As wifey was unable to come to my latest race last Sunday (i.e. the 30th edition of Wasimolo) … so I, the hubby, decided to write an entry on what is a superb but still relatively unknown race in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
‘Wasimolo‘, the onomatopoeic version of the French popular expression ‘Vas-y mollo‘ which means ‘to go about it gently or with caution‘, is a cross-country race that takes place in the countryside around the small village of Molondin some 15km south-east of Yverdon-les-Bains in the northern part of the canton of Vaud. There are in fact two races: one some 5.4km long, the other 11.4km.
As I had not taken part in the marathon of Lausanne last week and as my cousin David would not be staying with us that weekend, I took my former colleague and friend Luc up on his invitation to join him and his wife Patricia for the 30th edition of the cross-country race Wasimolo... on the very eve of the event! Fortunately, as both races do not attract thousands of runners (which is a pity really given the beauty of the setting and the difficulty of the longer version of the race), the organisers allow would-be participants to register as late as 30 minutes before the start of the race (click here for details of the race).
After meeting Luc and Patricia at Croisettes at 9 am, we drove to Yverdon and then south-east to Molondin, hoping we would make it to this small village (population: 210 inhabitants!) on time for registration. As we were late, Luc drove us to the registration area (the village school), dropped us there and then drove back the car to the parking spot outside of the village. We were lucky that the registration officials were not too fussy about the 30-min deadline … as we handed them our registration forms some 20 minutes before the start of the race (10 am)!
This left us hardly enough time to warm up … not that it really mattered as far as I was concerned given that for most of the races I have taken over the past 10 months (Course de l’Escalade, 20km de Lausanne, marathon de Genève) I have been unable to do so precisely for the same reason (late arrival) … anyhow it would seem that my muscles do not require any warm-up exercises … 🙂
The race we took part in, the 11.4km course (the map is a screenshot of the pdf displayed on the official webiste).
Participants in the first race, the 5.4km course, on the start line, waiting for the gun to be fired.
Warm-up session before the start … for those who were there on time … or not busy taking pictures! 😉
Only a minute or two before the start was to be given…but the runners seem relaxed, no?
Unfortunately, there were only two runners who were wearing a disguise – the two men on the right were actually race officials who ran the full course to make sure nobody injured would be left stranded (although the broom the ‘bee-man’ is holding certainly does not conjure up images of first-aid, at least to me).
Running past Les Dailles along rue Saint-Martin, the road leading out of the village to Chêne Paquier.
The race was run through the countryside/woods on non-asphalt paths for 75% of the course, I would estimate, so that trekking shoes would have been the best option for Wasimolo. However, the non-urban nature of Wasimolo also allowed us to enjoy some superb stretches of scenery with beautiful colours displayed on the trees or on the leaves on the ground.
The course included several stretches where participants in the race had to run uphill through the woods. For me, thanks to my regular jogs to Chalet à Gobet, this proved to be the point where I could start overtaking other runners — initially, I had run the race at a slower pace, thinking that Luc, Pat and I would be running the full course together. However, after Luc had told me that it would be better if we all ran at our own paces, I decided to do so and left the end of the pack.
Running through a wide open area, called La Douane, with the Jura mountain chain in the background. Such stretches were easier on the knees … but there was a drawback: the mud, which made the course slippery at some points.
The steep descent to the vale of Les Vaux (which is a protected area). The lady in front of me (whom I had overtaken shortly after taking this shot) actually fell a few minutes after passing in front of me again. Having seen that and even though I would have liked to take a better snapshot to show how steep and muddy were the many sets of steps we had to run down (to the foot of the viaduct of Les Vaux, itself 110 metres high), I felt it would be unwise to stop for fear of causing a collision! This is probably why the race was called wasimolo (roughly translated, ‘go about it gently or with caution’), I would think.
Two of the many bridges participants in the long course of the race had to cross while running along the river des Vaux and then river Flonzel. Volunteers had sprinkled some tiny wood chips to ensure that the bridges would not be slippery given all the muddy shoes that had run over these wooden logs before us.
I would assume that the steep ascent that started from this point (left) caused most participants to stop running … in fact, as none of the runners ahead of me appeared to be running … I found it difficult to continue running and started walking too … but this made it all the more difficult to get back to my previous pace once this very steep stretch of the course was behind me! So much so that I did not even feel like taking pictures after that — which was compounded by the fact that wifey’s small camera is one that takes what seems like an eternity to become functional (in other words, not the best camera to be using while taking part in a race but I had no other choice except using my old Nokia Communicator).
The final metres before the finish line… par la petite porte (to use a French expression) as opposed to the more majestic, red inflatable gate bearing the name of the race’s main sponsor. 😉
The oldest runner posing with the two runners who ‘closed’ the race. Congratulations especially to this runner and to everybody else, of course. Special thanks to the many volunteers, too.
In short, I enjoyed taking part into this race very much. I liked the course which was really varied, the beautiful setting, the opportunity to register almost at the last minute, the two water stations, the many volunteers along the course and the rather convivial atmosphere before, during and after the race. In other words, I look forward to the 31st edition of Wasimolo!