Laurent Weber grew up in his Switzerland homeland surrounded by snow where he skied morning, noon and night. He absolutely loved it.
“I lived for skiing and did not think any sport could replace this,” he said. “The Swiss Alps had become my second home and I couldn’t get enough of this sport.”
But as a youngster in Geneva, he was curious for other experiences. Having read about the Cayman Islands, Weber decided to sample a little bit of Caribbean life. He arrived here intending to stay for just a couple of years. That was 30 years ago and he never left. “Since coming to Cayman, I have gotten married, had two children and I have never regretted one moment I’ve spent here.”
A watchmaker by trade, it requires not only an extremely steady hand but also keen eyesight to manipulate the dozens of tiny components and this can be very taxing.
Sport, especially cycling, helps Weber to release tension from his day job and allows him to enjoy nature and Cayman’s beauty.
He has been cycling for nine years, taking it up when he decided to do his first triathlon for his 50th birthday.
Cycling had no appeal before he first sat on a bike, yet he immediately found it incredibly relaxing, provided a great workout and was a source of a new social circle, as well as a chance to discover parts of Grand Cayman never previously experienced.
Like his skiing, Weber immersed himself in triathlon’s three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running and has been rejuvenated by it. “Not only has this improved me physically but also mentally as it has forced me to spend time alone and get to know myself better and improve on some of the negative traits I developed.”
He had an unfortunate cycling accident earlier this year, resulting in four cracked ribs and because he fell on his head, there was much concern that his injuries would be permanent.
“The recuperation seemed to take forever, however, it gave me the opportunity to realize just how precious life is and how easily an accident can change one’s way of life and also the life of their family.”
He reckons that had he not been in great shape, his rehabilitation would have taken much longer. He credits his friends Jerome Ameline, Vico Testori and Radames Tognazzo for helping him get through the tough times, as well as his wife Jayne and children Sabrina and Andrew.
Weber’s next event is the Cayman Islands Triathlon on Nov. 1 at Public Beach.
Sport is an integral part of the Weber family life and he is going to introduce his son to cycle racing.
Weber, 58, sets a great example for his kids, out on the road before daylight and training in the evenings as well.
He wants to inspire others, especially youngsters. “I see more and more Caymanians getting involved in cycling and other sports,” he said. “This is great and I hope more children get involved.”
He would like to see cycling and triathlon training introduced into the school curriculum.
“Children who are active in sports are not only more fit and healthier, but are also more competitive in a positive way and learn how to be a good team member,” he said.
“Involvement in professional sport can take children to other parts of the world and give them opportunities that many would not normally have.
“Any sport that sparks the interest of a child should be encouraged.”
Drugs in sport is a common topic, especially in cycling. Weber used to look up to the drug cheat Lance Armstrong and was extremely disappointed when the American’s long-term use of steroids was exposed.
“Cheating in any sport is wrong but to represent your country and be the idol of so many people, young and old, knowing that you are using drugs to get ahead was really a hard pill to swallow,” Weber said. “I have never been able to recognize Armstrong in a positive way since he was caught.”
As for performance-enhancing drugs in sport in general, Weber says that he is unsure if completely eliminating their use will ever be possible “but with continued testing and lecturing on the negative effects the use of drugs has on not only the athlete but also their family, [it] might discourage people from ever trying drugs.”
He believes that practice, good nutrition, exercise and support from family, friends and schools are the best elements to help anyone reach their sporting pinnacle.
“Therefore, I encourage parents and teachers to encourage their children and students to get involved and for businesses to continue providing [the] financial assistance needed to keep sports alive and well in the Cayman Islands.”