Here's how Elise Maes Le Goff and Jojo experienced the Maximus 317K | 8500md +.
Happy reading to all of you and of course thank you to them for their tremendous contribution and sharing. We are lucky to have a sacred Baroudeur community.
Backpacker - Go towards you, two.
It was in December. The repeated confinements and the aborted projects formed a gloomy climate. I then looked on the internet for a new horizon, even if uncertain, and I came across it: the Baroudeuse, an ultra cycling event in autonomy. The name made me smile, the concept packed: no performance objective displayed, no supervised and ultra-secure adventure but pure and hard resourcefulness in the mountains that I love so much. I told Jo about it and gave us the registration as a Christmas present.
Six months later. La Baroudeuse is finished in 62 hours, we returned to our mountains, tired but loaded with confidence, momentum and a feeling of our own power. This is mostly what I want to talk about. Technical or even physical details interest me less, La Baroudeuse is above all for me a human experience, an exploration of who we are, of our relationship to ourselves and to the world.
Not that it is not a huge physical challenge, a big sporting challenge. It's hard, very hard at times, unpredictable, sometimes perverse, often magnificent and always exciting. I do not see it as "surpassing oneself". I actually hate that expression, I don't even understand what it means. I rather see this ultra in autonomy as a path towards oneself, an unconditional welcome of oneself whatever the physical and mental state that we are going through. Of course I had a pain in my heart…, in my knee, in my back, I was hungry, thirsty, too cold, too hot, didn't sleep enough… but it is precisely in these moments that I was able to find resources, because I know that adventure is never ideal. What I like above all is knowing that I can manage, adapt, accommodate, persevere, manage and keep moving forward. I like to feel that I can do with it, whatever is going on at the moment. Deal with, not against. A space of possibility can then open up and the inevitable discomforts integrate themselves into a larger experience. An experience for two for this Baroudeuse.
Jo and I are a solid team. We are used to being in nature together, exploring new paths; we are comfortable with the silence, the annoyances caused by one or the other, we often smile at each other in the effort and we always support each other. Jojo is methodical and ultra organized. I am a bit of a mess and make a mockery of any attempt at organization. We complete each other. We are mostly aligned with the way we experience our sports. We rarely have the impression of training, almost always the impression of exploring. We created little adventures as preparation - bivouacs on the summits, a marathon around the house, improvised routes lasting several days by bike. All this without a watch. At 50 and 60 respectively, our years of competition are behind us, sport is not an activity that we do to prove to ourselves or to compare ourselves to others, it is a way of life. And the Baroudeuse reasoned with that: no classification, an adventurer camp in the heart of nature, authentic and passionate organizers, a simplicity rare in the growing extreme sport industry.
We have some experience, or rather varied experiences that make us curious about any new adventure. Jojo has done a lot of raids lasting several days, even weeks, in all corners of the planet. I like ultra trail, mountaineering and long expeditions at very high altitude. In short, we're used to stuff that messes up and messes up, stuff that hurts and discourages. But it is strong to live this experience together. We admire everyone's abilities, a real gender equality so rare in sport.
In this regard, ladies and gentlemen too, I will put my foot in the dish on a subject that is close to my heart, hoping to motivate some readers to let themselves be tempted by La Baroudeuse. There is no, I believe, physiological equality between men and women. Anyway, that's what I'm learning from Dr Stacy Sims, the global subject matter specialist I'm currently training. During the luteal phase or peri-menopause (my case), female athletes objectively struggle more than men: higher body temperature and sweating later and less abundant, less ability to mobilize carbohydrates which are nevertheless at their maximum of storage, less leucine to the brain which sends less signals to the muscles, more protein requirement to stop the catabolic process which slows down and delays muscle recovery. In short, it's a bit loose. And for the record, La Baroudeuse fell at the worst time of my cycle in terms of performance possibilities, but I finished it and rather with dignity.
Because if there is no physiological equality, that does not mean that we cannot aspire to equality between men and women, that is to say equality in access to this type of test. . Women can also dream big by participating in La Baroudeuse, because they also have this ability to navigate discomforts such as moments of euphoria. I don't have any particular talent for gravel bike, I got into it a year ago, I'm not used to very technical terrain; I have always been very sporty but I also have 50 years. What is most important is that I believe in myself; not with arrogance, but with honesty. I know that I can manage the effort at my own pace, moment after moment and have a real appreciation of my human possibilities, not just athletic or feminine. I would like to see more women participate in the years to come, not to prove a performance but out of love and just appreciation of their own worth.
La Baroudeuse is demanding, it puts us face to face with ourselves and that is why we loved it so much. The 317k for me is the perfect balance between challenge and accomplishment. Stones as far as the eye can see that an exhausted body must face under a debilitating sun, but also a pasta dish in the village square of Pigna. Lack of sleep but also a few hours of rest under the stars and a short night at Nadia's, which she met by chance at a time of great fatigue. A fall, a little breakage but also majestic landscapes at dawn.
Arriving in Peille and being greeted by Cédric and Coralie after 62 hours in nature is a bit like arriving at a friend's house. We feel fully and simply appreciated in our effort and especially in our humanity.