Rory Bosio was the highest-placing American woman at the 2012 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. This year, she came to the Alps in July and has been here ever since. In the following interview, learn what Rory has been up to here in Europe, what she thought of her fifth-place finish the Western States 100 earlier this summer, and whether or not she’s been checking out the women’s competition for this weekend.
[Editor’s Note: Here’s our full 2013 TNF UTMB women’s race preview.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Rory Bosio Pre-2013 TNF UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Rory Bosio before the 2013 UTMB. How are you doing, Rory?
Rory Bosio: Great.
iRF: You’ve been in Europe for awhile. When did you come over?
Bosio: I have—mid or end of July I came over. I’m loving it over here. I’m trying not to go back. I miss everybody at home and I love America, but this is pretty fabulous over here.
iRF: Yeah, we’re stuck in a little room right now, but that view we had about two minutes ago…?
Bosio: Pretty nice, right?
iRF: It’ll do.
Bosio: It’ll do.
iRF: Why did you come over that early?
Bosio: Pretty much it was a great excuse to take some time off work and explore the trails. I was fortunate enough to have things work out that way, and I figured why not?
iRF: Have you been in the Chamonix area the whole time or have you been traveling?
Bosio: Yes, mostly in the Chamonix area, but a little bit in Switzerland and a little bit in Italy. It’s hard to leave Chamonix though. It’s nice—all the trails right in your back yard. It’s pretty sweet.
iRF: You can go on the flanks of Mont Blanc or if you get bored with that you can go to the other side and have the best views.
Bosio: Yeah, you can’t get bored here.
iRF: I know a lot of people who are based in Europe and end up running a Tour du Mont Blanc as a training run. Did you do a multi-day circuit?
Bosio: No, I kind of broke it up in different parts. I didn’t do all of it because I like to have some surprises. I get the gist of it. It’s going to be hard.
iRF: A little hiking?
Bosio: It’s going to be up down up, down, up, down. There will be a little bit of hiking in there.
iRF: What parts have you left as a secret for yourself?
Bosio: A little surprises… a little bit of stuff in Italy I didn’t do.
iRF: Val Ferret side or down…?
Bosio: Yes, there’s probably about 40k that I haven’t done. I’ll leave those for a surprise.
iRF: Val Ferret in the morning on Saturday will be pretty fantastic.
Bosio: Yes, it’s all pretty. I was loving it. I took some little shortcuts and didn’t do the exact course, but…
iRF: You get the feeling.
Bosio: I get the feeling. We go counterclockwise. As long as I’m going in the right direction…
iRF: If you pass 2,000 people, you’re going the wrong way.
Bosio: Are we going counterclockwise?
iRF: We don’t reverse it every year here, right?
iRF: You had a pretty solid run at Western States again. You were fifththis year, correct?
Bosio: Yeah, man, that was a sufferfest.
iRF: You were out in front there for awhile, well, Joelle [Vaught] was way off in front.
Bosio: Then I was like, Man, I’d better behave myself on earth because if this is what hell is like… a little too hot for my liking.
iRF: That was the main problem?
Bosio: Yeah, man, sizzling. It was a domino effect, I feel, or a snowball effect.
iRF: It started off with…
Bosio: Once it wasn’t so hot, I was loving it again. The heat, man, I’m not designed for that.
iRF: You aren’t going to have to worry about that this weekend.
Bosio: No, man, but it’s looking nice.
iRF: Perfect. Looking for like a high of 72F at the bottom of the mountain in the next two days. No rain.
Bosio: Yes, looking forward to it. Low precipitation. Should be great.
iRF: It was nice running well last year, but I’m sure you’d take the full course and good weather.
Bosio: I will take the full course and good weather.
iRF: That was somewhat a miserable turn…
Bosio: Actually, everybody complained and moaned about the race last year, but I really liked it and was almost ashamed to admit it. Everyone was like, “Grumble, grumble.” I was like, “I really had a lot of fun. I really liked it.”
iRF: How did you end up having a lot of fun? It had to be your mindset. Was it raining the entire time?
Bosio: I just knew we were going to be in the dark the whole time. I really liked the whole thing. I guess maybe how you feel on a certain day has a lot to do with it, too. And always with a new experience there’s that freshness to it. You’re looking at it more in a childlike perspective rather than a racer experience.
iRF: Do you think you can still have that this year? You were at Mont Blanc last year, but you didn’t do the course.
Bosio: Yeah, totally. Yes, I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t usually get excited for races, but I’m excited for this one.
iRF: On the other hand, the race is wide open this year in terms of competition.
Bosio: You know, I don’t look at that stuff. I’m like… a little like… these races… the longer stuff, everyone says run your own race whatever, but it is pretty true, I’d have to say.
iRF: So you consciously make an effort not to know?
Bosio: It’s not hard because I’m somewhat of a Luddite. I love iRunFar.com though, but I don’t read any of the pre-race stuff.
iRF: What other highlights have you had on this trip? You’ve had some good running, but what else of the European experience?
Bosio: The European experience—it’s so nice. It’s like Mecca for running over here. I didn’t even have maps for awhile. I’ll just put my pack on and bring a little food and bring a little money and go out for all day and explore. I ended up in Les Contamines one day and there was a farmer’s market going on. I sampled my way through and then some French guy selling baguettes and cheese looked at me and said, “You run? Runners always so skinny, so skinny!” And he hands me a giant baguette and a giant wedge of cheese. You know, I could live over here. I like it.
iRF: That’s awesome.
Bosio: Free cheese and bread in the middle of your run. It’s great.
iRF: That’s a pretty good experience.
Bosio: I also got sandbagged by a Swiss dude, so that was nice. “We’re going on a five-hour run.” We’re on French time; it’s really a nine-hour run.
iRF: Just started two hours late.
Bosio: So yeah, there have been some good times. I like it over here.
iRF: There are a lot of the top runners have been over here for a couple of weeks and they’re running the course. Have you had any serendipitous…?
Bosio: I saw a Spaniard who is going to remain nameless up on the top of the Brévant and he had an intimidating glare, but I was too shy to go up, “Hi, I know you. I’m a fan. Sign my fan book.” So yeah, I’ve spotted a couple people out there.
iRF: Running your own race. You got to experience the beginning of UTMB last year—the course going going through Saint-Gervais and Les Contamines.
Bosio: I didn’t even know we went through Saint-Gervais last year. I don’t know. I didn’t look at the course last year.
iRF: Lots of people yelling and cheering—thousands and thousands of people. Were you able to control your energy?
Bosio: I think so. You definitely get a really good boost when you go into the aid station and everything. Everything is so vibrant and chaotic and it just increases the adrenaline kind of which is good because you can get those dips in energy when you just need something to boost you up here. I like that… that sense of the chaos of the aid station.
iRF: Frenetic energy.
Bosio: Yeah, the frenetic energy. People shouting. I like it!
iRF: You also experienced the aid stations over here. At Western States, you know what they are. It’s very similar to other American races.
Bosio: You could spend 20 minutes in the buffet line over here. Your first course will be some cheese and salami. Your second course will be some soup. And then we have some wine…
iRF: And you finish with dark chocolate.
Bosio: Dark chocolate that is 90% cocoa and no sugar. Yeah, they’re great.
iRF: So do you end up doing your standard sports gel and drink thing?
Bosio: Oh no, man, I ate practically my body weight worth in salami here last year. It tasted really good—really salty. I try to eat. You never know what’s going to taste good. I mix it up.
iRF: Keep an open mind. Well, best of luck out there this weekend. Have fun! I don’t really need to say that, do I?
Bosio: Thanks, no man. I can’t wait. I’m really excited. Bye! Bonjour! Au revoir!