Monday, July 25, 2016

Time to Charge

Subtitle: Stop winging about charging

 This is Marcus and Agata's portable charging station. We use multiple Orico 12V portable charging adapters to satisfy our portable USB charging requirements.

This includes sports watches, timers, cameras, and specialist cycle lights.

In this article however I'd like to focus on selection on appropriate tools that can fast charge


The Shower Time Principle
The simple idea is the following.  You only need to select a fitness device that last your usual exercise schedule and can be significantly if not almost totally recharged whilst you take a long post exercise shower ...





Marcus's Garmi n920XT sports watch.   From 2% to 40% post shower.   Absolutely brilliant.



Microsoft Band 2.  From 10% to 55% whilst in the shower.   The Band 2 however does have appalling battery life if the screen is on, so whilst the recharging is impressive, the overall Band 2 is not recommended  (Full review to follow)

An increase in 30% battery life whilst in the shower.  My Nexus 5X can charge really quickly but only if your USB-C charger is capable.  The above is a re-plug into a non fast charging socket  (1.5 hours to charge 50%,  need to replug to a fast charge socket.  Note the Nexus will say on Front screen charging or charging slowly on lock screen).

SO
What I recommend is select a charger and device that is able to significantly if not totally able to give your device 1 days extra charge, or as close to,  whilst you take a shower.  Agata and Marcus take at least 2 and sometimes 3 showers per day after our exercise activities.  And then, our devices are pretty much at 100%.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Sermon: Feeling Safe on European Streets


A day after the Munich atrocity where 8 citizens in Munich were chosen at random and murdered in broad daylight, the BBC Radio 4 premier news program ran some news articles.

It included a Religiously oriented peace which suggested that Prayer and Pilgrimage might be tools that can be used to combat these atrocities. A piece from a Christian minister.

I'd like to set forth why this is just the most illogical and delusional advice

- The claim as I understood it was that praying to a Christian God would improve the situation
- It wasn't clear whether this was just to improve the mind and mood of the person praying
- Or whether additionally the process of praying would somehow actually prevent further attacks from actually occuring
- It was also not clear that this was Christian prayer or simply any prayer to the God or Gods or Religion that you are part of

My best response

Religious people conveniently point out that faith in general and the efficacy of prayer in particular is not open to testing.  Ultimately because should studies begin  show no improvement, i.e. that prayer was no better than placebo, a major religious rationale and construct would be dismantled and show false.

For further information on real studies see this link



Copy Cat Issues
As I write this I notice yet another attack, again in Germany.  Whilst the motivations may differ significantly to Munich, the prospect of violent and potentially suicidal attacks in Europe is troublesome.  The ugly truth is that attacks using implements that you can buy in any Supermarket or DIY store cannot be prevented.

SO: Feeling Safe
Consumer confidence in any technology e.g airtravel,  personal safety e.g. right to enjoy life peaceably without a constant threat of violence or death against one, etcetera is always disproportionately effected by one off events.

Terrorists, activists etcetera rely on this negatively leveraged result that imbeds itself into the mindset of the cautious human.

The facts remain that these terrorist or violent attacks are infrequent and that in Europe and in most developed countries except the USA, strict gun/ firearms laws restrict the ownership and supply of guns and equally importantly ammunition,  shooting ranges.


All in all,  we continue to feel very safe.  Despite Munich,  and those shown above we are talking less than 10 this year to date





TED: Worrying about Terrorism



Jumping to Conclusions
I do detect a disturbing trend that tends to automatically blame and suspect a mass killing to not only be terrorist related but also directly related to proponents and followers who claim to comically represent the /Religion of Peace/.

I think there is a real problem linking flawed thinking, unacceptible behaviour and defective moral behaviour due to literal Religious interpretation, but terrorism is actually not the problem, in actual fact it misdirects attention from the real issue  (which is of course the underlying tenets of the Religion).

My suggestion would always be when these attrocities occur is

- Analyse the facts
- Don't jump to conclusions
- Wait for actual video, audio footage
- Wait for Government statements, which are backed by Intelligence reports
- Equally: Don't ignore any elephants in the room



Links
New terrorist blueprint

Munich shooter loner

Swiss reflect on terror

Terror Checks in France & Jams

Saturday, July 23, 2016

ORICO MPU-4S USB Charger revew


When Marcus and Agata are travelling around, often to races, we need our Sports timers and other gadgets charged. (For mains chargers instead see here)

But we only have a 12V battery source.

We found that Orico has a range of 12V to USB chargers.

One favourite is the MPU-4S.  It forms an integral part of our charging solution in Stuart:

We have 3 four port chargers!

- One in the garage to charge our bicycle lights
- One above the fridge to charge Marcus sports gadgets like Sports Watches, timers,  Action Cameras and Smartphone
- One by the bed to charge Agata Computer gadgets like iPad etc.




Specs


Overall
We really recommend the Orico 4 port USB, 12V chargers.  the MPU-4S is just one in their range of car products   To us they provide an indispensable function helping to keep all our USB devices charged up in quick time.  You may also consider these for the car where you have multiple devices to charge.


Links
Orico MPU-4S Charger
Mains 5 port Charger Anker

Friday, July 22, 2016

Retirement Plans, take 1



Subtitle: The State probably won't be there for you

How do you see your retirement?  Will it be long care free days living in an idyllic location.


It depends to a great extent in which country you have lived, saved and retire in.  This Quartz article refers  For Marcus and Agata this will be Europe.  However whilst not as dire as the prospects for Indians, I have some mildy depressing news.

If you are over 40 I can share you some secrets with you

- If you did not start saving for a Personal (non state Pension) now you are screwed
- If you are relying only on a Government State Pension to support you in your old age, you are screwed
- If you are relying on your offspring to support you, you are screwed  (because right now Millennials can't even afford their own housing, in fact they want you to support them, not the converse)

Government Forces
The problems started when
+ People began to live longer
- Funding for pensions collected via taxes diminshed
- The government spent your pension money on other stuff
- This includes the pensions of the existing population.  This effectively turns your state pension contributions into a Ponzi scheme.  There, I said it.


In the future with more old people, and less taxpayers  (millennials are either not working or barely contributing) the gap gets preposterously wider

Bottom line:  The UK (and other European) Governments will change pension rules so you get less.

And note:  The solution is most definitely not to import unskilled foreigners or encourage a UK youth population explosion hoping to attract more taxes from that demographic.  As already noted this group is a drain rather and has already resulted in the Government extending rather than contracting the retirement age  (NB: Earlier retirement was something we had always been promised by media and Government)

We would advise:  Assume your Government pension pays ZERO when you retire, anything they might actually pay should be considered as a bonus and pocket money at best.

Your Occupational pension , i.e. that from your job of working, is more reliable, though note its payout is linked almost entirely to the current Stock Market indices.



The Solution

- Start saving early, if not until now then start now.
- Housing equity is the most sensible option, because cash deposits don't work in 2016 and stock markets are severely over valued
- Make a plan to downsize before your retirement
- Make your dependents, e.g. children quite aware that you will not be able to fund them.  And further, in fact you'd like them to support you. It's called expectation setting!

 You may end up not even having a house, except one on wheels.


You may need to dispose of your car and consider something more efficient


You may consider disposing of any family heirlooms



 You need to seriously consider a change of lifestyle.  And definitely not spend time in expensive tea rooms.


Yes, downsizing is key.  Very painful, but you should plan not to be a burden to society, the state your friends, or family.







Thursday, July 21, 2016

Neoprene Ankle Protectors




Subtitle: Trying to become more normal

For over 20 years now, and that is a long time, Marcus has worn Neoprene Ankle protectors for any and every run.

How it all started
Over two decades ago when I was 20 years younger into my running career, I folded my ankle several times whilst trail running.  I mean for example, on the right foot, your foot pushes outwards, and the bottom of your foot, the sole point upwards.  There is also a loud cracking or snapping sound as your tendons give way.

A few hours later your ankle will have swollen so large that you cannot wear any shoe and about 1 week later, if you are lucky you will be mostly recovered.





Some Advantages [or wearing Neoprene]
- Very difficult to fold over your ankle
- Keeps feet quite warm in winter weather
- Provides extra cushioning, much gentler on joints whilst running

Some Disadvantages
- Seamless neoprene protectors are in 2016, very difficult to find
- You need to buy a slightly larger shoe size
- Your foot heel and toes are not in the neoprene sock, and hence don't quite touch the shoe inner, meaning your body weight is badly distributed and also there is less 'feel' to the running shoe
- It's a real faff in races.  For example in triathlon you lose time in transition, or say whilst entering a house, you need to take of the shoes and protectors.  Really this is the principle annoyance!
- Marginally heavier combination i.e. weight of protectors!
- Whilst the protectors do what they say, they protect your ankles, it also means that you run the risk of your ankles remaining weak.  For Marcus, I recognise that my historically weak ankles have never strengthened because the neoprene has been providing the support.  Too late to change?


Too late to change?

In order not to shock my feet into a quick trip to the hospital  for the last month I gradually stopped wearing the neroprene protectors.





Since I have perfectly flat feet I have to been even more careful when changing any running foot parameter.

Nevertheless I have continued and for the last 3 weeks I have been neoprene free!

Using the above Salomon S-Lab ultra light trail shoes the improvement in shoe to foot fit has been immediate.   The shoes now fit like a glove and on short runs i.e. less than 20Km, I seem to be flying along

Early days, but no ankle folds on the last few forest runs over uneven surfaces.  Not much of a test, but slowly does it.


Summary
- Today I have (at last) more time to experiment
- So, at last I'm trying to strengthen my ankles
- Stop using those Neoprenes
- Become more normal and stop with that faff!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, A hero for our times



Subtitle: Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

The above is an except from the latest book at the time of writing by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  After reading about the history and circumstance of Ayaan, and her first book Infidel in 2007 I was rather smitten.  How could somebody who had come from such humble and ordinary beginnings jumped cultures and continents to become one of the foremost thinkers in the secular world.  It is nothing short of fantastical.



The events in Wurzburg in July 2016 have me instantly thinking back to her current work,  called

Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

The first prophetic page of the book is displayed above and the entry point that I hope will grab the readers attention.  If you did not eagerly read it on May 19th 2016 as I did, then please consider reading it now.

Links
Wurzberg axe attack


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bee Nice


You are looking at the fantabulous Agata and Marcus Bee hotel that we installed a few months back.

Marcus is particularly fond of bees mostly because of the honey.  Honey is part of my daily breakfast porridge regime. To me it is still amazing that millions of bees are able to satisfy the human demand for honey.   I only hope that honey does not become more popular because I fear only honey prices and not production would rise as a result.

Additionally,  Bees are very hard working, sort of cute looking, and make a very nice noise.


For years
We have had bees buzzing around our apartment in Switzerland and we read up on the situation that these are solitary bees who are nominally not part of a hive.  And such bees need homes!



This was our first attempt at a home, which was a considerable effort to lug a large wooden stump from the forest, then cut and drill it.




Then one day Aldi had a special offer on Bee Houses.  Agata said I could buy just one :-(  so that is also installed on the balcony and we are please to report that some of the tubes have been filled and sealed.

So we are expecting some baby bees sooner or later.

We are excited!  More news later.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Meltonic Energy Food





Marcus loves or Agata would say is infatuated with Honey.  In fact it's part of my morning breakfast Porridge regime.

So when, on our recent Etape du Tour cycle we came across energy bars from MelTonic at the pre race village I had to buy some.

Yes, they were slightly expensive, but I like to try and support honey based manufacturers!




My favourite was the crushed almond and honey energy bars weighing in at 25 grams.   Sold in packs of 5

They literally melt in your mouth and I can really detect the honey dissolving away.  Delicious.

Currently they have a website but don't yet sell or ship to Switzerland   (a common issue!)

Anyway, really recommended.




Other Products



Links
Meltonic official

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Sermon: Don't Pray for Nice



I am not a Terrorist

The latest act of terrorism in my Geography was in Nice, France just a few days ago.

My heart is torn and I have the deepest sympathy for all the 84 victims, and additionally those injured physically or mentally and further; the families and friends whose lives will be forever negatively changed by this terrorist act.

I'd like to stress that I have not seen convincing evidence that the attack was perpetrated by someone claiming to represent the Islamic State or an extreme Religious viewpoint.

However, that said, I return back to the title of this article.

Please, never pray for me

And personally I am actually quite offended when I hear people who are  Praying for Nice

My offence and indeed overall sadness at those praying is because to me praying to an /imaginary friend/  will not actually change anything for the better.   I have some images




















If you want to change lives for the better my suggestion would be to speak gently and sincerely to those who hate, who hate because their religion taught them to hate, taught them that their sex and or religion was superior to others, and show them a more enlightened alternative.


#DontPrayForParis
#DontPrayForOrlando
#DontPrayForNice


Notes

Nice: ISIS claims responsibility though no firm evidence
Allahu Akbar claims,  circumstantial, not fully confirmed

Sunday Sermon: There is no Honour in this Killing






Beyonce: Blow






Qandeel Baloch: BAN


Pop Quiz.

Both of these videos contain graphic images.

But one comes from an environment and society where Men and Women have (pretty much) the same freedom of expression under the Law and Society.

However in the second, the video from Qandeel Baloch will probably be one of her last.  Why?  Because in her environment and culture she has suffered from a dishonourable killing.  A murder no less.

To all of us living in Societies, Countries, or Enlightened Social Class structures where this kind of killing is unthinkable:  Ask yourselves what you can do to show your disgust at killings like this

There is no honour in this killing


#QandeelBaloch







Saturday, July 16, 2016

But We Love Lausanne



Olstead and Cincotti: Breaking up is Hard


Subtitle: Trying not to live in Lausanne

I'm sure all foreigners living in Switzerland, such as Marcus and Agata, and even most Swiss would agree:

Living in Switzerland is very expensive.


For some time we've been considering our position, trying to find somewhere that is an alternative to Lausanne.  But increasingly it is our beloved Lausanne, well because:



01 The Lake


The lake is about 5Km and 30 minutes drive at most from our home.  Here watersports are the norm with sailing, windsurfing and SUP (Stand Up Paddle) commonplace.   During the months May to September inclusive the water is warm enough for excellent Triathlon training.


02 The Vineyards

There is not only local wine, but spectacular views and road cycling routes through the vineyards.  The famous Corniche less than 10Km and is on the official list of most beautiful spots in Switzerland tourist route.  

03 The Ski Resort(s)


The ski resort of Champery is less than 1 hour door to door, and when you ski over the mountain you reach the French resort Avoriaz.

And in the summer you can of course just hike or trail run or mountain bike these trails instead.  Bliss


04 The Mountains

In the summer season there is at least one and often more trail running race in nearby mountain villages.  Here in Switzerland Sport and mountain exercise is taken for granted around Lausanne. 


Mountain walks are also easily possible or hikes between beautiful regions stopping for lunch at quaint Swiss mountain retreats for lunch.  Not so bad!


05 The 50 metre pool(s) and Tracks



There is the Lutry, heated outdoor pool, open from May until September.  It is a gem and often almost empty, you can be assured to have no more than 2 of you in each 50 metre long lane on a typical 1 hour swim session.  What luxury.  And the same year long swim pass will give you access to all of Lausanne's many (well > 4) pools anytime.

And we have access to not one but two running tracks.  Open all the time, and with shower facilities.


06 The Weather

As a fair weather and dry road only cyclist I can attest that rain is kept to a minimum. It is extremely rare that at some point in the day you cannot go out for a 2 hour, dry road cycle.


07 The Postal System
The postal system just works.  Whilst there have been some cutbacks reducing the number of local post offices we still have 2 within 2km, not bad I think.   And postal deliveries every day.  And a trust system whereby small parcels are simply left in the unlocked lower portion of the postbox.  Because in Lausanne, it is still pretty safe.


08 The good Driving

Outside of the town people are not so much in a hurry.  You can pootle along at 50 Km/h and not be flashed by road rage drivers.  This means whilst cycling you are not often pushed off the road by drivers who for the most part are impeccably behaved.


09 The Cleanliness


When Agata and Marcus step out back to our respective home countries we are of course happy.  But also sad that home does not match up to the tidiness and cleanliness of Switzerland.  We are always rather glad to return to Lausanne.   

Not just in our tiny Apartment, but the majority of Lausanne is meticulously clean


10 The Serenity
There are birds and some cows to mainly interrupt our lives aurally.  And to a lesser extent cars and screaming kids.  But less so that in other areas we have lived.  This is not New York with steaming sidewalks, or London with beeping taxis.  No, it's an altogether more serene and most would say refined place to be.


By the way when I speak of Lausanne I'd include Lausanne the city and the neighbouring towns of Lutry, Pully, and towns along the lake like Lavaux, Saint Saphorin, Corseau, La Tour de Peilz, Clarens upto Montreux.

Today



Today I spied the above Porker outside a wine bar in town.  I thought, this Porsche 356 perfectly sums up our current hometown:
Chic, Beautifully Tidy, Fit for Purpose,  Graceful not Macho, Classy.   Just like Lausanne.

 
Yes, Lausanne is going to be a tough act to follow, and we are still searching, so please get in touch if you think you know the equal of such an idyllic location.



Links
Porsche 356

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Integrity




Ashley Madison: Hotel

To Marcus the above is an advertising spin on infidelity.

I speak frankly when I say that we are all open to temptation.  Most of us adults know in our hearts what the right thing to do is

The story for many of us is:

- less than ideal; to blatantly bad childhoods
- Parental role models of the worst kind, perhaps including infidelity, physical and/or mental abuse towards peers and children


The hope is though, that over the course of a lifetime, interaction with the wider world, with just other people, gets you out of even those bad childhood norms.

To a place where today, in the 21st Century, with the enormity of the free Internet at your fingertips you do not have to continue to rely on the crutches of:  My parents told me it is so.  My religion told me it is so.


By all means be spontaneous,   just don't knowingly be spontaneously stupid.

And if you are planning a long term deception then be aware somebody will be hurt and emotionally scarred, even if it not necessarily you.   

Be mindful.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Etape du Tour 2016





Subtitle:  Marcus, Pierre and Agata and the 122Km Etape du Tour 2016

After the multiple challenges we had getting to the start of the race, things could only get better, right ? .....


Change of Route



Days before the event the climb up Col de la Ramaz was removed because of rockslides. This shortened the race to about 122Km.  Marcus thought: now it is going to be too easy!  We have even less to worry about.



Pierre and the Phone
Agata took her Smartphone.  Marcus, of course took his Smartphone.  Pierre said:  I won't need it.

In retrospect and forever more whenever we meet Pierre in the future we reserve the right rib him with /Where is your Smartphone/.

It was a strategic error because later when we became separated there was just no way to contact each other, leading to some anxious moments.

In 2016:  Carry the bloody Smartphone.  Period!




Waiting in Line





We waited in line for almost an hour.  This is typical of big events. Often you almost die of boredom waiting to pass the start line.  Luckily we were all in good spirits and we had some nice pre race conversations amongst ourselves and others queuing around us.



We Started




Pierre was in Block 14 and Marcus and Agata in Block 11.  So of course we decided to all start in Block 14.   Our plan was

- Take it easy
- No really, take it easy
- We focus on having a good time, cycling with each other
- We're stopping at the stops to have a good eat, not dashing a food and fluid refill
- Marcus will be taking photographs!
- Be especially careful on steep descents


- Don't rush up the ascents, especially the last Col Joux Plane, it is a deceptively hard one.




Overtake on the Left
Marcus learnt the hard way suffering time penalties overtaking on the right in a Triathlon many years ago, (actually because riders were clustering left), it does not matter!,  there is a strict race rule:

Overtake on the Left,  Keep to the Right

Except when you are cutting a corner on the Racing Line you ride on the right.  And when you overtake you pull left, and then return right afterwards.



Here is an extract from the rule book!



A Nasty Accident

Just as Marcus was shouting "overtake on the left, keep to the right" it seemed to yet another young wannabe steaming past me on a downhill, it happened:

On a steep descent when I was doing >> 40 Km/h a man shot down my inside right, as I was moving back to the right having overtaken a group of riders plodding around in the middle of the road.

I saw him flying past my right side and then his bicycle fell into the rock filled gutter and I saw a terribly violent crash and the sound of cracking carbon fibre.  I think his was Carbon spoked and probably wheels breaking.  Luckily for him the medical car was only about 500 metres behind and so I left them to pick him up.

---

We saw one other crash, when a group ahead, riding Pelaton style concertina crashed into each other.  Marcus has developed a /train leading style/  whereby I offer to be a windbreak for the team behind.  And it works best iff

- you promise to keep to a constant effort
- this means on ascents you keep the effort same and speed lower
- on the flat you keep the same, rock solid, speed
- you keep checking with the line behind, best being each person then checks the person behind them, that the speed is good, and not too fast
- if everybody says it's too slow then you speed up
- if an emergency stop is required you agree that you will move LEFT, leaving the team behind to see the problem


Leg Cramping

Pierre: As early as KM 60 I suffered from leg cramp.  This meant that we stopped a few times until my recovered and continued on.

Views













Okay, Marcus would biasedly say,  it's not quite up-to Swiss standards, but still extremely beautiful


Team Photos














Nutrition and Liquids Stops 
We agreed to stop at the major food and liquid stops and really take our time to eat the multiple nutrition options provided.   There was nuts, bananas,  energy bars,  energy shot, and energy based powders for mixing with bottled water.















Col Joux Plane





A tough ascent




The last ascent at about Km 80 is called Joux Plane and it is over 11Km at an average of 8% gradient.

We started together but soon we split up, agreeing to regroup at the top:

Pierre:
With leg cramp the policy ended up being:  Cycle the first Km, then keep cycling slowly until leg cramp shows up.  Then walk,  un-cramping and start cycling again when ready.   Repeat until get to the top of the Col.  And just hope that this combination is faster than the sweeper wagon/ time car, because if that passes me, my race is over 

Agata:
On the entire climb only 2 people got past me.  I went past so many people!  Hundreds even.   I tried to stick to the 28 ratio at the back, but on the sections that went to 10% I found myself changing to the 32 gear at the back.  So the 34 front, 32 back combination meant I could ascend this without difficulty.


Marcus:
First excuse, my bicycle was totally unsuited to hills, only triathlons, but my other bike, with mountain ratios had been stolen recently.  My lowest ratio was 44 front,  25 rear.  Shockingly inadequate.  The only way I could make it was to keep the cadence and hence speed high.   This is going to be tricky ...

I started off well but my characteristic /don't need to drink anything much/ tactic on the race let me down here.   I think, this one time, I was actually dehydrated.  At about 6Km into the climb I felt sick.  I stopped and was violently sick! Twice.  So then I continued, found a water fountain and covered myself in water and drank too.  This lost me a few minutes but turned out well.

On the last 2Km of ascent I had to stop saying /overtake on the left, keep to the right/. Prior to that I would never overtake anybody on the right, this meant I had to mostly come up to some guy cycling on the left edge, shout out hello (meaning hello, please get out of the way), wait for them to move, overtake left, move right.   This is bloody time consuming, and energy wasting.  By KM  9 of the KM 11 rise  I was so exhausted that I overtook right if I had to.  People were basically all over the road,  many walking,  I mean not just a few,  we are talking hundreds walking in total.  And spread out randomly like confetti.


Almost Uncatchable
Before I had to stop to be sick on Joux Plane Marcus was basically unstoppable.  Not a single person overtook me. About half way up I came up on a guy with a Swiss website on his jersey.  We got talking.  He was from Switzerland and he had done a 50Km trail run yesterday. Today he had sneaked onto the course, to do a /cool down cycle ascent/ he claimed :-) , and was not part of the race.

I was pretty impressed.   I managed to edge past him, but when I became nauseous, and stopped to be sick,  he went past me.   Other than that, nobody got past me on Joux Plane.


Where is Pierre?
Marcus reached the top of Joux Plane first and then was astonished that after only a few snacks Agata turned up.  Looking as fresh as a daisy.

I thought the nice thing to do was to cycle back down to get Pierre. Agata would stay put in case I missed him and telephone me if he magically appeared.  So, I dowsed myself with cold water and set back.  But after 1KM  security stopped me and told me I could not cycle back downhill, and I must turn back.

I came back, and Agata and I waited nervously for Pierre

Pierre is sighted?


During the hour or so I waited for Pierre, Agata and Marcus were worried

- Had he given up
- Was he behind the sweeper van, in which case he is DNF, and has to get on the bus and his bicycle will be taken separately.  In this case it would add to logistics problems++
- Oh remind me, he did not take his bloody phone!!!

And then, after we had almost given up hope we saw Pierre cycling towards us.   Marcus was so happy he ran out to hug Pierre as shown above.   

The team is back together!


Agata to the finish

After the Col Joux Plane there is a pretty steep 20Km or so descent to the race finish.  Agata was team lead.  Marcus and Pierre say:

Agata descended like a woman possessed.  We struggled hard to keep up with her.  And all the more amazing as she was on a hire bicycle she rode once ever for 1 hour before today.   

Marcus is worried that her new Ribble, Dura Ace bicycle that I have ordered to replace her stolen bicycle  can only surely be faster than this rental.  Yikes!


We all got down in record time therefore, with Marcus and Pierre trying to keep Agata in line of sight.




Back to the Car


Getting out of the finish area was easy.   Ear splittingly loud music was playing.  But we then had to cycle back uphill to Pierre's car.  It seemed to take ages and was complicated by the fact that it was so hot the tar on the road back had melted.  This coated our bicycle tyres which then attracted fine road stones to stick to the tyres.  So when we finally got back to the car we had to cleanup first before dismantling bicycles.

Then drive the 60KM or so back to race start to pickup the Motorhome, which unfortunately ran into huge traffic.  But we had no choice but to continue.


Weight Loss!
After post race drinking 1.5 litres of water and then driving home to Lausanne, which took over 4 hours including unloading the Motorhome,  Marcus consulted his weight scales to find himself 3Kg under normal weight.   I hope that not all of this was water loss and that a new lighter Marcus  (and Agata) will go faster in future races.



Summary
Despite the considerable challenges that meant we were lucky to even start the race we did.  We had a great time.  The weather was 110% sunny, the  race organisation for food and refreshment was first class.   We cycled as a team and started and finished together.  Many smiles and good memories.  As it should be.


Links
Official Roadbook