My annual winter training camp in the South of France started on January 7th. I always love going there; the weather and tracks are really good and so are the riders in the area. One of biggest reasons I go is to spend 1 on 1 time with my coach, Pierre-Henri (PH) Sauze. He lives in Cavaillon which is about 45 minutes north of Marseille.
This time it was going to be a bit more fun because my best friend and training partner Connor Fields was coming as well. Usually I am there alone so this time around I was really excited to have someone there with me, not only to train with, but also to laugh and hangout with while we aren’t training.
Our first week we got to work right away and man, it was freezing cold. We had to ride the track with two pairs of socks, a long sleeve t-shirt, sweater, hoody and jersey! As well as riding in 40mph winds. Its unreal how much fun we had riding the tracks in France, we felt like little kids every time we rolled up to the track.
There are so many within 40 minutes of chéz PH that every session was a new track and very exciting. The tracks are much more technical and flowing over there, and usually have many different lines to change up and challenge the riders. Each day we were at the track, we spent about four hours riding. We couldn’t get enough.
The following week we decided to drive up to the French training centre in Paris to get back to riding some SX. They have a covered full size SX track so even though once again it was freezing cold and a bit wet we could ride the track there fine. One of my favourite SX tracks, man the French know how to build! Flowy and technical, we had a blast.
I will say what me and Connor did not have a blast with were the dorm rooms at the French Centre. First of all, PH didn’t think to tell us they didn’t provide any soap or shampoo, so when we got there we could just rinse in water after all day driving. Then when we went to “bed” I think I almost threw out my back jumping on it. It was as hard as a park bench, I’ve never laid on a bed that uncomfortable. We both burst out laughing at our loud comments on the matter, before taking a bunch of melatonin and trying to pass ourselves out that way. Needless to say the couple nights we were there we only got a couple hours of sleep each.
We finished out our second week with spending the Sunday in Paris with Joey Bradford and Romain Mahieu who decided to stay an extra day with us and show us around. We rented city bikes and rode around Paris all day checking out Le Louvre, L’arc de Triumph, the bridge with the locks on it, Notre Dame and finally the Eiffel Tower. We went to the very top (top photo) and it was insane…so high. I’m a bit scared of heights so the elevator ride was a bit scary. But I’m happy I did it, you just never know when you’ll get another chance to see such an amazing piece of history again.
Our trip wrapped up a week later after another week of work back in the South. After trying not to stall the manual transmission car at traffic circles, and eating many French pizzas, desserts and croissants I think we were both ready to go home and sleep in our own beds.
We had an amazing time there, the tracks and fans really treat you like superstars and welcome you to train at their tracks and want to be apart of your journey. That was one of the coolest things for me was seeing how excited the parents and kids got when we arrived at the track everyday. BMX is huge there and they love it.
Top Photo: Romain Mahieu, Connor Fields and Joey Bradford with Tory on the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower.