After “hanging up my boxing gloves” the day after my first amateur boxing match in April 2019, I decided to seriously tackle a fear I’ve been carrying around since I was a kid…
I never really learned how to swim when I was a kid. So when I grew up, I naturally moved away from the water. When I became an adult, I was even a little ashamed that I couldn’t swim. It was scary to imagine myself alone far from shore, not knowing what was underneath me.
Result: fear of swimming in open water
The week after my boxing match, my friend Tristan asked me if I was up for the Marseille triathlon with him. I felt obliged to tell him the truth. He told me exactly what I needed to hear: “You’re such a wimp, go sign up, we’ll have a good time! ».
In my head, I thought: “What? Me a wimp? You’re challenging me? Are you? Okay, you’ll see. Where do you buy your place?!”. That night I got my ticket for the Marseille triathlon…
3 months to learn to swim 1500m in open water
All this to tell you, that I had not realized at the time, that triathlon is also a lot (a fucking lot) of cycling and running! So I bought myself a nice bike (a gift to myself for my 35th birthday!) and started turning the pedals.
WHY PARIS-DEAUVILLE ?
In August 2019, my friend Sasha posted a picture of himself with his bike on Deauville beach. I wondered what he was doing on a beach with his bike. As I read the description, I thought to myself:
“Holy Shit, one day I want to be able to do that too!”
Except that in August 2019, I was very, very far from being able to perform at this level. My rides did not exceed 40km (and it already seemed very long at the time). So I put this idea in the corner of my head for a few months…
In November 2019, after leaving my company for good, I started to create my “100 Dreams” bucket list. I don’t know how, but I got a flash of Sasha’s picture. The physical performance was still out of my reach at the time, but I told myself that I would make it one day in 2020.
February 2020, I’m cycling around New Zealand (1100km in 12 days), with no preparation and no training. It’s the hardest physical challenge of my life, with a very high level of suffering and a day at 140km alone in the rain for 6h30. All of a sudden, the 220km of Paris-Deauville went from “impossible” to “possible”.
Appointment taken on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 06:00 a.m. in the morning on Place de la République. We were supposed to leave on Sunday, but the weather got worse. We weren’t too confident about Saturday either…
We could have taken the 3:30 pm return train but it seemed very risky (for the record, we arrived at 3:20 pm in Deauville). So we opted for the 6:21 pm train, which gave us plenty of time.
I put the Strava track of Sasha’s route in my Garmin Edge 1030. All we had to do was follow it. Thanks again Sasha!
Level equipment and nutrition, I left very light with just a bag S/LAB Sense Ultra 8 Set. Inside: 8 bars, 2 gels, 2 bananas and 4 bread rolls / peanut butter. For water, I had 4 x 500ml bottles + 1 x 750ml bottle (with electrolyte). I reassure you, I didn’t eat everything on the course. But who can do more, can do less!
The adventure went really well! The 30km bike path towards the finish is very nice (and very flat). The only downside of the course was a heavy rain at kilometre 100, near Evreux, which literally froze us on the spot. Fortunately, we found a decathlon to buy a small windbreaker. Without this 30min stop, we could have easily got the 3:30pm train.
I strongly recommend you to do the adventure with friends, but especially to do it with athletes of the same level. You’ll ride for 8 hours on a bike together. If after 50/60km you start to have one of you weakening, it will clearly be painful for everyone. Both for those who will be slowed down and for those who will feel behind.
Also remember to stay well grouped to “protect” the one who starts to get tired. Put yourself in front of the group to protect them from the wind and give them a boost in morale. This consolidates the group spirit.
Another important point is the weather. We’ve had headwinds all over the second half of the course. 100km with a headwind, you can feel it passing by! On the rain side, we were very lucky. It could have been worse. So if you see that the weather is really not with you, move on to the next weekend.
Thank you Nicolas for pushing to get us started!
Thank you Quentin for joining us at the last moment!