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Day 9 - Chamonix, Aiguille du Midi & Event Village

Updated: Aug 31

Another early morning to head back over to Chamonix, some people may wonder why I just didn't stay in Chamonix, well... Mainly the price, if so had been going to stay in Chamonix it would have cost me at least another $2500 minimum... So makes total sense to do what I am doing. The plan today is to head to Aiguille du Midi, which on a good day has some amazing views over the mountain ranges. Unfortunately the weather is pretty overcast so it's not likely going to be a good view from up there. My bus ended up being late, much later than yesterday's bus which meant there was little chance I was going to make my ride on the Cable car at 7:25, especially if there was a delay getting into the tunnel. At 7:15 we finally made it into the tunnel, at least a 15 minute from from there to Chamonix. As we pulled up at the bus station in Chamonix I was about to get up and walk down the midways stairs, all of a sudden a young kid let out a huge purp and the threw up all over the floor. I guess sit could have been worse, he could have done it before we stopped and had the smell of vomit the entire ride.

I jumped off the bus and made my way to the cable car to see if I could rebook. Thankfully due to the snow from the overnight dumping the entry to the cable car had been delayed until 8am as they needed to clear a bit of snow from above. Once the doors opened I got my spot at the front of the queue and made my way to the cable car. It was onvious that there wasn't going to be much of a view from the top of Mt Blanc. I hoped for the best anyway and continued up on the cable car, our cable car happens to get a group of British guys got on board, one of them was scare of heights and freaking out as we we up, very loud too. Reaching the top it was rather cold, not surprising as it's 3842meters high. While there wasn't much to see, I had to admire their ability to build a structure as amazing as it was on such high peaks back in the 1950's (actually earlier as it was finished then). I did the whole nosey around the place, saw they had a little movie on which I thought I'd sit down and watch, just as it was about to start the nosey British guy came in, so I decided to leave and head back later.

After heading back down into the township I decided to head back to the Coffee Shop that Jamie took me to the previous day before. The queue was just as long if not longer than yesterday. I spotted Amanda Basham there again and got a wave from her, as well as Sally McRae, it's definitely a favourite for all the runners. Hot Chocolate in hand I made my way to the Event Village to look around. The first stall I came across was the Nitecore one, and who do I see on the packaging of their headlamps? Scotty Hawker... I had a good look at their headlamps, actually just one of them really, as it turns out it was their latest model that they were releasing that day, it is incredibly light weight, has a rechargable battery pack, which you can also switch out for AAA batteries. I Ummm'd and Ahhh'd about it and thought I'd take a look around a bit more before making any decisions. There were lots of stands there, way more than any you would see at any NZ event, brands that you have never heard of either, I was finally able to get hold of the Näak product and sample some of it, they had a watermelon flavour and a lime, the Lime wasn't too bad, so at a push I should be able to manage with that on occasion, I also tried their waffles, I thought there would be a clear preferred flavour, but honestly they were all pretty good. I checked out the Coros stall and had a chat to the guy there, I happened to mention that I had been told about the brand by my old coach back in Wales before they came out in NZ, he asked who my Coach was, once I told him, "Oh I know Gary, he doesn't live far from me..." It's a small world ahe, he told me to get in touch when I wanted to upgrade my Garmin to a Coros, I said, "Sure, I'll ask for a Friend's of Gary discount", then again, that could work against me and I get charged double. I also finally managed to track down a replacement Garmin charger cable as my other one is playing up.

I got a message from Scotty to say that Jamie, Hannah and him would be at the Nitecore stand at 2 and to meet them there, I told him I had just been checking out their headlamp and asked what he thought as I was looking at getting one. He really liked it, as did I so I figured why not. I met them there and after he had done his catch ups with everyone, he introduced me to a couple of the big wigs, they ended up giving me one of the new headlamps, pretty stoked seeing how much they are worth. I ended up buying a couple of additional things while I was there, so they did get some cash out of me. We all roamed around a bunch of the stalls, there was a speed challenge of assembling the Leki poles and disassembling them, thought I'd give it a crack, turns out my 5.555 seconds was enough to put me ahead of a certain sponsored athlete, but only barely.

I got an alert my bus had been delayed getting back to Courmayeur, I'm sensing a pattern with this bus company, could just be to the extreme traffic, but it did give me a little more time to walk around and bump into other athletes from back home like Dan Jones and Katie Wright, Even spotted Lucy Bartholomew out there as well. Eventually I got another alert stating that my bus had now changed, I decided I'd better make my way to the Bus Station seeing it was going to be an unmarked bus and I didn't know for sure if they were still leaving at the new scheduled time or not.

Arriving at the bus station there were a few buses waiting, all of which appeared to be heading to Geneva, I looked around for others that looked a bit concerned and found an American couple who were taking the same bus as me, so it appeared I was safe and hadn't missed it. The bus took a while to arrive, but eventually turned up and I was able to find a seat before we headed off on what was going to be another long trip back to Courmayeur. Turns out there had been a massive slip on one of the routes that the trucks normally take, this must have happened as a result of all the rain after such a long dry patch, so all the trucks are now diverting via the tunnel, great money maker for the tunnel due to the tolls they charge, but massive delay for all the people. As we finally made it through the tunnel after about 3 hours, you could see the traffic build up of those heading toward Chamonix from the tunnel to well past the entry to Courmayeur.

Got back to the hotel and freed Tina from the room, she had been locked in there all day by one of the hotel staff, bit of a complicated story but I promise you I didn't lock her in. Went out for dinner and enjoyed a good meal, she leaves tomorrow to fly out of Milan, fingers crossed her bus arrives on time.

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