Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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A View To A Swim 2: Sunday

Sunday was event day, specifically the 2.5km swim at the Chateau de Chantilly, part of the Castle Race Series of sports festivals.

I'd signed up when I realised Chantilly features in A View To A Kill as baddie Max Zorin's French HQ and horse-racing base. What a fun way to visit a Bond location and perhaps raise some money for charity! I selected Unicef for the latter, as the late Roger Moore was one of their ambassadors for many years.

I was a little sad and daunted at the prospect of doing the event without Howard to cheerlead, take care of my glasses, and stop me from freaking out too much. Luckily, I discovered that Chantilly is just 20 minutes by train from Paris Gare du Nord, which meant my Paris-based pal Mut was able to join me on the day.

We met at the station and made our way to the venue, where I negotiated the maze of registration, COVID documentation and temperature check, collecting my race pack, changing into my wetsuit, and presenting myself at the start line when they called for les bonnets bleus to come forward.

Here, a jolly French gentleman cheered us into the water in turn: "Alice, from London! Trois, deux, un...ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ!"

I slid into the Grand Canal and began two laps around a series of inflatable buoys, accompanied by a spotter in a kayak to help out if I got in trouble and steer me round the course correctly.

The first bit is always the worst. It's cold, I'm tired already, there is no way I can keep this up. Then you get into the rhythm, the next buoy slowly approaches, then you're past it and looking ahead to the next one in the distance. Slowly, weed wrapping itself around my face and legs, I made it round the outside of the T-shaped course and on to the second lap.

By this time I knew I could do it; I just had to keep going, and breathing, and moving my arms and feet. As I motored down the final straight towards the green finish arch, the kayakers yelled encouragement and applauded. A kind French woman gave me her hand to haul me out, and I was done. Mut found me clutching my medal, a banana and a paper cup of water, and reunited me with my glasses.

I had warned Mut from past experience that after the swim I would be tired, talkative, clumsy, eat everything in sight and make poor decisions. He guided me gently to a creperie, where we had savoury pancakes with cheese and ham, then I saw him off at the station and went to see a French film.

Going to the cinema in a foreign country is something I've always wanted to do for some reason, and when I saw there was a screening of retro spy spoof OSS 117: Alerte Rouge en Afrique Noire, it was as if they had put it on especially for me. Some of the dialogue was beyond me but most of the gags were visual, and I had a good time.

My final adventure for the day was getting a Chinese takeaway and eating it in my hotel room.

Here, I was overwhelmed to discover that my very generous friends and family had more than doubled my fundraising target amount, with the total currently standing at £1,225 (and my JustGiving page still open for business).

Mission accomplished. Now I could relax and have some fun with my remaining two days in France.

Tags: hols, swimming

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Thank you!
I'm very impressed by this! You swam 100 lengths of a full-sized swimming pool, in the cold, with weeds, and without the opportunity to push off from the end of the pool every 25m. Once I'd worked that out, it seemed only fair to donate really.

I'm glad you had a friend to hold your glasses, and hope you enjoyed seeing the chateau while you were there.
Thank you so much - I really appreciate it! I went back the next day to take nerdy location photos :)
Mannn, that place hasn't changed a BIT in the nearly 30 years since I was there! (Glad it hasn't - there are a lot of places in Paris that have, and I'd be lost for a bit trying to get my bearings with memories that old. LOL)

I spent most of my time there in the 90s at the stables - they had an EPIC Napoleonic battle set up with miniatures and I spent a lot of time checking them out, and making kissy-faces at the live horses there.
It's such a horsey town! I saw lots of people out riding in the beautiful surroundings. I noticed it's twinned with Epsom, which makes sense.
Les bonnets bleus?

after the swim I would be tired, talkative, clumsy, eat everything in sight and make poor decisions


After swimming for that long I think you've more than earned the right to eat everything in sight. :)

Congrats on making it, well done indeed! (Not that I ever doubted you would.)
We were given coloured hats according to the distance we were doing (5k, 2.5k, 1 mile), and mine was blue!

Thank you! TBH I was more worried about the admin parts - being in the right place, at the right time, with the right documents - than the swim itself. But there were times in the water when I felt the pressure of spectators and of all the people who'd donated.
Ah, I see! Google had led me to believe you might've joined a French motorcycle club. :)