It’s 7am and still dark. I’m standing solo at the end of the pool, looking down the empty lane as steam rises into the cold air. Pine trees tower above; there isn’t a sound to be heard. It’s just me, myself and I for an early-morning session in one of the coolest pools I’ve ever had the luxury of swimming in.

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About a year and a half ago, I received an invitation to train in a small, high-end facility in Southeastern France. Except I was injured, and it was miles away, and I had to work… and and and… I didn’t go.


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Fast forward to November 2018 and I finally took Richard up on his generous offer and moved myself and my training gear 1000km across Europe to get my legs and brain in motion for the 2019 season.

I left mountains and pine trees for sand dunes and, well… less scruffy pine trees.

I left hairpins and passes for endless straight flats.

I left the gentle lapping of lake Geneva for the violent swell of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Not that I have any intention of taking up surfing

I’ve spent the last three weeks reminding my body what training means, and listening to its reaction. Aside from the amazing pool, there’s a little fitness room (which saw more turbo Ks than the rain-drenched roads did), running trails a-plenty, and spectacular sunsets and sunrises.

There’s also a gorgeous dog (aptly named Hawaii), a hot tub, a sauna… Not to mention coffee shops nearby and a relaxed surfer-style atmosphere about the whole region.

No hills for a pure mountain-lover, yet I discovered it’s surprisingly refreshing to hammer along the flats and record mega average speeds !

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True to form I made a mess of the pool four days after I got there (no I didn’t pee in it). Some crazy tall dude (aka my other half) swimming up the wrong side of the lane bulldozed right into me as I pushed off the wall, and my nose took the hit.

I surfaced screaming, blood pouring through my upheld fingers and filling my mouth. I didn’t actually know I could make a noise like that, for that long.

They dragged me out of the pool, ascertained nothing was broken, stuffed cotton wool up my nostrils and since I’d stopped shrieking, decided against calling the ambulance. I was very disappointed I didn’t even have a couple of black eyes to justify the scene I made. But man, did it hurt.

Hopefully I’ll be allowed back!

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Right now I’m still not quite sure what 2019 will hold. The goal is to go long-distance again – because that’s what I’m good at, and throw in some cycling events – because that’s what I’d like to be good at.

For now I’m still limited with running. I did something to my ankle at the Alpe d’Huez tri and it’s not been good since.

Yet whatever happens I’ll probably be back in the flatlands for some training next Spring, so if you’re interested in joining, drop me a line! (If you want to check the Bakea facilities out, hit this link.)

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Big thanks to Richard for welcoming us so warmly.

See you soon Bakea!



Photo credits @guilhemlacaze



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