We have been here in Leysin for almost 2.5 weeks. We hopped in a car less than 24 hours after completing 70.3 Mooseman to make the drive from NH to JFK. Then it was an 8 hour flight over the Atlantic after a 1.5 hour in the plane delay. Then a train ride around Lake Geneva, and another up the hill from Agile to Leysin. You can read a little bit about coach’s adventure up the hill here…
I don’t remember exactly what my first blog was at Team TBB heat camp in Thailand. But, we are here in Switzerland, and I am past due for a blog entry!! Already, I’ve had some questions about training, the terrain, etc. Maybe I’ll get to those, but to reiterate a blog from Thailand…TeamTBB training camp is kind of like the movie “Fight Club”. The first rule of Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Fight Club. So, for now, some cultural notes!! Yeah!
My first and only previous visit to Switzerland was in September 1998 when I came to Lausanne to race ITU Age Group world championships. I can’t remember the exact results, but I think that I just missed the podium in the age group with a top 5 finish. Anyhooo…
What they say about bread, cheese, and chocolate is true. It is everywhere. There are little bakeries everywhere. I have managed to generally ‘avoid’ bread like we do at home except for the occasional panini or slice of pizza on a long ride or after a particularly hard day of training. The cheese is a different story!! I have taken quite a liking to cheese. My favorite has become plain old Mozzarella, even the ‘cheap’ brand. I’ll have a piece with a banana before the morning swim, and at least once other chunk sometime during the day! Amy has taken a liking to mild Le Guyere from Switzerland. It stinks up the whole fridge!! And, the chocolate has become long ride fuel if it is milk chocolate or a late afternoon snack if it is dark chocolate!
The Swiss seem to go to the grocery store daily, maybe twice daily…once in the AM for their baguette, and once later for whatever they need for the evening meal. Lucky for us the grocery, either ‘Pam’ or the ‘Coop’, is on the way home from the pool…and we are usually so hungry after the AM swim, that nuts or trail mix gets eaten between the store and the apartment.
When June 21, the first day of summer hit, it seemed like suddenly all the farmers were cutting hay, all of the flower beds in the city were replanted, street lines were repainted, and everyone just started getting ‘outside’. Oddly enough it coincided with some great weather to replace the first 2 weeks of colder (40-65F) and wetter weather.
Almost every stitch of land is utilized in the village of Leysin. If there is not a house on the land, it is fenced and cows will graze it off and on. Apartments/condos seem to be more common here than houses, though in our building I think that only about 4 of the 11 or 12 units are currently inhabitied. Leysin, while beautiful right now, is apparently more of a winter than summer town.
Cows here all seem to have bells around their necks. For the first week and a half we constantly heard the clang of cowbells outside our 2nd floor window as the grass patch next to our building was home to about a dozen or so cows. They have been moved to ‘greener’ pastures for the time being, but I bet they are back soon enough! Kind of gives new meaning to the term ‘more cowbell’!!
That about does it for now. I will post some pics when I can. I have done plenty of training, and am hungry…literally…and hungry for the next race which may end up being IMUK on August 1…unless I find something between now and then to squeeze in! Stay tuned for another blog soon!!