Day 5, long @ Risoul. Format was a true chasing start for everyone within 30min of the leader cumulative over the four days, followed by everyone else (AKA most of us) at 30s intervals - I started in 31st position. This course basically consisted of *four* long legs traversing back and forth across the same damn steep af hillside, before another annoyingly long and steep sidehilling leg and a trivial final loop on the ski slope. I was not enamored.
However, I executed the first one well, contouring to 2 around past the farmhouse plus 6 and 7, and seeing at least one of the guys who had started just ahead of me. Same with 4, not seeing much alternative to dropping down to the trail bordering the map and taking the hit on the *16-contour* climb back up. And solid again allllll the way back up to 6, dropping from 5 down past the fenced area to get to the trail and through the gnarly barrier of rocky cliffs. On the way to 6, I found myself with a guy in a blue France shirt and another guy in a black/green tanktop. Didn't know if I had caught them or vice versa, but they were both marginally faster than me; however I took a better line on the approach to 6 so caught up again and we all punched within a few seconds. Stayed with those guys to 7 and 8, at which point I felt like I was running a really solid race, and indeed the splits have me in 13th, my highest placing at any point during the week.
Left 8 on the trail just behind the other guys, then when we hit the trail junction they went left, heading downhill toward the fenced area (i.e. the reverse of the way we had come 5-6). I did not want to drop that far only to climb up again, so resolved to contour the second half of the leg, basically on the 8-9 line.
Things went fine until I soon found myself at the top of an unexpectedly steep dirt/rock incline - not exactly a cliff, but still a formidable obstacle. In retrospect what I should have done was climb straight up and around it, but at the time it seemed a good idea to be lazy and simply traverse across it using my catlike balance and reflexes. This was unsuccessful; my foot slipped on some loose dirt and I went sliding down the hillside. I endeavored to flatten my body against the ground, but, annoyingly, the incline was *just* steep enough that the friction wasn't enough to arrest my downward motion. I also attempted to grab any sort of handhold I could, but there was little help available.
It is difficult to say but I think I slid for maybe 6-8s and perhaps a similar number of downward meters, which doesn't sound like much but is definitely enough of an uncontrolled slide to shake you up. I eventually stopped when the slope eased out at the bottom of the incline, and quickly determined that my arms were scraped up and my hands were bloody, but my head and face were uninjured - though quite filthy from all the rock, dirt, and dust I had dislodged that then came down on my head.
Comically, there was a French guy there nearby, though I haven't the foggiest why anyone else would have been in that spot. He asked "Ça va?" and I, having happily just concluded I hadn't suffered any immediately apparent life-threatening injuries, replied "uh...ça va, I think." This seemed to satisfy his concern.
I briefly considered abandoning, but since large quantities of blood weren't actively leaving my body, decided to carry on. However, perhaps needless to say I wasn't in quite the same mindset and the rest of the course wasn't so great; I had to climb way back up to 9, then blew 10, and was then ready to be done and found the long sidehill to 11 and the subsequent ski slope loop boring and onerous.Primary injuries
- 1.5-inch gash on left palm (three stitches); one-inch gash on right palm (one stitch); I had quite a pleasant experience with the French healthcare system; after finishing I went to the first-aid tent and got clucked over for a while by some friendly Red Cross ladies who informed me that I needed stitches, before they eventually found a Belgian doctor (still in O-clothes) who cleaned and stitched my hand wounds nicely. And they never even asked for a credit card!Secondary injuries
(warning NSFW/partial nudity) - a nice road rash on right side of torso (note bemused onlookers in the background); multitudinous trivial cuts, bruises, punctures, and scrapes, mostly on hands and forearms.