One winter evening made gloomy because of a night fallen too early, I took a surge of madness by registering for a triathlon event. Not just any, the Half of Altriman in the town of Les Angles. The Capcir, a plateau hanging at 1600m altitude on which I spent my last three summers working on the mountain bike trails of the resort. Brice, the founder of Caminade bikes also offered himself a bib, we left as a couple to share this sporting weekend! We tell you about our respective experiences through a cross-interview.
Geoffrey: Britcho, capturing our return to the lake after our classic “pizza beer” the day before the race, I could only see that in addition to having sharp calves you had shaved them… Tell us about your preparation ? Saying you had none is not an option!
Brice: Shaved legs are for mental preparation, even if the fact that you signed up for a ½ Ironman without knowing what to expect was enough to motivate me to sign up for my first Half. I’m certainly a former triathlete who was bad at cycling, but I only had a few Sprint triathlons under my belt when I was 18 years old. The idea of returning 30 years later, redoing the Matemale triathlon (that was his name at the time) made me happy. The bike did not worry me, quite the contrary, 100km and more than 2000m of elevation gain on steep roads was an advantage for me, but swimming scared me a little, didn’t you?
Geoffrey: I stepped out of my comfort zone, my friends were even worried about it. I am often frolicking in the mountains but swimming… At the beginning of the adventure, I had made a good resolution to go swimming once a week in a swimming pool. This one being 25 km from the workshop, and my desire to go back and forth in a chlorinated swimming pool not being there, I procrastinated. Coaching is a word I don’t like to have in my mouth. This is also the experience I wanted to live during this Altriman. Not preparing, I only did what I wanted to do at the moment. I wanted to show myself that a sports session experienced in full presence benefits more the body and the mind. These three swims at Lac des Escoumes during the heat wave were the perfect example. In three sessions, I was able to take all my bearings in order to swim 2km without exhausting myself and above all having fun. I didn’t think I would get off so much by finding my rhythm through this effort. Like what, three sessions shared with Brice in a good mood is better than ten in reverse.
On the start line of the swim, I saw you place yourself on the first line unlike me who put myself at the back of the pack. Tell us about your departure, even if the philosopher you keep inside grows, I still have the impression that as soon as you put on a bib, the adrenaline rises, right?
Brice: Yes, we don’t get over it… I don’t play board games because of my competitive spirit, but be careful, I’m not a bad loser! I just want to put the odds on my side, so I bought a “buoy” wetsuit to swim in condition and I admit that these 3 training sessions in the lake reassured me to such an extent that I did not deflate, I left on the front line, right in the middle and at full speed like in the good old days of crossing Lake Banyoles. And I reconciled with swimming which was my teenage sport and where at each training session, I longed for the shower (with the girls). But in the end, Big Mama after these 2 kilometers of swimming, were you still able to take advantage of the bike to take beautiful photos?
Geoffrey: To be honest, I panicked on the first 500 meters of swimming, I did not want to fight with the 490 participants to swim. I therefore ranked in the last 20 in order to swim as I was used to: respecting my technical and physical abilities. Despite that, it took me 15 minutes to manage to relax and unwind as I was used to. Certainly the apprehension of the event, the fresh water of Lake Matemale or the rising sun which dazzled us on the first crossing. Cartesian reasons to explain a poor performance, there are several. From my point of view, I believe in EVERYTHING, in what state of consciousness you decide to live an experience like this. Although I have never swum 2km or cycled more than 100km on a bike with so much elevation, let alone run a half-marathon, I remained calm. However, I was going to tackle all three disciplines in the same day.
My approach was centered on pleasure. The pleasure of feeling like a fish in water in order to cross Lake Matemale. The pleasure of keeping my lucidity on the bike course in order to be contemplative of the landscapes offered by this extraordinary ride (and take the opportunity to take some pictures). Finally, the pleasure of walking or running on the half-marathon in the Balcère forest or the fields down to the lake with breathtaking views of the Mitja pass, the Llose pass and the Cambre d’Aze. The beauty of the course was one of the reasons I signed up for this triathlon. Knowing the place well, I knew I could not be disappointed. What’s more, the weather gave us a most magical summer day. You understood, I was a dreamy competitor, detached from the notion of performance.
As for you, Brice, did you still finish in the top 20 of the event out of 500 starters, the experience that spoke?
Bruce: Clearly. I still spent half my life chasing the podiums. Looking back, it was a search for self-fulfillment without limits. I stopped racing when Caminade was born and I must admit that the fight we lead on a daily basis to relocate bicycle manufacturing to France makes me feel much more fulfilled than a finisher’s jersey. I am also much more persevering there and I hope to perform as well. So, even if I am very proud of this place of honor, I prefer to remember the good time we had together this weekend. You could be my son, but above all we are work colleagues who share our hobbies: it’s just crazy the liberated company! And then despite this long day, we arrived at Eden in time to start recovery. ! Isn’t that Mami-Suze?
Geoffrey: Mami Suze… After 10 hours of effort, it was high time to celebrate. Thank you for kindly repatriating my things and my bike to the car and dropping me off in front of the Eden terrace. I only had a few more steps to take to settle down in front of a beer and share a good evening. When I participate in events of any kind, I like to experience them as a whole. Participating in the Altriman while eating pasta in the motorhome the day before is not really my thing. You might as well enjoy the local culture by consuming the delicacies of the plateau. It was the Pérics beer drunk the day before at Xtrem’ Pizza that put us in Olympic form for this Half Altriman.
After a drunken late night at La Suze, we went to bed with an idea in mind for the next day: to visit Myriam and Stéphane, the keepers of the Camporeils refuge above Formiguères. This one-hour regenerating walk through the Lladure valley allowed us to take a little digestive nap at the foot of the Pérics.
Texte et Photos – Brice EPAILLY & Geoffrey BUISAN