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2017 Tour du Mont-Blanc #1: Big views, Beers in a Trough, Hurdy-Gurdy at Les Mottets, and More!

Simon Conroy
Guided by Simon Conroy
The Run the Alps Tour du Mont-Blanc trip is the classic way to experience the trail running scene in the Chamonix valley and the Alps, generally — three countries worth, in fact! We had a winning crew this time around the massif, too. So, how did it go? Well...

To start, I was joined by a great bunch of men and women from both the United States and Canada: “Iceman” Rick, “Sicilian Gary,” “Is it lunch yet?” Susan, “Crash Test” Tara, “More fries with that?” Shannon, “Cocktail Waitress” Linda and “Go faster, Amber!” who were all up for a fantastic time both on and off the trail.

A few highlights that have to be memorialized here in this Trip Story:

*Arriving at Gai Soleil in Les Contamines. David, the trail-running owner, served us beers in the water trough — so we could simultaneously chill our quads and our brains, too.

*The hurdy-gurdy-playing caretaker at Les Mottets, getting us all to sing along to The Beatles. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard 100 people in a rustic mountain inn singing along to “Yellow Submarine.” You just had to be there.

*Shannon somehow manages to find French fries in La Fouly, Switzerland — one of the smallest towns in all the Alps. Remarkably, the fries showed for the next 10 kilometers. Who knew that trail running vests had a French fry pocket?

And, while the entire crew managed to stand upright very nicely on this trip, we can’t complete this trip report without noting what I’m calling our…

Fall of the Week: Congratulations, Tara! You tackled the most technical terrain the Tour du Mont-Blanc could throw at you. Unfortunately, you fell over on one of the flattest parts of the entire 160-km route! To recall one of our catch phrases from the trip… “Suck it up, Buttercup!” (Phrase on loan from Susan and Tara, who apparently have been using it on trips together for years.) This little wipeout led to my new nickname for Tara, “Crash Test.”

The weather was super kind to us, except the last day when it rained just a bit — what would a Tour du Mont Blanc be without a touch of mountain weather, right?

The views just kept coming and coming! Rick expressed how he felt like a kid again, and some of the others jumped with joy from one country to the next on our border crossings with bemused onlookers.

Thanks goes to everyone for making this one of my more memorable and remarkable trips. This is why I guide.

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