“Obstacles are what you see when you take your mind off the goal”
Spinnakers and Spokes does kind of give the game away. Something to do with sailing and riding a bike? Not necessarily at the same time I hasten to add. I am going to race on my cycle around Lake Geneva, 180km not just once but twice (0n two separate occasions); compete in the amateur stage in the tour de France – 130km of rather intense climbing followed by an 11 month race around the world as a crew member of a yacht in a fleet of 12 brand new 70′ racing yachts.
Like many people I’ve ridden a bike since being a young child – remembering my first “racing” bike, where I flew down the hill, braked on a wet, gravelly surface and went flying over the handlebars. Ouch. I was more concerned about my brand new bike than my bleeding chin and grit infested knee.
I went on eventually to cycle the 9 miles to school during my 5th and 6th form days (that’s years 10 to 13 for young ‘uns reading this). But that was in Hull, and it was very flat.
Then to riding a bike with cleats in Yorkshire in my 30’s. The very first time I’d been clipped onto peddles. And the last, having tried to un-cleat going up a rather steep hill, only to find myself rather embarrassingly draped over the curb, having to undo my shoe, take my foot out and then wiggle the shoe off the bicycle cleat, I left cycling up hills in “clippy” shoes for quite some time.
I then had a wonderful “lapierre” bought for my birthday. A real bike. Lighweight, clippy shoes (eek)…. And wow, I loved it. And several years later, having raced the 180km around Lake Geneva three times already, cycled Mont Ventoux in a respectable 2 hours, I’m up for more cycle challenges. This year I’ll race and ride the 180km Lake route twice; and my really B I G challenge is on July 7th when I line up with around 10,000 other amateur cyclists to race 130km (or in my case simply finish) the “etape” on the Tour de France.
From Geneva’s “tour du lac” to the “tour de France” I move onto an epic “tour du monde” – 40,000 nautical miles, 15 races over 8 legs on brand new 70 foot racing yachts – 12 teams competing against each other. And just as a minor (but somewhat significant detail) I’d never sailed before embarking on this adventure.
Thank you for joining me on what I hope will also become your adventure of a lifetime.
As Mark Twain is famously quoted: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”