Race 32: Route du Vin, Luxembourg, 27th September 2015

Route Du Vin MapA champagne bottle in the pre-race goody bag? Wahey! Having said that, as it was roughly ten times too big for our hand-luggage, it was never going to last long after the race …

The Route Du Vin had all the ingredients to be an amazingly fast race: more or less flat (80m elevation change), smooth tarmac, only one (!) turn in the entire race but… it starts at 3 bloody pm, in full sunshine, in the heat. Why?! Why would you ever start a race mid-afternoon?

Ugh. Anyway, that’s my first excuse. My second one is that I’d been a bit fluey for the previous week and the third was that my left sole was badly bruised, probably from over-training.

What else? The stars were badly aligned, there was a supermoon eclipse later that night, I’m sure I saw a black cat run under a ladder in the morning and I was still recovering from my tube journey two days earlier (actually, that’s totally irrelevant, but it was entertaining!) etc etc

Poking out, as per usual (Photo: Marcel Nickels)
Poking out, as per usual

Ah yes, back to the race… it takes place in Remich, a small border town in the south east of Luxembourg. It’s probably one of the biggest towns in Luxembourg but this is Luxembourg so it’s probably only got a few thousand people who live there, a school, ten wine shops and forty five banks (once again, this IS Luxembourg…). The race’s name comes from the fact that the whole run is lined by vineyards throughout: both for the first 10.5km which go north along the Moselle river and….for the return 10.5km. That also explains the goody bag..! Unusually enough (I think), you can see two countries for the entire race: on one side of the river: Luxembourg; on the other: Germany!

Grinning phase (before the grim phase)
Grinning phase (before the grim phase)

The race itself was a little meh. I set off at a decent pace and reached 5k in 18.20 which had me on track to finish under 80 minutes, despite the constant wind in the face.

On the plus side, the wind had a cooling effect but sun + tarmac = unhappy/sweaty Simon.

Let’s just say that the 2ft high vineyards don’t offer much shade…

Trying not to trip up...
Trying not to trip up…

Lux Near EndA few kilometres later, I was slowing down and my mind was definitely taking over my body (in a bad way).

After 9km, I was even short of breath which, cross-country hell aside, never happens.

As we approached Ehnen, the speed safety radars which give you an unhappy smiley if you’re going too fast were calibrated sharply enough to pick runners out.

I was apparently running at 16km/hr and got given a happy smiley face for the effort, which was very considerate of the machine.

A vineyard, in case you didn't know what they looked like!
A vineyard, in case you didn’t know what they looked like!

I reached the 10k mark in 38 minutes which, while still very decent, meant that I knew I wouldn’t get a PB so I eased off a little (well, that’s my excuse now…). After we spun around and Germany was now on our left, the heat really hit as the wind became a tail wind. I took 21 minutes for the next 5k which was shoddy to say the least.

Route Du Vin Sprint

Lux EndThen, with no particular reason, I got some energy back just as the first runners were winning in 1h02 (the top 15 runners were East African in under 1h07!) and sped up a little.

My last kilometre was actually my second fastest despite my sole hurting like hell and I crossed the line in 1h23.05 – decent but nothing great.

First Brit apparently mind you – ha!

Which way to Luxembourg?
Which way to Luxembourg?

 

All that was left to do was to celebrate with the champagne bottle or…at least that’s what a normal person would do. Instead, we jogged over the bridge into Germany for another few kilometres! The lack of customs was probably not a bad thing as we may or may not have had our passports with us … this is not quite the Hungarian-Serbian border…

After that little jaunt, it was finally time for the champagne. Quite frankly, it was the last thing I wanted to drink but, hey, when in Rome…

Route Du Vin Champagne
When in Rome…!

Time: 1h23.05 (70th/1,692)

Speed sonic3

Sun sun5

Injury ambulance2

Scenery palmtree3

 

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