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.