Managing director Dave Nicholas and technical director Nico Lebrun were out-and-about in Vallee de Joux on Thursday and bring us this update…
“A beautiful day in the Vaud area of southwest Switzerland,” writes Nicholas. “The Vallee de Joux means the valley of the watches. Not literally, but that is what this gorgeous area is known for. The past two days have been wonderful and the farmers are out in force cutting the tall grass to make hay while the sun shines.
The whole compound is looking fabulous. There is a great work crew and transition is up - the big registration and pasta party tent is up and the bike and run courses are marked. Perhaps not 100% but it is easy to find your way around. Laurent Ardiet has improved the Swiss event every year and his experience has made this a truly world class event.
The lake is clear and refreshing at about 19C or 66F. There is a beautiful white swan who is guarding the swim entrance that simply adds to the allure of the place.
I did the run course today. It is relatively flat and fast starting in the main compound and running through some nice, tall wild flower fields. Then along railroad tracks for a bit and then it traverses around the swim lake on a fun, fast, twisty gravel and dirt path.
Nico Lebrun did the bike course and had this to say about the day and conditions on the trails.
“It’s a beautiful area, especially when it’s sunny,” exclaimed Lebrun. “It’s really close to France and it’s a part of the Jura Mountains: maybe the coldest Swiss place in the winter! Known for cross-country skiing and Telemark (the ancestor of skiing)!”
“There are cows everywhere, and a lot of field doors to open and close on the course because of the herds of cows. The Swiss farmers would not be happy if we let the cows escape! On race day, they will all be open.
Here you’ll find beautiful single track trails with flowers, pine forest and lots of wild strawberries. There is a lot of up and down but the climbs are never too long so the race will be very fast. It took Louise Fox 45-minutes to recognize one lap of the 14-kilometer bike course (racers will do two laps). This might be the fastest bike race on the XTERRA European Tour.
The transition area is on a big green lawn, perfect for a triathlon, and only 10-meters from the lake. The water is great about 18°C clear perfect mountain lake.
Now with 12 races on the Euro Tour it's hard to get all the top athletes in one race, but it's good to see athletes chasing points, looking who is coming or not, then decide at the last minute to get some big points, because here it's a gold race.
I saw Helena Erbenova and Carina Wasle, and we believe Brigitta Poor will race as well. In Switzerland we expected to see the Swiss Miss Renata Bucher but she is having knee surgery. Fox is here, and also Karin Hansen in her home country. Also Jessica Roberts, good to see some new faces following the tour!
“For the men, I will put a Swiss Franc on Kris Coddens again this week,” said Lebrun. “He found the way of victory last weekend and this is again a good race for him. Yes, he will have to fight hard with Roger, who has entered at the last minute in order to get some big points. With a short bike, Roger the fish will stay a long time in front with no Carloni to ride him down. For the podium also Yeray Luxem can be really strong, and maybe thinking I can and want to win one too. Jan Pyott will be on fire at home, and I’m sure he will be not far from the podium if he is not on it. Okay, I'm French, so I will finish my top 5 with Arthur Forissier, a young athlete with a big talent.”
Be sure to visit the XTERRA Europe Facebook page for more updates prior to the race, which starts at 2pm on Saturday.