La Traversée du Lac d’Annecy – 2.4k – 15 August 2015
This year we were 8 participating in the 84th annual Traversée du Lac d’Annecy.
Kirsten swam the 1km and the rest of us (Rajah, Hilary, Ozlem, Matthieu, Karen, Anaïs, César) did the 2.4k – so to speak – as Garmin informed us that we swam anywhere from 150-370m extra distance along the way…through the practically crystal clear water.
César and I were the only ones to have swum that distance in a race. Rajah just started swimming in January so she gets particular credit for attempting and completing such a huge feat!!!
Hilary and Anaïs took the train. The rest of us headed down by car on Friday morning. When we arrived at the lake we went straight to the arrival zone to pick up our bibs. We were all fortunate to be staying right in the center of the Vieille Ville just 5 minutes from the edge of the lake.
We were a bit concerned as the rain stormed down starting in the evening and through Friday night…However on Saturday, the sky was grey but the rain stayed home.
The 2.4k departure time was 10h30. The walk around the lake to where we needed to be was about 40 mns. Along the way we made note of landmarks that would help us during the swim.
The departure area had a tent for last minute bib pick up and to have numbers written on our shoulders and hands and 2 vans were on site to collect bags and bring them to the arrival side.
There were blue, pink, green and yellow caps…which seemed to have no meaning at all.
The caps themselves were so flimsy that last year it burned the back of my neck. This year using a second cap under it theirs solved that issue. And many of us used Vaseline on the back of our necks.
Among the 1500 participants were every age and swim level possible. There was a 500k children’s race – as well as a 5k.
The water was a bit cool. Only César decided to do the swim without a suit. The rest of us were glad to have one…particular for the distance.
In our 2.4k race, there were 3 departure waves for a total of 700 people. The first for FFN license holders. Then two waves by inscription number. Our understanding (and from confirmation via our Garmin watches) is that the delay in start time was taken account into determination of the final swim time.
The swim started with a 400m stretch towards a yellow buoy. Turn right around the buoy and head to the other side of the lake. Matthieu, Rajah and I waited to leave at the back of our wave. Matthieu got a good kick in the head straight out. The rest of us did okay.
With the first buoy in sight it was fairly easy to keep in the right direction.
Once around the corner though…things look much closer than the really are. The easiest landmark to follow at the start was the steeple of a cathedral up on the mountain.
It was important to look up often!!!
There was no delineation of swim area. A few boats were along the left side, which lead deeper into the center of the lake. On the right side were docked boats and then the edge of the lake.
This made it difficult to determine a straight line as there was nothing to follow. People spread out so wide it was hard to know who knew what they were doing in terms of direction. Colored caps everywhere. All of us imagined we were doing a lot more distance than was necessary.
I personally spent a lot of the race all alone in the middle section with most people off to both sides. As my goggles were foggy I had to stop over and over again to lift them up to see if I was heading for the right part of the shore.
Eventually, there was another yellow buoy on the horizon. I was making plans for looking up again once I got there….except I never seemed to get any closer. Distance was an illusion.
Eventually…I realized the yellow ahead was the narrowing entrance section towards to arrival point.
I didn’t attempt speed during the race, just good form and getting to the other side. Early on I thought, why did I sign up for this thing? After about 1km I started to relax.
I arrived in 58:57 beating my last year’s time of 1h03. And Matthieu arrived in at the exact same second!
As I don’t think speed will ever be my forte, I have decided as have some of the others including Ozlem and César, to swim the 5k next year.