France’s Nathalie Mauclair has a wealth of mountainous, 100-mile experience heading into this year’s Hardrock 100. In the following interview, Nathalie talks about what she’d done during her week in Colorado, how she prepares for mountainous races while living in a flat area, what equipment she’ll carry during the race, and how she thinks she’s learning the lesson of going out less aggressively.
Nathalie Mauclair Pre-2017 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Nathalie Mauclair before the 2017 Hardrock 100. Welcome to the San Juans, Nathalie.
Nathalie Mauclair: Hello. I’m fine to be here. It’s wonderful.
iRunFar: You have been here for one week, yes?
Mauclair: Yes, I arrived here last weekend.
iRunFar: What have you been doing here since you arrived in the San Juans?
Mauclair: I went to Telluride and did some training around Telluride. We arrived here in Silverton on Wednesday. I went to Handies Peak and did a little part of the race.
iRunFar: Not too much?
Mauclair: Not too much, because the race is on Friday. I live on the flat and it’s 100 meters altitude where I live near Paris. Here, my body was tired, so I did more or less trail walks with my family.
iRunFar: To enjoy, for pleasure, not to train or see the whole course…
Mauclair: No, I’ll see that the day of the race.
iRunFar: Is that difficult to be in such a beautiful place and not to go out for 30k every day?
Mauclair: Yes, it’s difficult, but I know why I’m here. I prefer to wait and have more pleasure during the race.
iRunFar: So far this year you’ve raced twice. You ran Marathon des Sables, and you were fifth at the Trail World Championships. How did that event go for you?
Mauclair: Can you repeat?
iRunFar: You ran the Marathon des Sables, and you did well. You ran the Trail World Championships, and you were fifth there. How did you feel at that race?
Mauclair: I felt well. I don’t run too much every year. I prefer to put a good race and a good preparation for each race and have more pleasure in each race.
iRunFar: You’re healthy now and no problem with your muscles? You’ve been able to train since the World Championships?
Mauclair: All is good. Yes, I do a week less and, after, I do a block with run and bicycle on the flat.
iRunFar: That brings me to an important question. You live in a very flat place. This is the opposite of flat. You’ve done well at UTMB and Diagonale des Fous. How do you prepare to run in the big mountains on the flats?
Mauclair: All the time it’s less altitude, so it’s more easy. I don’t know. I think my body is well, and I hope on my little star.
iRunFar: You obviously have good fitness. Your heart is strong. But your legs—how do you prepare to walk up a big mountain? It’s very different than running on the flats.
Mauclair: Yes, I think bicycling is a good activity to build muscles for running the mountains. On this race, I take sticks. Usually I won’t use them. Here, it’s obligatory.
iRunFar: On the cycling, do you do very long days or do you do intervals like hard sessions? Is it long training like four to six hours, or is it one hour very hard?
Mauclair: No, I do a short section. If I can on the weekend usually, I do a run and bicycle in the same day. On Saturday I do one and Sunday I do the other. Each time I do two activities each day.
iRunFar: For this year’s Hardrock, have you had a chance to spend much time in the mountains? Were you able to go to Mont Blanc?
Mauclair: No, where I live is very far from Mont Blanc. I arrived and did nothing more and nothing less. It’s the same preparation. I thought that my body was a little tired when I arrived with jet lag. But now I sleep well and eat well and feel well.
iRunFar: You said you’re going to use the sticks. For me, I find it’s very difficult to eat and drink enough when I use the sticks. How do you solve that problem?
Mauclair: Yes, I have the alarm and each quarter of hour, I have to eat or drink. I look at my watch, and I have in my head to think to eat or to drink. With the sticks, it’s more difficult. I have a running belt.
iRunFar: Will you wear a pack as well?
Mauclair: In the night, and I hope the belt in the day.
iRunFar: Not carry very much.
Mauclair: A rain jacket for the day and at night, gloves and a hat… and a little food, but I know there is good food at the checkpoints, so it’s not necessary to take a lot.
iRunFar: Have you ever done a race that is this high elevation or altitude?
Mauclair: No, it’s the first time.
iRunFar: Do you get nervous or anxious before?
Mauclair: No, in my head, I do the start for a long trail [race]. I have more pleasure to discover all these mountains. It’s fantastic. After, we will see at the end.
iRunFar: When I see you race in Europe at UTMB or the World Championship, you go so fast at the beginning. Do you think at a race with 145 people and this environment, do you think you can be more relaxed?
Mauclair: Yes, I think I’m more relaxed now. At the Championships, I was less at the front, and I come back. I think I learned a little.
iRunFar: But on the other hand, Caroline Chaverot is here. She’s very strong, but she’s also very fast at the beginning. If you see her down the trail…
Mauclair: Yes, but it’s long, long. I’ll wait and see.
iRunFar: You think you can do that?
Mauclair: Yes, I hope.
iRunFar: It’s very different here in the United States. In a lot of 100-mile races, pacers are allowed. Will you have a pacer this weekend?
Mauclair: Yes, I have one pacer. I met him at Western States two years ago. I’m happy to run with him. It’s a French guy who lives near Los Angeles. It’s Guillaume Calmette. I think we will do a good way together.
iRunFar: Do you think it will be fun?
iRunFar: What are you most excited about for this race?
Mauclair: I don’t know. Handies Peak is wonderful. All these mountains are. After Telluride it’s fantastic, but maybe it will be night when I pass. Oscar’s Pass I don’t see, but I think it’s terrible.
iRunFar: It’s late in the race.
Mauclair: No, it’s Grant-Swamp Pass that is terrible.
iRunFar: Yeah, but it’s short.
Mauclair: It’s near the end.
iRunFar: Don’t forget the last 1,000-meter climb after Grant. At UTMB, often there’s a lot of rain but not so much lightning and thunderstorms. At this race almost every year, there’s rain with lightning and thunder. What do you think about that?
Mauclair: I don’t like the rain. Here, it’s cold. But during the race, I forget that. I do Diagonale des Fous with a lot of rain. I know it’s short, and after there is sun. I hope and I wait until the sun.
iRunFar: You’ll bring enough warm clothes?
iRunFar: Welcome and best of luck, Nathalie.
Mauclair: Thank you, Bryon.