Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nous avons bien mangé

It's a good darn thing we are about to run for 14 days... we are staying with some friends in Crolles, France, and Marie-Pierre is an incredible cook. She has treated us to some amazing salads, tarts, casseroles, etc, that contain fresh vegetables from her garden and eggs and milk from a local farm, topped off with bread from the boulangerie. Now I remember how I gained weight while living in France!

We made it over here OK, after volunteering our seats in exchange for airline dollars and taking a detour to Paris before arriving in Geneva a couple hours later than expected. Our bags arrived the following day, so that was a bit exciting. We've repacked everything and we should be ready.

Later today we're going to Chambery to meet Philippe and go with him to Chamonix. With any luck we'll get to see some of the finishers of the Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc (we'll keep an eye out for Scott Jurek). Then it's on to Thonon-les-Bains at Lac Leman for dinner and a race briefing. From here on out I don't expect to get enough sleep, but at least we're well caught up and well rested today.

As a couple folks have asked, I do not believe there will be any online updates (nor will I have access to the web) during the GTA. We'll be fairly remote, in little villages and up in the mountains. I'll try to post something soon after the race when we find our first internet café.

On the off-chance that I'm wrong and Philippe has some kind of web connection going, here is the website:

Happy end of August to everyone and we'll see you next month!

PS to Sheila R - you are anything BUT mundane; in fact, seeing friends and family was the highlight of our brief stay in Austin :)


Kipley Fiebig said...

Hey, whadaya know, they actually ARE periodically posting GTA updates to the web! To see them, first click:

Then, click on the relevant link on that page (currently, that would be the "Classement de la GTA apres la 6ème étape" link).

So after 6 stages, John Beard is in second place overall, and is still within striking distance of the race leader! Go, John!

And, Marcy Beard is leading all the other females! The woman's race is pretty exciting... another female beat Marcy in the first three stages, but Marcy then beat her in the next three stages! Their overall times are still so close together, that these two gals might be racing all the way to the finish line! Go, Marcy!

Kipley Fiebig said...

Here's a (very loose) translation of the update currently posted in French on the GTA website, provided by Google Translate (and then further corrected a bit by me):

LATEST INFO September 5, 2008

The weather was with us for the 6th stage, which led competitors from Rosuel to Pralognan. The stage was dominated once again by Laurent BEREZIAT, which widens his gap over American John BEARD to more than 30 minutes. In the women's division, 16th place in the overall standings, is Marcy BEARD who for the moment is in first place over Sylvie GOURS.

You can see the difficulty of linking stage 6, consequently, a number of competitors are suffering from muscle injuries and we may have several dropouts in the coming days on one or several stages.

A big mountain stage lies ahead for Sunday, September 7 between Valfréjus and Montgenevre. We hope the good weather continues.

The 7th stage of Pralognan to Valfréjus, the shortest of the 14 at 38 km, will mark the end of the Northern Alps. Currently, it is Christian PEIRY who is the best runner of the small group that is only doing the Northern Alps section.

We welcome Vincent MINING who will run with us starting tomorrow and we hope the second part of the Southern Alps is as beautiful as the first.

A huge thank you to Cyril BAULAND, our greenhouse-graduate for his patience, his sense of direction and calm.

Good luck to all runners.

Philippe and his staff.

Kipley Fiebig said...

Ok, they've now posted the results through stage 9. And we thought we wouldn't have any updates... so glad we were wrong about that!

Marcy started conservatively, and placed second for the first three stages amongst the women. But since then, she's been the top female, winning stages 4 through 9. She has a two hour cumulative lead over her next closest competitor, Sylvie Gours. Hopefully, Marcy will still be able to move well for the big downhills at the end!

In the men's division, John Beard continues to duke it out with Laurent Bereziat. Laurent has won 6 of the 9 stages, but John Beard usually finishes close behind him. And John won stage 7. Overall John is still less than an hour from catching Laurent, though it seems like the only way it'll happen is if Laurent's body breaks down sooner than John's.

Continued good luck, Beards! Only 5 more stages to go!

Kipley Fiebig said...

They've posted another update, complete through stage 13 now. Only one more stage remains! Barring any extremely odd events, it would seem that Marcy and John have locked in their positions.

John seems certain to get second place overall. He's won two stages so far, but the race leader has won nine stages. Both of them were blazing fast... they're ten hours ahead of the third place male.

And unless Marcy becomes unable to even walk, she'll take up the women's race! She's been the fastest female for the last ten straight legs.

Congrats, Beards! It's all downhill from here!