Léman Gravel Challenge preview: I had a plan

May 17, 2024

Over the 40 years of my competitive career, I’ve ridden around Lake Geneva countless times. Especially when I was racing at club level, as this mostly flat 170km loop was a good way to log hours in the saddle when the weather was bad.

Since then, I’ve done the “tour du lac” from time to time, but I find it hard to get enthusiastic about what boils down to a long and exhausting battle against motorized traffic.

However, over the last few months, I’ve regained the motivation of my 20s (but, sadly, not my legs). The reason? The Tour du Léman I’m about to do is called Léman Gravel Challenge. It is 360km long, with over 6500m of climbing, and it takes a mixed gravel/road route away from traffic. It is organised by LSN GRVL, a community that loves underbiking way more than vowels.

I admire this enthusiastic team for organizing an event of this scale, with no previous experience. The challenges were many, some of them almost fatal, but in the end we’re all here, ready to set off tomorrow morning at 6am.

The course promises to be superb: the Léman Gravel Challenge is the reinterpretation of a great classic, in a long version and with a fair bit of remixing. I wish I could say more, but was not able to pre-ride it.

Because yes, I was motivated to prepare myself thoroughly. But as is often the case, life got in the way. I wanted to do lots of things and I did… a lot less.

Here’s a summary:

Start is tomorrow morning at 6am from Préverenges. Finish? I’ve heard that the leaders will be back before midnight. As for me, I’m gearing up for a long, uncomfortable night riding and walking on trails I don’t even know exist yet.

To follow us and learn more about the event: https://dotwatcher.cc/race/leman-gravel-challenge-2024

See you on the other side!

Alain

Follow me on Instagram and head over to the blog to read more cycling stories. Looking for inspiration on where to ride? Check out our favorite road and gravel loops.

My bike is more ready than me

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