A couple of weeks ago we headed off to Switzerland to go for a swim in France 😉 We were competing again in the Traversee du lac Annecy. We flew into Geneva and promptly dashed across the border to France on the Tuesday night. The race always takes place on the French national holiday on August 15th. This year it was on a Thursday, meaning we had Wednesday to rest up before the 5k race on Thursday…. OR do too much swimming, drink too much wine and generally have a fun time exploring Annecy.
On the Wednesday morning Paul, who was also joining us for the jaunt, came and picked me (Manda) and Katie up from our hotel in Talloires. We then turned up Radio Plus, our new favourite French pop radio station, wound down the windows and headed around the lake. We wanted to swim by this bit of headland on the west side of the lake, where there is a peninsula with a large chateau on, but had no idea where we could get in. We found a spot to park our car and a little public beach that would allow us easy access to the water and estimated that a swim to the headland would be around 400m, which meant 800m in total… perfect… nothing to strenuous the day before the race.
Then as only Team Mermaids can, we ended up swimming a lot further and being in the lake for 1 hour. Only one thing for it, head back to hotel and rest… Nah! Off we went to Annecy for a walk around the town and some yummy ice cream and registered. You can register on the morning of the race but we have always registered the day before. After lots of repeating of our most used phrase of the trip “WE DON’T SPEAK FRENCH” coupled with our 2nd most used phrase “DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?” we were registered. We then headed back to Talloires for another dip and suddenly realised we had probably over done it the day before but cest la vie.
The next morning we headed to Veyrier du Lac where the race starts and as with previous years we had no clue what was going on or why we were delayed starting. But soon enough we were off. The start of the race is a straight approx. 200m dash out to the first buoy. To have a buoy that requires a sharp right turn so soon after the start leads to this frantic melee and then an epic squeeze/battle around the buoy. This resulted in me swimming backstroke for a bit to ensure that I could keep Katie within sight. After that it thins out pretty quickly as you complete a 3km swim straight up the east side of the lake. Beautiful scenery in every direction often makes you forget that you are meant to be racing (well that is the excuse I am sticking to!). Despite the straight nature, I was once again caught wondering whether I was sighting the right buoy as other swimmers were off to the right and we were sighting a red buoy straight in front. I stopped (same as I did 2 years ago with Brian) and whinged (same as I did 2 years ago with Brian) “are we sighting that red buoy?”. Katie said yes and I was off again… until I realised my quick transition from whinge to swim meant she was still a couple of metres back cleaning her goggles! Once at the top of the lake you do a sharp left hand turn and sight a castle all the way to the finish.
At the end I managed to end up somewhat battling with a wetsuit clad swimmer who was trying to push me off my line and then when I thought the drama was over and we were about to tap the finish gantry, my timing chip got knocked into the water by Katie…. SABOTAGE… until she caught it and handed back to me and allowed me to tap in before her. Our overall time was disappointing and the slowest ever but once again it was a great swim. The slower you swim, the better value for money you get on race entry cost 😉
After getting out we then proceeded to look out for Paul who was doing the 2.4km swim. Analysing every ORANGE capped swimmer’s stroke we thought we had spotted him more than once but once they stopped swimming we would realise it wasn’t Paul. We headed around to finish area to check we hadn’t missed him and after a short wait he appeared holding his GREEN cap…Ooops. We then celebrated over lunch and ate more ice-cream before heading back to the hotel for a poolside relax. We said goodbye to Paul who was heading off north for more of a holiday.
The next morning we set our alarm for 7am and headed down to the lake for a sunrise swim before having to get our taxi to the airport. Waiting for the sun to appear over the mountains whilst being in the company of 3 air balloons was magic and ensured we had definitely used every moment we could whilst in Annecy. Until next time Lake Annecy.