Cyclotour du Léman

Sunday 26th May heralded the start of my 15 months of fund-raising.

5 am clock

The day began with a 4am wake up call, reminiscent of going on watch, which is exactly what I’ll be doing from September as I embark upon a race around the world on a 70 foot racing yacht.

Leaving home at 5am, the 10th Cyclotour du Léman then began in prompt Swiss fashion at 0630.

départ

Le départ

I was part of the second group to depart.  The 2 minute then 1 minute and 5 second countdown. The noise of the starting pistol followed by 40 or so keen cyclists clipping in their cleats. There’s something rather musical about the simultaneous “click” at the start of a cycle race.

départ cyclotour

Thay, Aly and James on the start line

Even though it’s the end of May, the temperature didn’t get above 12C. Not only that but as we set off, gentle spots of rain started to fall, to work themselves into a frenzied downpour by about 35km, persistent for the next 30km to the point where water was running down my back, soaking through the lycra and squelching noisily in my cycle shoes.

Not only that, but people were starting to slip and fall off their bikes going around corners, roundabouts and over railway lines. Time to re-think my race strategy.

I finished in fine form last year and secretly hoped to if not beat, but match that time. Well, at around 55km in, feeling rather wet and bedraggled I chose the survival option: get around the 180km of the Lake in one piece.

In a (very) slow 6.5 hours I did just that. But I remained on my bike throughout the race, wet, tired, safe!

The race resembled my week’s sailing training – waves crashing over the bow into streams of water in your face, from the rear wheel of the rider you’re drafting. Feeling soaking wet, like a night after a watch in a Force 9. The rain pelting your face with a full on head wind – sailing conditions in the English Channel!

The persistence and determination to finish rather like the endurance required on a leg of the round the world yacht race. Not only that, but the persistence and determination required by the individuals in the communities for whom I’m raising money My Giving  Thank you for your support – remember I’m doing another lap of the Lake on June 9th!

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