The festival of Templiers (Knights Templar) is one of the most famous Trail events in France. Over the past 15 year, the Trail of Templiers (70 km) has become more and more popular. It started in 1995 with 395 participants to more than 1,900 in 2009. Other races has been added over the yearsincluding the Endurance Ultra Trail (111 km and 4 590 meters of ascent).
This year almost 7000 runners met in Millau to participate in the Trails of Templiers.
Endurance Ultra Trail of Templiers
The Endurance Ultra Trail of Templiers is the longest race of the Templiers Festival: 111 km and 4 590 m of ascent. This year, the race started in Millau with an outstanding trail through the Causse Noir, Gorges du Tarn, Gorges de la Jonte and Gorges de la Dourbie.
1) From Millau (start) to Peyreleau: 25.6 km / +750 m
The Endurance Trail starts at Millau at 4am. The Trail crosses the Tarn, passes Carbassas (487 m) and climb in the forest of the Causse Noir. This ascent is steep with +340 m in less than 2 km. Then the trail is relatively flat over 7 km before descending to the villages of Peyreleau and Rosier. Overall this first part is technically easy.
2) From Peyreleau to St-Rome-de-Dolan: 12.8 km / +1 000 m
After le Rozier (403 m), the trail goes up to the GR du Pays du tour du Sauvetterre and passes through the Eglazines and great cirque of St Marcellin (749 m, 31 km). Then it follows the plateau to the village of St-Rome-de-Dolan.
3) From St-Rome-de-Dolan to Veyreau: 29.6 km / +1 430 m
After St Rome we go up to Lou Bons (41st km) before going down by 500 m toward the GR 6 to the village of Les Vignes (44.5 km). The climb on the other side of the Gorges is as steep, +470 m in 2,5 km. We go along the villages of Bruel and Bourgarie before reaching the most beautiful section of the race; a narrow trail above the cliff over the Gorges du Tarn (between 51st to 56th km).
Then we join the GR 6 of Causse Méjan running thru Cassagnes, Arcs de St Pierre to Viale (884 m, water station, 61.7 km). The trail descends to the Douzes (66th km) in the Gorges de la Jonte. Another climb follows for 400 m over 3 km to reach Veyreau.
4) From Veyreau to La Roque Ste Marguerite: 14 km / +285 m
From Veyreau the trail goes toward the South-East along the GR 62A and passes through St-André-de-Vézines (74.5 km). Then it continues along the Causses to the ruins of Chateau de Montméjant and the Corniche du Rajol; 3 fantastic kilometers. Three kilometers later, we reach the village of la Roque Ste Marguerite close to the river of Dourbie (404 m).
5) From La Roque Ste Marguerite to the farm Cade: 14.6 km / +885 m
The first 6 km after la Roque Ste Marguerite are more technical with 2 steep climbs. Again we join the GR 62 at around 90 km. We pass along the Longuier and then the farm le Cade (97.8 km, 826 m, 5th food station).
6) From the farm le Cade to Millau: 10 km / +254 m
After the farm the trail goes around the Pouncho d’Agast and then descends on steep terrain (fixed ropes). Then it joins the GR 62 to the finish line at Millau.
More than 555 runners took part in the Endurance Ultra Trail of Templiers but only 360 passed the finish line. I was doing my first Ultra trail this year after my expedition on Ama Dablam (6856m), I ranked 114th in 17h 59m 58secs.