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Double Win for On Trail Duo

It was a winning weekend for On athletes and ultra-trail running duo Katie Schide and Germain Grangier. The pair took on their first ultra race of the year at the Ultra Trail Côte d’Azur Mercantour – a 130km course with 8,700m of elevation gain. We caught up with the trail champions to find out how it went on race day and more on what’s to come.

 

After an interesting race season this year, On athletes and ultra-trail running duo Katie Schide and Germain Grangier were excited to set out on their first official ultra race of 2020. The Ultra Trail Côte d’Azur Mercantour, which began September 3 at 10pm, is a 130km course with 8,700m of vertical gain that maps the Riviera region, offering racers a technical route to navigate from mountain to sea. 

 

“While pre-race jitters aren’t normally something I look forward to, having the opportunity to race an ultra in this crazy year is something worth savoring, ready to feel all those highs and lows and see what this body can do at @utcamcotedazur! Friends on the start line, friends along the course, going to be a real Mercantour party!”

– Katie 

 

Pre-race jitters and all, it was a winning weekend for both Germain and Katie. With a time of 17:04:47, Germain took first place, and Katie, with a time of 19:54:26, was first in her category and seventh overall. 

          

 

The two both took to instagram for a real-time update of their post-race results. “The most technical and difficult ultra I’ve ever raced. The French Riviera is no joke!” was Katie’s response, while Germain stated how “Once again, we had to put ourselves in impossible states. Why? To feel alive!” 

 

After recently completing an adventurous trip of their own in the Alps this past July, they spend a few recovery weeks at home in the Maritime Alps. Katie was then reintroduced to the racing scene in early August with a strong first place finish at the Trail de L'Ubaye (42km). But competing in their first ultra race of the year with a double UTCAM win was a true highlight for both, especially with so few races on the calendar. 

   

 

We caught up with the trail champions to find how they felt racing again…

 

On: Did time off from racing give you a new hunger? 

 

Katie: Having such a long break from racing didn't change my motivation, but it definitely meant that we weren't on the start line with any fatigue from previous races and that helped me feel a bit more fresh for such a long day.

 

Germain: It wasn’t a new hunger, but after a lot of training this winter trying to improve on different aspects of my running, I felt ready to test myself and my fitness. But yes, the motivation was high, which is always good before an ultra.

 

Talk us through the race, how did it go? How were you feeling? Any moments when you felt particularly good – or not so good? 

 

K: The race started at 10pm, so we were running with headlamps for the first 8.5 hours until sunrise. I felt relatively good through the night and just focused on maintaining a consistent but conservative effort since there was still a lot ahead of me. It was also the night after the full moon, so it was surprisingly bright in some places out of the forest. At one point I looked up towards the top of the small climb ahead of me and thought there was a huge building with lights but it was actually just the moon – definitely a special night. 

 

When I reached 60km I heard that I had a pretty good lead on the other women so I was able to take more time than usual in the aid stations to eat and change out of wet clothes. Another high was around 85km when I heard that Germain had taken a good lead after running with some really strong Spanish runners all night! 

 

This course is the most difficult and technical race I've ever run, and one of the hardest parts is in the final 14km with a huge descent completely off trail. 

 

G: Yes for sure, there are always a lot of highs and lows. The race was really tight for the first 70km and I was running with two Spanish runners at the front. Then the route was steeper and I could take the lead. The last two hours were really tough mentally. I had a lot of friends cheering me on along the way which made it easier.

 

How did your body handle the stresses of racing again? 

 

K: I think having this extra long break from racing meant I didn't have any built-up fatigue from previous races, but I also wasn't as prepared for the feelings of mental and physical exhaustion that are always waiting for you in the second half of an ultra race.

 

G: To be honest with the lack of races, we were able to train more in terms of volume but less at race pace. Our bodies were ready to handle long distances but not as used to the race intensity, tactics and mentality. It was good to get in the race spirit again. My mind was not impacted by a full season of racing, so it felt easier to find energy and mental strength in the low parts.

 

When you’re both racing, do you compete with each other to see who can get the best result? 

 

K: No, we’re a team and always each other's biggest cheerleaders. 

 

G: Being two is a real advantage actually, we have more chances to do well. And when we both win, it’s really cool.

 

What’s the next project? 

 

K: We're still waiting to know about a couple of other races this fall, but in the meantime taking some good rest and enjoying being couch potatoes for a few days.

 

G: We’ll still training up in the mountains at home – they’re currently more reliable than races.

   

 

Get Katie and Germain’s race day kit. 

 

Germain opted for the Performance-T and Race Shorts.   

The Performance-T
The lightweight, breathable running tee that's moisture-wicking and fast drying. Engineered for fast training and racing.
Get the Tee
The Race Shorts
A lot of design time went into making these shorts as minimalist as possible while delivering maximum performance. Offering ultralight breathability for a distraction-free race.
See the Shorts

 

While Katie sported the same performance running top in Ice | White, she chose the Running Shorts to complete the look.   

The Running Shorts
Featuring the essential elements you need and nothing you don't, these shorts make your run feel easier.
See the Details

 

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