In this article, we talk to Svenja, chief stew on the Motoryacht Nero, who details her experience completing her charity cycle ride to Monaco. Read on to learn about the London to Monaco event, its chosen charity, and Svenja’s journey to joining this incredible occasion.
About London To Monaco
London to Monaco (L2M) is a charity cycle ride like no other. Co-founded and launched in 2016 with long-standing partner, Winch Design, L2M secures critical funding for Blue Marine’s portfolio of marine conservation projects around the world. Over six years, 640 riders and their sponsors have helped to raise over £2.5 million. Each year all the L2M partners come together to create an unforgettable ride, with newly designed kits and unique routes.
About Blue Marine Foundation
Blue Marine Foundation is a UK ocean conservation charity set up in 2010 by some of the team behind the award-winning documentary film ‘The End of the Line’. Blue Marine aims to restore the ocean to health by addressing overfishing, one of the world’s biggest environmental problems. The charity is dedicated to creating marine reserves, restoring vital habitats and establishing models of sustainable fishing. Its mission is to see 30% of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030 and the other 70% responsibly managed.
Q&A With Svenja
How did you hear about the charity bike ride?
Many years ago, I did a charity cycle with my father from London to Paris over 4 days, and I’ve wanted to do something similar ever since. After being based in Monaco during my first year in yachting, I had heard about a cycle event that had it’s finish line by the castle in Monaco and I thought that was amazing. As the cut off for signing up had past, I put my name down on the waiting list and thought nothing of it. But this year the Event organizer emailed me asking if I would like to join the challenge this year and I thought “why not!”.
What made you decide to do it?
I was looking for a physical challenge to take part in this year and when I received the email I saw that as my sign and opportunity to take part.
How did you prepare for it, whilst working aboard Nero?
That was the most challenging part. Although I have a base level of fitness, I knew I needed to train harder to prepare myself. Having a fair bit of charters this season did not make that easy, as my role as Chief Stewardess requires me to be very hands-on during that time. But between trips I was able to use the Peleton we have onboard to train, and once we were done with our charters for the season the Chief Officer and Bosun onboard were kind enough to take me ashore every morning so I could get in some saddle time (we were anchored during this time which was an additional challenge).
How was it?
It was incredible but also very challenging! The scenic routes I cycled through were breathtaking- Switzerland was my favourite! The team I cycled with were amazing in supporting each other when it came to some challenging parts of the route, and we had lots of laugh and coffee stops to keep us going. The mental toughness that you develop after a ride like that is also new.
Any high points or low points?
A high point was the people and the views. All the other participants were from the “behind the scenes” of the Yachting Industry, with a group from Lurssen, Damen Yachting, and Rolls Royce, so it was interesting to find out about how they contribute to the industry. The breathtaking views were incredible, making the tougher sections of the route worthwhile. Of course the highest point was the sense of accomplishment when I made it over the finish line and I had some crew members holding a congratulatory sign. A low point is probably more from a personal level- I knew my fitness was not where it should have been, so the mental struggle of trying to not let that overwhelm me was the hardest part. When I hit a section of the route that was a pure incline for a few kilometres, my lungs were burning, my butt was hurting, my legs were tired, it was easy to mentally slip into all the negatives reasons as to why I couldn’t make it. But I had to keep telling myself that I was more than capable of finishing it. And I did in the end!
What would your advice be to anyone else thinking about it?
I recommend training as much as possible for the event (seems obvious but difficult in my industry!), get as much time in the saddle as you can to prepare. Also make sure your bike is set up to your body’s measurements, this will make the ride and time on the bike much more comfortable. But if you want to take part in a physical challenge that’s for a good cause, I definitely recommend it!
Did you raise funds personally for a charity? If so, which and why?
Each cyclist had a goal they needed to reach for their fundraising. I had many friends and family members contribute to my fundraising page but I was also very lucky to have the owners of the Yacht I work on contribute fair portion for me to reach my overall goal.
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