Monday, October 31, 2016

Lausanne Marathon 2016

Marcus post marathon chat

We arrived to the Marathon in Lausanne an hour early, having had an extra hour of sleep  (clocks went back), and a custom grained porridge + honey breakfast.  Marcus special recipe.

We love the fact that you can still park for free less than 500 metres from marathon start, and that is what we did, walking uphill to Parc Milan where the start is every year.

Agata and I were in different start blocks which was a shame because with 3 minutes to the start an official told me to run to my coral and I missed having any drink, because Agata had it, so had to start the race thirsty.

Agata's Race (Personal Best!)

We haven't done much marathon training this year so I felt a bit apprehensive about running the full marathon distance and I set my expectations (or hopes really) on finishing under 4 hours. 

I went on at a relaxed speed, kept hydrated with Isostar drinks and water at refreshments stations. At Km 14 and 30 we had our faithful friends Ingrid, Vojto and Timeo cheering and taking photos, which was a great pickup! At around Km 30 I checked my time and discovered that I was on track to my fastest marathon time ever! 

If only I can keep the pace for the remaining 12 Km... Well the promise of breaking my PB did the magic and despite cramps in my calves I arrived at the finish of my quickest marathon ever.
After finishing, our VIP package didn't disappoint and I was greeted by a nice KLM/Air France crew in the dedicated tent where I spotted Marcus's happy face whilst he was rolling off the massage bed. The nice touch were super soft KLM blue coloured fleece blankets handed to us as well as drinks and nibbles and smiles.

At one point I thought I was hallucinating when on the massage bed next to me I saw A CLOWN getting treatment, but Marcus has a photographic proof, so it must have really happened.

Sufficiently recovered we went back to the finish area searching for our friend Medalit but we missed her in the crowd.

Overall: Very happy but calves hurt like h**l
Nutrition: ~ 700 ml of isostar and water, + 2 sis energy gels
Official time: 3:48:42

Marcus  Race Report (I finished)

Whilst I finished,  I was a little disappointed with the 03:37 time.  Critics might say that Marcus is never happy but on the quiet I thought this Marathon could have been a fast one, meaning closer to 03:15  Well:

+ I ate well last week.   No ice cream binges the night before like some people  (Agata maybe!)

+ I have dropped 2Kg in the last few months and I'm now at a race weight I never thought I would ever achieve.  (By the way, I put this down to a diet high in lentils and beans)

Pre Marathon ramble

The Race Plan
I had intended to start from the back and take it easy for the first half, keeping my speed to no more than 12km/h then after the halfway point accelerate

On the Plus side

+ Ingrid, Timeo and Vojto were at 14Km smiling and cheering for me.   This was a boost.  Plus I unloaded about 100 grams worth of buff and hat to them, so I was a shade lighter right?

+ I had perfect clothing for the day.  On the Saturday test run I wore too hot a top, and on the run back from the lake, up 500 metres to home I got hot and exhausted.  So planned to wear a thin top for Sunday and it was just right!

What went Wrong then

- I had more stops than anticipated.  My headphones died and I had to change over to the spare pair I was carrying  (no honestly!).   Took time.

- I stopped at too many drinks stations. Again time.  And then I had to find a toilet.  More wasted time!

- I was wearing my Asics shoes that are now sort of the wrong size.  Because after wearing Neoprene Protectors for about 20 years  (I am not kidding) I stopped recently.  And because I'm on economy drive; my plan is to wear out all my sports shoes and only then buy new stuff.   So my feet were slipping inside the shoes leading to inefficient running, and after Km 30 a large blister surfaced.  What an idiot!

- After Km30 I just sort of slowed down.  Unlike last year when I was battling a long term chest/ breathing problem.  This October I'm fine.   I just did not seem to have the energy.  Very annoying.  I'm hoping it's just circumstance and not approaching senility

Some Reasons

Every runner with a disappointing time has some reasons, or as other people see them excuses.  Here is my list

- I went on a strenuous run the day before Saturday.  When I awoke Sunday my legs were tired.  Idiot!

- I've been woken prematurely recently.  We now have a new set of noisy neighbours and I have not confronted them yet

- I'm in the middle of some exciting Computer Projects. They seem to force me into a typically 03.00 bedtime.  It's too late.

The VIP tent
Marcus can truthfully say that we usually never win anything, however Agata managed to get us free entries to this marathon by entering an Air France competition.  Wow!

And there was a post race VIP tent with benefits as shown below:

A Serious Close
Whilst I felt my time for the marathon was disheartening, the only person responsible is me.   But Agata had a personal best.  Her marathon time was 03:48.  Wow, just wow.

Faithless: See U More

I reflect upon my emotions when I think of her achievement. There is not a shred of jealousy.  Only respect, pride and love.  I have the continued feeling that after a somewhat troubled life; things sort of came right when I met and fell in love with Agata, and her with me.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Berne Motorhome Show 2016

It is the time of year when we visit the Berne Motorhome show and usually come away thinking that our Dethleffs T8 Motorhome still fits us better than anything that we could buy today.   What will happen this year?

Berne Suisse Caravan Salon 2016

We spent a few hours touring the halls and below are the most interesting things that we found

Dethleffs Stand

We are Dethleffs T8 motorhome owners so our first stop was the Dethleffs stand.  Our T8 is no longer manufactured, a great mistake in our opinion, and we'll rant on about that later. 

Above are the selection of Motorhomes that they now retail, some of which were on display

Dethleffs Globus I1

As displayed this is a 81K CHF (67K GBP) Integrated Motorhome.

I found after the show via Internet research that the regular T series Globus (similar to ours) is now 4cm wider (boo!) at 219 cm.  Still thinner than the regular 230-235 cm of most Motorhomes and now even further away from the 205cm of most Van based motorhomes.

Here is a link to the 2017 specs

It's almost identical inside to our T8 though being an Integrated I series the front passenger area is more spacious and the driver visibility is much better.

As with Integrated motorhome from any manufacturer I can think of there is this annoying extra, drop down double bed at the front, an extra something that surely no travelling couple ever uses.  But normally you can't option it out.  Hmmm.

La Strada Avanti EB 4x4

We were very impressed by the 90K CHF La Strada Avanti.  It's German. This is a tall van conversion at 2.92 metres tall  (our Dethleffs is a sleek 2.62 metres by comparison, we chose it specially!)

But as a van it is a greatly maneuverable 2.05 metres wide and a pretty short 6.36 metres long.

This motorhome had some features we really liked:

- 4 wheel drive
- Lots, and we mean really lots of cupboard space
- Probably room for our 2 bicycles inside at the back.  Though you'd need to take your 2 bicycles to a dealer to really check this.
- Nice touches like inverter, 2 gas bottle storage on a pullout
- Obviously comes with full bathroom and shower, we'd never consider a motorhome without a decent one.

Mounting of Fridge at waist height for easy access

At the back the bedroom base rotates up and then you can stack tall objects in the back.   We think with that down though you might still get 2  bicycles (front wheel off and seatpost removed)  in.

La Strada Avanti EB

La Strada Avanti L
For 70K CHF it was no surprise that the Avanti L is like the Avanti EB 4x4 with many features deleted.   It is 20K cheaper after all. Notably there is no 4x4 and the number of cupboards is reduced, but then it is a much more respectible 2.65m tall only and only 5.99 metres long.  The width is the usual 2.05m.

We like the much more compact design cf the Avanti EEB. However this also means the height from the top of the bed platform to the loading floor is reduced.   We think road bicycles even with wheel and seatpost would just not fit.  Hmm

Cupboard space just behind driver, so much better than the open shelf provided by man manufacturers

No cookers on European motorhomes, because they are not English crazy people.  3 hobs is one too many IMHO for anything but a boat sized motorhome.

Although one step down in trim from the EB, the Avanti L still oozes quality construction.

La Strada Avanti L

Hymer DL 504
On the face of it the Hymer 504 Dynaic Line is a new breed of Motorhome promising to give us everything we have in our current 6.7m Dethleffs T8 but in only a 6m package.  Does it deliver?  Well it tries ...

The Garage is arguably just to small to take 2 bicycles especially with the little bump at the back left.  Also the second door is too small to put a road bicycle through.

Battery and other gubbins in a lockable left compartment

As with all integrated the driving position and visibility is excellent and superior

Highly placed coach style mirrors are safer from collision with other vehicles or bashing pedestrians.

Hymer DL 504 Tour

Adria SLS Compact
We saw this last year as a prototype.  Now its officially for sale

Twin beds that we personally detest. Well, we'd prefer just a double bed and extra space for storage.

One burner too many but still a nice compact kitchen sink unit

They elegantly show here how you can have bicycles outside the vehicle even with the slideout.  Personally we'd always want our bicycles inside the vehicle in the garage.

This is the SLS but alo note the SL and SP Vehicles.

Static Homes

We've toyed with the idea of a Static Home in Switzerland.  The principle gotcha is that Swiss sites are not normally open all year and as far as we can determine in Vaud canton this cannot be your primary residence.  The following home is priced at 120K CHF

The format for most of these static homes is 1 master bedroom, 1 kids bedroom (we'd use as a study/ walk in cupboard area), combined open plan lounge and kitchen, bathroom. This design had a dishwasher but no washing machine. There is a small cupboard with a gas boiler for hot water and heating. Outside there is no shed to store anything.

The Fun Stuff

The Crazy Stuff
I am not sure who actually buys a 300K+ CHF 4 wheel drive truck based motorhome but they seem popular. Just driving one on any small road i.e. a lot of Switzerland would not be possible.

In Summary Then
We had a great time at the Berne 'Caravan Salon' show 2016.  For us we still think our Dethleffs T8 is the best motorhome for us:

- Size: 6.7m long but only 2.62m high and 2.15m thin.  
Finding any motorhome this thin except a van is basically impossible! (Carthago c-Compactlinehas the only other in production now we think)

- Garage:
Big enough to put in 2 bicycle without dismantling.   Bikes are out of the way, dry and not on show.  Also not in an open space living area that would change the character of how you feel inside the habitable space.

- Separate Shower
There is a toilet area and separate Shower area.  After a shower your toilet and sink are not covered in water.  The shower is used as a temp clothes store after sports

- Connecting Door
A sliding door can partition the bedroom/toilet/shower from the living room.  So one person can be sleeping whilst the other is working without disturbing each other

- Cupboards
A huge range of Cupboards sufficient for an active couple carrying sports equipment and clothes for at least 3 weeks

We ordered a Dethleffs T8 motorhome in 2015