Reference Track: The path to Paradise

Chemin du Paradis

Reference track. The perfect place to test the equipment and the runner :)

My reference track for vertical racing is the Chemin du paradis  (the Path to Paradise). This trail is located between Pont du Loup and Gourdon (on the French Riviera). It is less than 2.8km long and a straight climb (not a single meter going down) of +520m.

Chemin du Paradis, from Pont du Loup to Gourdon

Can you see the track going from the bottom-right corner up to the village ?

The trail is over 70% rocks and stones with some irregular steps along the way. The arrival is a killer, with 20 very short and steep steps, followed by 30m at 1% slope. If you run on the last 30m, you are guaranteed to hit FCmax “easily”.

Today, I wanted to test the Exel Nordic Pro poles on rocks, to see how much benefit I could get from the rubber pads and at the same time to gauge my condition as a starting point of the next 2.5 weeks of training.

My equipment for the day:-

  • Keen A86TR (shoes)
  • Mico Oxy-Jet Black (socks)
  • Exel Nordic  Pro (poles)

Regarding shoes and socks it seems I finally found the good combination. Keen has good shoes and Mico has good socks. Yet, it took me some time to get the perfect combination of the two brands for maximal comfort, sensation and stability within the shoes.

With the A86TR and the Oxy-jet  Black, I have a very stable  foot in all directions, with little pressure on the foot itself and a very comfortable insole.

Individually, the A86TR are very light and let your feet fly with a brilliant grip on rock and ground. The Oxy-Jet are effective even for such a short run. And the overall filling in the legs is fresh and light.

The track on the way down.

On the poles side, this track I know pretty well revealed the quality of the grip from the rubber pad. That is so much energy saved from poles slipping on plain rocks and confidence in the grip letting you put all the power you want. I also noticed how the handle gloves were comfortable while firm. The force transfer to the pole was really transparent.

I still need to quantify how much I gain in power from the profiled shape. I have already noticed that the angles may not always be exactly the same as with straight poles. I will soon do a dedicated session on that purpose.

Fontain at the top of the track, in Gourdon

What about the runner condition? Well I was surely filled with enthusiasm. All the equipment was propelling. The run was not bad, better than average but  with some margin to the best ;-) I started a bit too fast in the steepest section, totally forgot about the breathing and I have had very hard time on the last 5mn of the run. Considering that, I suppose I’m not starting this training period too bad, and should be able to replace my extra red blood cells by efficient exercising.


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