The Striders - Packs live testing
It has now become a tradition: every year, my dad and I organise a day walk somewhere in the Alps for friends and relatives. There are usually different options to suit every level of fitness. This year we decided to go for the beautiful and yet demanding trail of the mythic Sierre-Zinal race. A great opportunity for me to combine a nice day out on the trails and live testing for the Nordkalottleden.
31 kilometers. 2'200 meters ascent. 800 meters descent. The mountain race that takes place in the Val d'Anniviers in Valais/Switzerland, is considered as one of the finest in the world. Beautiful forest and mountain paths. Breathtaking scenery. Some serious climbs. Unforgettable!
Find out more on the race
I knew the path pretty well having done the race once and run&hiked it a few times. The challenge here was to take all participants to Zinal. We were only 5 in Sierre, and 2 would joined us half-way in Tignousa. 2 of them just arrived directly from Australia! and out of seven,four were above 60 y.o! The first 15 k are really demanding and definitely require a good physical condition. The next 15k are far better, with no rough or steep uphills.
It sounded like a perfect training opportunity for me and the dogs: Sparta and Nyx carrying their 1.5kg packs and me some 12kg. This way, no matter the pace, it would be a great and long day on our legs!
The dogs packs
So it turned out the packs didn't bother them the least. No irritation. No injuries. After that long day, they arrived at the car fresh enough to start playing around the car, while I was preparing their food.
And when I got home late that night, they managed to take a sprint after Foxy the fox... maybe I should go for their diet..?
Regarding the boots, it hasn't really been convincing yet. But I want to give it another try before writing any further about it. Keep you updated!
It was a first with my new OMM backpack. With its 1.600kg for 55+ litres and leanweight chassis, it looked like the perfect match for me. I won't do a full review of the pack here - that will come after my expedition - but I can already say that after some adjustments, I am pretty happy of my choice: it needed to be well-adjusted to me (back length, straps tensions, etc.) before I felt comfortable wearing it.
A successful day!
It's been hard. The never-ending steep climb nearly got them. But they kept on, not giving up despite the challenging effort, walking slowly but surely up the hills. We reached Chandolin around lunch time. Then Tignousa and mid-afternoon the Weisshorn hotel, the highest point of the trail. The last 10k to Zinal seemed far easier for the whole group, walking at a really good pace along the path before the final (and for some... painful!) descent to the village.
I am so proud of them! Rosa, Asa, Ken, Alain, Charles and of course Dad: well done guys! It's been quite a challenge and they took it up!
After effort comes comfort ;-)
|Weisshorn Hotel - well-deserved break|