Thursday, 18 October 2018

How to do the Tour du Leman

One of the many reasons why this 160km race round Lake Geneva is totally, utterly my favourite rowing event (and why I keep going back) is that the organisers are so lovely, particularly to British crews who need help with hiring boats and lifts from the airport (unlike the continentals who turn up with trailers and their own cars).

One good turn deserves another, though, and so over the years I've been the person they refer new English-speaking entries to for advice. I'm happy to help, but to save me retyping the same answers every time, here's my "How to" guide for Brits with no experience of long-distance rowing (unlike the aforementioned continentals, most of whom do several 50k+ rowing marathons a year).

Saturday, 29 September 2018

The Tour du Leman that wasn't

Lake Geneva is mostly calm as well as enchantingly beautiful at the end of September when the 160km Tour du Leman a l'Aviron takes place, and I've had some dream sculling experiences there on mirror-flat water surrounded by stunning scenery. However, because it's so big, and surrounded by mountains, it also has its own microclimate, which can turn nasty in quite a short space of time, before turning back again, as if to say, "Storm? Me? No, you're making it up!" Frustratingly, this often seems to happen on a Saturday.

Over the 13 runnings of the event since I first did it in 2006 and including this year, there have been no fewer than five occasions when the conditions were so awful that either the course had to be shortened or most of the crews sank (like us) or pulled out before they did so. Despite this unpromising statistic, the lure of the Lac pulls most of us back again and again to take on this relentlessly hard challenge, in the most gorgeous of surroundings.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Cheese and chocolate and rowing - oh my!

The Netherlands - basically Xanadu for expedition rowers with its circular routes, respect for this form of rowing, and friendliness to eccentric Brits - produces a rowing marathon calendar every year (I mean, just brilliant or what?) and I'm working my way through it, ticking off one event a year.

2018's little taste of paradise was the 70km Nord Holland Tocht which, let's be quite clear, is a challenge ("tocht") in the region of North Holland which is part of the country that patiently wishes the English-speaking world would call it the Netherlands.