Friday, May 20, 2011

Run, Pack, Drive...and Repeat!

Back and forth I go - Seems like that feeling of sand in between my toes is just a distant memory now...
(Note: I started writing this post about a month ago...I finally have a few minutes to wrap it up)

April was a blur...again.

Advance Week Update - What a week! A day after I stepped off the plane from Maui, I jumped on another flight bound for the South of France to test gear along the Cote d'Azur's beautiful red rock coast! For the past few years, I've had the privilege of attending Salomon's Advance Week, where 'promo' guys like myself get to rub shoulders with some of the best trail/mountain runners in the world. Of course, being that Salomon is one big happy family, they go easy on us - and besides, someone has to slow down the pace! 


Adam and I compare calf sizes as Nikos and Patrick talk shop

In the spotlight:  Providing a Salomon 'tip of the day'...or something like that
The main objective of the week is to give our 2-cents on the S-LAB (Salomon Laboratory) product line...Don't like the fit? the look? Is it too heavy? Good or bad, the footwear, apparel and bags R&D crews soak it all in, and tweek it as required to fit the 'racers' needs. It's not easy to compile and interpret all of our comments, but somehow they manage to put it all together and pump out some amazing pieces year after year.
Trying to look good for the camera after 40km of testing gear...

Having the same luggage as everyone else can sometimes be an issue...
 
So after countless hours of going around and around some fantastic 'test' loops and trails, the team wrapped up the week with the Signes Trail Race, a knarly 2-day event that saw us run over some very steep and technical hills of the Provence region.  While most of the pros ducked it out in the 45km + 45km event, I settled for the more reasonable 25km + 25km event (1,600m elev gain per race!), and with the temperature hovering around the 30C mark, I was glad I did! Once again, I was humbled by the terrain and level of difficulty of the race...simply fantastic!  Some of the ridges and descents used were so wild and sketchy that you simply have to experience it to understand...I can only wish we had access to such 'race' terrain here in Canada - For now, I'm content to keep making the trip overseas ;)
Signes Trail Race - The finish line was buzzing with happy runners and lots of bulls!



Door2Trail Tour - Back in Canada, a quick load of laundry, and I was back on the road again, this time to promote Salomon's new XR Crossmax, a 'hybrid' trail running shoe that simply holds it's own on the road! With tight timelines, I drove my fully pimped out XR Crossmax rig through the night to meet the team (JP, MVB and Salomon teammates Munny and Jen Segger) and catch a 12noon ferry ride to Nanaimo!

The XR Crossmax Rig getting suited up!

NOT a happy moment...Snow in the forecast for the Kamloops stop - Turned out to be a very good turnout!

Door2Trail Tour setup - Not sure where this is anymore...too many stops to count!
Wham Bam...setup/teardown...and onto the next stop we go!  Tagging along for the ride, my partner-in-crime (Munny) and I cruised along on an easterly course making numerous 'Tour' pitstops along the way. In order to maintain some level of sanity, amidst our childish behaviour, we made sure to stop along the way to run and recharge on some of Canada's best trails.  From Nanaimo to Vancouver to Kelowna to Kamloops to Calgary to Edmonton we drove...

(Where was I?  ...And now back to present day!)

I've been on the road for 39 days now and honestly, I'm getting sick of hotel rooms and restaurant food, but most of all, I'm getting sick of running on the ROAD! Unfortunately, the XR Crossmax is an urban trail shoe, and so cities, pavement and small parks all go hand in hand. Ugh.
 

Munny's pimpin' Salomon ride - We had to cut the budget...so this is what he got to travel through the prairies!
After Edmonton, we crammed the gear into Munny's new ride, and left him to fly solo across the prairies under the watchful eyes of DJ Freeze.  A few weeks later (after I squeezed in a nordic biz trip to Austria and a few days at home), and feeling not nearly refreshed, I hooked back up with the Tour in Toronto, thankful to have the help of MVB, Holmesy and ultra specialist teammate, Ryan Barrett.  Together we cruised around the GTA, showing off the colours in our new ride!

Another all nighter driving marathon and I found myself waking up with a sore back, drooling on the truck passenger seat in the Salomon Montreal office parking lot...
Rain clouds loomed ahead - 11 more days to go...

1 comment:

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