As you all know, the big challenge is next Sunday. Neil is to row the length of Lake Geneva (Leman) and Gareth is the cycle round it. They launched the challenge yesterday. The idea is to raise awareness of their challenge this sunday.
This mini challenge saw the lycra clad boys row and cycle continuously for an hour on a rowing machine and a training bike respectively in the blistering sun. The atmosphere was electric as no one knew what to expect. We weren’t disappointed. Both Gareth and Neil sprang into life from the outset. Unbelievably they kept up their initial pace..!
After the halfway mark both were struggling, Neil emitting some interesting grunts and squeals and Gareth making grimaces.
30 seconds to go and Gareth was out of his seat and Neil had picked up the pace. after the hour both boys collapsed in a heap next to their equipment with exhaustion. The result:
Gareth – 23km
Neil – 16.9km
Once the dust had settled we checked the equipment to see that the resistance on the back wheel of the bike was set to hill climb. So repsect to Gareth for such a handicap. You crazy kids..!
Neil will be rowing for St Mungo’s – http://www.justgiving.com/Neil-Aherne
Gareth will be cycling for Multiple Myeloma UK – http://www.justgiving.com/Gareth-Chandler
Yes, I think we’ve all watched Pinsent and Redgrave powering along in their little boats and thought “That’s very impressive” or “I wonder if I could do that” or perhaps “I’m off down the gym to have a go on the rowing machine” and then probably dismissed the idea as less interesting than going to the pub.
But not Neil at CK. No, Neil is a bit obsessed with it all and after making a rather daft bet with Gareth at The Lodge he’s preparing to row the length of Lake Geneva. Yes, that’s about 76 km. So on 15th of August 2010 (weather permitting) he’ll row the length of it in one day – it’s about 35 times further than they row in the Olympics, like rowing from Brighton to London (but only if there was a lake than went from one to the other).
Now, crucially this is going to be racing against Gareth who is also a bit of a fitness maniac (when he’s not dancing around Rockbah with his shirt off – yes G, we all saw) and Gareth will be on his road bike trying to do a lap around the lake (about 175km) in the time it takes Neil to row the length.
This too is a pretty hefty undertaking…
And the reason for all this exercise? Well, charity – St Mungos, the homeless charity. So if you want to help out and make a donation please go to:
The whole slightly insane challenge also has a big thank you to say to Zac Purchase, the British Olympic Gold Medalist at Beijing, who donated a boat which Neil might actually be a little bit in love with. Unhealthy perhaps but it is – apparently – the Ferrari Enzo of boats. A sleek nine feet of carbon fibre that weighs just 10 kilos.
Anyway, a great cause, two great lads and we’ll keep you posted… The event is planned for August 15th although we’ll see what the weather does. And you’ll be delighted to hear the Verbier based members of Performance are busy trying to get seats on the support boats, partly because we want to be there to cheer on Neil, and partly because one is designated as the ‘Party Boat’ so should be quite entertaining…
Meanwhile if you ever wondered what all the fuss was about Lake Geneva, these snaps should answer your questions – a stunning place to spend Monday evening…
I might have mentioned before the Swiss propensity to celebrate things with cheese and alcohol, and on 26 September 1993 they voted to have another one. Swiss National Day. So every year on 1st August. That’s how it works here – you just ask everyone if they want another bank holiday and, amazingly, everyone said yes…
Now, despite the fact that the weather went from stunning blue skies to cloudy to rumbles of thunder to complete monsoon, the Swiss didn’t let that stop them from having a proper party. And a parade. And – as is the custom here – a full marching brass band.
So we went and helped them out – fortuitously taking cover underneath the canopy of The Pub Mont Fort’s bar. And despite the weather it all went rather well and looked a bit like this…
Kat and Don doing model poses: The rain arrives: The band carries on regardless:
They even seem to enjoy it: Finally a load of local kids with lanterns swim past:
I had a great text from a mate in London this week: “So what are you actually doing in Switzerland when there’s no snow?”.
His understandable points were what do you do (see our previous blog on this classic ski instructor question), how do you make ends meet and isn’t it a bit dull.
And it made me laugh a bit because I got it when I turned on my phone back on after getting off a flight to Geneva which approached along the lake, taking in epic views of the snow on all the peaks over 3000 meters – from the Bernese Oberland across to Mont Blanc.
(The picture above hardly does it justice but click on it and you can zoom into it and pick stuff out).
Best of all though, the Grand Combin (that’s the really big mountain on the other side of the valley from Verbier – you know, the one with the slanty glacier on top) stood out like a sore thumb – fresh snow on the summit and the biggest one for miles around… You can just see it here, next to the wing tip:
And I sat in my seat like a grinning idiot, brimming with excitement and just stupidly happy to be coming back. So when I got that text from Lee it seemed to underline why it’s amazing to be in the mountains at any time of year. It’s an amazing place, in a brilliant (if a bit quirky and cheese-obsessed) corner of the world.
And, to underline this, when I got off the bus to Verbier, the fact that it seemed appropriate that it was the warm up for Swiss National Day – basically yet another reason for the Swiss to have a party, eat cheese and drink white wine.
Which made it somehow more perfect, and is also the reason I’m typing this with what feels like a pair of knitting needles behind my eyes.
So are there better places to live? Yup. Probably. But why on earth would you bother looking for them when you can be here?
Firstly I would like to apologise for not keeping you good, loyal folk in-touch with the goings-on in Verbier.
But there really is no point in keeping you up-to-date on nothing. We lead a tranquil, slow-paced life here in the summer. Really – nothing has been going on for the past week.
So it’s good to see town buzzing again now, it’s also good to have a couple of weeks of solid sunshine. Thats much more like it.
As well as the festival we have a weekly market on every Sunday. The usual deal, pretty much cheese, honey and knick knacks.
But this week there were a few familiar faces with stands; Lucy Dunnet from donut designs had a number of her fab painting on show (see below). Also Jo Chandler from Petit Verbier stall lined the street offering face painting and a play area for the kiddies.
Once we made it up to Ruinette we waked over to the area by the Restaurant La Marmotte. We came across what can only be described as a Val de Bagne version of the Bath and West show. A proper agricultural shindig complete with the fizzy white wine (Fandant) and tonnes of melted cheese (Raclette). Just as were heading off the ‘main event’ started; The cow fight.
Now I thought this happened in Sambrancher or Le Chable at the end of the season. A kind of gladitoral going home event for all the ‘etrangers’ of Verbier. From what I gather this is qualifying. Which is hilarious. Not only that, I have recently found out there are different classes and weights. This perticular event was for 2 year old virgins..! I am not kidding.
Don’t get your hopes up, it’s a slow process, if the process actually starts. A number of the ladies were not keen to fight so were disqualified. Once a fight does commence there is no understanding of the rules. Only one thing can be counted on, one will win and one will lose. How they actually manage to determine this is completely beyond me….
We were on a mission to find a picnic area for some clients at the Lodge, the brief was to find an area near a lake but not normally accessible. Sounds easy you say. Well in actual fact it’s not as easy as it looks. The first problem is that you have to find some way of getting up high. Not all vehicles can make it due to the rugged road and snow residue.
Thanks to the kind people at Ski Armadillo we managed to borrow their Polaris off-road vehicle called Boris. As we climbed up from Ruinette we came across a pile of snow that stopped our progress completely. It wasn’t a complete waste of time as we trundled round to La Chaux where we found the perfect spot:
We weren’t the only ones enjoying the ride. We decided on the cheap way of walking Laika: