Race: CCC 100k
Runner: Matt Urbanski
Race Date: 08/31/2018
Location: Chamonix, France
Results: 57th OA, 13:43
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1811017979
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- They put on an amazing event for the entire week. They make everyone feel special, the event feels special, it’s such a cool thing to be part of.
- It’s gorgeous! Seriously, the mountains here are just amazing!
- The competition. There are so many good racers from all over the world, and not just in the marquee UTMB event. I love being part of events where the best people in the world show up.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
I literally can’t think of anything I don’t like about the event.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
The required gear list is hefty. Thankfully, I didn’t need hardly any of the gear, but it’s a bit abnormal compared to most races I do to be forced to lug a bunch of stuff around the mountains with me. Not complaining, but it’s a unique aspect of the race. https://utmbmontblanc.com/en/page/143/Mandatoryequipment.html
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I managed my race well. I only had one low point (the climb out of Trient). I stayed positive, focused, in the moment, and I enjoyed this race, while still working hard and putting forth my best effort. I’m proud of this because managing effort and keeping positive for this long on such a demanding course is no small feat!
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
- So much climbing! (and descending!) Relentless. Be ready for the climbs, be good at powering up, and efficient going down.
- Have your gear dialed in. It’s important to have all the equipment, but it was obvious that some people focused on being more streamlined than others. I think this is worth the time and money investment.
- Respect the altitude. It’s not a super high up race, topping out just over 8000′, but if you’re not training at those elevations, they can impact your race. Combine that with all the steep climbing which can jack up your HR and your effort and you can easily be going out way too hard way too soon. Oh yeah, and there will be hundreds of people hurrying up that first climb, making you feel like you need to as well. Respect the course, and manage your effort well early on.
- Fuel well. It’s not a fast 100k and people are out there for 20+ hours. Calorie burn can be high given the climbing. Eat.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Keep getting better at climbing. Damn those climbs get tiring. I used poles this year and wow what an impact it had! I felt stronger on the ups, and more stable and able to go faster on the downs. I have room to improve on all this and will have to if I will climb up the rankings, but with more work on it and using poles, it can be done.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
- The race starts uphill immediately. It’s on road for maybe a couple miles, and then goes to single track. Decide where you want to be in the line. Know people go out hard. But also know that you can get really slowed down if you don’t go hard early. Tough decision; I think I made the right call to be conservative, but I did that first climb slower than I would have overall had I not been in the conga line.
- The climb out of Trient is so freaking steep! When I scroll over the grade on this one, I see numbers in the 30-40% range and one mile of that segment on Strava shows a 1358′ gain for one mile! It is the only hill that really kicked my ass. The course was slightly different than it was two years ago so maybe it’ll be different next time around too, but that one was tough!
- Keep your legs. There are runnable sections in the middle of the race. Put yourself in a position to be passing people and running well when the course permits.
- There is a ton of downhill. Of course it’s fun to bomb downhill, just know that there is A LOT of it, so be cautious about blowing up your quads.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Gorgeous. One of my favorite places to run in the world.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
I find climbing/descending to be tough. The course isn’t super technical relative to some races, but it’s trail and there are some slow sections. It’s a tough run!
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Amazing. Simple answer; they have this down!
Competition – Is there a strong field?
The best in the world.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
- You have to collect points. You then enter a lottery (can be bypassed if your ITRA ranking is high enough).
- Book lodging early b/c there are 10,000 runners coming to Chamonix for this week, along with their friends and family. The area is well equipped but probably good to book early, especially if you want to be in Chamonix near all the action.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Normal fare, I think. I rarely eat from aid stations. They’re well organized and a huge production at UTMB.
Inside the Champex Lac aid stationWeather and typical race conditions
It can be hot, cold, rain, snow. They make sure you have the gear for any of it. They will also make course changes last minute if there is reason to. Be flexible, be adaptable.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Definitely. Check out the required gear list above. My poles (Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z) were my favorite piece of gear this year. I used the Hoka Speedgoats 2 and loved them for this race.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Yep! For the aid stations, you are only allowed one specified crew person in the crew tent, so no setting up the picnic blankets and hanging out like we do in the States. But the tents are huge, the whole scene is well organized. My wife and 2.5 year old son have fun there!
How’s the Swag?
It was good this year. Nice t-shirt, a nice finisher’s vest.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I love this race! I am already excited to go back someday! 5 out of 5 stars!