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Day 8 - Chamonix / Courmayeur

I sometimes hear back home people saying that hot water cylinders need to be kept above 60 degrees, well doesn't seem like that news has reached Courmayeur yet, my shower wasn't more than finger touching warm, barely enough to prevent you from feeling cold. Quickly dressed and popped downstairs to make my way to the bus, only to find I was locked in... I couldn't get out, what on earth, aibmanaged to find someone outnin the kitchen who was able to let me out, but they barely spoke any English (although more English than I spoke Italian, so I really shouldn't complain) and thought that perhaps I was checking out. As I made my way to the bus station with the rain coming down, thinking I'm going to be late I put a small jog on just to catch up some extra time, only to get a notification about 2 minutes from the station that the bus is delayed.

As it turns out, the bus was only delayed by about 5 minutes, so nothing too bad, as we are waiting there a couple of Americans were just saying where is the bus, aibwas able to update them. They asked are you Australian, I was like, no I'm from "New Zealand, it's a common mistake", in a joking voice I said to the guy, "Are you Canadian?" They laughed which was good as I want sure they would get the Kiwi humour, they explained they quite enjoyed the Kiwi humour and said they enjoyed Flight of the Concords. So we chatted on the bus to Chamonix, they are planning on hiking for a couple of days to Chamonix from Courmayeur, but are taking their bags over today so they have them waiting for their arrival. We arrived at the Mont Blanc Tunnel, the amazing 11.6km tunnel which started construction back in the 1959 and finished in 1965 linking Chamonix in France with Courmayeur in Italy, with Italy completing their drilling of 5.8km of the tunnel on August 3rd 1962 and the French completing their 5.8km part just 11 days later.

Chamonix it was still bucketing down however I decided to take a look around and see where things were so I had a better idea at the end of race day. As it so happened the PTL race was scheduled to start at 8am so I made my way towards the start line to watch the crazy ones start. The PTL race is approximately 300km in length and has a total elevation gain of 26,500meters, it is a team event, so thankfully they don't go off on their own and get lost, good thing seeing they expect the first people to arrive back on Friday. For those that think I'm a little nuts for doing what I do, I think you need to look at these guys instead.

I caught up with Jamie Hawker, who has come over to support his son who is racing the the UTMB, for those not in the know, his son is a bit of a big deal. Scotty Hawker is from Christchurch and has placed in UTMB a couple of times. We decided to go grab a coffee from a coffee shop called Moody, it's owned by a Kiwi couple and is clearly the favourite coffee place by all people in Chamonix as that place was constantly getting people, despite other coffee shops around it getting very little in comparison. While we were chatting away, we got talking to some Australian twins who had come over to support their daughter/niece. She was racing in the UTMB, and placed 4th Woman at Tarawera in the 102km this year. Anna ended up turning up when we were there so had a quick chat with her and wished her luck on her race. Her mum and Aunty were trying to grab as much tips from Jamie as possible about how she can get sponsors, how olto crew for the race etc. Jamie being who he is happily shared his knowledge.

Turns out Moody must also be the favourite spot for all the Ultra Runners, while we were there Lucy Bartholomew and Amanda Basham both turned up so had a quick chat with them as well, both lovely people to talk too, they are both running the 172km race and are feeling good with how things have been going with their training. I grabbed a photo with each of them and wished them the best of luck with their race before heading out for lunch with Jamie, Scotty and Hannah who had both turned up as well. We ended up going to a Vegan restaurant and I had a Vege Beef burger, damm, that was actually pretty good. I had to get to my bus back to Courmayeur so wished Scotty best of luck on his race and headed off (after paying for lunch of course) to the bus station.

Arriving at the Bus Station I couldn't find the bus, a little puzzled as to where the bus was I spotted a couple of other people's who had UTMB bags, had a feeling they must be heading to Courmayeur as well so checked to see which bus they were on, turns out it was the same bus, so I knew I hadn't missed it. Eventually the bus arrived 20 minutes late and I hoped on, ready for a 1 hour bus ride back to Courmayeur... Unfortunately fate had other plans for me. 2 hours later we still hadn't even reached the tunnel entrance, a trip that last time only took us about 10-15 minutes. Finally after 3:30 hours I finally made it back to Courmayeur, got off the bus and found my friend Tina who made the trip to come visit me seeing I was in Europe.

We hung out and had dinner at this restaurant in town, it was really nice and the meals were very reasonably priced considering some of the other places around town.

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