Yverdon-Les-Bains is a beautiful little town on the western tip of Lake Neuchâtel. I’m not immune to the charm of its center, with cobblestone streets and houses painted in terracotta and yellow shades. After refueling with coffee and apple pie, I change into short cycling bibs in the toilets of the bakery and wave goodbye to Yverdon. A few kilometers later, I stop at a closed campsite on the lakeshore to apply a generous amount of sunscreen on my legs. The rays of sun of the lake, sandy beach and tall pines make it feel like I’m somewhere on the Mediterranean.
Hidden from the trails by some rocks, the view from where I stand is breathtaking: the first rays of sun are bathing a distant snowy massif in a pink-orangy light. I’m soaking up the moment and I start realizing that this is it. Even if you don’t make it any farther. This is all worth it, worth the 3am alarm on a Saturday morning, worth the pain to try to find the trail in the dark and the cold. This exact magical moment. This is why you’re doing it.