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Bienvenue à Leysin! « James Cunnama’s Blog


Bienvenue à Leysin!

So I am back to Leysin. This is my fourth summer here now and every year it gets a little easier to adapt and find my feet.

I remember the first year well. I was staying with Scott and Manny Huerta (who has just made the US team for Olympics – congrats Manny!). We were staying in Alexandra House – quite a walk to the pool and without internet or much TV. Just training really. Manny’s favourite quote for that summer was from Taladega Nights: ‘Oh, Dear baby Jesus!’ He would say that every time he felt he was suffering and thought he might collapse/die …so about 5 times a day then! My accommodation has been upgraded since then, and my idea of what is hard has too – although I still find myself thinking the same thing a few times each week…

Even now my first ride up The Hill was a bit of a shock to the system. I knew what I was in for – in fact I know pretty much every bump and pothole on the entire hill by now – but somehow that doesn’t make that first trip of the summer to the top any easier. Regardless, the first trip up The Hill and all its associated pain and discomfort is soon eclipsed by a ride up The Hill following a track session. Then you get a real reminder of what summers in Leysin are all about – especially if the track session didn’t go well and you feel like dying before you start! …Or for that matter if the track session did go really well… and you feel like dying before you start!

So the summer in Leysin is well under way – the weather is finally playing along. The first week was miserable with constant rain, some snow on the mountains and 5hr rides without feeling your fingers or toes the entire way – until you get up The Hill of course – at least it warms you up! But now we seem to have sun and warmth (touch wood – it changes quickly here!). We have already done the track-session-plus-ride-up-The-Hill thing a couple times, done a trip around Lake Geneva by bike, run around the forest loop multiple times, cycled The Loop and The Bulle Loop, been out on the bike with only shorts and short-sleeves and been out wearing everything I own, carried treadmill’s (an annual tradition) and got to know the newbies well enough to start really giving them a hard time. Team-mates have already been out for weekend passes to earn race podiums, and learned that that doesn’t earn you a holiday in this place. Highs, lows, good weather and bad weather (and horrible weather), tired legs/arms/bodies/minds and emotions, and of course the ever-present, always entertaining (if it’s not aimed at you) rhetoric by the mad genius that is our coach…

…And we’ve only got through the first two weeks of an entire summer here! Bienvenue à Leysin!

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