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D45 – Back to normal life #1

26.05.2024 - The Sun Trip
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Until the last Sun Trip 2024 adventurer arrives, we’ll be running a series of articles to give you news of the arrivals and talk about their return to normal life. Here’s the first article with news of : Jack Butler, Jean-Marc Dubouloz, Géry & Baudouin and Bertrand Goudenhooft.

As for Jack Butler, after a few days’ rest in Germany, the 2024 champion headed off to the Giro d’Italia where he rode all the stages of the 3rd week of the race, as an opener for Grand Tour Project. He says he “has very good legs” and will give us more news once he’s finished with this new challenge!

Jean-Marc Dubouloz took the time to write a full review a few days ago, which we are sharing here in its entirety. A fascinating read.

15 days after my return, I have no physical pain. In fact, I had no physical pain at all during the whole race, apart from a few aches and pains. It’s quite astonishing to see the body’s ability to adapt, to stay in the same position for 12 hours a day for 24 days, and to do so in the heat of Morocco in conditions of limited hygiene (only one wash in 24 days).

I was more tired overall two days after my arrival. I’m still tired, but I’m fine. Going back to work quickly plunges you back into real life.
However, I had a headache for several days, which never happens to me. It’s a bit like the head paying the price, with all that concentration required throughout the race, between:

  • Cars and lorries overtake you all day long and some of them even brush past you. You have to be on your toes all the time to keep an eye on what’s coming your way.
    When you’re in race mode, you have to take the main roads, which are very fast… but very busy. It’s tiring to be overtaken all the time. Not to mention the vehicles that start following you to film you, blocking everyone behind, then end up overtaking you, freeing up the pack following them, some of whom honk at you furiously, thinking you’re responsible for having blocked them…
  • Road traps to watch out for at all times. Even the smallest defects in the road that are barely noticeable in a car, such as manholes and speed bumps, can be formidable for our heavy bikes. Over and over again, they can end up taking their toll on tyres, wheels and even more.
  • With three wheels, I have three lines of wheels to keep an eye on, and often when you can’t avoid a trap, you have to decide which of the three is going to ‘take’. So we try to rotate between the three…
  • Follow the route on your phone, so you don’t miss the many road changes and roundabouts. Fast roundabouts are often hot. You have to go fast in the flow, i.e. 30-35 km/h for us, and don’t take the wrong exit when there are lots of them. It’s rare to have long passages without having to look at your map.
  • Monitoring data on power consumption and recharging by solar panels. With the ever-present temptation of the “morphine pump”: the control is under the right thumb “Plus” and “Minus” Watts, which you send to the motor. From 50 Watts to 1500 Watts in steps of 100 Watts. The more watts you put in, the faster you go and the easier it is on your legs, but the quicker you drain the battery… The battery is recharged by the sun mainly between 10am and 5pm when the sun is high enough in the sky, on sunny days. The rest of the time, from 6.30am to 10am and from 5pm to 8.30pm, you’re just draining the battery. So we ride economically, putting a maximum of 150-200 Watts into the motor… which isn’t much when the going gets rough, even slightly, for bikes weighing 70kg.
  • There’s one final element that tires the brain: constant noise. Of course, the noise of cars and lorries, especially when they accelerate hard to overtake you. The noise of the horns they blow to greet you, most of the time in a benevolent way, but which, repeated all day long, become an aggression. Of course, the noise of the wind that we create and that gets us drunk when it lasts 12 hours a day. But also, more insidiously, the noise of the road surface. We’re at ground level, with no soundproofing, and most roads, even those that aren’t potholed, are made of ‘rough’ macadam of poor quality, producing a deafening noise that wears you down. Then, of course, there’s the noise of the broken roads, which heckle the machine. Your eyes are constantly scanning the road and its pitfalls, the rear-view mirrors, the telephone to keep track of your route and the electrical data screen. It requires an incessant effort of concentration. Personally, I’ve never been able to listen to anything in my headphones, podcasts or music, apart from phone calls”.

Our Belgian friends Géry & Baudouin also sent us some post-adventure feedback.

Géry : “The arrival in Chambéry was quicker than expected. I had told everyone (including my office) that I’d be back at the end of May. So I was lucky enough to be able to spend a few days with my partner on the shores of Lac du Bourget before heading back to Belgium. It was a salutary decompression period that allowed me to recover physically and close this chapter of intense adventure mentally without suddenly switching to another activity. Now I’m back home after 45 days, and I’ve got to get my bearings again. Everything seems strange to me: mowing a lawn, making a cup of coffee, opening the mail – sedentary life is completely different, the opposite of travelling, of the unknown. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less rich. The links are there, and I like the image of the pirogue that you can build to travel thanks to the tree that has been able to grow by taking root. The two are complementary and respond to each other.

And then… when I got back to the office, I realised that my colleagues had been following the adventure on a daily basis!”

Baudouin : “The landing was rough because I hadn’t laid out the runway properly or at all. Big mistake for a beginner. We’ve come back from a world where constraints, rights and obligations were very different. Things were simpler under a cloak of physical and mechanical difficulties. Now I have to get back on track with some things that seem to make less sense. I tell myself it’s a matter of updating. What an adventure this Sun Trip has been. What unheard-of freedom, but the experience is transforming”.

Finally, here is a reaction from Bertrand Goudenhooft, who arrived a few days ago and will soon be setting off again for the Savoie-Nice:

“I’ve got my wife back, but also the management of emails and the priorities of my business. And then… physical pain all over the place, loss of the reassuring routine of the bike in the morning, loss of energy since the 3rd day. A week’s holiday in a camper van before setting off again on the Sun Trip from 4 to 8 June”.

A suivre

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