Best of 2017 in pictures

For the last day of 2017 I have gathered a pictures of my best 2017 memories! Small or big, in the water, on snow or in a pub, it is nice to remember that even though it has been a busy year, there has been plenty of things to be grateful for!

From left to right:

Not represented in pictures but not to be forgotten:
  • Best animal encounter: snake while hiking above Split, Croatia
  • Best views: Lake District, UK
  • Worst tun of weather: escaping Scotland after 5 days of camping in the rain!
  • Great food: dozen of pub burgers (always better after hiking), wine tasting in Bordeaux, Asia fusion in London (Circus), pasta in Roma
  • Little joys: visits (and visiting) friends, Oxford Friday evening get away, first signs of springs, morning fog, autumn leaves
  • New Personal Record: London Sprint triathlon
  • New me: swum 75km this year – turning fish!

Bring it on 2018 ūüôā

Best sunset of 2017: Neist Point, Scotland

Vasaloppet classic skiing race or how to ski 90km in a day

The end of an intense and beautiful journey, like hundreds of thousands skiers before us.

In June 2016 I started my journey to complete a Swedish classic. Nine months later, on a dark morning of February, I was on the starting line of Vasaloppet, a 90km journey where thousands of participants aim to reach Mora from Sälen on nordic skis in one of the most famous classic skiing race in the world. In this article I am sharing my journey to completing Vasaloppet, from beginner to {spoiler alert!} crossing the finish line, along with tips I picked on the way.

Skiing the 90km of Vasaloppet is considered an integral part of being a Swede. It is usually said that either you have completed Vasaloppet, either you are training for it or you think about doing it one day. Since its the first edition in 1922, 550.000 skiers have taken the journey from Salen to Mora, along a 90km trail. located in the middle of Sweden. Cross country skiing is usually regarded as one of the most intense endurance sport and powering yourself on skis for 90km is quite a challenge.

 

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Swimming 10km in the river Dart (UK)

The Dart 10k is an open water swim in the Dart river in South Devon (United Kingdom). It is usually hosted in the beginning of September and gathers more than a thousand of swimmers of all ages and abilities, who aim to reach the village of Dittisham starting from the town of Totnes.

 

As I walk towards the start line of my 10k swim in the river Dart on an early morning of September, I think about the dozen of messages of encouragement I woke up to that morning: from colleagues, triathletes, family and friends… If many people run a marathon, not so many have swam one, elevating those who would even consider signing up to the status of super humans. I look around but the only thing I see is a bench of weirdos in highly unsexy rubber one pieces, ready to dip in a muddy cold water on a Sunday afternoon while the smart ones of this world have not even finish their first cup of coffee (or tea).

1600 swimmers took part in the 2017 Dart 10k. Here: the start in Totnes

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A week-end of hiking on the South Downs Way (UK)

I have always liked long distance trails. I like the idea of going from A to B by the simple power of your legs. The idea of hiking part of the South Downs Way came as I was looking for ideas of activities with mum, who was visited me for a few days. But I didn’t want to spend hours in transportation. I wanted an epic week-end adventure just a stone thrown from London, mixing sea and countryside. I had heard about the Seven Sisters hike so I decided we should tackle the last part of this national trail.¬†We went up steep climbs, avoided cows, had fun on bales of hay, embraced Sussex views and ended up with our toes in the English channel – all under beautiful summer skies.

The north panorama from Firle Beacon, highest point of the hike

The South Downs Way

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A week-end of hiking in Peak District National Park (UK)

It started with a misunderstanding. I had been talking for a few months about going for a week-end to explore the¬†Lake District area, in the UK. Imagine my surprise when unwrapping the paper of my birthday present I discovered a guide of the best hikes in Peak District instead. But it didn‚Äôt really matter, I didn’t return the guidebook and instead we¬†book a week-end to celebrate spring and the return of the outdoors season on this maybe less hyped¬†destination. And guess what? Peak District didn‚Äôt disappoint me.

For this week-end we choose two hikes that we believe will offer the most dramatic landscapes, they also happen to be among the most popular. But outside of the week-end, you will have the hills for yourself!

Hill walking on Kinder Low plateau (Peak District, UK)

 

Day 1: Kinder Low hike

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One week itinerary on the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera)

The French riviera is probably known mostly around the world for its glamour, beauty and amazing coast line. For me, a girl from the north of France, used to grey skies and dark seas, The Cote d‚ÄôAzur (Azur coast) name could not be more suitable for this place. It doesn’t matter if you are strolling by the expensive yachts in Monaco or just found the perfect local picnic spot on the rocks, wherever you go, the deep tones of the sea and the blue skies are an amazing background for your explorations.
 In this 7 days itinerary, I am sharing my favorite places in this area. Are you ready for a week of blue sea, luxury, picturesque villages and the fresh air of the sea?

A week where you will always keep nuances of blue in sight!

One week to explore French Riviera

Day 1: A day in pretty Nice

Day 2: Charming Provence village – Saint Paul de Vence

Day 3: A spectacular walk by the Antibes’s Cape

Day 4: An active day exploring the Esterel Massif

Day 5: A day in Cannes

Day 6: Iles de Lerins – Sainte Marguerite

Day 7: Frejus or Monaco

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A beginner’s guide to cycling your first sportive (long distance)

It’s decided: this year, you will cycle with your first “sportive” – the official term used to define a non competitive (not a race) long distance cycling event, a cycling challenge¬†over the 100km or mile mark.
Just like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, you probably have no idea what you are in for. This article¬†will introduce with with humour to the wonderful world of cycling, full of MAMILs – Middle Age Men In Lycra– fanatic amateur cyclists, or, as the Oxford dictionary defines¬†the word since its entry in 2014 “A middle-aged man who is a very keen road cyclist, typically one who rides an expensive bike and wears the type of clothing associated with professional cyclists“.
training_for_first_sportive
When I set myself to complete, Vatternrundan, the largest sportive in the world (30.000 participants biking a 300km loop around a lake, somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Sweden), my knowledge of biking was limited to the occasional tourist exploration and the standing bike of the spinning class. In this article, I am bursting myths and whispering inadmissible secrets Рthis is all I wished I had known when I signed up for my first long distance race plus a few funny anecdotes about my journey from newbie to collecting enough knowledge to write this how to guide.

 

Table of contents:

1. How to choose your sportive
2. Cycling gear:
– Bike and Equipement
РWhat to wear when cycling
3. Training for your first sportive:
– Setting up a training planning
– Other tips
4. Getting ready for race day:
– Last week before the race
– Don’t show up uninformed
– Race day: getting to the finish line
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How to complain about the quality of your gear

Broken backpack straps, headlamp that stops working, leaking tent, broken zipper, holes in shoes?¬†It usually happens at the worst time, and that’s why you should always be ready.¬†On the moment, the only thing you can do is to try to save the day with a trick. I did my Salkantay trek with duct tape around my hiking shoes (duck tape will fix almost everything). It was not pretty but it got me to Machu Picchu!

Once the emergency passed, if the product has clearly not performed as good as you expected, there is only one thing to do: complain and file a warranty claim. Here is a maybe very french topic: 8 steps guide on how to complain about the bad quality of your outdoor gear (and negotiate an exchange or refund).

Bad luck with your gear? Say something!

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Dirt roads and grandiose landscapes: a road trip around Salta (Argentina)

¬†I always said that you can go almost anywhere by bus in South America. That’s true. But sometimes that the journey which matters and not so much the destination. This post is not about how to get to Cafayate (from Salta you can hop on a bus which drives on the RN68). This article is about taking the dirt¬†roads, going into exploration mode¬†and letting¬†the real fun starts.
Amazing landscapes, dirty roads and at end wine… what else? For the ones who want to take the time to enjoy the landscapes changing km after km, ¬†here is a 2 to 3 days road trip. Rent a car and get lost in the spectacular colours, canyons and rocks of the National Park Los Cardones and of the Sierra de Carahuasi. Adventure starts where good roads end.

 

road trip Salta Cafayate

On this kind of road trip, the co-pilote should not only know how to read a map, but also how to use a camera!

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I tried ski touring and this is why you should too

The wind blowing in our face is getting stronger and stronger the snow starts to fall again, our progression in the powder snow is getting slower. ¬†Off the beaten slopes, I am ecstatic: I am getting my own mini feel for a polar expedition.¬†We are ski touring on the swedish fjall, these old middle mountains with huge plateaux covered in snow, miles away from any living soul (or at least from what we can tell). It is our first time of ski touring but the guy at the ski shop promised it… we will be just fine. How hard can it be?

Off we go – a 360 degrees white of snow landscape

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