The 'Born to Ride' is a randonnée, a pioneer of the new wave of long distance and independent adventures. It is not a race. There are no lap times, no tracker. Instead it's based on the old principle of Audax rides, where checkpoints connect your route and validate your journey. The distance must also be covered within a timeframe. This year the route was about 1200km (745 miles) and had to be completed in no more than 120 hours.
Each year the theme changes, too. Having participated in all the Born to Ride editions since they were started in 2016, I was glad I could adjust my schedule, like many of us, to make this year's edition 'L’appel des forêts' [The call of the forests] which started in Rambouillet on the 7th August 2020 at 2:05pm.
I finished 4 days and less than a handful hours later at altitude, in the Pyrenean mountains, on the shores of Lake Oredon.
Despite a singular and unprofitable choice of a single track from the first few meters, we got off to a good start. With Simon, a comrade in life and a partner assumed on this hike, we adopted a sustained and fluid pace from the start to “orbit”. Basically, it comes down to leaving quickly, but not too much, to get into a good dynamic. While it is good to keep some under the pedal at the start of a hike on such routes, being too foolish and ending up "in the cellar" from the start is not an exciting option for morale either.Finding the right balance was our first mission, and duly fulfilled.Unfortunately, the worst always happens when you don't want it. Bad luck fell on Simon twice. His Di2 group which no longer works and the breakage of two spokes following improper handling while driving. Not immobilized, however, Simon tried to resolve the problem as best he could, but on Saturday evening we had to admit that the bike would not be operational for the days to come.Here I am alone, much more touched morally than I imagined. Finding myself alone when I had envisioned this hike more as a human adventure with a friend surprised me ...In this chaotic succession of plains, empty fields, binary visions (the sky is blue, the ground is yellow and flat), a furnace, a recalcitrant derailleur and a veiled wheel, we had all the same checked the first two check points, So it was with the motivation to finish “the job” for Simon that I went to CP3.
The hilly courses of the Massif Central were a real pleasure. The opportune choice of routes took me from bivouacs to small passes, from new encounters with occasional road partners to joining CP3 in quite honorable times.Over the kilometers and despite a dying physical condition, morale returned and the adventure found its way, meaning, a goal.Jokes, sandwiches, a few drops of rain and a hamburger at the super Lioran station, all the ingredients of the long-haul journey found their places.I quickly realized that it would be alone that I would do the best job.Not punchy enough to keep pace with the friends I met but tenacious enough to stay average through sleep management and breaks well optimized by experience.This section will certainly be the most exciting of the course, for its smoothness, its views, and the life you find on the road where it is very easy to find supplies or find whatever you need.
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"It's hot, very". This section was sucked in by time, weighed down by the sun, as if evaporated from my memories. It seems to me that I have gritted my teeth. Having had a stomach ache. Not having slept very well, a little on a bench, a little in a field, a little on a church square, nothing long, very brief. I remember not remembering, having only one desire, to see the Pyrenees. We call it the emotional elevator.After the disappointment of the start, the joy of the Massif Central, the road to CP4 made me set out again in the hidden depths of joy. Without being a big fan of sororism and other bluster about the difficulty of the effort, I admit that I derive great satisfaction from being able to thwart bad plans. Morale ups and downs are one of them, and many long distance pilots know it.When morale returns, after holding on, it's time for euphoria, easy kilometers, big smiles. This was the case as soon as CP4 approached and validating this checkpoint as lost in the middle of a giant oven was a great relief, opening the door to the Pyrenees and the final rush.
And everything takes its place, once again.
CP4 in my pocket, it's an impromptu Asian dinner with several riders crossed towards Villemur that will put me back on my feet.I don't feel like gardening on the back roads and had planned plans B, C, D and E to reach the finish.Very well equipped with front and rear lights, reflective material and other safety features, it is in all awareness that I took the shortest route, by "the big road". I got involved precisely because it was night.I do not advise anyone to take such axes during the day, but I must admit that well equipped, at night it is very different: There is no one, we are visible from a great distance, the road users are facto very respectful of us and it is easy to supply, at least with water, all along the many cities that we cross.
A sleep break around midnight to ensure the final ascent in good shape, it is when I wake up that I find with joy Clément, Xavier, Laurent and Frédéric with whom I will finish until the arrival between coffee breaks, fun, stories adventures and wild supplies in a supermarket.It was at the end of four days and 3 epic hours that I reached the sumptuous Lac d'Oredon and once again checked the “finisher” box of a Born to Ride teeming with twists and turns and uncertainties, but who once again moreover leaves the majority of pilots with an exhilarating sense of accomplishment.-
The equipment used was identical to that taken for the Route du Diable, no worries, no punctures, nothing, everything was perfect:
Machine Victoire Cycles (Gaby)
Saddlebags Helmut Equipment
Café du Cycliste clothing
High Mobility Gear bivouac equipment