Sunday, May 21, 2017

CycloTour du Leman 2017

Marcus and Agata are delighted to say that we successfully finished the Swiss Lausanne - Evian - Geneva - Lausanne Cyclotour 2017.

Just before the Cyclotour it was a staggeringly cold 5 degrees, however by noon temperatures were supposed to rise to 20 degrees C.   So what to wear?   Unfortunately Marcus already took his lightweight jackets to England, prior to our move.  So I had to settle for a plastic bag under my cycling Jersey as a wind cheater and a long T shirt worn under the Cycling top for warmth.

More Preparation

Yes, you should prepare for a 176Km race.  Here are some of the things we did

- Check the predicted temperature and rainfall for the day.  This determines primarily what clothing to wear and take
- Check surface of tyres.  Make sure no cuts.  If yes then replace tyre.  (Each tyre is about 30 GBP, so this is an expensive precaution)
- Check tyre pressures
- Check correct chain lubrication
- Check all hex bolts tight
- Check Wheel bearings lubricated and tightened correctly
- Check race number attached
- Check we are taking toolkit and compressed air pump and spare inner tubes
- Determine what nutrition and fluids to take based on what is available on race
- Check official stops
- Determine what to do in event of accident
- Go for a test cycle on bike as it will race, day before, to confirm setup

They Moved the Start
We have done this cycle race for about 10 years now, so of course we know where the start is.  Trouble is when we arrived at 06.30 it was deserted.  Yep, they moved the start !  It is now in Ouchy.

 We live at over 600m altitude so on the cycle down to the Lake it was really quite cold.  Agata had themals on just for that and took them off before race start.

Race Report
Our start was initially delayed by us showing up at the wrong place.  A common mistake.  Many others were saying the same.   But we set off therefore at 06.52.

It soon became clear that we would not join any group and so this would be a team of 2, drafting free 176Km cycle.

Drafting is very effective,  you sit behind somebody else and it's oh so easy.  The only issue is that you are behind people you've never met before, who might cycle erratically, leading to a high speed accident.

Indeed after 60Km as we trundled along at our planned 30 - 33 Km/h,  a group overtook us, and then one of that number catapulted to the ground and it was only luck that prevented a massive pile up.

So,  just Agata and Marcus together.  Marcus was in metronome mode,  no sudden speed variations,  easy to cycle behind.

We only had one stop and this was a toilet stop and this was a 30 second pitstop with an almost 10 minute queue.  Hmmm.

After about 4 hours the weather got warm.  Over 15 degrees, rising to about 20 degrees at the finish.  Marcus only had thermal arm warmers, yes well, the normal ones that protect my Sun allergic skin are, yes, you guessed it, already in England. Aaaaargh!  Let me just say I was pretty hot for the last  2 hours of the race, not made any better by the increased effort of the inclines on the last 50K of the course.

The Finish
 The route from Geneva back to Lausanne is 'special'.  First the wind is usually against you,  and you are pretty tired.   As usual after Geneva we had a whole line of drafters  (more than 10) tagging along as Marcus tried to maintain a 30km/h average difficult not only due to wind but also the hills

The last 1Km was stuck full of cars so we lost almost a minute in traffic and so we are delighted to say that in-spite of this our full time came in at just under 6 hours.

 Post race cleaning up

A great result.  Why? Because Agata was not 100% today having been sick on Friday, in bed all Saturday,  lucky in fact to really have been participating at all.  My wife is not only beautiful but tough.

Birthday Celebrations

Never do anything stupid the day before a race should be our mantra.  And so we did not get to celebrate Marcus' birthday yesterday.

So instead our wonderful friend Sandra baked a cake and today cycled down from her home to meet us at the finish of the race.

Thanks to Sandra for her good cheer (and cake), to Agata for trying so very hard,  for Lausanne canton for organising another great race,  and to the many good natured participants we cycled with along this race.

Official Cyclotour website