Monthly Archives

August 2018
Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 23rd, 2018 In: Blog News Triathlon X-terra Comments: 0

XTERRA ROMANIA 2018

Yes yes, as you can see, this is a race report, despite the fact that I officially retired from racing last September, that I have barely trained in the meantime, that…well there were countless good reasons to stop (tired body, better things to do etc), but surely there has to be a ‘come-back’ before calling it quits for real?

 

(Silvia says it’s the last one!)

 

Joking aside, this is NOT a come back. The motivation behind this race is mainly to qualify to Maui and have a good excuse for another escapade in Kauaï, after the World Champs. Silvia and I had the time of our life out there 4 years ago, and we want to relive the dream.

 

I am not so fit any more, not racing fit anyway, as I took most of the winter off, focusing on nights out and missed sleep instead. And the only training I’ve done on the bike this past year is…commuting in the city…

 

When I had this epiphany about returning to Hawaii a couple months ago, I looked at the calendar and the first weekend of August was the only one I found myself free from any gigs. Direction Romania then, a country I’d never been before and was quite curious to discover, if only for a few days. The race happened in the heart of Transylvania in Targu Mures, a biggish city some 500+ km north of Bucharest and nearly 2 hours drive from Cluj where we flew in.

 

The first surprise was…the rain! After the driest UK summer in history (barely a drop of rain since early June) we were welcomed in Cluj by a proper shower, the kind we’d forgotten about! The drive across the rolling Transylvania countryside was great, passing by medieval villages lined with plum trees everywhere, locals chilling by the road side, women selling their garden harvest and local craft; more women of all ages in traditional gypsy outfits, men on cart horses, saxon churches at every corner…nicely unfamiliar. Arriving in Targu Mures at night wasn’t that great though, but once we got settled in our airbnb flat in a building reminiscent of the communist era and found a nice local restaurant, we felt very much at ease. The food there is all about meat(s), goulash, polenta and some nice wine too. Not very triathlete friendly, but quite good anyway.

 

 

The next day I left Silvia to her studies at the (spectacular) local library, and went to check out the bike and run courses. Being an urban race this is not as wild as I’d imagined, but still they have a nice park on top of a hill overlooking the city, where you can find multiple trails, a tartan circuit (!), a zoo (!) and all kind of family activities. Nico Lebrun certainly did find some hills when he came here to design the courses earlier in the year. Not the most technical bike course, but challenging nonetheless with about 600m+ of elevation in total, and nicely muddy too. In fact Peter Klocz the race director told me it’d been raining non stop the past week and he was very close to cancel the race – the course was pretty much unridable on the Monday! I had brought only summer tyres with no spares, so perfect…

 

 

 

The swim would take place in an artificial lake in town some 3.5 km down from T2. No pre race swim allowed (Nico said I wouldn’t want to anyway) except in the massive leisure complex next to it, boasting several pools of all sizes, toboggans, local families on holiday eating fried stuff and drinking beer by 30ºC in the shade, some euro trash music blasting on the speakers…needless to say I didn’t last very long!

 

 

We also had time for an escapade to Sighisoara, a UNESCO World Heritage site boasting ancient churches, a walled town center, thousands of years of history. Also the birth place of Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula. Well worth a visit!

 

 

The evening before the race, we skipped the meat fest of the local restaurants and opted for a loved and trusted pasta meal cooked by Silvia. It’s been 10 months since my/our last pre race evening, which is long and short at the same time depending on how you look at it, and even though some nerves were present I felt surprisingly relaxed and eager to roll.

Finally, as we were about to wrap up for the night, out of nowhere came the dreaded and instantly recognisable sound of a slow puncture…pssssss…We both laughed as this was a déjà vu situation (see Xterra Greece), 10pm pre race and a little bit of unnecessary stress but it almost felt like a relief! I had no spare so just pumped the tyre and spun the wheel hoping the preventive liquid inside would do its job and seal the hole overnight…

 

Somehow n the morning the tyre was still pumped. Phew. We headed to T2, had a laugh in the playground (!) before I cycled down to T1 (which served me as a warm-up plus reverse course recon at same time). The forest was eerily beautiful at that time, seemingly unaware of the battlefield it would become less than an hour later.

 

 

 

The start went a bit like this:

 

 

With Ben Allen on my right on the start line I knew who was going to lead out the swim…I managed to stay on the leaders’ feet for 3-4 minutes, but then gradually lost contact and found myself on my own in between 2 groups. I never got into a comfortable rhythm actually, which isn’t surprising after having done virtually no intensity in the pool in almost a year. The swim was short though ( I came out 7th in 16:10!) and I quickly found myself caught in T1 and starting the ride with female leader Brigitta Poor and Ciprian Balanescu of Romania. I put the hammer down as soon as we started the climb, put a gap instantly and felt great. However as we reached the first descent I got a bit carried away and crashed on a tight slippery corner.  I was also already quite in the red by that point. Balanescu came back from behind alongside mountain bike specialist Pierric Brochet. I kept these guys in sight for a while, but also understood that I needed to ride at my own pace. My head wanted to race and fight but my body reminded me I hadn’t been kind to it this past year! On the 3rd lap however I started to feel better and  I was surprised to arrive in T2 only a few seconds behind the Romanian rider. From that point on I just wanted to enjoy the run ahead, despite a tender Achilles and some killer steep climbs Nico Lebrun style.

 

DCIM100GOPROG0021535.JPG

 

 

 

As planned I didn’t push the run, breathing heavily on the climbs and suffering on the descents but enjoying the (rare) moments of relief in between (sic). I crossed the line a happy man in 8th, some 16 min behind the winner Arthur Serrieres!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick massage, BIG lunch, short nap and off we went, back on the road to Cluj where I was invited by the club/record shop/balearic DJ terrace Collectiva Gazette to DJ with them on that very same night! It was great to meet up and connect with the underground Romanian scene. Quite niche obviously (especially at a time when the city is literally invaded by hordes of kids for the EDM festival Untold…Armin Van Burren and co…ouch!) but they are pretty active and an oasis of culture. Much recommended if you’re in Cluj!

 

 

On the Sunday we managed to eat some more meat (!), hike around the (touristy!) Turda gorge, bath in a natural salty lake, enjoy more meat…all in all a very memorable first taste of Romania!

 

 

 

 

 

And on this note, expect to see me on the start line in Maui come late October!!!

Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 21st, 2017 In: Blog Music News Comments: 0

New Release (BATB 002) – BlackBush Orchestra – Famiglia EP

The (long awaited) 2nd release on our Beauty and the Beat label has finally landed, and it’s a family affair. The main producer is our man Atemi based in Nantes, long time partner in crime behind the decks and fellow record digger and music lover. About his first release, Atemi says that “at the heart of this project is to let the music come alive and evolve out of the meeting of musicians with different styles and backgrounds.” + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 17th, 2017 In: Uncategorized Comments: 3

End Of A Chapter…

As I am writing this I would rather have been in Kalmar, Sweden, getting ready to compete in the last Ironman of the 2017 season, aiming for a top 2 spot which should have been sufficient to qualify for Kona. Kona, the mecca, the holy grail for long distance triathletes which has been my one and only focus in training this year. Admittedly it was an ambitious goal, but with a lot of luck and a decent form it could have been possible. But I have finally admitted that the dream is over and that I won’t see Kona. Not as an athlete anyway. + more

Posted By: cedric On: Aug 23rd, 2016 In: Blog Photos Triathlon Comments: 0

Norseman 2016

Un résumé de la course en français se trouve ici sur le site de Trimes:

 

My whole 2016 season has been shaped around this AA race. The preparation started at the beginning of November, when the list of selected athletes was announced. I must have read the race manual at least a dozen times to make sure I was ready come race day with every technical, physical and logistic aspects of this mythical race. That leaves plenty of time (9 months) to have recurring dreams about one of the most renowned and most coveted finish lines in the world of triathlon. The summit of the G.A.U.S.T.A.T.O.P.P.E.N.

 

Norseman means support team. You don’t race on your own like in a regular triathlon. Nobody will get DQed for outside assistance here. In fact this is compulsory, as the only 2 aid stations are at K25 and K32.5 of the run, some 8 hours + into the race. The team that follows us throughout the day is there to feed us, dress/undress us, calm our nerves, shout at us, encourage us, etc. This is one of the key aspects that makes this race so special. Then of course you have the course (unique and magical nordic landscape, cold fjords, 5 ‘cols’ on the bike for a total elevation of 3360m, and last but not least possibly the hardest run of any iron event with the 12K of Zombie Hill averaging 10% followed by 5K of fell ‘running’ (scrambling really) to reach the finish line, at an altitude of 1883m). Add to this a rather hostile and unpredictable weather, and that gives you a never ending yet unforgettable day out ! + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 22nd, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 0

Ironman Kalmar

6 weeks after the huge deception of a DNF in Nice, I could finally toe a start line again and put that race in the past. Here I was in Kalmar, Sweden, roughly half way between Stockholm and Copenhagen, an unknown part of the world for me, with a vague expectation of a top 5, a sub 9 h and a sub 3 h…Finish at the very least!

 

I enrolled my dad for the journey to one of the most civilised countries on the planet, one that seems to live on berries, mushrooms, salmon and alcohol. At 6-7 euros a beer, this is not exactly the cheapest place around, but luckily we didn’t come here to get drunk.

+ more

Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 7th, 2015 In: Blog Music News Comments: 0

Let’s Talk About Dub

I was recently asked by my friend Jim Lister to write a blurb about some of my favorite dub records for his recently launched Version blog, and since dub has always been a major influence in my life, I was more than happy to comply, and here is what I came up with:

+ more

Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 6th, 2014 In: Music Uncategorized Comments: 0

Beauty And The Beat / End Of The Night Top 12

“It’s Sun Ra. You can dance to it. That’s why Beauty And The Beat exists.”

 

The ever so lovely Dr Rob @ Test Pressing asked us what a top 12 of end-of-the-night tunes would sound like and this is what we came up with. Here’s the reproduction of the original Test Pressing post. All bona fide BATB classics right there.

 

PS: I didn’t bribe Rob in any way for that last paragraph! + more

Posted By: cedric On: Aug 2nd, 2014 In: Blog News Photos Triathlon X-terra Comments: 0

XTerra Italy 2014

Although I entered the race in January, I still wasn’t sure to be on the start line 10 days prior to the event. A couple of encounters with the tarmac resulting in a few broken bones and a stressed body had put me out of xterra Portugal and IM Nice already. However as I was finally starting to recover some fitness and motivation along the way, I thought I’d give the race a go as I’d heard raving reports from last year’s inaugural event.



Scanno is a couple of hours drive away from Rome, tucked away in the Abruzzo region. The meandering road to get there is stunning, the lago is rather inviting, and sitting at 1000m altitude this is mountain territory with not an inch of flat in sight. Typical authentic Italian village where a lot of life is concentrated around the main piazza, which conveniently enough is where my accommodation Albergo Centrale happens to be.

+ more

Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 24th, 2013 In: Blog News Triathlon X-terra Comments: 0

XTERRA CZECH / GERMANY

The original plan of racing XTERRA Italy didn’t happen because of my old grumpy friend Achilles, and instead of a nice week-end in the Abruzzes I was now in for an extended 10 day trip between Prachatice in eastern Czech Republic and Zittau at the corner of Germany, Czech and Poland. Not quite the same vibe. However this meant 10 days of living the high life of a pro triathlete (sic), which hadn’t happened since my SE Asia tour of 2012…so while not quite the same vibe still, why not…Fellow pro superstar Nienke Oostra would join me on this glamorous tour, along with the usual suspects of the xterra gang. + more

Posted By: cedric On: Aug 19th, 2012 In: Blog Photos Triathlon Comments: 0

Embrunman 2012

3 weeks exactly after the fiasco of the Alpe d’Huez, I am back in Hautes-Alpes territory for the almighty Embrunman. Longest running triathlon in Europe, 29th edition this year. Toughest iron distance race in the world, arguably. The bike course is 188k long – we’re in France after all, so why not? – and includes the ascent of the mighty col de l’Izoard amongst some 5000m of positive climbing; the marathon is the correct distance but features another 400m of elevation and is usually run under a deadly sun.
+ more