Discovering the Belledonne Mountain Range

27 May 2014 03:10
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview
Credit : Jean-Luc Augier

For how many years has l’Echappée Belle existed and why was it originally created?

L’Echappée Belle has grown in our heads for years now. The time necessary for the maturation of such a project. The first edition took place last year in 2013. Belledonne is an unknown mountain range, with a breathtaking landscape to offer. The desire to share these moments, along with the craze of common crossings has helped to raise a territorial project that makes sense, hyphened between Isère and Savoie combining the mountain. L’Echappée Belle – Helly Hanson is a little more than a trail.

What kind of route for the runners? Could you describe it?

This is an adventure, off of the beaten trail, very technical demanding and with wild beauty. Belledonne courses over 70 mountain lakes and does offer views of the Alps. The course is online (traversing) the Isère at the Savoie. It crosses the Alps stages at 200 m and 3,000 m of altitude. Some portions are off trail and the first part of the route is run above the 2,000 m mark for 40 km. We summarize the course with a slogan that is very true and that is not to be taken lightly: 100% single-tracks, 200% technical, and 300% magnificent.

How many runners do you expect on Friday morning? What kind of runners do you attract?

We expect around 800 solo runners and 100 relay teams on the great journey. And 1,500 people for the race combined.

Have you planned other races on the weekend, and at what distances?

New this year, a 85 km will host approximately 500 participants on the same route but with the possibility to explore the northern part running the day. We are talking about opening a 55 km route at the end of the year.

Credit : Jean-Luc Augier

At the end of the year, what are the expected weather conditions?

The first edition took place in a lot of glorious sunshine. The exceptional snow made it complicated for team placing the flags and runners. End of August, all weather is possible and the weather has lively changes in the mountains so we planned several fallback options for the same rally in Vizille Aiguebelle.

Have you planned festivities around the race?

In the first edition we had focused on the basics. This year, we wanted to provide a real framework that would put the events to the test. And entertainment will be held throughout the length of the race. A village of farmers on the finish line, a climbing wall and an orientation for the children, live for all to follow during the race, a discovery of astronomy, a village of yurts…all this coordinated by a real program for accompanying persons and the public. We want l’Echappée Belle to be a party.

Credit : Jean-Luc Augier

After finishing the race, what advice would you give the runner who has never been to Vizille? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Belledonne is the mountain of the water! This is the world’s cradle of white coal (hydro electricity), but also hydrotherapy. I suggest this dual desire to bask in the spa and the associated parks (Uriage, the Allevards baths, the domain of Vizille…) and cultivate the history of the mountains (Aristide Berges mountains – Lancey, cradle museum of the French revolution (Vizille). Discover iron mines with the visit of the great vein of Aiguebelle (arrive). There is not a dull moment.

In a sentence, what would you say to the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them want to subscribe to L’Echappée Belle?

Come to Belledone, this is a lively sporting challenge mountain, discover landscapes that are uncommon, and enjoy an exceptional challenge before or after the test.

Interview with Florent Hubert. Florent is a lover of Belledone, ultra passionate about mountains in all of their respects. His desire through L’Echappée Belle is to share another vision of the trail. Away from events that have no meaning beyond the only sense of competition. This guided him to invest in L’Echappée Belle, with moments that are sometimes difficult, often beautiful shared with volunteers and with riders. If you want to bind to the kilometers, go your way, for all of you mountain range enthusiasts, this is where you need to be in late August.