace stopping to take photos and to take in the area that I was running in. I had a number of Wow out loud moments (WOL?)
Did I just say running? Perhaps that could be a bit of an exaggeration – the climb was relentless and steep – over 1000 metres of continual ascent to get to the top of Picou, I power hiked the majority of it although I did pick up the pace after point 5 on the map where I found myself on top of a nice ridge with the snowy Pyrénées on my right. I made the return journey in about an hour and half. Total time out was around 3 and half hours but I think that I could run this loop seriously in under 3 hours.
The Merrell Trail Gloves worked well for this terrain, gripping well on the majority of dry descent and providing me with nice trail feedback, absolutely perfect for the uphill bits. My feet got a pretty decent workout and in the week since I have had a few issues again with my big toe on the left foot. I am planning to get a slightly larger shoe for winter running as I find the TG’s too tight with any sort of sock on, more about this in a later post. It is also clear that the Merrells are limited in true mountain conditions, for steep descents “off piste” I am going to need something with a lot more grip and I can’t see them being good enough on wet rock, more thoughts on all of this soon.