Le Mans 2013: Pascal Briand and Matthieu Barrault, winners in the duo category
24H of Le Mans Roller 2013 in duo: the account of Pascal Briand
Last year I tried the 5-skater option in Le Mans and I liked it. Then I said to myself that it would be nice to try it in duo. Matthieu Barrault seemed to be the motivated man of the mission. We resolved to do it around November. As winter was far from being magical, I didn't skate much, essentially by lack of desire and motivation.
A late taking up
One month ago, I slowly took up skating again. I went for a 1hr. 30min session with Matthieu, then two sessions of 1 hour, two sessions with slopes on 30 and 40 min and then 3 sessions of 30 min. The technical sensations came back a bit but the physical condition was not enough, with only 15 days left before Le Mans. In the next fortnight it rained a lot and I didn't have the courage to go out and skate, I just skated 20 km on Friday evening before the French Championships in Lamballe.
Destination Le Mans
On Thursday night before Le Mans, Matthieu and I had the presence of mind to form a staff: Dad and Mum Briand, Daddy Barrault and Sandrine. At least we would have something to eat in-between the relays and a good atmosphere. When we arrived on Saturday, we settled in, waiting to do our bit in a relaxed atmosphere. We had the idea of doing 1-hour relays because our bodies had that duration in memory with our marathon experience. For the qualifications I find myself with Nicolas Pelloquin and Raphael Planelles... 5th time: mission accomplished.
The first hours of the 24H Le Mans 2013 in duo: the fight with Powerslide
Matthieu takes care of the start. I relay him after 2 laps, just in case he would not have tightened well his skates because of the barefoot start. We keep on with 1-hour relays, which makes a big contrast with the Powerslide duo who relay every two laps. The pace is important, we often skate with teams of 5 or 10 without relaying.
The PS tactic pays off on the short term: in 8 hours they are 2 laps ahead. We are exhausted, of course we think about stopping. The advantage is that we don't have the time to say to ourselves that we are dead... And as we are both very stubborn, we just shut up and skate. We wonder how they managed to get a two-laps lead. At that stage we knew that even if we were in bad shape, the others were in bad shape too (laughs).
Change of strategies in both sides...
We change tactics at around 10:00PM with series of three laps, not to be more outdistanced with a supplementary lap. Strangely, the PS team also change tactics and Matthias takes a 2 hr. 30 min relay. After 12 hours of race, I come across Scott Arlidge who tells me that he is sick and that's why we didn't see him much. He is dehydrated: with short relays, it's hard to eat and drink properly. As for us with our 1 hr. relays, we had the time to eat well with mum's good cooking.
Suddenly, Matthieu passes without Scott, he even completes a lap and there's still no Scott on the horizon. We relay and we decide to go for 2x2 laps at full speed just in case... After those mad laps, we conclude that we have the lead. After a relay I come across Matthias who has a backhache just like me in the stands. He tells me that Scott is too sick: they give up. We have the open road and the lead with 5 laps ahead of the others. We are destroyed, the other duos too apparently. We crawl along at 10 or 11 min per lap.
The night is long and very chilly. We get organized and we suffer in silence. We only talk with our parents who coach us and who don't pass on the distress messages to the other half of the duo (laughs). Between us on the relays, we only tell the number of laps we go for. By night, I tolerate cold better, so I take longer relays of one hour for Matthieu to rest and vice versa.
At that stage, I'm not having a fantastic time. I'm not really used to being passed by so many skaters and I didn't really enjoyed being overtaken all the time. Then I just focus on not to be passed by duos or solos (laughs). Still I have that bad memory of a woman wearing pink antennas easily passing me by in the slope... In the early morning I follow the skaters I can, with a fitness skating technique because my back is dead.
H-4 and suffering
After 20 hours of race, my feet start hurting. Molded boots are not made for a straight skating stance! My left ankle tendon is a bit swollen and it is going to bother me until the end. Matthieu is strong at that stage. We had the luck of me being good when he was not and inversely. My back is gone and a cramp threatens my right calf but we hold on.
In total I had 12 meals. I bet on the energy of the meals because I hadn't trained enough for such a duo work.
In the end, we win with a bit of success and a lot of suffering. The advantage of that duo competition is the human experience, the solidarity needed and the will of each one to complete one more lap.... then another one. It's more of a human adventure than a sports test as I'm used to see. Yet it's a good challenge!
Now, Matthieu and I have won with a team of 10, with a team of 5 and a title in duo...
Will one of us have the courage to take up the solo challenge for the reunification of the titles?
Results of the duo category
|1||34||ACTIVE DUO ROLLX||151||52 Tr.||631.9||26.2|
|2||48||TEMPISH FOSSA.CZ||146||57 Tr.||611.0||25.4|
|4||74||ARCGESTION.FR ARNEO||138||65 Tr.||577.5||24.0|
|5||94||AIR GIF ONE||133||70 Tr.||556.6||23.2|
|6||113||LONDON INCORRIGIBLES||131||72 Tr.||548.2||22.6|
|7||124||BI-MANS DOUX||129||74 Tr.||539.9||22.4|
|8||133||PUC RHIN-RHONE||128||75 Tr.||535.7||22.2|
|9||148||PLG EN DUO||126||77 Tr.||527.3||21.8|
|10||166||D MIXTE 73||125||78 Tr.||523.1||21.6|
|11||171||MIA SAN ZWOA||124||79 Tr.||518.9||21.6|
|12||175||SPEEDFUCHS.DE DUO||124||79 Tr.||518.9||21.4|
|13||212||D ROLL 73||117||86 Tr.||489.6||20.4|
|14||215||ALDORICODUO RAMBOUILLET||117||86 Tr.||489.6||20.3|
|15||219||SOS PREMA CHARTRES||117||86 Tr.||489.6||20.2|
|16||237||SPP TWO FOUS||114||89 Tr.||477.1||19.8|
|19||330||ASM 1 GARS 1 FILLE||97||106 Tr.||405.9||16.9|
|20||336||VINTAGE ROLLER||94||109 Tr.||393.4||16.4|
LinksBy Pascal Briand
Photos: Christine Dumouchel and Nathalie Planelles
Translation: Chloé Seyres