Upper class entities, extravagant boats, heartfelt sunlight, good-looking, tanned people and that leisure extravagance sensation is what society is looking for at the world-renowned French Riviera. With dissimilar inspiration and goals, Fabian and I made our way down to the metropolitan that commonly is known for the rich and famous, its posh hotels and restaurants – Cannes.
After the Ötillö World Champs we were not looking to get a new yacht or leisure time at the local sand seashores, we wanted to book our ticket for next year’s World Champs in the Archipelago – as soon as possible. Last year’s jaunt to the Republic of Malta was a rather fruitful one but due to travel and work trials we had to settle for the subtropical Mediterranean climate in the south of France.
Cannes is the first competition to qualify after the WC and that means that a lot of lineups mean business. France took on the sport of swimrun fast and that results into a lot of fit and competitive équipes on the start line. However, we wanted to go for it and see what we can do – Now or never. Well, for 2022 anyway.
The competition went off with a lot of motivated racers on a long downhill slog from the local fort at the Île Sainte-Marguerite just outside the city. Seemingly, it took the man in the Iron Mask (Reference here) 11 years to leave the isolated woodland of St Marguerite. Not us. After approximately 4k of jagged trail bumping the first early risers were railed in and it was time to cool off from the sun with the first swim. For the premier 1,5 hours we ran and swam between this island and Île Saint-Honorat, a place that used to be the play area for some local monks, sharing their time between prayer and producing red and white wines. Nothing that we had time for on this beauty of a day.
With about 20% of swimming, this course is one of the most swim heavy on the entire tour. We left the islets and headed straight for Cap de la Croisette and the mainland Cannes. Fabian skippered the rusty GSP liner over these 1300 meters, the longest bath of the day. The Promenade de la Croisette was about to follow throughout the longest run (9+k). And it was action-packed one on a sundrenched Saturday along the popular waterfront boulevard. Merci to that cyclist that made way for us and created some frightened expressions along the way. The run led through town and out to a local park. I decided to not take the wetsuits off which might not have been the cleverest idea on this day. Plenty of dogshit on the street and some nasty climbs on and off road later we arrived at just another coastline ready to wash and cool off for yet another time.
Some swims and some run later my friend Daniel Rowland (which I haven’t seen since Chile 2011) caught us by surprise as a unexpected bystander as we headed back from the marine in the direction of the elevations of the local forestry. An abandoned and steep train track and loads of scrambling and ascending later it was beach time again. And after a disturbing visit to the local stark-naked shore, we went back into the water to enjoy more of these stunning jellyfish chews.
At the end it got pretty hectic as the lack of exercise and the unaccustomed exposure to sunlight decelerated our efforts. We paid for it with an extra inch on the suffer score during the last swim and a almost passed-out Fabian at the finish line – Raw fact: 4:57:13 for 8th place. Fortunately the uninterested local ambulance wasn’t needed, and the rehydration process got underway instantly.
Now its time for a proper season break, skiing and whatever the 2023 Swimrun term will throw at us with some pleasant unsanctioned explorations and well picked races aligned.
Tune of the day: Youssoupha – Ma Destinée